We'll start with the vacancy, created when WZLX (100.7 Boston) sent morning guy Tai (Thomas A. Irwin) packing last week. Tai and comedian Steve Sweeny had held down mornings at the Infinity classic rocker for two years, following Charles Laquidara's decamping to Hawaii in 2000. Sweeny remains on WZLX's morning shift, with a new co-host not expected for a few weeks, at least.
(One reason for the delay: WZLX's new program director, Beau Raines, is just settling into the job, officially. Raines was picked for the post back in April [NERW 4/17], but contractual issues with his old employer, Greater Media's WROR, kept the move from becoming official until just last week. And speaking of Greater Media and Infinity, we have it on good authority that the possibility of Loren and Wally making the jump from Greater's WROR to Infinity's WODS was more than just a rumor - it came close to happening before Greater came through with the contract Loren and Wally wanted!)
Tai will likely surface elsewhere on the Boston radio scene; in addition to his best-known gig as "Morning Guy Tai" on WFNX, he spent some time doing talk at WRKO as well.
Speaking of "The Talk Station," WRKO (680) named a new director of programming and operations to replace the gone-to-Sirius Jay Clark. Mike Elder, who's been PD at Chicago talker WLS (890), moves to the Entercom Boston station to run the show in a few weeks.
WFNX (101.7 Lynn) is without an audio stream; one of the many stations caught by Yahoo's decision to end its broadcast streaming, the modern rocker is now looking for a new streaming partner.
Some more information about the new WNCK (89.5 Nantucket): it's not religious - in fact, it's running a commercial-free adult contemporary format, thanks to Jeff Shapiro, the owner of the Vox Radio Group. Seems he's running WNCK as a hobby, more or less, from his island home. To say NERW is jealous would be an understatement...
Where are they now? Former WXLO (104.5 Fitchburg-Worcester) PD Chase Murphy has surfaced out in Modesto, California, where he's stunting KHOP (95.1) as it transitions from 80s to a new format.
And we're very sorry to report the death of Ned Martin. The longtime Red Sox announcer (he retired in 1991) had come to Boston for the Ted Williams memorial service at Fenway last Monday; he died the next day (July 23) while waiting for a connecting flight back home to Florida. Martin was 78.
Down in the Connecticut River Valley, Bruce Lyndes is leaving NBC affiliate WNNE (Channel 31) in White River Junction after more than a decade as a news anchor, and more recently news director. Lyndes is joining the Army - as a public relations officer for the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, N.H.
And the word from Goddard College's WGDR (91.1 Plainfield) is that the embattled college station will stay on the air without a station manager at least until early October, while the financially-troubled college tries to figure out if it can keep the station running any longer.
Over in Blue Hill, community WERU (89.9) has returned to the airwaves at full power after lightning struck its tower; meanwhile, we hear lightning also disrupted things at WQDY (1230/92.7 Calais) around Independence Day, though things are better there now.
The Patriots have a new FM home in Central Maine; Citadel's WEBB (98.5 Waterville) will pick up the team's broadcasts from the WBCN network this fall, with WTVL (1490) simulcasting.
And WRED (95.9 Saco) will be moving closer to Portland; it's been granted a move to a tower near that of WCYY (94.3 Biddeford) near Old Orchard Beach, boosting power from 3 kilowatts to 4.1 kW and height from 91 to 121 meters.
WGNY (1220 Newburgh) is adding more local programming to its AP all-news format. Under the new nickname "NewsTalk 1220," the station launched a mornng show with program director Chris Cordani on Monday; it's also running Oliver North's talk show in the afternoon, with more local talk slated to arrive soon in midday.
Heading upstate, it appears that Bob Mulrooney's stint with Galaxy hot talker WHTR (93.7 Scotia/1400 Albany) is already over. The former WPYX/WXCR morning man left the station last week, and it's been simulcasting Bill Keeler's morning show from sister WRCK (107.3 Utica) since then. Will Mulrooney be back? Stay tuned...
Speaking of the Utica market, Bible Broadcasting's WYFY (1450 Rome) wants to replace its current tower with a slightly taller model, probably to give the LPTV that uses it a bit of a boost. Syracuse's WSYR (570) is the latest to push Laura Schlessinger's show towards the exit door. She's not gone from the Clear Channel talker - yet - but moving from the 9-noon slot to 10-1 AM can't be good news. Replacing her at 9 AM is WSYR talker Kathy Denman, for one hour, followed by ABC's new Sam Donaldson offering from 10 until noon.
