Dodge had operated the station, the former WCFR(AM), since 1998 under an LMA-to-buy with owners Bob and Shirley Wolf. Dodge, who also owns WWNH (1340) in Madbury N.H., would have paid $150,000 for the station. Instead, he notified the Wolfs a week before Thanksgiving that he would be leaving WNBX and the southern Vermont area.
The Wolfs tell the Rutland Herald they plan to have WNBX back on the air sometime in December under the management of Keith Marsh, a minister in nearby West Lebanon, N.H. Like the Dodge deal, the two-year agreement with Marsh would eventually lead to a sale of the station.
Marsh would begin running a religious format on WNBX in early 2001, with holiday music filling the airwaves until then. He tells the Herald he plans to change the station's call letters and add local news and sports programming.
As for Dodge, he has pleaded not guilty to charges that he hit his wife and choked her with a towel at the couple's Springfield home in October. He also faces charges of violating a restraining order imposed after his initial arrest.
Our best wishes go out to former WAVZ (1300 New Haven) sports guy Dan Rusanowsky, who's recovering from a traffic accident last weekend in San Jose that left him with a broken femur, fractured pelvis, punctured lung, and a concussion. Rusanowsky is now the play-by-play announcer for the San Jose Sharks, though he'll be out of commission for at least two weeks while he's hospitalized and undergoes rehab.
Speaking of MPB, it's getting some federal help to build its newest outlet, WMEP (90.5 Camden). The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is giving the network over $147,000, which the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will match. WMEP's antenna will go on the WQSS (102.5 Camden) tower atop Ragged Mountain, with sign-on set for next summer.
What, then, of WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan)? It's staying in the hands of Mountain Wireless, which says a new format is on the way now that the deal to sell the station to Cumulus (which would have donated it to MPBC) has fallen through. While we're up that way, we note that WCTB (93.5 Fairfield) is returning to its AC "River" format after some time as country "Kicks."
One more note from the Pine Tree State: Last week's mention of the sale of WLLB (790 Rumford) should have put the sale price as $50,000, not $500,000.
And back in Boston, there's word that Charlie Austin is retiring from his job at WBZ-TV (Channel 4) after 32 years at 1170 Soldiers Field Road. In addition to being one of the first African-American reporters on Boston TV, the 56 year old Austin has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the true gentlemen in a business that doesn't get enough of them. During his years at channel 4, Austin battled a stroke and prostate cancer, yet fought back to return to his job as a reporter. Those within the WBZ family (and your editor was one of them) also remember Charlie fondly for his singing voice. In addition to his annual public appearances with "Black Nativity," your editor also recalls the doo-wop concerts that spontaneously erupted whenever Austin shared a room with the late Darrell Gould of WBZ radio. NERW offers best wishes to Austin, his wife of 34 years, Linda, and the rest of his family as he moves on to whatever comes next. (We note here too that we've been remiss in neglecting the retirement of another veteran WBZ-TV reporter. Sarah Ann Shaw, who began at WBZ in 1969, retired at the end of October -- best wishes to her and her family as well!)
We're also trying to sort out the status of Worcester's WYDN (Channel 48); conflicting reports tell us the station is either off the air or still on. More next week...
Over in Albany, WROW (590) welcomes Dan Lynch back to its airwaves, now that the talk host's bid for a state Assembly seat has ended in defeat. WROW is also hiring Doug Sherman to do its nightly sports show, now that host Rodger Wyland is moving to crosstown WOFX (980 Troy). Sherman is best known as the sports anchor on WRGB-TV (Channel 6) in Schenectady.
Here in Rochester, Entercom sent WBEE-FM (92.5) operations manager and morning host "Uncle Fred" Horton packing just before Thanksgiving, leaving veteran Terry Clifford to host the morning show solo (though we just saw the WBEE TV spot that mentions "Uncle Fred" still running moments ago!) Entercom's 98.9 Rochester legally became WBZA midweek, moving the WBBF-FM calls over to 93.3 Avon, ex-WQRV.
We avoided the Buffalo area as we headed to Indiana last week -- OK, the two feet of snow made it impossible for us to do otherwise -- but the long detour through Hornell, Olean, and Jamestown allowed us to hear the new WKZA (106.9 Lakewood), running hot AC as "Kiss" from its studios in the Hotel Jamestown. Our return trip did take us through Buffalo, and we heard what we believe to be a pirate on 90.9, playing loud rock music from the vicinity of the SUNY Buffalo campus in Amherst.
We're also hearing about massive layoffs at Hamilton's CJXY (95.3). The Corus station reportedly dismissed 21 people Tuesday, including the PD and morning team.
There's a new station testing in Kitchener: CJIQ (88.3) will operate from Conestoga College.
Four eastern stations want to make FM moves, including CKGB (750) way up north in Timmins. If it's granted 40 kilowatts on 99.3, it will leave the city with no AM outlets at all. Also applying: CJNH (1240 Bancroft), which would move to 97.7 with 50 kW; CKCL in Truro NS, which would move from 600 to 99.5 with 14.3 kW; and CJCJ (920 Woodstock NB), which would go to 104.1 and 10 kW.
Canada would get a new X-band station, if the Ottawa airport gets its way: it's applied for a 99-watt station on 1630 kHz to provide travelers' information.
That's it for another week (plus an extra day of driving back from Indiana; next week, some tales of our journey to Indianapolis) -- our thanks to all of you for your generous support of NERW, and we'll see you next Monday!
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