Rogers launched "OMNI.2" on Monday morning (Sept. 16) at 6, broadcasting to Toronto on channel 44 with 179 kW visual. Industry Canada (which regulates the technical aspects of Canadian broadcasting) doesn't have a callsign listed for the station as of Tuesday; it's shown as operating from a site north and west of downtown Toronto, not the CN Tower where the rest of the city's TV stations are located.
"OMNI.2" is a sister station to Rogers' established CFMT (Channel 47), which will eventually be rebranded OMNI.1, keeping the European, Latino and Caribbean portions of its multiethnic programming, as well as its English-language lineup, including David Letterman. That leaves OMNI.2 to pick up the African and Asian-language programming that had been seen on CFMT, including an English-language newscast at 8 PM, followed by "OMNI News" in Cantonese.
The new service had cable carriage from the start (which is only fitting, since it's co-owned with Rogers Cable), as far afield as London and Barrie. In most areas around Toronto, OMNI.2 is seen on Rogers channel 14, displacing Buffalo's WKBW-TV to channel 18. That, in turn, sends PBS outlet WNED-TV (which IDs as "Buffalo/Toronto") way up the cable dial from 18 to 61.
NERW wonders whether that was the real reason WNED filed an intervention against the grant of channel 44 in Toronto; the stated reason was interference to the eventual WNED-DT signal on channel 43. (Also intervening was the new channel 45 license in Hamilton; the CRTC said there would be no interference between that low-power signal and the low-power channel 44 transmissions.)
And the Toronto dial is about to get even more crowded; the CRTC gave the go-ahead to CITY-TV (Channel 57) to launch Canada's first DTV signal, on channel 53. CITY-DT will have a whopping 600 watts from the CN Tower when it debuts.
On the radio side of things, Milkman Unlimited reports John Divinski is out as operations manager of the stations in Cornwall (CJUL "Jewel" 1220, CJSS-FM "Blaze" 101.9 and CFLG-FM "Variety" 104.5) after six years; his position is being eliminated. Janet Trecarten is moving south from the Bayshore Broadcasting group in Owen Sound (CFOS 560, CKYC 93.7, CIXK 106.5) to become the new PD of CHML (900) in Hamilton.
In Ottawa, we hear Radio Nord is testing the signal of its new French-language classical station. "Radio Classique" will operate on 97.1 from the Camp Fortune site in Gatineau, Quebec; its imminent debut has several of the Camp Fortune FMs off the air overnight while the new transmitter and antenna are being installed there. Mark down "CHLX" as the calls for this one, set to debut for real September 23.
Among the jocks to be heard on the reunion weekend: Peter Wolf (who made his name on WBCN before the J. Geils Band ever hit the charts), Charles Laquidara, Ken Shelton, George Taylor Morris, Maxanne Sartori, Harvey Wharfield, Jeff Gonzer, Annalisa, J.J. Jackson and Tom "Tai" Irwin.
And when WROR returns to its usual lineup the next Monday, several familiar voices will be missing, including middayer Stella Mars and night guy J.J. Wright. J.J.'s already landed elsewhere; he's been heard this week doing fill-ins at WODS (103.3).
Another Boston jock is also looking for work: Rocko is out of the afternoon slot at WAAF (107.3 Worcester) after more than half a decade there...
Digital radio is coming to Boston, as soon as next year: Radio One told attendees at this year's NAB Radio Show, held last week in Seattle, that it will install Ibiquity's newly-rebranded "HD Radio" at WBOT (97.7 Brockton) and several of its other FM stations by the first quarter of 2003. We'll be interested to see if there's any effect on first-adjacent WOKQ (97.5 Dover NH), which has a loyal audience on the North Shore. (And, hey: wouldn't Radio One's Boston daytimer, WILD 1090 be the ideal spot for the AM version of the system, which still hasn't been approved for use after dark anyway?)
Very sorry to report the passing of Ron Landry, who died Monday (9/16) after a yearlong battle with cancer. Landry came to New England in the late fifties to be part of the team at WDRC (1360) in Hartford, then headed over to Boston's WBZ in 1966 before moving to the West Coast in 1969 to team up with "Emperor Bob" Hudson and release several best-selling comedy albums. Check out a tribute to him at Ed "Man from Mars" Brouder's WDRC tribute site, www.wdrcobg.com...
Cianci is due to report to federal prison in early December to begin serving a 64-month sentence, so don't expect this to be as long a run as Hizzoner's early-90s stint on talk competitor WHJJ (920)...
On the FM side, J. Love comes to town from Detroit's WKQI (95.5) to be the new PD and midday guy at "Hot" WWKX (106.3 Woonsocket)/WAKX (102.7 Narragansett Pier).