The channel 52 in "Ithaca" is showing its true colors. The long-running construction permit expires this December, and now the owners (Bill Smith and Caroline Powley, of WNGS Springville-Buffalo fame) are filing to move the CP to a different tower, saying they'll have an easier time building the signal if they use a tower that's already standing. The candidate? The tower that sits next to WSYT (Channel 68) and WNYS (Channel 43) on Mann's Hill in Otisco, built for a wireless-cable outfit that never went into operation. Channel 52 would run 5 megawatts into a directional antenna up there, nulling the new channel 52 in Toronto, just barely throwing a decent signal over its city of license some 35 miles away - and, oh yeah, blasting into the much larger city of Syracuse! "UPN52," anyone? Yup - stay tuned...
Speaking of Ithaca, Syracuse Community Radio has refiled its application to boost the signal of translator W201CD (88.1 Lansing). The new plan will give 88.1 a 245-watt signal aimed into Ithaca from a tower just south of route 79 near Westhaven Road in Lansing. (W201CD is relaying WEOS 89.7 from Geneva.)
And speaking of Geneva, Family Life Ministries (which reaches the city just fine now that it owns WCOV-FM 93.7 in Clyde) has sold its CP for translator W216BR (91.1) to Calvary Satellite Network.
Up here in Rochester, WBBF (950) continues to stunt as "Swifty 950," still playing a music-test tape of 70s and 80s pop and classic rock - but we now know at least one of the local personalities who'll be heard on the station when it relaunches as a news-talker. Allan Harris left WHAM (1180) last week, ending a long career at the Clear Channel news-talk outlet, where he'd been a traffic reporter, fill-in news guy and late-night/weekend talk host. We hear he'll show up on WBBF whenever the new format launches; in the meantime, the Michael Savage show has appeared in his old late-night slot on WHAM.
(And we're hoping Allan can find a new home for the WHAM historical information and pictures that he used to host on his own Web site, which was taken down last week. We'd be happy to provide server space, Allan...it shouldn't go to waste!)
Over at WBBF's sister oldies FM, WBBF-FM (93.3 Fairport), the Jeff Moulton Saturday night request show is history; he's been replaced by the syndicated "Hall of Fame Saturday Night" out of Cleveland.
Atlantic City's WMGM (Channel 40) has a new news director, and he's a familiar face to viewers in Rochester and Hartford. Ted Greenberg, late of WTIC-TV (Channel 61) in Hartford, and before that of Rochester's WROC-TV (Channel 8), is getting his first management gig at the small-market NBC affiliate where his career started a decade ago - best of luck!
There was other news in the Keystone State too, of course, including a format change up in Berwick, southwest of Wilkes-Barre. That's where WKAB (103.5) quietly flipped from oldies to classic rock last week, picking up the "Mountain" nickname that used to be heard on 97.9 in Hazleton in its WZMT days (that station is now modern rock WBSX) and aiming for a bigger audience in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
Philadelphia's WMGK (102.9) has a new program director; Rick Strauss comes north from Baltimore rocker WIYY (97.9) to run the Greater Media classic rocker.
South of Pittsburgh, WNJR (92.1 Washington) at Washington and Jefferson College wants to return to the air with much more power. The college station, known until recently as WXJX, is now dark - but it's applied to go from a little class D with 13 watts to a 950-watt class A facility, still on 92.1. NERW thinks such an application on the commercial part of the dial will require an allocations proceeding, but then we've never seen a move quite like this before, either.
And just across the state line in Ohio, Clear Channel is paying $525,000 for the unbuilt 98.3 construction permit in Ashtabula. It will join WFUN (970), WREO (97.1), WZOO (102.5 Edgewood) and WFXJ-FM (107.5 North Kingsville) in the cluster, which pretty much includes everything in the Ashtabula market, just west of Erie.
The CBC has named a host for the new 8:30-10 AM morning show debuting this fall as part of the overhaul of Radio 1: it's Anna Marie Tremonti, who's been hosting "The Fifth Estate" on CBC-TV.
And the CRTC has approved the sale of CJOJ (95.5 Belleville) and CHCQ (100.1 Belleville) to former CHUM executive John Sherratt. He's paying Anthony Zwigg C$1.456 million for "OJ 95.5" and C$541,000 for newer "Quinte Country Q100," which signed on last year.
That's it for another week. We're on the road until August 6, so the next big issue of NERW will come your way mid-week; stay tuned to fybush.com for the latest!