The buyer? Rival Pamal Broadcasting (doing business in the market as Albany Broadcasting), which will keep only two of the Tele-Media stations, modern AC WCPT (100.9 Albany) and its "Point" sister up in the Glens Falls market, WKBE (100.3 Warrensburg). To stay under the ownership cap, Tele-Media will sell the other two stations, news WABY (1400 Albany) and soft AC WKLI (94.5 Ravena), to Ed Levine's Galaxy Broadcasting for $3.5 million.
Let's jump into analysis mode here: Pamal already has a solid cluster in the Albany market, led by AC WYJB (95.5 Albany), CHR WFLY (92.3 Troy) and talker WROW (590 Albany), but also including urban WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville) and smooth jazz WZMR (104.9 Altamont). Where does WCPT, wedged formatically between WYJB and WFLY, fit in? WCPT has been ratings-challenged for a while now, and while Pamal has taken on market-leading country station WGNA (107.7/1460 Albany) before, with the station that's now WAJZ, we'd have to imagine that another attack isn't impossible. What role WKBE will play in this, we can't quite fathom...
The real wild card in this deal is Albany radio veteran Levine, who served as PD of WPYX (106.5 Albany) in the eighties before building his own set of radio clusters in Syracuse and Utica. (Little-known trivia: Levine's WTKW in the Syracuse market was named in homage to the long-defunct WXKW 850 in Albany.)
What can Galaxy do with its Albany signals? Neither comes close to blanketing the entire market; WABY's little kilowatt signal is solid within Albany County but not much of a contender in Schenectady and beyond, while WKLI, an 80s-era drop-in, has significant signal problems in the northern and western portions of the market. Levine used strategically-placed translators and simulcasts to turn similarly weak signals into contenders in Syracuse, so we'd expect more activity from Galaxy as it builds up 94.5. Formats? Rumors are already flying about a return to the standards that 94.5 used to run (as WABY-FM), and Galaxy does indeed do the format on WTLA in North Syracuse, WSGO in Oswego and WTLB in Utica.
As for Tele-Media, it stays in the region with its sizable holdings just across the state line in New England, including WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls NY) serving Bennington, Vermont and WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield MA). Both stations were getting their music programmed from WCPT; we wonder if format changes will follow there as well.
We'll keep following this shift in Albany radio as it plays out over the months to come.
So we're done with Albany now, right? Almost. Even though its first attempt to do so was red-flagged by the FCC, Clear Channel is trying again to buy a cluster of stations just south of Albany. This time, Clear Channel plans to pay $4.3 million to Concord Media for standards outlets WCKL (560 Catskill) and WHUC (1230 Hudson), AC WCTW (98.5 Catskill) and oldies WZCR (93.5 Hudson). Concord bought the stations last year after Clear Channel had to pull out, and the group (owned by station broker Mark Jorgenson) is closely linked to the boys from Covington. Clear Channel already has one station serving this part of the Hudson Valley: rock WRKW (92.9 Saugerties).
Down in New York, we hear the crowd at the latest "Save WEVD" rally last week numbered somewhere between 50 and 150, depending on who was counting. September 1 remains the target date for ABC's ESPN Radio to take over that 1050 frequency.
Friday marked Dan Daniel's fortieth anniversary in the business, and the veteran Big Apple jock celebrated with a special edition of his WCBS-FM (101.1 New York) show. Congratulations...and we can't wait for the fiftieth!
Moving back upstate, mark down Thursday, September 13 on your calendars; that's the date of this year's Society of Broadcast Engineers regional conference at the Turning Stone resort in Verona (Thruway exit 33, between Syracuse and Utica). It's always a good chance to find out what's new in the engineering community in central New York, and we'll try to be there ourselves. You can find out much more at their Web site.
We hear from the folks at Binghamton's WLTB (101.7 Johnson City) that their translator, W273AB, will make the move from Ingraham Hill (where the 101.7 main transmitter now sites) to the old Endicott transmitter site by mid-week. The city of license for the 102.5 translator will then become Owego, which was the old COL for 101.7.
Here in Rochester, they're not calling it a demotion, but what would you call it when a 25-year veteran anchor is moved from the 6 and 11 PM news to the morning show? We've been seeing promos on WHEC-TV (Channel 10) touting Gabe Dalmath's move to mornings (with current morning anchor Rebecca LeClair) beginning September 10. It's clearly 10's way of fighting back against the top-rated offering from WOKR (Channel 13), which has been working anchor Doug Emblidge on both its 5 AM and 5 PM shows for a year or so now. Dalmath lost his spot on the 11 PM a few months back, and it looks as though the much younger Brian Martin has become WHEC's star anchor these days. (Speaking of star anchors and Rochester TV: congratulations to Maureen McGuire at WROC-TV, who has inherited Linda Allen's weekday anchor chair after years in the weekend slot, leaving Amit Chitre solo on weekends for now.)
