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Speaking of Syracuse - and Rochester, Watertown, Utica and Binghamton,
too - Clear Channel now says it expects to close on its purchase of
Ackerley by the end of March. We're still hearing very strong rumors
that Clear Channel intends to sell the Ackerley TV group in upstate
New York...we'll stay tuned to this one very closely.
And speaking of Clear Channel, it's granted a license to cover for
booster WPHR-1 (106.9) in Syracuse. Thanks to FM Atlas publisher Bruce
Elving for clearing up some confusion about this booster; though it
was originally granted as an "Auburn" license, there was apparently a
mix-up at the FCC over two separate cities named on the application
(Auburn is the city of license of the primary WPHR signal), and the
booster is quite definitely a Syracuse-licensed signal.
The weather was pretty lousy in Binghamton, too - but listeners there
heard some different voices reporting it. Accu-Weather and WNBF (1290)
parted ways last week (the Citadel news-talker switched to the Weather
Channel), and that meant Dr. Joe Sobel and the rest of the State
College crew are now being heard on WLTB (101.7 Johnson City) instead.
Over in Albany, WGNA (1460) remained in simulcast mode with country
WGNA-FM (107.7) at press time, despite reports that the signal would
make the switch to Radio Disney on Friday (February 1). We do hear,
however, that Bill Edwardsen's Saturday morning standards show, which
was the only break from the simulcast for the AM, is already a thing
of the past.
In the Hudson Valley (and across the line in Connecticut, too),
Cumulus was cleared by the FCC to purchase the Aurora group this week,
removing the red flag for market-concentration review that had slowed
the sale just a bit. No word yet on when Cumulus will close on the
$230 million deal.
Don't count WKNJ (550 Harriman) out just yet; even though the FCC
deleted the station's construction permit and call letters a few weeks
ago, permittee Steven Wendell has asked for a review of the
decision. We neglected to note, when this story last came around, that
Wendell is also an applicant for 540 in Jaffrey, New Hampshire; an
alert NERW reader wonders if that application was meant to hamper the
expansion plans of WLUX (540 Islip) on Long Island, the station that
was fighting Wendell's 550 plans across the Hudson River...
And we'll finish up with some good news indeed from New York City,
where legendary jock Dan Ingram is on the mend after some pretty
serious back surgery last week. Ingram, a veteran of both WABC (770)
and WCBS-FM (101.1), was suffering from a condition known as stenosis,
and we're told the surgery he underwent was quite risky. The good news
is that he's expected to make a full recovery, though there's no word
yet on when he'll be back on the air on his WCBS-FM weekend
shift. Allan Sniffen's New York Radio Message Board has created a
special board just for good wishes for one of the industry's true
legends (it's at
and we'll add our own best wishes right here, Kemosabe!
*Best wishes, too, to a NEW JERSEY radio pioneer. Bob McAllen, who
turned Trenton's WKXW (101.5) from a minor suburban station into a
major statewide talk voice, said goodbye to the station he owned
Saturday morning in a special farewell show on "New Jersey 101.5."
McAllen's Press Broadcasting is selling the station to Charlie Banta's
Millennium group, and he's not staying with WKXW - but we hear it was
quite the classy goodbye!
*The PD chairs were spinning in PENNSYLVANIA this week: in
Philadelphia, WMGK (102.9) and PD Dan Michaels parted way, and it
doesn't sound voluntary. No replacement has been named. Over in
Lancaster, it also didn't sound as though PD Mike Browne is leaving
WLAN-FM (96.9) of his own accord, but there is a replacement: Michael
McCoy is inbound from the PD chair at Binghamton's WMRV (105.7) to
take over at WLAN-FM. And in Pittsburgh, Michael Hayes is leaving
Clear Channel "Kiss" WKST-FM (96.1) entirely of his own volition; he's
going to Portland, Oregon to program Clear Channel's KKRZ (100.3) out
there and will continue to consult WKST while assistant PD Trout takes
on the interim PD role.
