The Infinity-owned station abruptly killed off its "Dancin' Oldies" format and "B92.9" nickname on Thursday, slipping into a day of stunting with Queen's "We Will Rock You" and taunts against Citadel's "97 Rock" (WGRF 96.9) before relaunching Friday (2/23) at noon with Genesis' "Abacab" (not, as the Buffalo News had it, "Turn It On Again"!)
The new "Rock 92" brings Howard Stern back to the Buffalo airwaves half a decade after his less-than-successful stint on WWKB (1520), filling the rest of the day with a mix of rock tunes that seems, thus far, to lean rather heavily towards the 80s. (Buffalo listeners have had access to Stern for the last year and a half through Toronto's CILQ, Q107, for whatever that's worth...)
The changes at WBUF give some competition to Citadel's rock cluster of WGRF and modern WEDG (103.3) for the first time in years; it was probably inevitable that some kind of change would come to 92.9 after a Fall book that landed it at the bottom of the Buffalo FM barrel, behind even little WECK 1230 in the 12+ numbers.
By adding WINR to its existing cluster (sports WENE 1430 Endicott, rock WKGB 92.5 Susquehanna PA, AC WMXW 103.3 Vestal, CHR WMRV 105.7 Endicott and country WBBI 107.5 Endwell), Clear Channel brings the combined Binghamton market share of its stations and those of rival Citadel to a whopping 91.2 percent, reducing Binghamton to a duopoly in Tristani's view.
By not considering whether or not the market can support three competitors and whether there were other potential buyers for WINR, Tristani writes, "we may never know if the cementing of a duopoly in Binghamton was inevitable, or simply another case of regulatory malfeasance by the FCC.
While WINR today is far from a major player in the market (it's been decades since the station's days as an important top-40 outlet), NERW thinks it will be interesting to see how Clear Channel rebuilds the station to take on Citadel's dominance of the AM dial in Binghamton.
(Those paying close attention to Binghamton in the last year or two will recall that it was originally Citadel that planned to acquire WINR, moving its news-talk WNBF from 1290 down to the superior 680 signal, then moving standards WKOP from 1360 to 1290 and leaving Titus with 1360, the weakest AM in town. Now WNBF faces the likelihood of a competing news-talker on 680, drawing resources from Clear Channel's Premiere talk lineup and its upstate network of radio newsrooms. This should be interesting!)
Up north, M Street confirms our suspicions about Tim Martz' plans for WYSI (96.1 Norwood); when the new station hits the air soon, it'll do satellite-fed AC as "Yes FM," complementing WYSX (98.7 Ogdensburg) and WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay) in the Martz cluster.
Albany's dial this week found one definite change -- the addition of Albany Broadcasting head honcho John Kelly to the advisor roster at Siena College's WVCR (88.3 Loudonville) -- and a few interesting rumors. We'll start with the WVCR move, which doesn't sound like a big deal until you consider that Kelly's co-advisor at WVCR is Buzz Brindle, PD at the rival Regent cluster. Some in the Albany market perceived WVCR's format change to hip-hop under Brindle's watch as a slap at Kelly's Albany group, which was just days from introducing an identical format on its WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville), though Brindle has maintained all along that the move was prompted by the students at Siena. Will there be more changes at WVCR's powerful signal now? Stay tuned...
As for those rumors: WCPT (100.9 Albany) has been playing one of those "The Point is Dead" stunts all weekend, but it sounds to us more like the run-up to a new contest than a format change at the modern AC. Then there's the possibility, floated by Times Union columnist Mark McGwire, that Roy Moon (aka "Bob Mason" of Mason and Sheehan, late of WPYX and WXCR) could be coming back to Albany from the New Hampshire seacoast and "The Shark" (WSHK 105.3 Kittery ME/WSAK 102.1 Hampton NH). We, too, have been hearing rumors that Moon will land at "Sun Country" WVKZ 1240 Schenectady, so we're putting this report in the "credible" pile -- though with a demerit to the usually impeccable McGwire for bungling the calls for "the Shark" (somehow its old WXBB calls came out as "WXXB"!)
Over in Kingston, WBPM (94.3) has been granted a doubling in power, moving from 1.1 kilowatts to 2.2 kW (the equivalent, adjusted for height, of a change from a 3 kW A to a 6 kW A.)
It looks like there's a new translator in Westchester: the WMNR folks from Connecticut get a license to cover for W205BM, their 88.9 translator in Mount Kisco.
Out there on Long Island, we're awfully glad we taped WLIM (1580 Patchogue) as a local standards outlet, because that's apparently about to change. The station is being sold to Polnet, the Chicago-based folks who run a Polish-language format on Rockland County's WRKL (910 New City) and Chicagoland's WNVR, and that probably means Polish programming is en route to Suffolk County, too.
Radio People on the Move: Rick Martini leaves the Island's oldies WBZO (103.1 Bay Shore) to take the PD chair in Denver at KOSI (101.1); those with really long memories (well, OK, me...) will remember Martini as "Rocky Martini" spinning the hits at Rochester's WPXY in the eighties. Meantime, Stefan Rybak, late the PD at standards WLUX (540 Islip), moves east to become general sales manager at WRCN (103.9 Riverhead) and WLVG (96.1 Center Moriches).
WUMB general manager Pat Monteith checked in over the weekend to let us know that two of WAVM's student staffers spent part of their school vacation last week learning at WUMB.
"They learned how satellite and automation systems work, how the music data base is programmed, announcing basics, an overview of the membership system, promotions and they got to actively participate in the production planning meeting for the station's upcoming Spring fundraiser," Monteith tells us.
The students even got to design a flyer for an upcoming WUMB bluegrass concert and worked on several on-air promos for the event. (Monteith notes, regretfully, "I'm not sure they learned to have any deeper an appreciation for folk music...")
