An upstate NEW YORK radio station is making the move to a new frequency. Watertown's WCIZ (93.5) began telling its listeners last week to get ready to adjust their dials to 93.3, and NERW's ears up in the North Country tell us the change has now happened. The classic hits station known as "Z93" jumps from 4000 to 6000 watts with the change, and moves from a tower north of Watertown to a site shared with sister station WFRY (97.5) in the hills east of town.
Meantime in the Buffalo area, WHLD (1270 Niagara Falls) wants to move its transmitter some 30 miles south. The ethnic outlet is currently 5000 watts day, 144 watts night from a two-tower array on Grand Island, halfway between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. An application filed this week with the FCC would move WHLD to the WNED (970) site in Hamburg, on the shore of Lake Erie south of Buffalo. WHLD's new 5000/143 watt DA-1 operation would blanket Buffalo and Niagara Falls by day, and would be fairly solid in the ethnic neighborhoods on Buffalo's south side at night as well. Could a city of license change, perhaps to Hamburg, Lackawanna, or Orchard Park, be next?
Craig Fox is making some call-letter changes at his central New York stations. WNDR (103.9 Mexico) has applied for WVOQ, presumably to match simulcast partner WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter), and WMBO (1340 Auburn) has applied for WKGJ -- and we have NO idea what that stands for! WMBO's been simulcasting WOLF (1490) Syracuse and WOLF-FM (96.7) Oswego. Continuing the lupine theme, WOLF-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania also has new calls -- it's returned to the "WSWB" that was on its construction permit years ago (and which later spent years on the CP for channel 64 there, now a Pax TV outlet). The WOLF-TV calls move to the sister station on channel 56 in Hazleton, until now known as WWLF. And Fox isn't letting his heritage calls disappear in Central New York -- his W60BY Syracuse becomes WMBO-LP, and W18AL becomes WNDR-LP.
In the Rochester area, Jacor has filed formal applications to shuffle transmitter sites for WNVE (95.1 Honeoye Falls) and WMAX-FM (107.3 South Bristol). As expected, "the Nerve" files to move its 50,000 watts from Bristol Mountain some 30 miles north to Baker Hill in Perinton, within sight of downtown Rochester, while "Jam'n 107" flees from Bloomfield up to Bristol Mountain, where its whopping 650 watts will barely reach Rochester on a good day (but should cover the central Finger Lakes quite nicely). NERW wonders whether a reshuffling of some of Jacor's Rochester-area formats will follow, both to accomodate the new coverage areas and to account for the still-unbuilt CP for 102.1 Albion.
WYLF (850 Penn Yan) has applied for reinstatement of its CP for nighttime flea power.
The Syracuse Community Radio folks have won a CP for 89.9 in Fenner, New York, for a translator rebroadcasting yet-unbuilt WXXC (88.7 Truxton). It's an interesting CP for two reasons; first, because SCR already has a CP for a broadcaster in Fenner, WXXE (90.5), and second, because 89.9 is co-channel with WRVO in Oswego, a full class B NPR affiliate barely 60 miles away. NERW wonders whether SCR will use the construction of this translator as a bargaining chip to get WRVO to drop its objections to some of SCR's plans to squeeze a new signal into Syracuse.
In other translator news, St. Lawrence University's WSLJ (88.9 Watertown) will soon be heard over a new translator in nearby Lowville, W201CB on 88.1. And in TV news up that way, veteran WWTI (Channel 50) reporter John Moore has been named assignment editor at the Watertown ABC affiliate. Moore's been with the station since its 1988 debut as WFYF.
Continuing up the St. Lawrence, the student station at SUNY Potsdam has a new slogan. WAIH (90.3) replaces "Your station, your music, your way" (often followed with an on-air "Want fries with that?") with the much more concise "The Way." Wonder if they play Fastball twice an hour?
And down on Long Island, there's a new general manager at WRCN (103.9 Riverhead. Stephen Hobbs was once the GM at Boston's WKLB-FM.
