It all happens Sunday morning (late Saturday night), March 18, and it shakes out like this:
KRLD in Dallas will sign off ("promptly," says Jeff) at 1:00 AM (ET), making it possible for listeners in the south to hear WTIC for half an hour or so.
WTIC will sign off at 1:30 AM for an hour. What will DXers hear in its absence? A few possibilities gleaned from a quick scan of the NRC AM Log: WVCG Coral Gables, Florida, with 10 kW? WNWI Oak Lawn, Illinois, with just 900 watts? WKJK Louisville, doing standards with 1 kW? Maybe even the 10 kW of Portland, Oregon's KOTK? Or Canada's lone 1080 entry, CKSA Lloydminster, Alberta?
WTIC will be back on the air at 2:30 AM eastern. It's not yet clear what time KRLD plans to return (though it won't be before WTIC signs off).
Whatever you hear, WTIC wants to hear from you. Send your reports (whether for WTIC or other stations) to WTIC Engineering, c/o Jeff Hugabone, 10 Executive Drive, Farmington CT 06032. Jeff says WTIC is preparing a special QSL card, though he asks that listeners in WTIC's local coverage area (meaning most of you in NERW-land) refrain from asking for a QSL if Hartford is a normal signal at your location.
Good luck with your weekend DX...on with the news:
Vox Media did some call-letter swapping a few weeks back, moving the WHTR calls that go with the "Wheels" oldies format from 107.1 in Hudson Falls to 93.5 in Corinth, heretofore a country station under the WZZM-FM calls. When 107.1 then got the calls "WFFG," speculation ran rampant that the "Froggy" name and country format that's hopped all over the northeast was about to set down roots in the region.
Sure enough, that's just what Vox did today (March 12), installing "Wheels" on the 93.5 spot (continuing an oldies battle with WCKM-FM 98.5 Lake George) and launching "Froggy 107." In addition to a better signal, the new dial position sits just below Albany country behemoth WGNA-FM (107.7), which regularly shows well in the Glens Falls ratings. We hear both stations will be doing more live and less off the satellite...ribbit.
[And we don't suppose the little cartoon frog saying "Meow" on the temporary froggy107.com Web site is a dig at cross-border "Cat Country" WJEN/WJAN over in Vermont...]
Before we leave the frozen north, it sounds like the simulcast of Radio Lake Placid has finally ended, leaving WLPW (105.5 Lake Placid) alone with the rock format that's always been an engaging listen when we're up that way. WRGR (102.3 Tupper Lake) has broken away from the simulcast, says M Street, to run Jones' classic rock format off the satellite. On the AM side of the equation, M Street says WIPS (1250 Ticonderoga) drops the WLPW simulcast to run Jones' hot AC service, while back home in Lake Placid, WIRD (920), which dropped the FM simulcast last year, ditches its satellite talkers to go all-sports with ESPN. (M Street also claims WLPW itself is going from AAA to AC, but a look at the latest playlist on the station's site suggests, if anything, a harder edge to WLPW's format.)
Family Life Radio has been granted a license to cover for W207BH (89.3 Baldwinsville), suggesting to us that the WCIY (88.9 Canandaigua) translator is now on the air serving the north side of Syracuse.
Here in Rochester, one of the quietest format changes in our memory has been playing out over the last week or so at Infinity's WZNE (94.1 Brighton). For almost four years, "the Zone" has been doing modern AC, a reliable source for anyone in need of a quick fix of Sarah McLachlan or Barenaked Ladies.
Since last week, though, the sounds emanating from the Zone have been closer to Incubus than "I Will Remember You," as the station takes on an alternative sound under the slogan "Today's Music Alternative." Morning guys Karlson and MacKenzie remain, as does afternoon drive's Dino...it's just the music around them that's changed.
NERW suspects the move is meant to target Clear Channel's active rock "Nerve" (WNVE 95.1 Honeoye Falls), especially with all the Nerve-parody liners we've been hearing (including a really hilarious one over the weekend explaining that "nobody was listening" to the old format -- which, based on the latest Trends, isn't far from the truth). With WZNE as a pure alternative outlet, Infinity can now attack WNVE from both ends, since the Zone's big sister down the hall, WCMF (96.5 Rochester) has been playing the older rock that WNVE added to its playlist last year since those songs were new. As for the younger women turned off from the new harder Zone? They'll go to yet another Infinity property, CHR WPXY (97.9) -- assuming they don't go to Clear Channel's CHR rival, WKGS (106.7 Irondequoit). Ain't cluster radio great?
[No, really, we are enjoying some of the little digs coming from both sides, like the "WZNE Brighton-Brighton" legal we just heard, slamming WNVE's rather hyphenated legal. Then there's the joke Clear Channel perpetrated on the local daily...since there are no actual jocks at its 80s outlet, WLCL (107.3 South Bristol), the CC folks supplied some phony names for the Sunday TV book's radio listings. Suppose Infinity/Rochester boss Kevin LeGrett has noticed "Owen LeGrett" as WLCL's night guy, or that WBBF jock Mike Vickers has caught his doppelganger "Mike Wickers" in afternoons on "Channel 107"? Maybe Mike's boss, Bobby Hatfield, should check out "Bobby Chatfield" in late mornings. Cute, Clear Channel, real cute...too bad Mrs. NERW is also a copy editor at the paper in question and has been alerted to the gag!]
