The nature of the deal remains a closely guarded secret, but it's rumored to involve the possible purchase of full-time signal WNFT (1150) from CBS, which must shed several of the stations it's buying from American Radio Systems (a group that includes WNFT).
NERW speculates a deal like this: The UMass system gets WNFT as a tax-exempt donation from CBS/ARS. UMass allows WILD to program WNFT with WILD's urban format, in exchange for a portion of the advertising revenues from 1150. WILD owner Nash Communications then either leases out time on the 1090 daytimer, or sells it for stick value. UMass gets a new revenue source for WUMB, in addition to the public relations value of getting WILD its long-desired night signal.
WILD is also making noises about taking its programming to FM; something the locally-owned urban station has long wanted to do, but been unable to afford.
We'll know the whole story on Tuesday; expect a NERW special edition Tuesday night or Wednesday. NERW will not publish on Thursday, November 27, because we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving in scenic Fort Wayne, Indiana.
WBZ (1030) morning anchor Gary LaPierre reached out to a national audience last week, guest hosting Paul Harvey News and Comment on ABC. It's been more than a year since LaPierre's last guest shot on the Harvey show.
Northampton's unbuilt WEIB (106.3) has been granted a move to a new home. If and when WEIB takes to the airwaves, it'll be from a new tower near the existing WHMP-FM (99.3) stick on North Farms Road. WHMP-FM has also applied to move to the new tower when it goes up.
Also out of a job is Joan Brandenburg of Rochester CHR WPXY-FM (97.9). Brandenburg was moved from her job as morning sidekick to a smaller role as news anchor over the summer; now she's out of the ARS Rochester operation entirely. Brandenburg tells the local paper she's not sure where she'll be going next.
Up in the Glens Falls market, there's a new classic hits format in place at the former WYLR (95.9), which has applied for the WCQL calls last seen a few years ago in York Center, Maine.
Translator follies: American Family Radio has been issued a license to cover for W208AM, the 89.5 Batavia translator for its WAFR from Mississippi. John Katonah has applied for 105.7 in Ellenville, deep in the Catskills, ostensibly to relay WXHD (90.1 Mount Hope, itself a relay of WFMU in East Orange, N.J.). And in the Rochester suburb of Greece, religious WCIY (88.9 Canandaigua) wants a 20-watt translator, using 105.1 MHZ from the WRMM-FM tower on Colfax Street in Rochester. NERW expects to see a petition to deny from Greece community station WGMC (90.1), which itself operates a 105.1 translator on Rochester's east side, W286AE Fairport, transmitting from Baker Hill in Victor.
Buffalo radio listeners have another modern AC choice. CKEY (101.1 Fort Erie, Ont.) dumped its modern rock "Planet" format on Friday, launching into 36 hours of the Talking Heads' "Take Me to the River" before debuting Sunday as "the River." Former Heads leader David Byrne happened to be performing in Buffalo over the weekend, and introduced the song on stage by promising to play it only once, "unlike your local radio station."
The River is making frequent on-air jabs at modern AC WLCE (92.9), the ARS-owned station known as "Alice." And while CKEY is LMA'd to CHSC (1220) in nearby St. Catharines, its US sales operation is being handled by Mercury Broadcasting -- whose modern-rock WEDG (103.3) just happens to be one of Alice's biggest competitors.
And we'll close the Empire State news by wishing the very best of luck to Chris Dorman, night jock at Middletown's WRRV (92.9), and John Wilson, news director at WRKL (910 New City). The two got engaged last week, and are due to be married next August. Dorman is the daughter of legendary Boston jock (WRKO, WXKS-FM) Dale Dorman.
Sports talk WJAE (1440 Westbrook) made an unexpected change to country last Saturday, reportedly the result of a satellite reception mix-up that lasted several hours before being fixed.
Former WGAN (560 Portland) talk host Don Kroah has resurfaced. He's now in the Washington, DC area, working for religious WAVA (105.1 Arlington VA).
We know more about Allan Weiner's shortwave application, first mentioned in NERW several weeks ago. Weiner wants to put his station on Britton Road in Monticello, a stone's throw from the Canadian border -- and also the site of WREM (710), a station he owned back when it was WOZW. It will be interesting to see how the FCC handles Weiner, given his long history of unlicensed operation (including one pirate that actually used the WOZW transmitter site).
NERW has also learned more about the unlicensed college station busted by the FCC several weeks ago. "WBAR" was using 20 watts from the campus of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, which apparently believed the 1680 kHz station was legal. The station website now says WBAR is off the air, "subject to review by the FCC and Brewster College administration."
Hartford jock Michael Picozzi is coming back to the airwaves after losing his job at WHCN (105.9); he'll join soon-to-be-Marlin-owned WCCC FM-AM (106.9 Hartford/1290 West Hartford) for a 3-7 PM shift as the "Picozzi and Slave Boy" show.
Hot AC WKCI (101.3 Hamden) has hired a new PD. Kelly Nash comes to "KC101" to replace Tony Bristol, who left for Providence and WPRO-FM a few weeks ago. Nash was music director at Danbury's WDAQ (98.3).
That's all for this week; we'll put out an abbreviated issue Tuesday night or Wednesday and be back with a full NERW on Thursday, December 4. See you then!