We're back...4900 miles, 13 states, and uncounted hundreds of radio towers and studios later, your fearless editor arrived back at NERW Central to find two full weeks worth of news (and plenty else to catch up on, too!)
So before we begin recounting our journey into the heartland of American radio, circa summer 2001, let's see what happened while we were on the road, shall we?
In Pittsburgh, the change has yet to come to Clear Channel's "Jammin' Hits" WJJJ (104.7), but the dismissal of PD Clarke Ingram and most of his airstaff just before the holiday suggests a format flip there is imminent. (The trades have been breathlessly reporting that Ingram was fired while his mother was in the ICU; while that's factually true, the move was expected long before her illness, and we're pleased to be able to report that she's doing much better and is back home now.)
To Harrisburg, next, as Clear Channel made the anticipated change from oldies to "Kiss" CHR on WWKL-FM (99.3) July 1, with new calls expected soon. Countering the move is WEGK (92.7 Starview), which dumped its classic rock format the same day to become "Big 92.7" with oldies as WHBO(FM).
Up in Erie, we just missed a call swap that restores a heritage call to its longtime home: Talker WLKK (1400) returned to its old call of WJET(AM), while the WLKK calls moved to the former WJET(FM) at 102.3, which remains modern AC as "the Point." We'll have to get back to Erie sometime this fall to check out the new downtown studio complex Nextmedia is building for WJET and the other signals in its Erie cluster; we hear the facility in the old Boston Store department store will include streetside windows for several air studios.
It's every PD's dream to own a small-town radio station (isn't it?), and now Bobby Hatfield of WBBF in Rochester is living it. He's picking up WCNR (930) in Bloomsburg from the local Press-Enterprise newspaper. The station sits just down I-80 from the big Scranton/Wilkes-Barre cluster belonging to his Rochester employer, Entercom.
Some sad news from just over the state line in Delaware: WNRK (1260 Newark) signed off June 25, possibly for good. Its transmitter site became too valuable as development property; the station's owner is trying to find a new site, but it'll be hard to squeeze a useful directional signal in between the 1260 stations in Washington, D.C. and Trenton, N.J.
Speaking of unfulfilled rumors: another trade reported last week that the Opie and Anthony syndication train would make its next stop at Rochester's WCMF (96.5), displacing Moranimal from his afternoon gig. We've been listening to the heritage rocker the last few afternoons, and amidst the interminable stopsets, it's still rock and not talk. (NERW wonders: could the recent shift of sister station WZNE, from female-leaning modern pop to male-targeted rock, have been designed as a way to ease WCMF's rock base over once the latter station starts doing Infinity's syndicated talk lineup?)
Rochester's WXXI (1370) is going through some cutbacks. The public broadcaster marked its 17th anniversary last week by laying off veteran producers Bill Flynn and Carol Colella and cancelling its late-night blues show, one of the last remnants of the "news-and-jazz" format the station launched with back in 1984. Replacing the music in the overnight hours will be satellite-delivered World Radio Network programming, leaving host Jim McGrath also out of a job.
In the Finger Lakes, Family Life Ministries was granted a CP for a new Ithaca translator. W208BD (89.5 Cayuga Heights) will relay WCII (88.5 Spencer), if it ever takes to the air. The translator was the subject of a petition to deny from first-adjacent WEOS (89.7 Geneva), some 25 miles across the lakes, and we hear it may not have permission to use the tower for which it applied, either. (We'd note as well that WCII already has an Ithaca translator!)
Over in Syracuse, WBGJ (100.3 Sylvan Beach) made its on-air debut just before we left, with a simulcast of WOLF's Radio Disney programming that's said to be temporary. It's less clear whether the simulcast of market-leading country station WBBS (104.7 Fulton) on Clear Channel's new 105.1 DeRuyter signal is permanent or not; Clear Channel just flipped the DeRuyter calls from WVOQ to WXBB(FM), calls last heard in the region on what's now WSAK (105.3 Kittery ME).
Also in the Salt City, we note Pax outlet WSPX (Channel 56) being officially transferred from "Syracuse Minority Television" (whose principals include Herb Washington, owner of most of the McDonalds in the region) to Pax itself.
The "K-Love" folks wasted no time taking over at 100.7 in Utica; the former WVVC is now running Educational Media Foundation's satellite-delivered Christian contemporary format under the WKVU(FM) calls.
Albany will soon have yet another FM drop-in, thanks to the Vox folks, who won FCC approval this week for their latest allocations swap. Here's how it will work: WHTR (93.5 Corinth) will move south to Scotia and up the dial to 93.7. But to prevent Corinth from being left (gasp!) without a "first local FM service", WFFG (107.1 Hudson Falls) will change city of license to Corinth, without changing transmitter site or power. Ah, bureaucracy...