Speaking of WCMF, morning institution Brother Wease is adding one live show a month to his Saturday "best-of" gig on New York's WNEW (102.7).
Two more quick notes before we head out of Rochester: CBS affiliate WROC-TV (Channel 8) accidentally cancelled school for the Rochester City School District last Tuesday (March 6), thanks to a prankster who somehow obtained the station's school-closing code. Here's the kicker: even though channel 8 dropped the erroneous listing after a few runs just before 6 AM, its two big competitors saw the Rochester closing on WROC's crawl and ran with it. Once the error was fixed all around, enough students and staff already believed that it was a snow day to force the district to cancel classes. (Not bad for a station that pulls something like a 1 share in the morning, is it?)
The lesson here, should anyone care, is that doing school closings right requires separate codes for each district, not a common password for all the schools. We've worked in big shops that even change the code each year; not a bad precaution when the instruction of tens of thousands of students is at stake!
The other TV note: the cutbacks at Sinclair are hitting home at Rochester's Fox affiliate, WUHF-TV (Channel 31). Word into NERW is that seven positions are being cut at Fox Rochester, including at least three that are currently filled.
Elsewhere in the Empire State: M Street reports a format change at Dunkirk's WDOE (1410), from satellite oldies to satellite standards. We're overdue for a trip that way, especially with the format change last week at WDOE's sister FM, WBKX.
We drove through Corning today, which isn't usually a thrilling experience -- except for one thing: we finally heard WCEB (91.9 Corning) from Corning Community College on the air, something that's never been the case in all the years we've been traveling I-86 and its predecessor, route 17. The programming? A repeating loop of Shriners Hospitals PSAs, followed by a jock explaining that he was late for class and a signoff (without benefit of legal ID!) at 1:59 PM. Oh well; at least we've heard the thing now.
While we're thinking of college stations, let's take a moment to contemplate just what Siena College's WVCR (88.3 Loudonville) might be smoking. The Albany-area station, one of the state's most powerful college radio outlets, doesn't seem satisfied with being a class B1 operation. It recently boosted power from 1350 watts at 260 meters AAT (high up on the Helderberg Mountains community FM/TV site) to 2800 watts. That's not bad for a college station -- but the folks at WVCR seem to sincerely believe that they're now a "50,000 watt" station, so much so that they even convinced Alan Wechsler of the Albany Times Union to swallow the claim and run with it in a lengthy article last week.
Downstate, there's just this: We hear the application for a WFUV (90.7 New York) booster in Manhattan is about to be re-filed. It seems the FCC was operating under an incorrect reading of the booster rules when it dismissed the application for WFUV-1 a few weeks back...
Albom had been heard on weekends over at WTKK (96.9); "Troubleshooter" Tom Martino gets that slot.
One more WRKO note: the correct main number for WRKO and its Entercom sisters at their new Guest Street home is (617)779-5800. Never mind what we said last week...
Up in Hanover, translator W253AH (98.5) has been granted a transfer from Albany Broadcasting to Christian Ministries, meaning it'll switch from relaying WJJR (98.1 Rutland VT) to the Christian Ministries WGLY/WGLV network, wherever those calls are this week...
Up in Orono, Maine Public Broadcasting gets permission to build WMEB-DT on channel 9 instead of channel 22. MPB argued that building a VHF station at the existing WMEB-TV (Channel 12) facilities would be much less expensive and provide better service to Maine viewers.
What's the big deal about an old garage? Only that 8XK evolved, later in 1920, into a little station called KDKA down the road in Pittsburgh. Whether or not you buy the Westinghouse PR machine's "first radio station" claim, there's no doubt that Conrad's work was significant and that the loss of the garage would be a tragedy.
We'll keep you posted as efforts continue to raise the needed money...
Meanwhile, two hours north in Erie, Nexstar made some cuts late last week at ABC affiliate WJET-TV (Channel 24), dismissing 27-year veteran photographer Dave Bernhard and longtime WJET reporter Teresa Murtland along with three other employees. The Erie Times-News reports the cuts came as part of an overall cost-cutting program within the group.
Over in Quebec, the CRTC has approved two new community stations: 20 watts on 103.7 for Radio Charlesbourg/Haute St-Charles and 50 watts on 88.7 for Andre Curadeau in Rouyn-Noranda (the latter will be French religion.)
Finally, a very happy fortieth anniversary to one of Canada's pioneer commercial TV stations. CJOH (Channel 13) in Ottawa signed on for the first time at noon on March 12, 1961; forty years later, to the minute, the CTV affiliate marked the occasion with a special broadcast. CJOH has also placed a lot of anniversary memories and pictures on its brand-new Web site at cjoh.com.
|NERW's Northeast Television Index||87.87|