NERW spoke this week with Paul Lotters, the general manager of WHAZ (1330) Troy NY, the station that's currently being used as the primary for Dodge's "Love Radio" translators in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The complaint filed by Carter Broadcasting claims Dodge has illegally taken financial support from WHAZ for the translators, as well as illegally taking control of those translators in the first place.
While Lotters hasn't seen the actual complaint yet, he tells NERW he had no idea there were any problems with the operation.
"I'm very perturbed. I'm very concerned about the whole situation, naturally," Lotters said.
Lotters says WHAZ's sole purpose is to bring religious programming to its listeners in the Albany area, as well as in the adjacent areas served by relays WMYY (97.3 Schoharie) and WBAR (94.7 Lake Luzerne), and while he was happy to have Dodge's translators expanding that audience, he doesn't want to do anything to get in the way of WHAZ's main mission.
And he tells NERW that WHAZ won't continue its relationship with Dodge if he finds Dodge has broken FCC rules. "If there's anything we shouldn't have done, the connection [with Dodge] will be disconnected," Lotters told NERW in a telephone interview Wednesday morning.
Brian Dodge has not returned NERW's phone calls; we'll bring you his response as soon as he does.
We have an answer to last issue's questions about the dual-frequency operation of WCGR in Canandaigua NY, thanks to Tom Taylor and our friends at the M Street Journal. It seems WCGR owner George Kimble went back to the FCC after putting the new full-time 1310 kHz WCGR signal on the air, to see if there was any way of keeping the old daytime-only 1550 facility to fill in some holes to the east in the 1310 directional pattern. The FCC obliged by "recharacterizing" WCGR's application to change frequency, as an application for a new station on 1310, thus allowing Kimble to keep both the "new station" on 1310 and the original station on 1550.
Now the FCC just needs to update its database to reflect the new reality; right now, the WLKA calls that have been given to 1550 show up in the database for both 1550 and for 1310, which keeps the WCGR calls. (The FCC did make one long-overdue database correction this week, removing the long-silent WCSQ 89.3 Central Square NY from its records).
There's late word that Rochester rocker WCMF (96.5/990) is being fined $2000 for allegedly indecent material broadcast by morning host Brother Wease back in August 1994. No word yet on whether WCMF owner American Radio Systems will fight the fine.
Viewers in the Syracuse area will soon get a new LPTV. Station owner Craig Fox is about to put W40BJ on the air from the WAQX tower southeast of Syracuse, reportedly with Cornerstone religious programming from WPCB Greensburg PA. W40BJ replaces W07CA Cazenovia NY. Syracuse's WLTI (105.9) switched to a temporary antenna on a James Street apartment tower on Saturday, while it waits for WOLF (1490) to replace its main tower, on which the WLTI antenna was mounted. Once the new tower is up, it will hold the antenna for another Fox LPTV, W13BU, as well. We're told Liverpool pirate station "WLIV" (90.3) is running expanded hours now that school's out.
A few more notes on the fight for *90.1 Ithaca between public broadcasters WEOS (89.7 Geneva) and WSKG (89.3 Binghamton):
A public meeting called by WSKG for its Ithaca listeners a few weeks ago apparently turned into a WSKG-bashing session. The Ithaca Journal reports WSKG listeners criticized the station for failing to offer local content on its existing Ithaca outlet, WSQG (90.9), and several even suggested WSKG withdraw its application for a second Ithaca station to allow WEOS to come in.
And according to an article in the public-broadcasting newsletter Current, among the money-making plans considered by WSKG was buying Binghamton ABC affiliate WMGC (Channel 34) and turning it into an NBC affiliate, operated as a commercial station under WSKG control. Binghamton has lacked an NBC outlet since WICZ (Channel 40) switched to Fox two years ago.
Some news bits from the Southern Tier: We've heard several reports now that suggest SabreCom's WWLZ (820) Horseheads-Elmira is simulcasting sister country station WPGI "Piggy" (100.9 Horseheads) at least part of the day. And in the Jamestown NY market, WKVE (97.5 St. Mary's PA) has changed calls to WPKK, reflecting its nickname "the Peak."
The FCC has approved the sale of Utica's ABC affiliate, WUTR (Channel 20) from Media General (which acquired WUTR as part of Park Communications last year) to Utica Television Partners.
Downstate, a NERW listener reports hearing Long Island country station WLIE (102.5 Westport) having flipped to satellite rock as "WBSQ," though we've seen no official call change yet.
Salvation Radio Corporation's application for 91.9 in Brooklyn has been returned by the FCC. Also in the Big Apple, Korean-language WZRC (1480) is being sold by CBS. CYBT License is paying $15 million for the station. CYBT is controlled by John Douglas of Douglas Broadcasting fame; it's the same company that owns WNJR (1430) Newark NJ.