Up in the Catskills, mark down two new formats for Liberty's WVOS and WVOS-FM. The FM, on 95.9, flipped from country to AC, while the AM side on 1240 picked up the country, ditching standards in the process.
The dot-com downturn claimed another high-profile victim this week: New York-based eYada shut down its operations, just a few months after moving into fancy new Times Square studios. The move leaves talkers such as Lionel (ex-WABC) and Lori Kramer (ex-WRKO) looking for work...
Down on Long Island, the AAA folks changed course on their latest format flip. Instead of the planned adult standards on 104.7 in Montauk, it was classic rock making its debut there last week. And if you didn't catch the "WCSO" calls there, you're already too late: it's now WMOS. (Useless trivia: WCSO was an old Maine call, of course, at 97.9 in Portland - but so was WMOS, at Morse High School in Bath on 95.3 years ago.)
Radio (and TV) People on the Move: At Clear Channel/Albany, John Cooper moves up from WPYX PD to station manager for the entire seven station group. Greg Foster leaves Citadel (where he had been PD at WARM in Scranton, among other tasks) to become PD of WGY and WOFX, while former WFLY PD Rob Dawes goes across town to be PD of the competition, Clear Channel's WKKF. Here in Rochester, Coyote Collins gets to lose "acting" from his PD title at WBEE-FM, while main anchor Linda Allen announces she's leaving WROC-TV in August to care for her ailing father. Over at Infinity's WPXY, night jock "Java Joel" is out after a couple of years at the CHR outlet. Buffalo's WBEN (930) has a new news director; Monica Wilson comes over from the noncomm side at WNED (970).
It may be on the air, but the FCC believes translator W251AA (98.1 West Hartford) was silent for over a year. The Commission pulled the translator's license last week, but we hear it's still relaying Portuguese-language programming from parent WFAR (93.3 Danbury) for the moment.
A few personnel moves: We hear Christine Lee is out of her spot at WTIC-FM (96.5 Hartford), while down the hall, Cathy (from the "Alan, Cathy and Mike" morning show) has departed WRCH (100.5 New Britain).
The FCC approved Keating Willcox' sale of most of his New England AM stations to Ernie Anastos this week, leaving Willcox' Willow Farm group with just WNSH (1570 Beverly), which has been experiencing still more technical problems. A storm took the station off the air last week, but it was back on again by the weekend.
Congratulations to the folks at WCRB (102.5 Waltham), who took home a world medal at the New York International Radio Festival on June 21. The station was honored for its "Supper Bowl 2001" parody that aired last Super Bowl Sunday, featuring a fictitious game between the New York Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony. Rob Schuller produced the piece, which was written by WCRB PD Mario Mazza and narrated by CBS play-by-play voice Howard David.
Congratulations, too, to Rus Peotter, who moves down from Maine Public Broadcasting to become the new VP/GM at Springfield's WGBY (Channel 57).
A call change in Lewiston: WTME (1240) becomes WCNM; no change that we've heard of to the station's religious format, though.
And Pax adds another station to its ownership group, as WMPX (Channel 23) in Waterville changes hands from Winstar to Paxson itself.
In Quebec, the CRTC approved plans by media giant Quebecor to buy TVA, the largest private French-language TV network. Quebecor will have to sell its existing TQS network in order to close the deal, as well as agreeing to maintain editorial distance between TVA and its newspaper chain (a similar condition was imposed on Bell Canada's purchases of the CTV network and the Globe and Mail newspaper.)
And the Aboriginal Voices folks who are building a new 106.5 in Toronto have a little while longer to do it; the CRTC granted them an extension of time to get the city's newest low-power FM outlet on the air.
