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NERW 3/4 & 3/11 - WBPX Plans a Surprise Move

------------------------------E-MAIL EDITION-----------------------------
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            March 4 & 11, 2002


*MASSACHUSETTS: Pax Plans Surprise Move for WBPX
*NEW YORK: Oldies Go "Wild" at WYOS
*CONNECTICUT: Taking WHCN to the "River"

-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------

*We're back, after two whirlwind weeks of travel around the Midwest
and down south, and look at everything that happened while we were

*We'll start in MASSACHUSETTS, where the Pax TV folks have come up
with what may be an ingenious solution to some vexing DTV issues. WBPX
(Channel 68) in Boston is one of several dozen stations around the
country that will have to vacate its UHF channel in the next few
years, as the FCC prepares to auction off the UHF spectrum above
channel 51, in the "non-core" portion of the dial.

While the auction will bring in some needed revenue for Pax (which
owns many of the stations above channel 51 that will be displaced), it
had the potential to leave the fledgling network without an outlet in

Enter WBPX's digital allotment on channel 32. While Pax has yet to
build WBPX-DT, it's asking the FCC to allow an unusual substitution:
the move of WBPX's analog facilities from channel 68 to 32, to be
replaced by a digital signal sometime after 2007.

The plan would involve a move from WBPX's current transmitter site at
the Prudential Tower in Boston's Back Bay to the "FM-128" tower on
Chestnut Street in Newton Upper Falls, thus restoring TV service to
that stick for the first time since WHDH-TV (Channel 5) signed off
there, thirty years ago next week.

There are some hurdles Pax will have to clear before WBPX can make its
move, though: the channel 32 analog signal would fall afoul of a rule
restricting TV signals that are seven channels apart from locating
nearby. WBPX is offering a study to the FCC that suggests its new
analog facility would not cause interference to Fox's WFXT on channel
25, just a mile away in Needham. Current FCC rules would force a
channel 32 facility to be at least 95 km away from WFXT, putting it
outside the Boston market. 

If it's granted, WBPX would put a 700 kW directional signal, aimed
east-southeast, atop the FM-128 tower at 292 meters above average
terrain. We'll keep you posted as this unorthodox application makes
its way through the Commission...

Meanwhile, another Boston-market station wants to make a move: after
more than four decades as a Worcester-licensed facility, WAAF (107.3)
wants to change its city of license to Westborough, 15 miles or so
closer in to Boston. The change wouldn't affect WAAF's construction
permit, already granted, to move from Asnebumskit Mountain in Paxton
to the WUNI-TV (Channel 27) tower in Boylston.

Another move: WUNR (1600 Brookline) has applied for a new
configuration at its Oak Hill, Newton transmitter site. We'd expected
an application of this sort for a while now, to accomodate WRCA (1330)
and WKOX (1200)'s planned moves to the site. WUNR would use 20 kW
day and night from five 200-foot towers, three shared with WKOX and two
others replacing WUNR's existing 350-footers. The reconstruction of
the site still requires approval from Newton; that may be a long and
difficult process.

Eddie Andelman's new WWZN (1510) talk show started last Monday (March
4); the longtime voice of WEEI is heard from noon to 3 PM on the
station, which is owned by Sporting News Radio (not, as a certain
Boston daily had it, the now-defunct "One-on-One Sports.")

Where are they now? Paul Jaxon, erstwhile half of the "Jaxon and the
Pharmacist" morning team on WFNX, is out west now, doing afternoons at
KURR in Salt Lake City. (He'd been heard most recently at the New Hampshire
Seacoast's "Shark" combo of WSHK/WSAK.)

We're sorry to report the death of one of Boston's longest-running
jazz radio voices. Mai Cramer, who hosted "Blues After Hours" on
WGBH-FM (89.7) for more than two decades, died Feb. 25 after a battle
with breast cancer. Cramer was just 54 years old.

*Just one bit of RHODE ISLAND news, and it's just like our
Massachusetts lead story: Pax wants to move WPXQ (Channel 69) Block
Island to its digital allocation on channel 17. The move would keep
WPXQ at its current transmitter site near East Greenwich, roughly in
the center of the state; this one would be 4 megawatts, directional,
from 220 meters AAT. The FCC must approve some overlap between WPXQ on
channel 17 and Schenectady's WMHT-TV, also on 17, to make this one

*CONNECTICUT heard a format change last week, as WHCN (105.9) softened
up its image, moving from classic rock to "rock hits" under the new
nickname of "The River." The move takes the Clear Channel station out
of the rock war that had been raging against Marlin's WCCC (106.9);
we're told the new sound on WHCN is reminiscent of Clear Channel's
"River" up in the Albany market, WRVE (99.5 Schenectady).

