In an article in Saturday's Boston Herald, Regan is quoted as saying, "as far as (Back Bay owner) Peter Ottmar is concerned, no one has an option on the station." The very next paragraph begins by noting that Salem Communications has an option on WBNW. It also answers a question we've been puzzling over here at NERW headquarters: it seems Salem picked up the option on WBNW in the process of selling KDBX(FM) Banks-Portland, Oregon to American Radio Systems this fall. This is the first solid confirmation we've seen of the long-held speculation that ARS had an option to buy WBNW ever since the station went on the air in September 1994.
Back to the denials: Regan tells the Herald that the departure of WBNW's general manager, Peter Crawford, this week was a "mutual parting of the ways," and he says October was WBNW's most successful month yet.
We'll be keeping a very close ear on 590...at least as long as the station audio isn't drowned out by all those denials.
Haught and Culkeene were lucky; both men walked away from the plane unhurt. It's still not clear what caused the plane to lose power.
Channel 54 replaces WRAP-LP (Channel 33) in Gloucester. NERW has learned that the channel 33 equipment, which has been removed from its Gloucester site, will reappear soon in Brockton, which was the original city of license for W54AT.
As the snow-free weather draws to a close, your NERW has been racking up the miles on the Saturn (a very good car, by the way -- everything you see in the ads is true) checking out the radio dials across the region. Two of the trips in the last month have involved New York's HUDSON VALLEY, just across the line from Connecticut and Massachusetts.
We'll start with the really neat stations...and in the Hudson Valley that list is headed up by WDST (100.1) in Woodstock and its simulcast, WDSP (96.9) Arlington/Poughkeepsie. "Radio Woodstock" has always been a favorite of ours, with a very eclectic blend of music and a friendly, homey on-air sound. Of a similar bent is WQQQ (103.3) in Sharon, Connecticut, a small community operation in Connecticut's placid northwestern corner. That must be a fertile area for radio; just down the road in Salisbury is WKZE-FM (98.1), which seems to run everything from classical to rock. WKZE's sister AM on 1020 is satellite country. (Why am I mentioning them here? All three have their transmitters across the line in Millerton, New York).
More good listens: On the AM dial, WHVW (950) in Hyde Park was spinning country music with a live DJ on a Sunday afternoon. The rest of the AM dial was all satellite -- WGHQ (920) Kingston and WEOK (1390) Poughkeepsie with standards, WKIP (1450) Poughkeepsie and WBNR (1260) Beacon with talk, WPUT (1510) Brewster with country. On the drive down, we caught some very good live oldies programming and local news on WLAD (800) Danbury CT, and local talk on WINE (940) Brookfield-Danbury, which simulcasts with WSTC (1400) Stamford and WNLK (1350) Norwalk these days.
On FM, Poughkeepsie's WSPK (104.7) was doing its usual competent job with CHR as "K104." WPDH (101.5) with classic rock and WCZX (97.7 Hyde Park) with oldies are co-owned along with WEOK, and both have simulcasts high in the Catskills -- WPDA (106.1) Jeffersonville and WZAD (97.3) Wurtsboro, respectively.
Among the ranks of the satellited: Poughkeepsie's WRNQ (92.1), with AC as "Q92;" Newburgh's WGNY-FM (103.1), also with AC but with no legal ID that I ever heard; Patterson's WAXB (105.5), with oldies as "B105," and a newcomer, Poughkeepsie's WNSX (96.1), using ABC's "MR-35" adult modern rock format as "96-X." WNSX is co-owned with WKIP and WRNQ. Also on satellite was Newburgh's WGNY (1200), which does standards.
There are tons of translators up and down the valley, and leading the charge are sister stations WBWZ (93.3 New Paltz), doing hits as "Z-93," and WRWD (107.3 Highland), with country. WRWD's sister AM in Cornwall-on-Hudson has not changed calls to the requested WWLE, and it's still simulcasting WRWD on 1170. The sign-off a few minutes after sunset was accomplished simply by shutting off the carrier; quite graceful. WBWZ has a translator on 95.3 in Kingston, among others, and both stations have applied for several more.
The noncomm band isn't especially local these days. The "Sound of Life" network based out of WFGB (89.7) Kingston is now also heard on WLJP (89.3) Monroe, WRPJ (88.9) Port Jervis, and an 88.3 translator in Newburgh. Also with religion is Family Radio's WFRH (91.7) Kingston. Two of Albany's public outlets have relays in the valley; WAMC (90.3) runs news and talk on WAMK (90.9) Kingston, WOSR (91.7) Middletown, and a 107.7 translator in Newburgh, and WMHT (89.1) runs classical on WRHV (88.7) Poughkeepsie. WRHV allegedly shares time with WFNP at SUNY-New Paltz, but I've almost never heard New Paltz using the channel. Rounding things out is one decent college station, Vassar's WVKR (91.3) in Poughkeepsie.
The biggest "huh" of the trip was Kingston's WBPM (94.3), which ran CHR as "B-94," with no personalities, few spots, and just a handful of liners, only one of which actually identified the station.
Drifting in from the fringes, the Catskills offered up modern rocker WRRV (92.7 Middletown), the former WKOJ-FM. WTHN (99.3) in Ellenville was satellite "Thunder Country," WSUL (98.3) in Monticello was AC, and WJUX (99.7) in Monticello was doing "Jukebox Radio" as the nominal primary for that 103.1 translator down in Fort Lee, NJ. To the south, NERW tuned in to WHUD (100.7 Peekskill) with the usual solid blend of AC and WZZN (106.3 Mount Kisco), under yet another new set of calls, with a rock format this time around. New York City? Mostly lost under all the new FMs in the valley, although WQHT (97.1) was listenable as far up as Kingston.
Less worthy of note: WSME (1220) in Sanford, Maine, which apparently does not bother offering a legal ID, or even a less-than-legal ID. The United Broadcasters' Network programming just segues into top-hour network news with no local ID at all each time I've listened. Also lacking a full legal ID was religious WTME (1240) in Lewiston, which at least mentioned its calls once in a while.
Missing: WLOB (1310) in Portland remains silent, the victim of serious flood damage last month. Owner Carter Broadcasting is reaching much of the Portland market with WWMR (96.3), an FM with a massive signal up in Rumford. Also not heard was little WSJB (91.5) at St. Joseph's College in Standish, Maine. A few college stations that merited a few minutes' listening: WRBC (91.5) at Bates College in Lewiston, WBOR (91.1) at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and the always-listenable WMPG (90.9) at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.