Just as we were getting ready to go to press reporting that the call change for New London's WTYD (100.9) had yet to take effect, we heard otherwise from the folks at Hall Communications. The soft rock ended at noon today (3/10), replaced by oldies as "Kool 101," WKNL. Morning guy Bill Reese stays, Dan O'Brien moves from sister country station WCTY to afternoons at WKNL, trading places with former WTYD afternoon jock Sarell, and the search for a PD is underway. Oldies had been missing from the New London market since WVVE (102.3 Stonington) dropped the format at year's end; we wonder whether the WKNL calls are a subliminal swipe at competitor WKCD (107.7 Pawcatuck), aka "Channel 107-7."
Not going anywhere: We hear 64-year WTIC (1080 Hartford) veteran Bob Steele recently announced his retirement -- when he reaches the age of 100 in the year 2011! Steele continues to host one Saturday morning a month during the warmer months on WTIC. Meanwhile, Saturday 10 AM - 2 PM host Ann Baldwin is leaving the station to run her own media consulting firm.
Entercom's WAAF (107.3 Worcester) has been granted a construction permit to come down from Mount Asnebumskit in Paxton, moving closer to Boston with 9600 watts directional from 335 meters on the soon-to-be-built new tower at the WUNI-TV (Channel 27) site on Stiles Hill in Boylston. Also granted a move is WBOS (92.9 Brookline), which will join Greater Media siblings WTKK, WROR, and WMJX on the Prudential Center with 18.5 kW non-directional. Like WTKK and WROR, WBOS had been on the "FM128" tower in Newton, which will be left with just WBUR, WJMN, WBMX, WODS and WCRB once all the dust settles.
Speaking of WJMN, it's getting a replacement for afternoon jock Ralphie Marino, who's moved to Clear Channel sister WKTU in New York. Ramiro Torres moves from nights to fill Marino's slot, with Stevie Demann coming up from Orlando's WJHM (101.9 Cocoa) to take over the night shift.
And speaking of night shifts, there's a sudden opening on the Saturday night roster at WODS (103.3). We hear overnighter Jason Wright walked out of the building mid-shift around 3 AM one recent Saturday, leaving dead air until a quick-thinking CBS security guard went 'round to the other side of the glass and took over Wright's shift until reinforcements could arrive!
It's not "Music America," but it's close: former fill-in host Carole Sloane is taking over afternoons at Worcester's public radio WICN (90.5) beginning Monday.
Life among the low of power: Allston-Brighton Free Radio (1580) will inagurate its Part 15 service to the neighborhood with - why not? - a parade tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 3/11). It starts at noon at station headquarters, 107 Brighton Avenue, and will work its way around the neighborhood before returning to the station. After a 48-hour sign-on marathon, ABFR will settle in with a noon-midnight schedule Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, and 5 PM-midnight the rest of the week.
We hear Beverly's "WLMK," operating with low power on 89.3 from the Landmark School, hopes to become a legal LPFM on that frequency -- and thinks it can pull it off by May.
And March 15 is now set as sign-on day for full-power WNAN (91.1), the new public radio outlet on Nantucket. Wish we could be there!
Out in the Northeast Kingdom, Steve Silberberg's WDOT (95.7 Danville) has been granted a CP to move to 95.9 as a class C3. The new WDOT facility would still be 3 kilowatts, but from 205 meters AAT instead of the current 51, and from a new site east of St. Johnsbury rather than southwest.
WSFW's outgoing owner, George Souhan, held an open house at the station on its final day Friday, and the community responded in a manner befitting a station that's been focused on its home town since it signed on in the fall of 1968. All day, listeners stopped by with food and farewell messages, and many in the building were in tears when a half-hour farewell show aired at 12:30. While WSFW news director Greg Cotterill and at least one salesperson have been hired by the new owners, and while several other WSFW personalities turned down offers, for most of the staff it was the last day of work. After playing Kenny G's "Millennium Mix" of Auld Lang Syne, WSFW-FM repeated the farewell show just after 5:30 and pulled the plug shortly after 6 PM. A few minutes later, the signal reappeared as a simulcast of the Radio Group's WNYR (and, we'd note, with no WSFW-FM legal!), which will continue through the weekend until WLLW takes over Monday morning.
On the AM side, the automated classic country format kept running until about 6:25 PM, when it dropped carrier for a moment and returned with Music of Your Life. That format, which will add local news on Monday, is only temporary; because of overlap with MOYL affiliate WYLF (850 Penn Yan), owned by Kimble's brother Russ, WSFW(AM) will switch within a few weeks to the soft AC format of the Radio Group's WCGR (1550 Canandaigua). The AM side of WSFW also keeps much of the school sports and all the Sunday specialty programming that had been on WSFW AM-FM.