Forever Broadcasting is adding to its collection of small-town radio
with two purchases in the Huntingdon area, deep in the valleys
west of Harrisburg. The company is paying $875,000 for Ronald Rabena's
two Bardcom stations, country WHUN (1150 Huntingdon) and classic hits
WXMJ (99.5 Mount Union), and it's completing the set by paying
Millennium Broadcasting (not Charlie Banta's New Jersey group!)
$625,000 for oldies WWZB (106.3 Huntingdon), which was running
satellite programming when we spent a pleasant hour listening to it
one night last summer in a Huntingdon diner.
Over in State College, WNCL (107.9 Port Matilda) has new calls to go
with the dance-CHR format that replaced the oldies there a few weeks
back. Mark it down as WJHT now...
Meanwhile, back at Clear Channel's Fleet Street Pittsburgh cluster
headquarters, Michael Hayes wasn't the only one leaving. We hear WDVE
(102.5) morning sports guy Ed Crow, WWSW (94.5) morning news anchor
Rose Ryan Douglas and WXDX (105.9) night jock Debbie Wilde all lost
their jobs this week as part of continued cost-cutting there.
And across the state line in OHIO, Clear Channel lost an appeal in its
long-running fight with the FCC over the transfer of control a few
years back at WRBP (101.9 Hubbard), which Clear Channel was leasing
from Stop 26 Riverbend. The FCC says Clear Channel went over the line
and took control of the station despite Stop 26's efforts to end the
LMA deal; now the Commission says Clear Channel's appeal should have
gone to the Enforcement Bureau instead of to the full
commission. We'll hear about this one again, no doubt...stay tuned.
*We'll close things out in CANADA, where digital radio is coming to
the nation's capital. Most of the big broadcasters in Ottawa, including
the CBC (CBO/CBOF/CBOQ/CBOX), CHUM Group (CFRA/CKKL/CFGO/CJMJ), Rogers
(CKBY/CIWW/CHEZ), Standard (CKQB) and Astral (CJRC/CKTF) have applied
to be part of the city's transitional digital radio undertaking, which
will operate from three transmitters around the region. They'll be
located at the Camp Fortune master antenna site on the Quebec side of
the river, the CBC headquarters building on Lanark Avenue and the
Time-MCI-Las Brisas building downtown.
Over in Montreal, the morning team of Andre Maisoneuve and Nat Lauzon
at CJFM (95.9) has been broken up, with both jocks taking new shifts
at "Mix 96." Lauzon moves to the midday shift, with Maisoneuve
following her in afternoons. Cat Spencer and Ken Connors assume
morning duties there.
North of Toronto, religious CJLF (100.3 Barrie) wants to add a 75-watt
relay on 90.1 in Owen Sound. Way north of Toronto, religious CJTK
(95.5 Sudbury) has been granted limited commercial status,
broadcasting up to four minutes of commercials each hour. And over in
Chatham, CFCO (630) wants to boost the power of its little FM
relay. CFCO-1-FM (92.9) fills in some gaps in the AM signal in the
downtown areas, and CFCO tells the CRTC it can do a better job of it
with 250 watts instead of the present 50. The station celebrates its
75th anniversary on the AM dial this year, by the way!
*And finally this week, a slightly belated "Happy Birthday to Us":
last week's NERW marked our fifth anniversary of weekly publication as
NorthEast Radio Watch. It was in January 1997 that we relocated from
our old home base of Waltham, Massachusetts to Rochester and changed
our name from "New England Radio Watch" (which had been published
irregularly since 1994) to the weekly "NorthEast Radio Watch,"
and we've been here ever since, keeping track of this big, snowy
region we call home. If you missed any of the more than 200 issues
we've put out since then, pay a call on the Boston Radio Archives
(www.bostonradio.org), where you'll find them all archived for
you. Check out the region's radio dials there, too; we've just updated
them and always appreciated your updates and corrections. And thanks,
too, to the many of you who continue to send in your subscription
donations. Remember, you can now use MasterCard or Visa to pay - just
visit the Support page at <http://www.fybush.com/support.html> to do
your part to ensure another five years and more of NERW.
*That'll do it for another week; we'll see you here again next Monday.
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2002 Scott Fybush
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