The sale leaves Eagle-Costa with two of the valley's five AM stations: the facilities that are now running Spanish-language programming as WNNW (1110 Salem, N.H.) and WHAV (1490 Haverhill). The plan, as we understand it, is to combine their programming under the WNNW calls on the 1490 facility, with the English-language WCCM programming and calls moving to 1110.
The move will effectively take the Eagle-Costa stations out of contention in Lowell, where WCCM had been trying to compete with Lowell-licensed WCAP (980) with programming that included Lowell Spinners baseball. As a daytimer, the new WCCM 1110 won't be able to carry Spinners' night games, and its day signal is hard to hear in Lowell even under the best of circumstances.
As for the AM 800 signal, with 1000 watts by day and 244 watts at night, it's not heard well outside the central Merrimack Valley, which leads us to wonder why the Archdiocese is spending all this money on a facility its leaders won't even hear at their suburban Boston headquarters. Could a move south be in the offing? (This isn't the Archdiocese's first broadcast effort, by the way; back in the 1960s, it owned WIHS-TV 38, ancestor of today's WSBK!)
The switches are expected to take place sometime around January 2002.
One Boston note this week: WBMX (98.5) cancelled its "Mixfest" concert, which had been scheduled for last Saturday (9/22), in the wake of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Instead of the big show, Mix put on a radiothon to raise money for the Red Cross disaster relief fund. More details next week...
When the big switch happens, WPXT will go from an hour of news at 10 to a half hour, under the banner "Our Maine News" (to match its sister Web site, OurMaine.com), with a new half hour of news being added at 7 on LMA partner WPME (Channel 35). NERW would love to hear from anyone in Maine who might be willing to tape some of the switchover for us...
Cogeco already owns 13 percent of TQS, as well as TQS affiliates in smaller Quebec cities such as Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, along with "twin-stick" Radio-Canada TV affiliates in those communities. Those stations will be put under the same joint venture umbrella as TQS flagship stations in Montreal (CFJP Channel 35) and Quebec (CFAP Channel 2).
The Bell Globemedia piece of the deal means CFJP, in turn, will be reunited with its former sister station on Montreal's Ogilvie Avenue, CTV's CFCF (Channel 12). CTV, along with the Globe and Mail and the Sympatico internet service, is part of the Bell Globemedia empire, which now gains a stronger foothold in French Canada.
(Background: TQS was originally started by a partnership including the former owner of CFCF, which also owned cable TV franchises covering about half the island of Montreal. When that company was sold to Groupe Vidéotron, then the owner of TVA, Vidéotron was not allowed to purchase either CFCF or CF's interest in TQS. CFCF was sold to WIC, which was then purchased by CanWest Global, which already owned a Montreal station, so CFCF was then sold again, to CTV. As we just noted, TQS had been sold to Quebecor; last week's transaction was precipitated by Quebecor's purchase of Groupe Vidéotron in its entirety, after last year's merger deal between Vidéotron and Rogers Communications failed. 45% of Quebecor is held by Quebec public-employee pension funds.)
While we're in Quebec, we note an application from the Seminaire Ste.-Marie for a new "developmental" FM station, to run one watt on 91.9 from the seminary in Shawinigan, north of Trois-Rivières.
Up in Sudbury, Ontario, CHNO (103.9) has been granted a power decrease from 100 kW (never built) to its actual 11 kW, in part to eliminate some interference that was being caused to aviation operations when CHNO moved from 550 AM a couple of years ago.
And Bruce Elving's FMedia! reports the format swap in Hamilton was accompanied by a call swap, so count it like this: CING (95.3 Hamilton) with "Energy Radio" CHR and CJXY (107.9 Burlington) with classic rock as "Y108."
There's not much new to report on the other stations that used the World Trade Center. We're still hearing from viewers in outlying areas such as Long Island and Connecticut that the signals on the other VHF stations from their hastily-constructed backup sites at Empire and the Armstrong tower in Alpine, N.J. are proving hard to receive. Of the FM stations, we're told WNYC-FM (93.9) is running in mono with less than a kilowatt from Empire, with most of its programming still being simulcast on the Board of Education's Brooklyn-based WNYE-FM (91.5), an arrangement that some are speculating will become permanent.
In other New York City news, the "Democracy Now!" program that was long a hallmark of Pacifica's WBAI (99.5 New York) has moved across the Hudson to community station WFMU (91.1 East Orange NJ), where exiled host Amy Goodman is now airing the show weeknights from 7-8 PM.
Moving upstate, Clear Channel has named a new PD for its Hudson Valley "Kiss" stations (WFKP 96.1 Poughkeepsie/WPFK 99.3 Ellenville), bringing Jimi Jamm over from MD duties at WKCI (101.3 Hamden) in the New Haven market. Jamm will also oversee WRKW (92.9 Saugerties).
In Albany, PD Dave Hill is leaving Regent's WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer) and WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill) to go to work for RadioVoodoo.com, effective October 1. No replacement has been named.
Vox is shuffling staff at its Glens Falls cluster, now that operations manager Bob Barrett is heading south to Albany to produce "The Environment Show" for WAMC Public Radio. WFFG (107.1 Hudson Falls) PD Justin Clapp will take Barrett's role for the entire cluster, while WNYQ (105.7 Queensbury) middayer Jackie Donovan becomes PD at that station.
Plenty of news to tell you about in Syracuse, and we'll start on the TV side: WAWA-LP (Channel 14) will drop the home shopping October 1 to become a UPN affiliate, filling the void left last year when WNYS-TV (Channel 43) switched to the WB.
On the radio side, Galaxy has won a change of community of license for its WTKV (105.5), which will move from Oswego to Granby, a few miles south. WTKV has been battling with Clear Channel's WXBB (105.1 DeRuyter) to move closer to Syracuse, with the latest FCC ruling favoring WTKV's plan to move its transmitter to Lakeshore Road, just west of route 176 and just south of Fulton. The FCC gave Clear Channel 30 days to amend its move-in application for WXBB to protect the new WTKV site.
On the AM side, we're told WSIV (1540 East Syracuse) has built its nighttime CP and is now running 30 watts or so into a rooftop antenna near the corner of South Avenue and W. Colvin Street, soon to be raised to the authorized 57 watts. WSIV also holds a CP to move its 1000-watt daytime operation from its current Myers Road site alongside the Thruway to the WOLF (1490 Syracuse) tower on Kirkpatrick Street, alongside I-690 near downtown.
Here in Rochester, WHAM's Bob Lonsberry got some national exposure Sunday morning, hosting several hours of talk on the ad hoc network Clear Channel has created in the wake of the terrorist attacks. We expect to hear more of Lonsberry on that network in the months to come...
Buffalo's WWKB (1520) has changed format, sort of. The Entercom station is now simulcasting news-talk sister WBEN (930) in morning drive and in some evening and weekend time slots, in place of the Business Talk Network it had been running. The move makes it easier for those of us in WBEN's substantial eastern null to hear that programming after dark and before sunrise, if nothing else.
That's it for another week; we'll see you next Monday! (And one personal request, if we could, before we go: if anyone out there in NERW-land has, or has access to, a tape of the Monday, Sept. 17, Letterman show, we'd love to obtain a copy. Please drop us a line...)
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