Still in the offing: an application to move 99.3 from the AM stick on East Bayard Street to a full 6 kW from the WNYR tower south of Waterloo on Route 96. (And, we hope, an actual sign-off announcement on 1110 -- it just dumped carrier a few minutes after the abrupt switch to MOYL, the result, most likely, of a frenzied few days of realigning STLs to make everything work right...)
It's depressing to think that there's now no commercial station in the northern Finger Lakes that will be live and local after morning drive on weekdays; at the same time, NERW's at least grateful that the Kimble-Martin group is locally owned. The situation could easily have been much worse.
Apropos of which, we note that Family Life has a few more irons in the fire this week: a license to cover for W210BL (89.9 Norwich), which is a relay, if we recall right, of WCII (88.5 Spencer) -- and an application for a 91.1 Rochester translator for WCIY (88.9 Canandaigua). Yes, that's second-adjacent to WXXI-FM (91.5), a Rochester-licensed full class B. NERW hopes sanity will prevail, but fears otherwise.
The Family Worship Center has been hit with a petition to deny for its 89.5 Corning translator application.
While we're in the Southern Tier: We now know how much White Broadcasting is paying for WENY AM-FM (1230/92.7) in Elmira: $1.5 million. We also now know that "White" is commonly owned with "Lilly Broadcasting," which recently bought the TV side of WENY (Channel 36). And if you want to point out that the sale thus turns WENY from "Green" to "Lilly-White," well, at least one NERW correspondent has beaten you to it.
From Binghamton comes word that former WNBF'er Bill Flynn has added weekday morning duties at WINR (680) to his Sunday polka show. We also hear the three-way frequency swap that was to have sent WINR to 1360 and WNBF to 680 may be delayed.
On the public radio side, WAMC (90.3 Albany) wants to fill in a dead spot in its coverage (say it with us now: "WAMC 90.3 Albany, WAMK 90.9 Kingston, WOSR 91.7 Midd"-- OK, now stop!) with a 91.9 translator in Millerton, on the Connecticut line some 40 miles south of Albany. We'd suspect this one will end up on the same Millerton tower as Connecticut-licensed WQQQ (103.3 Sharon) and WKZE-FM (98.1 Salisbury). Now there's a trivia question: how many sticks are home to stations licensed to different states? (Hint: WAMC itself counts...)
And whilst in the Capital Region, we note that Clear Channel is playing the allottment game again, with an application to move the 103.5B facility from Cobleskill (where it's now licensed as WQBJ) to St. Johnsville, a wide spot in the road on the north side of the Mohawk River between Little Falls and Fort Plain, some 40 miles west of Albany (which, no matter what the FCC may say, is the market WQBJ actually serves). It's not yet clear what transmitter move could follow an approval of the reallottment; stay tuned.
Welcome back to the Albany Times Union's Mark McGwire; after a month or so covering the Amadou Diallo trial for the TU's Web audience, he's back to the radio/TV beat, where he continues to be one of the region's most incisive and accurate columnists.
It was the end of an era in Buffalo radio a week ago, as WBEN (930) signed off from its Elmwood Avenue studios at the end of Ed Little's 11 PM newscast last Saturday (3/4). In addition to marking the end of 40 years at Elmwood for WBEN, the newscast was the last of Little's 62 year radio career, most of which was spent in Buffalo and much of which was spent at the legendary WKBW (1520). WBEN now holds forth from an Amherst office park; Little's now enjoying retirement with his family.
Our condolences to friends and family of Tom Sherman. The WBBS (104.7 Fulton-Syracuse) jock died last Saturday (3/4) after a long illness. His career included stops at WYXL and WNYP in the Ithaca market and Elmira's WLVY. Sherman was 43.
And a clarification of the Sudbury CBC transmitter history we were wondering about last week: While the CRTC approved CBBS (90.1; CBC Stereo) and CBOS (90.9; Radio-Canada Stereo) in October 1984, the transmitters were never built and the licenses were deleted in 1993, only to be reapplied for this year.
NERW can't help but hope that this is a prelude to the end of one of the last remaining rock-solid regulations left at the FCC. For the last 15 years or so, when a three-letter call is changed, it's been gone for good, with no exceptions. We'd love to hear WHN, KYA, KRE, KOH and the rest back on the air! (Anybody for a return of WHQ? -- heck, anybody besides me even know what WHQ was?)
Which reminds us: We've been remiss in failing to summarize January's California excursion. Next week...promise!
That's it for this week; see you next Friday!