This will be an ongoing partnership, with other WAVM students working at WUMB during upcoming school vacations and over the summer. How's that for some good news from the world of noncommercial radio?
(One more bit of useful information from WUMB-land: the calls for the new Newburyport 91.7 construction permit, WNEF, stand for "We're New England's Folk." Now you know.)
Across town, the feud between WBUR-FM (90.9) management and "Connection" host Christopher Lydon continues unabated. The latest salvo in the war of words came Friday in a statement Lydon gave to the industry trade paper Current, in which he said, "...senior producer Mary McGrath and I have known all along that we were not picking [WBUR GM] Jane Christo's cotton. It's our cotton, we bring it into the building, and we weave it ourselves."
WBUR's response? According to Current: "We reviewed Chris' statement, and he is a terrific writer and communicator." Lydon remains on suspension with pay all this week, with Bob Oakes filling in and no resolution to the dispute in sight.
[LATE UPDATE: The dispute ended, for good apparently, on Friday, when WBUR and Lydon parted ways. Full story Monday at fybush.com; in the meantime, check out Lydon's new site for his side of the fight!]
While we're in the Bay State, we noted an interesting article in this past week's Broadcasting & Cable about the station that serves Springfield with CBS programming. It seems Hartford, CONNECTICUT's WFSB (Channel 3) is now providing Springfield-area cable systems with a customized microwave feed, replacing "Connecticut's News Station" promos with "Springfield's CBS station." The station will soon begin selling separate ad packages to Springfield clients, and hopes in time to begin regionalizing news for Springfield as well.
It's an interesting challenge to Springfield's own TV outlets, NBC affiliate WWLP (Channel 22) and ABC affiliate WGGB (Channel 40), and their response will be an interesting one to watch.
[We hate to pick on the folks at Broadcasting, but we can't help but note all the little goofs that infected their story: WFSB was twice rendered as "WSFB," WWLP at least once as "WLLP" -- and then there's the belated Andy Moes obit that somehow placed his early career at modern-day "WROR-FM Framingham" instead of the old WROR Boston and the Bob Williams obit that turned Worcester's WFTQ, Long Island's WHLI and Buffalo's WECK into FM stations. Ah well...]
Elsewhere in the Nutmeg State, hearty congratulations to WTNH (Channel 8) morning anchor Ana Sava; she and husband Ken Namnoum are the proud parents this week of little Elise Sophia. And we can answer a "where are they now" question about former WZMX (93.7 Hartford) morning guy Sebastian: he popped up on overnights at New York's WFAN (660) last week for a tryout; he'll get another shot at the job March 3.
"Green Mountain Broadcasting" has been granted a new station on 90.5 in Lebanon. M Street reports the new facility will run 7 watts from 695 feet AAT.
Over in Rumford, we hear high winds knocked the studio-transmitter link from Portland to WLOB-FM (96.3) out of commission, taking the talk station's big signal off the air for a week or so. Word is that 96.3 will rejoin WLOB (1310 Portland) on the airwaves sometime in the next few days.
In the hills of Mifflin County, WIEZ (670 Lewistown), WMRF (95.9 Lewistown) and WLAK (103.5 Huntingdon) change hands from the Mifflin County Broadcasting Company to First Media Radio.
Scranton's WVIA (89.9) gets a new full-power outlet over in Williamsport. The newly-granted CP on 89.7 will run 3300 watts from minus 16 feet AAT with a directional antenna, replacing W207AA on 89.3. Speaking of the Scranton area, a correction from last week: the WILP that changed calls to WOGY is the 1300 in West Hazleton, not the 960 in Mount Pocono; that's still WILT.
Just south of Williamsport, in Milton, WVLY (100.9) becomes WVLY-FM. That's because the WVLY calls are now in Moundsville, West Virginia (just south of Wheeling) on the former WMJT (1370).
A few notes from Philadelphia: As Sil Scaglione settles into his new role of VP/GM at Infinity's stations (moving over from the Greater Media cluster), he's named a new PD at talker WPHT (1210). Grace Blazer has filled the job in an interim capacity since Tom Bigby's heart surgery a few months back; now she gets the job on a permanent basis, allowing Bigby to focus on sports-talk WIP (610) full-time.
Bob Wallace is the new PD at the Barrie outpost of Corus' "Energy Radio," CHAY (93.1). Speaking of Barrie, Bruce Elving's FMedia reports tests are now being heard from the new CKMB (107.5) up there; expect that station on the air for real soon.
Elving also points out that Kingston's new CIKR (105.7) (which, by the way, has been testing at reduced power) will likely displace First Nations station "CKWE" Tyendinaga on 105.9.
A few more new calls from Elving: Mark down CHCQ for Belleville's new 100.1 (likely to go country as "Q-100"), CJUK for the new low-power 99.9 in Thunder Bay, CHOY for the new French 99.9 in Moncton NB, and CKOE in place of VF8017 for the low-power 100.9 there.
One more: the move of CJBR (900 Rimouski) to FM 89.1 means the Radio-Canada chaine culturelle outlet on 101.5 changes from CJBR-FM to CBRX-FM.
And it looks as though Windsor's CKWW (580) might have some competition for Detroit's adult standards audience. Rumor has it that Crawford Broadcasting is close to adding WQBH (1400 Detroit) to its cluster across the river, and listeners in Rochester, Albany and elsewhere already know that Crawford's very big right now on its "Legends" nostalgia format. NERW's guess: if the sale goes through, look for Crawford to shuffle its deck in the Motor City, moving religious talk from WLLZ (560 Monroe) to 1400 and freeing 560 for standards. (Now where are those WHND calls these days...?)
See you next Monday...
|NERW's Northeast Television Index||93.39|