- A whole lotta miscellany going on...including a few call letter changes.
Down in Middletown CT, WCNX 1150 has become WMRD (it seems the WCTX calls
for which they had applied were never used), and up in Somersworth NH,
WRGW 98.7 (the AC "Rock Garden" that signed on a couple of years ago)
has become WRDX. I haven't been on the road of late to confirm either
change...stay tuned. Just over the New England line in the Albany NY
area, WXXO 96.7 Clifton Park NY has, as I suspected, become WDCD-FM,
and is co-owned with 1540 WDCD Albany (ex-WPTR). Programming goes from
satellite oldies to religious. Up in northern New Hampshire, WVFM
105.7 Campton (along I-93 north of Plymouth, near the Waterville
Valley ski area) has applied for a license to cover, and thus presumably
is on or about to be on-air.
- The weirdness continues in the unusual case of WBIV 1060 Natick MA
and WRPT 1050 Peterborough NH. It seems that before Alexander Langer
bought WRPT from the Peterborough Broadcasting Company, he had
reached an agreement to pay WRPT to turn in its license (the station has
been dark for years). Langer's application to change WBIV into a 50kw
directional daytimer was contingent upon WRPT handing in its license.
So when Langer decided instead to buy WRPT (and, as discussed in the
last NERW, move it 100 miles southeast and 400 khz down the dial to
AM 650 at Foxboro MA), he had to ask the FCC to suspend processing
of the WBIV application until the WRPT matter could be resolved. The
practical upshot is that Langer has asked the FCC for permission to
keep WBIV dark for 6 more months (it has been silent now for over a
year). In truth, WBIV could be off for far longer, since their
planned transmitter site is still an empty field.
- New England's tallest mountain could soon be losing a transmitter.
WMTW-TV 8, which has operated from Mount Washington NH since 1958,
has reportedly applied to move its transmitter off the mountain to
a site near that of WCSH-TV 6 Portland ME, near Sebago Lake in
I visited the WMTW site last summer, and had the pleasure of chatting
with several of the engineers who live at the top of the mountain in
week-long shifts year-round. It's undoubtedly a huge expense for
WMTW, and the advantage it once provided -- incredible coverage
across eastern Maine, northern New Hampshire, northern Vermont, and
a huge swath of Quebec -- no longer seems to matter as much now
that many of those remote viewers are plugged into cable or DSS.
What's unclear is what would become of WMTW's erstwhile sister station,
what's now WHOM 94.9 FM. The WHOM transmitter is housed in the WMTW
transmitter building. It's powered by WMTW's generator, and the
WMTW engineers handle maintenance. I doubt WHOM would want to
leave the transmitter unattended through the winter months, when
it's often impossible to reach the summit of the mountain, and
winds rage to 200+ miles per hour. WZPK 103.7 Berlin NH also has
transmitter facilities at the top of Mount Washington.
- More proposed transmitter moves: WNBX 100.5 Lebanon NH, part of the
2-station "River" AAA combo in the Connecticut River Valley, has
been granted permission to increase power to 25kw from 325 feet AAT and become
class C1. WNBX currently runs 6kw from 689 feet.
Out in Western Massachusetts, WAMQ 105.1 Great Barrington wants to
drop power from 1100 watts to 730 watts DA, lower its antenna from
1708' AAT to 918' AAT, and move to a new site and move a little bit
southwest of its present site on the Butternut Ski Area in South
WECS 90.1 at Eastern Connecticut State U. in Willimantic has been
denied an increase from 421 w/380' to 1450 w (horiz only)/466' with
a directional antenna. And the FCC has returned New Hampshire Public
Radio's application for a new FM station on 88.3 in Nashua.
- On the business side of things, WEZN 99.9 Bridgeport CT is getting
new owners, as part of parent company NewCity's purchase by Cox.
This is Cox's only New England entry, and as a full class B monster
in the under-radioed (locally, anyway) Fairfield County area, should
be worth a pretty penny to any of several companies expanding in
- The school year is wrapping up at Boston's many colleges and universities,
and that means some unusual programming on area noncomms. At Harvard-
affiliated WHRB 95.3, it's time for the semi-annual Orgy(TM) season,
in which the station devotes anywhere from a few hours to a week to
a single composer, performer, genre, or theme. Among the big events this
month is the Stravinsky Orgy, which gets underway Sunday, May 19 at
6am and doesn't end until 10pm Monday, May 20...and a massive Duke
Ellington Orgy that started Sunday, May 12 and runs through Saturday night,
Over at Emerson College, I've spoken highly in the past of the
Saturday-midday "Standing Room Only" program on WERS 88.9. Host
Cheryl Dechayne is graduating, and the show on Saturday, May 11 culminated
in a half-hour long tearful farewell. Dechayne did a great job on
the show, and I wish her and her fellow students well as they enter
the "real world" of radio.
- And finally, a programming note: This may be the last NERW for a month
or so. Your faithful correspondent is getting married later this
month in scenic Fort Wayne, Indiana (well, the WOWO towers are scenic,
anyway), and then I'll be off to the Caribbean for a much-needed
two-week respite. So expect an Aruba-Bonaire-Curacao-St. Maarten-
San Juan RadioWatch sometime in mid-June, followed by a return to the
usual. In my absence, I trust Mark Shneyder's Boston RadioWatch
columns will serve the purpose, and Garrett Wollman of the Boston
Radio Archives has promised to post if anything earth-shattering
happens. In all, I'll be off-line from about Friday May 24 until
Wednesday June 12; kindly hold all correspondence during that time.
See you all in June!