Bill Howard died August 30 at age 38, closing a 13-year history with Brattleboro's WKVT (92.7/1490). For the last seven years, Howard had been the afternoon jock at WKVT-FM; earlier this year, he was named PD of both stations.
Morning jock Peter "Fish" Case takes over as PD, while former WPVQ (95.3 Greenfield) jock Tom Mayo takes over the afternoon shift on 92.7.
Congratulations to Connecticut-based Cox Radio head honcho Dick Ferguson, who received the National Radio Award at the Radio Show in Seattle. We hear Ferguson refused to accept the award for himself, instead dedicating it to his entire staff...truly a class act, all the way!
Another class act, CBS Radio's Charles Osgood, will be in Hamden September 25 to mark the fifth anniversary of Quinnipiac College's WQUN (1220). Osgood will deliver a speech at the college that afternoon; we're told it's free and open to the public.
And while WAXB (105.5 Patterson) is licensed just across the state line in New York, the Cumulus station really serves the Danbury market - a reality that was driven home this week when the station adopted the new call letters WDBY, dropping its oldies format in favor of a hot AC (they're calling it "adult CHR") sound as "Y105." The new format kicked off, appropriately enough, at 1:05 PM Monday (9/16), with liners taking on Danbury's WDAQ (98.3) and Bridgeport's WEZN ("Star" 99.9).
The new Spanish tropical sound on 1390 and 1340 targets a growing Hispanic population in the mid-Hudson region; until now, they've had to listen through the static to New York City stations to hear anything in their language. 1390/1340 keeps the New York Yankees - in English - at least through the end of this season.
Congratulations to Clear Channel's WLTW (106.7 New York), which came back from Seattle with a Marconi Award as the adult contemporary station of the year.
Over in Binghamton, Bobby D. arrives as PD of Clear Channel's AC "Mix" WMXW (103.3 Vestal); he won't have to reprogram the presets in his car, since his last gig was at WLKC in Waterbury, Vermont, also on 103.3.
Ed Scala, who was news director at Binghamton's WNBF radio/TV and WINR radio/TV in the sixties before going into state government as director of communications for the New York Senate, died September 6. He was 83.
Powerful LPTV outlet W52CQ (Channel 52) in Moravia, near Auburn, has new call letters: the Cornerstone TV religious station is now WNNY-LP. (How powerful? We were watching it earlier tonight here in Rochester, 60 miles away...)
After a decade at Rochester country giant WBEE-FM (92.5), Coyote Collins is moving on. He's departed the Entercom station, where he served as PD and afternoon jock; no replacements have been named yet.
Engineers from across the Northeast will be gathering at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona (between Syracuse and Utica) next Thursday (Sept. 26) for the Society of Broadcast Engineers' Chapter 22 Northeast Regional Convention. This is the 30th year for the event, which has become the biggest broadcast engineering trade show in the region; if you're not registered yet, visit http://www.sbe22.org/html/convention/convhome02.html to get signed up - and don't forget to say hello to your editor, who plans to be there!
And we're sorry to report the death of Greg (Lambiase) Allen, who was heard on WRQI (now WNVE) and WRMM in Rochester, but was probably best known in town as the voice of WHEC-TV (Channel 10). He died of Alzheimer's disease last Wednesday (Sept. 11) at age 52.
Up in New Brunswick, veteran broadcaster Jack Ellery is returning to his old stomping grounds, WCTC (1450). His reappearance in the midday slot there displaces Bernard Spigner to afternoons and leaves Ted Efaw out the door at the Greater Media news-talker. We last recall Ellery as having a brief stint in mornings at WJHR (1040 Flemington) during its short run as a local full-service station for northwest New Jersey...
Also switching from sports to classic country is 850's sister signal to the south of Johnstown, WVSC (990 Somerset).
Congratulations to Sheridan's WAMO-FM (106.7 Beaver Falls), which won the Marconi for urban station of the year; across town in Pittsburgh, Garrett Hart is out as operations manager of Steel City's WLTJ (92.9)/WRRK (96.9 Braddock), which eliminated his position.
And that's it for another week. Our look back at the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, from the perspective of the New York broadcasters who lost their most important tower site, is still available on fybush.com; follow the permanent URL of www.fybush.com/wtc-recovery.html to find that article and learn more about how the engineers, regulators and manufacturers worked together to get TV and FM back on the air in the Big Apple.
(NOTE TO E-MAIL VERSION READERS: That URL will also take you to the September 10 issue, which somehow never made it out to the e-mail list. We're back to normal now...)