Speaking of LPFM, we can now tell you who's applied for the latest batch of LP-100 licenses in NERW-land. We'll start with the smallest list, in Vermont:
|89.1||Hyde Park||Union High School District 18|
|92.1||Barre||Central VT Television|
|92.1||Barre||Vermont Christian Radio|
|94.3||Burlington||Radio Active Burlington|
|94.3||Burlington||Spectrum Youth and Family Services|
|94.3||Burlington||St. Mary's Educational Assn.|
|94.3||Richmond||Huntington Valley Arts|
|94.3||Winooski||St. Ann's Educational Assn.|
|94.7||Springfield||New England Educational Fellowship|
|94.9||Ascutney||Ascutney Educational Broadcasters|
|94.9||Weathersfield||Main Street Claremont Inc.|
|95.7||Rutland||Green Mountain Adventist Media Inc.|
|96.1||Newport||Voice in the Kingdom Radio Inc.|
|97.5||Bellows Falls||Faith Tabernacle Assembly of God Church|
|97.5||Bellows Falls||St. Charles Educational Assn.|
|98.1||Enosburg Falls||Spavin Cure Historical Group|
|100.1||Springfield||Twin States Educational Broadcasting|
|105.9||Burlington||Peace and Justice Center|
|105.9||Rutland||St. Helen's Educational Assn.|
|106.7||Halifax||Christian Hill Educational Fellowship|
|106.9||Wilmington||Green Mountain Broadcasting|
|107.7||Brattleboro||Vermont Earth Works Inc.|
|107.9||Brattleboro||Citizens to Educate Brattleboro|
|107.9||Londonderry||First Baptist Church of S. Londonderry|
|107.9||West Townsend||Calvary Church of the West River Valley|
And then there's the Vermont Agency of Transportation, which has applied for:
|88.1||St. Albans||96.5||Stowe||99.9||Lower Waterford|
|91.9||South Royalton||97.1||Milton||103.7||South Alburg|
Next up, MASSACHUSETTS:
|92.5||Dennis||Assembleia de Deus (henceforth AdD) em Dennis/Boston|
|93.7||Falmouth||AdD Ministeria do Belem de Acapesket|
|93.7||Menemsha||AdD de Hyannis/Boston|
|93.7||Oak Bluffs||The Drum Workshop, Inc.|
|93.7||Oak Bluffs||M and M Community Development, Oak Bluff Branch|
|94.9||Amesbury||New Haven Educational Radio|
|94.9||Lawrence||Ministerio Apostolico Jesucristo es el Senor|
|96.1||Rockport||AdD Ministeria do Belem de Annisquam|
|96.5||Worcester||Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Canaan|
|96.9||Worthington||Worthington Educational Broadcasters|
|97.1||Pittsfield||Housatonic Educational Radio Fellowship|
|97.5||Charlton||St. Joseph's Radio Station, Inc.|
(licensee of WNRC 95.1)
|97.7||East Harwich||Cape Cod Christian Broadcasting|
|97.7||Great Barrington||Berkshire County Radio Alliance|
|98.7||Hinsdale||Hilltown Educational Radio|
|98.9||North Adams||Gospel Train Ministry|
|99.7||East Longmeadow||East Longmeadow Police Dept.|
|99.7||Feeding Hills||Lighthouse Christian Center|
|99.7||Springfield||AdD de Springfield/Boston|
|99.7||Springfield||Citylight Ministries Center|
|99.7||Springfield||Community Christian Radio Inc.|
|99.7||Springfield||Goodwill Industries of Springfield/Hartford Inc.|
|99.7||Westfield||Sara Beth Caron Memorial Scholarship Fund|
|99.7||Springfield||Western New England College
(licensee of WNEK 105.1)
|99.7||West Springfield||Calvary Chapel of Western Mass.|
|102.9||Fitchburg||Fitchburg Group Educational Assn.|
|102.9||Gardner||Amanecer de la Esperanza Ministries|
|103.3||Goshen||Cummington Educational Radio|
|103.3||Northampton||Foundation for Media Education|
|103.3||Northampton||Tapesty [sic] Health System|
|104.3||Pittsfield||Talking Information Center|
|104.7||Dalton||Berkshires Educational Radio|
|104.9||Springfield||Pentecostal Church Refuge of Salvation|
|104.9||Wyben||AdD Ministeria do Belem de Wyben
(Wyben is a neighborhood in Westfield)
|105.3||Montague||Montague Community Cable|
|105.5||Chicopee||AdD de Chicopee/Boston|
|105.5||Wilbraham||Town of Wilbraham|
|106.1||Worcester||AdD de Boston/Worcester|
|106.3||Oxford||Challenges to the Youth Ministries|
|107.7||Westfield||JWBC Bible College in Wyben|
|107.9||Buckland||West County Community Radio|
|107.9||Lowell||Lowell Telecommunications Corp.
(yes, that's co-channel to WXKS Medford 30 miles away!)
|107.9||Greenfield||Greenfield Community TV Inc.|
|107.9||Greenfield||Living Waters Assembly of God|
|107.9||Greenfield||Poets Seat Educational Fellowship|
|107.9||Springfield||Torres Ministries of Mass., Inc.|
|107.9||Wyben||Bethlehem Immigrant Ministry in Wyben|
And of course, the multiple applicants:
|Pioneer Valley Planning Commission||Franklin Regional Council of Governments|
One more application with Massachusetts interest: this batch also includes Arizona, and who should be applying for 98.7 in Tucson but well-known Bay State engineer Dana Puopolo?