Brockton's WCAV (97.7) wants to move north; it's applied to move from its current facility alongside route 24 south of the city to a 150-meter tower on North Quincy Street, at the northern edge of Brockton (and, of course, a few miles closer in to Boston). WCAV would go from its current 3000 watts at 84 meters AAT to 2700 watts at 150 meters AAT. Also moving is WCRB (102.5 Waltham), which has been granted FCC approval to move across the highway from the WBZ-TV tower in Needham to the FM128 tower in Newton.
Natick's WJLT (1060) has won FCC approval to boost power to 40 kilowatts daytime from its current transmitter site in Framingham (shared with WKOX and WRPT).
Changes are imminent at Mega Broadcasting's new acquisitions in Boston, as 10 staffers get the boot at WBPS (890 Dedham), which will soon drop its multilingual format for Spanish. Also going Spanish is WNFT (1150 Boston. Mega says the two stations will target different demographics within Boston's diverse Hispanic community. Mega takes control of the stations December 1. (NERW notes that WNFT's temporary format of R&B oldies never even got mentioned in the Globe's article this week about urban radio in Boston, while the other paper, usually much more accurate, somehow put WBPS on "850".)
Anniversary time: Congratulations to WCRB, which celebrates 50 years of classical radio in Boston next week. NERW notes that while the WCRB format is 50 years old, that history includes two stations -- WCRB (AM) 1330, which had a diverse format from its inception in 1948 until going all-classical a few years later, and WCRB-FM, which debuted in 1954 and carried the classical torch after the AM changed calls, formats, and eventually owners in the late seventies.) And congrats as well to UMass Amherst's WMUA (91.1), which is getting ready for its half-century next year. WMUA is asking station veterans to drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to a database of former staffers -- and to be invited to the station's anniversary party next June 3. WMUA's also on the web -- check it out at http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~wmua (and even listen to the station in RealAudio!)
WBZ (1030) decided its all-news image was more important than its sports commitments this year, so unlike past Election Days, the Tuesday night Bruins game was hurriedly moved to WESX (1230 Salem) and WJDA (1300 Quincy), leaving 'BZ free and clear for non-stop reports on the Cellucci-Harshbarger race and the rest of the elections action. NERW wonders why none of CBS' FM signals were considered suitable for one night of Bruins...
Corrections and clarifications from last week: The WFNX staffer who was concealing the salami in the WBMX lobby was Angie C., not Julie Kramer. WMJX (106.7)'s new website is at www.magic1067.com, with no period in the frequency. And no matter what our folks in Chicago were telling us, we should have known better than to think Chancellor would pull Ed McMann off Kiss 108 during a ratings book. His appearance on the company's new "Jammin' Oldies 103.5" (ex-WRCX) in the Windy City is via the miracle of voice-tracking and ISDN...all from the comfort of Medford.
What's this about WZLX luring Mark Parenteau back to Boston from New York's WAXQ? More next week...
Way up north, WWLR (91.5 Lyndonville) returned to the air at full power (3 kilowatts) Tuesday morning. "Impact 91.5" had been suffering some transmitter problems; glad to see them back on the air!
Hartford LPTV W05CF gets new calls; they're WMLD-LP.
In an effort to repair its troubled image in the New Haven community, WYBC (94.3/1340) is considering establishing a community relations board. WYBC came in for some bad press when it purchased bankrupt urban outlet WNHC (1340) and changed its format, and for even more bad press when a weekend host resigned from the station, claiming it reneged on its promise to move the time-slot of her Saturday morning show.
This just in: Al Pellegrino, who served as general manager of WPOP (1410 Hartford) and WIOF (104.1 Waterbury) for 22 years, starting in 1974, died Thursday at his East Haven home. Pellegrino had also served as executive vice president of Merv Griffin's broadcasting group, and as founding general manager of WKCI (101.3 Hamden). Pellegrino had been ill for several years. He was 66 years old. Memorial contributions may be made to the Albert Bernard Pellegrino Scholarship Fund, Sacred Heart Academy, 265 Benham St., Hamden CT 06514.
And that's it for this (fairly quiet) week...see you next Friday!