Newburgh's WGNY (1200) has officially applied to make the move to its new expanded-band allocation at 1620 kHz. If WGNY ever actually vacates 1200, NERW wonders if that will help New York's WLIB (1190) and Framingham MA's WKOX (1200) expand their signals still further...
And the country triopoly that competed with WLIE has finished its call change. WWZY replaces WZVU at 107.1 Long Branch NJ, joining its frequency-mates WWXY Briarcliff Manor and WWVY Hampton Bays in Odyssey Broadcasting's "Y107" triopoly.
Another gospel music pirate is being heard in Hartford, this time on 97.1. There's no word on whether this one is related to "Praise 105.3," Hartford's original gospel pirate, which has reportedly resurfaced after being silenced a few months ago when its equipment was seized.
Some Connecticut LPTV news: The Hartford LPTV on channel 10 is now IDing as WHTX-LP. Meantime, W10BQ New Haven and W11BJ Hartford are rebroadcasting WRDM-LP (Channel 13), which runs RAI and Telemundo programming.
Lou Imbriano is leaving all-sports WEEI (850), where he's been director of marketing. Imbriano will join the Patriots, the New England Revolution soccer team, and Foxboro Stadium in a similar capacity in July.
Will Dan Rather be changing timeslots in the Hub? New WBZ-TV general manager Ed Goldman tells the Boston Globe he's contemplating moving the CBS Evening News from 7 pm to 6:30, when Boston's NBC and ABC stations run their network newscasts. Boston is one of the few markets where there's still an hourlong newscast at 6, but the ratings for WBZ-TV's newscast have been slumping (falling behing Manchester NH's WMUR-TV at one point), and Rather has occasionally turned up in fifth place at seven o'clock. Hartford's WFSB-TV (Channel 3) is another of the few markets where Rather airs at 7.
Kudos to the Globe's Jack Thomas and Daniel Golden, by the way, for an excellent series on WGBH and its recent troubles.
There's a new name for Greater Media's Boston properties. AC WMJX (106.7), oldies WROR-FM Framingham (105.7), smooth jazz WOAZ Lowell (99.5), country WKLB-FM (96.9; or as the Globe had it, "WLKB"), and AAA WBOS Brookline (92.9) are now operating under the "Boston Radio Group" moniker. NERW seems to recall that as being the the same name ARS and Pyramid were going to use for their abortive merger a few years back.
At number two is CBS, with its WBZ, WODS, WBCN, and WZLX in Boston. Number-three Clear Channel is represented in Providence (WWBB/WWRX) and Springfield (WHYN AM-FM), along with majority interests in Albany's WQBK AM/FM/WQBJ and WXCR. Boston-based ARS is fourth, with massive interests in Boston, Hartford, and the New Hampshire seacoast. Number five Jacor has no New England presence, and neither do number six Disney/ABC or number eight Emmis (although both once did, with WPRO AM-FM Providence and WCDJ Boston, respectively). SFX checks in at number seven, with its clusters of stations in Hartford, New Haven, Springfield, Providence, and Albany. Cox, at ninth place, has just WEZN in Bridgeport CT among its New England interests. Other top-25 groups with a New England presence include Citadel (#12, with four Providence stations), Greater Media (#13, with five Boston FMs), Saga (#21, with a strong New England component in Springfield, Manchester, and Portland), and Douglas (#24, with WBPS Dedham-Boston).
The only top-25 groups with major upstate New York holdings are Capstar, with stations in Westchester and Putnam counties; Clear Channel's Albany stations; ARS' Rochester and Buffalo clusters; Jacor's Rochester group; SFX in Albany; Cox in Syracuse; and #17 Sinclair's Buffalo cluster, where little 1kW WWWS (1400) is now drawing more listeners than once-mighty 50 kW WWKB (1520), believe it or not.
The FCC has approved WVMX (101.7 Stowe)'s call change to WCVT; look for the new classical format there very soon. And we've heard Springfield's WCFR AM-FM (1480/93.5) could be for sale. We'll keep you posted.
Dear Sir or Madam: I like to watch programming on UPN and I would like to see your station become part of the Total Choice package on DirecTv. Sincerely Matt AndersonSorry Matt, but as much as we'd love to be on DirecTv, somehow we don't think America's home satellite viewers really need a whole channel of Boston radio trivia...
Here's another prize from deep in the e-mail vats...
Play a sound on for me at 95.7 Wzid for my boyfriend clayton in concord from Jo ann. Play I finally found some one by Barbra striesand and Bryan Adams Thank you Jo annOK, Jo Ann, put your ear up real close to the screen and listen...