NEW JERSEY, next:
|92.7||Ocean City||Maranatha-by-the-Sea Christian Fellowship|
|93.7||Cedar Grove||Iglesia Nueva Jerusalem|
|95.9||Brookville||First Baptist Church|
|99.9||Millville||Juan B. Ramos|
|99.9||Vineland||Calvary Chapel of Vineland|
|101.1||Neptune||Neptune Township Schools
(let's see what WCBS and WBEB think of that!)
|101.5||Rio Grande||Produce Ministries Inc.|
|101.5||Cape May||Center for Community Arts Inc.|
|101.7||Pleasantville||Middle School of Pleasanton|
|101.7||Linwood||Mainland Regional High School|
|101.7||Atlantic City||Second Baptist Church|
|102.3||Arrowhead Village||Radio Alerta|
|104.7||Lakewood||Calvary Chapel of Toms River|
|104.7||Brick Twp.||International Music Society Inc.|
|106.5||Eagleswood||Public Broadcasting of Southern Ocean County Inc.|
|106.5||West Creek||Calvary Chapel of Southern Ocean County|
|106.5||Barnegat||Heritage Bay Homeowners Assn.|
|107.9||Princeton||Iglesia de Cristo Elim de Princeton|
|107.9||Trenton||Iglesia de Cristo de Trenton|
|107.9||Flemington||Hunterdon County ESC|
|107.9||Jersey City||First Pentecostal Church of God Inc.|
|107.9||Readington||The Profetic Voice Inc.|
(Note that the first two 107.9s would wreak havoc with the existing class D station at the local high school, WWPH Princeton Junction; the third is co-channel with WKRF Tobyhanna PA across the state line; and the fourth is second-adjacent to WBLS just across the Hudson in Manhattan!)
(right on top of existing WXPN 88.5 in Philly)
|88.7||Churchill||Sandra Lee Rhoads|
|89.9||White Oak||Lightning Community Broadcasting Inc.|
|90.5||Philadelphia||School District of Philadelphia
(which didn't do its homework; this is second-adjacent to locals WRTI 90.1 and WHYY 90.9; but look down to 105.9 for its even worse second attempt!)
|92.7||Meadville||Meadville Educational Assn.|
|92.9||Gap||Octave Ectroplex LLC|
|92.9||Cambridge Springs||Cambridge County Radio Assn.|
|93.1||Lebanon||Latino American Media Org. of PA, Inc.|
|93.3||Bethel||Obadiah School of the Bible|
|94.5||Nanticoke||St. John's Evangelistic Lutheran Church|
|94.5||Nanticoke||People of God Educational Assn.|
(whatever the heck THAT is!)
|94.9||Warren||Calvary Chapel of Russell|
|95.3||Lancaster||Lancaster Educational Radio|
|95.3||Lancaster||Youth Working for Justice|
|95.5||Erie||Kenneth P. Miller|
|95.5||Erie||E.E. Dept. of Gannon University/Frank Bogacki
(Gannon is also the licensee of WERG 89.9)
|95.5||Middletown||Middletown Area Bible Church|
|95.9||Erie||Erie Christian Broadcasting Inc.|
|95.9||New Millport||Harrisburg Area Media Information Corp.
(which apparently lacks the information that WSOX Red Lion is on first-adjacent 96.1, dooming this application)
|98.1||Gibsonia||Northern Allegheny Community Broadcasters|
|99.5||Brookville||Brookville Area School District|
|99.9||Pittsburgh||Lower Bloomfield Unity Council
(wasting its time here, with first-adjacent WSHH 99.7 in town!)
|100.1||Burlington Springs||Burlington Springs Faith Baptist Church|
|100.3||Carlisle||Fiat Educational Radio Assn.|
|100.3||Berwick||Berwick Adventist Broadcasting|
|103.5||Johnstown||Johnstown Educational Assn.|
|103.5||Johnstown||Greater Johnstown High School|
|103.5||La Plume||Keystone College|
|103.9||Springdale||M and M Community Development, Pittsburgh Branch|
|104.5||State College||Islamic Society of Central PA|
|104.9||Oil City||Venango Catholic Educational Assn.|
|104.9||Shawnee-on-Delaware||Shawnee Presbyterian Church|
|104.9||Oil City||Pride of Oil City/Heritage/Health (P.O.O.C.H.)|
|104.9||Titusville||Oil City Access Project|
|105.1||Indiana||Indiana Educational Assn.|
|105.3||Washington||West Washington United Methodist Church|
|105.9||Philadelphia||School District of Philadelphia
(yep, first-adjacent to WJJZ 106.1...)
|107.3||Plymouth||Abundant Life Ministry|
|107.7||White Oak||Penn State University McKeesport|
|107.7||Altoona||Lay Stewardship Educational Association|
|107.9||Girardville||Golden Age Communications|
|107.9||Chester||Resources for Human Development/Groundwork USA|
Whew! That's a lot of typing, and a lot of work for an already overwhelmed FCC to deal with. Expect to see only a small handful of these granted in the next few months, with many being thrown out on interference grounds and for incomplete applications.
We'll get back to the usual NERW schedule with next Monday's issue, July 16 - and stay tuned to Tower Site of the Week on fybush.com for the first of our multi-part travelogue of the just-concluded Big Trip!