The properties in question are the venerable AM/FM combos of WKVT in Brattleboro, Vermont and WKNE in Keene, New Hampshire; the former consisting of a 1 kW news-talk graveyarder on 1490 and a class-A rocker on 92.7, the latter of news-talk on 1290 and the big-signal CHR on 103.7.
The price tag? Saga will pay $9.08 million to add the Brattleboro-Keene stations to a group that includes nearby holdings in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts and Manchester, N.H. Will the AMs join the three-station simulcast that includes WHMP in Northampton? We'll keep you posted...
Down the road in Allston, AFTRA is asking for federal negotiators' help to conclude its contract talks at WBZ. The union is trying to negotiate a replacement for the expired contract for on-air personnel at WBZ radio and television, as well as a new contract for the off-air staff at WBZ radio, who recently voted to unionize.
Fans of early (and we mean early) TV history will want to get over to www.tvhistory.tv/W1XAY.htm, where they can read an outstanding chronicle of the Boston area's first TV broadcaster, circa 1928, provided by Emerson College professor (and Boston Radio Archives contributing editor) Donna Halper.
Albany's WB affiliate, WEWB (Channel 45) Schenectady, has applied to the FCC to move to the new DTV tower being built on Helderberg Mountain, not far from its current site. WEWB's new facilities on the tower will be 2950 kW visual, with a directional antenna, at 413 meters above average terrain.
Down in New York City, Pete Fornatale was off the air at WFUV (90.7) for the past two weekends, as he negotiates his future with the Fordham University-owned public radio station. Fornatale is apparently upset about criticism he received from station management for political comments he made on his February 9 "Mixed Bag" show; he's also negotiating for extra money for the Web archives of the show, we hear.
In the wake of September 11, more New York stations are seeking out auxiliary transmitter sites; the latest is WSKQ-FM (97.9), which was granted an auxiliary transmitter at the corner of 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, with 8 kW at 259 meters. This site is just a bit south of the aux sites at the Viacom building (WCBS-FM and WXRK) and Conde Nast (Clear Channel, WNYC-FM and perhaps others, soon).
Out on Long Island, moving vans are bringing several stations to a new home on Route 110 in Farmingdale, just down the street from Republic Airport. WKJY (98.3 Hempstead) was first into Barnstable's new space last week; WHLI (1100 Hempstead) and WBZO (103.1 Bay Shore) will be in there in the next few weeks as well.
Up in the Hudson Valley, local morning programming is returning to WGHQ (920 Kingston), in a very strange way: we hear the Clear Channel station is leasing morning drive to former station owner Walter Maxwell, who plans to host a listener-supported, commercial free local talk show in that time slot.
In Binghamton, the "Lite" has gone out at WLTB (101.7 Johnson City); the AC station is now going by "Magic 101.7" instead.
And a correction from last week: fellow Rochester native Josh Lewin, now doing sports down in Texas, has been off the air at Baltimore's WBAL for more than a year, although the Web site promoting his show there was still up as recently as last week! (Thanks to Dave Hughes and the DCRTV gang for catching that one...)
In Hamilton, CHML (900) PD Paul Tipple resigned last week, just days after corporate parent Corus announced it was letting Hamilton Tiger-Cats football announcers Bob Hooper and Russ Jackson go. The CFL team's games will be announced by CHML morning man Bob Bratina and a rotating cast of color commentators, in part to save on travel costs for road games.
Out in Quebec, classic rock is in at Montreal's CHOM (97.7), after a Friday-morning stunt with easy-listening music as "the new Heaven 97-7."
And up the road in Quebec City, the CBC wants to abandon its tower on Ile d'Orléans, east of the old city, consolidating all its TV and FM services for the market on Mont Belair, west of town. The CBC asked the CRTC this week for permission to move French-language CBVT (Channel 11) from its current 252-kW facility on Ile d'Orléans to a 132-kW facility on Belair. To maintain service east of the city, CBVT would add a relay at Ste.-Famille with 4400 watts on channel 55.
WREQ (96.9 Ridgebury) has been granted a change of status to noncommercial. New owner Calvary Satellite Network is operating the Elmira-market station as a satellite of its new WBJA (102.1 Albion), a few hours to the north.
And we'll close by mentioning two new signals heard as we drove back home from a week down south in Pittsburgh, Charleston, W.V., Louisville and Cincinnati: on the licensed side, Moody has added WVME (91.9 Meadville) to the network based at Cleveland's WCRF (103.3) that also includes WVMN (90.1 New Castle); on the unlicensed side, we heard a signal on 88.3 in Meadville that was relaying one of the tinfoil-hat, black-helicopter and UFO sort of talk networks. (We found it, along with several other unlicensed frequencies, on said network's outdated affiliate list at http://www.infowars.com/Genesis/affiliates.htm.)
And that'll do it for another week, as we head back out on the road to check out the sites of Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Birmingham and Huntsville. Next week's NERW will be a bit late to fybush.com; look for it here sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and look for the return of all-new Tower Site of the Week installments next week as well!