A schedule change at WTIC (1080 Hartford) pulled Laura Schlessinger
off the air there. Her two hours, from 10 AM until noon, are now being
filled by "WTIC's Connecticut Today," hosted by Bruce Stevens, who
continues to share afternoons with Colin McEnroe as well. Down the
road in New Haven, Steven Kalb has parted ways with WELI (960), where
he had been doing afternoon talk. Morning co-host Paul Pacelli moves to
the afternoon slot, with Wendy Corey joining Jerry Kristafer in

And WNTY (990 Southington) has picked up the Connecticut-based Jason
Jarvis show, giving him his first hometown affiliate since being
dropped by WTIC a year ago after his co-host, his mother Judy Jarvis,

*Up in VERMONT, country WKXH (105.5 St. Johnsbury) is applying to
boost power from its site on Fairbanks Mountain south of town. WKXH
would jump from 400 watts to 1230 watts at 217 meters AAT if its
application is granted.

Over on Mount Mansfield, Vermont Public Radio's WVPS (107.9
Burlington) formalized the move it made last fall, when it boosted
power from 36 kW to 49 kW. The move raised WVPS to the maximum power
for its class - and that required no big application, just
notification to the FCC after the boost was made last November 3.

*One big anniversary in NEW HAMPSHIRE: WFEA (1370 Manchester) turned
70 on March 1, still using the same Blaw-Knox diamond tower (one of
just four originals remaining in the U.S.) it has had since its
sign-on in 1932. Congratulations, and here's to 70 more!

*Up in MAINE, WTHT (107.5 Lewiston) was granted its power increase
from 91 kW to a full 100 kW.

Way up north in Presque Isle, we hear WBPW (96.9 Presque Isle) dropped
its old tower south of town on US 1 about a week ago. The 408-foot
tower, complete with a ten-bay FM antenna, needed to be removed for a
replacement to be erected; that work is now underway, we're told.

And way down south in Sanford, the Phoenix Media folks flipped the
format on WPHX (1220), albeit without telling the whole truth. Their
press release claims the station is switching to ESPN sports from a
simulcast of WPHX-FM (92.1 Sanford); our monitoring of WPHX just a
couple of weeks ago showed the AM side doing low-budget talk with nary
a legal ID to be heard, just as it was back in the WSME days. (The FM,
of course, is a simulcast of WFNX 101.7 down in Lynn, Mass.)

*The big news out of NEW YORK while we were away was taking place in
Binghamton, where Citadel oldies outlet WYOS (104.1 Chenango Bridge)
dropped its format March 1. The oldies moved down the dial to WKOP
(1360 Binghamton), which dropped its standards format; WYOS then
embarked on a day of stunting with a loop of "Wild Thing" before
relaunching as "Wild 104," challenging Clear Channel's WMRV (105.7
Endicott) for Binghamton's CHR audience.

At the helm of "Wild" as it begins its assault on Star 105.7 is the
PD formerly known as "Norm on the Barstool." Fresh from his stint at
Rochester's WPXY (97.9), the now-renamed "K.J. Bryant" is doing
afternoons on WYOS as he seeks a new morning show. Christine Fox of
WFHN (107.1 Fairhaven MA) is doing middays by voicetrack, while Jerry
Kidd, formerly of WMRV, is handling nights.

We hear WWYL will be the new call on 104.1 when the FCC gets around to
it, while the venerable WKOP calls may disappear from 1360 again
(anyone here remember WBNK or WRSG?) in favor of WYOS.

Meanwhile out in Vestal, Clear Channel declined to renew the contracts
of WBBI (107.5 Endwell)'s "Breakfast Flakes," Jerry James and Dave
Freeman. A year after luring the pair over from Citadel's top-rated
WHWK (98.1), the company appears to be moving in a different direction
with "B107.5" - we've heard rumors of a new oldies format here to pick
up some of the listeners who used to tune to WYOS. Will Jerry and Dave
return to the Hawk? Again...stay tuned!

Plenty of news from New York City, too, and we'll start at talker WOR
(710), where PD David Bernstein was shown the door last week after
nearly a decade at the station. WOR officials say they want to take
the station in a different direction; no word yet on where Bernstein
(one of your editor's former bosses at Boston's WBZ) will land next.

New York's public radio station announced its post-9/11 plans to
resume separate programming on its AM and FM facilities, and
classical-music fans are already up in arms. WNYC has been
simulcasting on 820 AM and 93.9 FM since its old FM transmitter site
at the World Trade Center was destroyed; the plan now calls for and
end to the simulcast on April 8. The FM side, which had been mostly
classical before the attack, will now carry NPR news and talk during
the 9 AM to 4 PM block, returning to music at 7 PM after "All Things
Considered." WNYC says it still hopes to add a second FM service to
pick up the classical slack; expect plenty of protests from the music
crowd before this is all over.

Out on Long Island, Clear Channel parted ways with WALK-FM (97.5
Patchogue) station manager Mark Clark; no replacement has been named
out there, either.

The programming on two of New York's leased-time outlets flipped last
week, moving Korean-language broadcasts from WZRC (1480 New York) to
WNSW (1430 Newark NJ), with the Chinese broadcasts that had been on
1430 heading up to 1480. Both stations are owned by Arthur Liu's
Multicultural Broadcasting; the Korean programming is now also heard
out on Long Island at WGSM (740 Huntington).

While we're on that end of the New York AM dial, Spanish religious
WWRV (1330 New York) was granted a license to cover for its power
increase. WWRV moves up to 10 kW daytime from its New Jersey
transmitter site, remaining at 5 kW after dark.