Radio news? We had some of that in Rochester, too: after months and months of nothing but automation, Entercom finally hired some jocks for 80s station WBZA (98.9 Rochester) last week. Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck are "Breakfast Buzz with Kimberly and Beck," and we hear Entercom is planning to syndicate the show. No word on whether other "Buzz" dayparts will get live jocks any time soon...
Over in Syracuse, Reggie Jordan arrives as the new VP/GM of Citadel's cluster. The former Clear Channel/Richmond market VP replaces Ed Kilgore, who stays with the cluster (WNTQ, WAQX, WLTI and the soon-to-go-sports WNSS) as station manager and sales director.
It's all translator news from Buffalo: Family Life appears to have its latest on the air up in Grand Island. W207BG (89.3) relays WCOU (88.3 Warsaw) for that area between Buffalo and Niagara Falls; we guess listeners who enjoyed the diverse programming from the University of Toronto's CIUT (89.5) will have to get some good filters for their receivers now. Meanwhile in downtown Buffalo, the WNSA translator that used to be on 105.3 from the Marine Midland - er, HSBC - tower has filed for a license to cover on its new frequency of 104.7 (and new calls of W284AP). WNSA is reaching Buffalo much better these days anyway, what with the relocated 107.3 Williamsville translator on the cable tower on LaSalle Street.
Way up north, Clear Channel turned an LMA into a station purchase this week, paying $150,000 to Jenny McCann's Burlington Broadcasters for WEAV (960 Plattsburg). The AM on the New York side of the Burlington-Plattsburg market simulcasts the talk of Clear Channel's WXZO (96.7 Willsboro NY).
LPFM Follies, Part the Next: The FCC released a couple hundred LPFM applications this week for the next stage in the process, giving objectors a chance to file petitions to deny before CPs are actually granted sometime this fall. Here are the New York applications that made the cut (note that none of them are in the Empire State's biggest markets, New York, Nassau, Westchester, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester or Buffalo):
|89.1||Moriah||Champlain Music Appreciation, Inc.|
|92.3||Norwich||Advent Believers Broadcasting Assn.|
|93.3||Shoreham||Shoreham Broadcasting Corp.|
|93.5||Central||Islip Calvary Chapel of Suffolk County|
|94.3||Jefferson||Jesus Christ's Community|
|95.9||Oneonta||Spirit and Truth Christian Assembly|
|96.1||Delhi||NY State College at Delhi|
|97.1||Hudson||Enlarged City School District of the City of Hudson|
|98.7||Ripley||NY State Thruway Authority
(which was denied several 98.7 applications closer to Buffalo)
|100.3||Arcade||Arcade Christian Broadcasting Corp.|
|100.9||Center||Moriches The Savior's Voice Broadcasting Co., Inc.|
|104.3||Canandaigua||Western Ontario Chapter, American Red Cross|
|104.7||Limestone||Limestone Community Radio|
|104.9||Glens||Falls Better Living Radio|
|105.7||Geneva||Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council|
|105.7||Goshen||Goshen Community Radio|
|105.9||Newport||West Canada Christian Resources|
|107.5||Corning||Corning Christian Radio Corp.|
|107.9||Jamestown||Arts Council For Chautauqua County|
...plus a whole slew of New York State Department of Transportation applications: 92.7 Hartford, 92.9 Walton, 94.1 Watertown, 94.3 Godeffroy, 94.9 Owego, 95.1 Witherbee, 96.1 Waterloo, 96.9 Austerlitz, 97.1 Porter Corners, 97.5 Warrensburg, 97.9 Belmont, 98.3 Mexico, 99.3 Coopers Plains, 99.5 Blue Mountain Lake, 100.1 Albion, 100.5 Sloansville, 101.1 Hornell, 102.5 Dickinson Center, 102.7 Stamford, 103.7 West Beekmantown, 104.1 Hunter, 104.5 Geneseo, 105.5 Martinsburg, 106.1 Oneonta, 106.5 Boswell Corners and 107.3 Russell.
Just over the line in OHIO, the call letters are finally beginning to fall into place on last month's big multiple format/frequency swap: 1000 in Parma returns to WCCD from WHK, sending that three-letter call to 1220, which had temporarily been WHKC. Meantime, Clear Channel clears up the confusion and swaps calls on 96.5 Akron (temporarily still WKDD, now WAKS) and 98.1 Canton (temporarily WAKS and now permanently WKDD).
That's it for another week; we'll see you Wednesday with the next installment of Tower Site of the Week (part four of our Big Summer Trip, taking us through the Quad Cities, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids) and next Monday with more NERW news.