North East RadioWatch: January 22, 1998
Returning to Normal up North
A brief NERW this Thursday, as we update the ice storm cleanup yet
again from Monday's extra...
- In MAINE, WBLM (102.9) Portland is edging closer to getting back on
the air. At last report, there was a dead carrier on 102.9, with
regular programming expected to resume shortly. Meantime, the "Rock
Radio Shelter" on WCYY (94.3 Biddeford)/WCYI (93.9 Lewiston) is
closing its doors; those stations are returning to their usual
modern-rock format. Also back on the air from a temporary transmitter
is WKZS (99.9) Auburn. This week's "Broadcasting & Cable" carries
pictures of the destroyed WEZQ (92.9) Bangor tower, a site your NERW
editors visited just a few summers ago. Mystery station of the week:
W41AY, the Waterville LPTV that had been dark for months, reappeared
just before the ice storm, and is now dark again...
- In NEW HAMPSHIRE, WBHG (101.5 Meredith) returned to regular
programming on January 19, 11 days after it was knocked off the air
when its tower collapsed. In other Granite State radio news, WZNN
(930) in Rochester has been granted its CP for expanded-band service
on 1700 kHz. No word yet on when the new station will be built, or
what it will program.
- From VERMONT comes word that the ice storm pretty much missed the
Northeast Kingdom. WGMT (97.7 Lyndon), WNKV (105.5 St. Johnsbury),
and WSTJ (1340 St. Johnsbury) all escaped damage while stations in
all directions suffered problems. Downstate, we're told the Ian
Taylor Memorial Fund has raised almost all the money needed to pay the
funeral expenses for the former WKVT-FM (92.7 Brattleboro) DJ.
- In QUEBEC, la Société Radio-Canada (that's the CBC to
Anglophones) has sprung another FM surprise. The 95.1 Montreal
facility that will soon be the home of SRC's AM service (now heard on
CBF 690) took to the airwaves early, signing on as "Radio-Services
Monteregie," a French-language service aimed at the inhabitants of the
devastated "Dark Triangle" south of Montreal, where power has yet to
be restored to thousands of homes. You can hear the
service live on RealAudio.
And we heard from John McKay of LeBlanc towers; he tells us crews have
been very hard at work replacing the towers of CKWS (Channel 11) in
Kingston, Ontario and of CJAD (800) in Montreal. He's got more
pictures of the CKWS collapse on his site, at
Our own photos of the CKWS site are still at the developer; we'll put
them on line as soon as we get them back.
- The big news in MASSACHUSETTS this week is the rumored ouster of Joe
Martelle from WROR (105.7 Framingham). He's been off the air for more
than a week, and the Boston papers say fill-in J.J. Wright, late of
WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford, "Kiss 108"), will be his permanent
replacement. Down the dial at WBOS (92.9 Brookline), word has it that
Robin Young will be the permanent morning replacement for the ousted
Ken Shelton. And ADD Media, the owner of WRCA (1330 Waltham), has
officially applied to buy WARA (1320 Attleboro) from Michelle Merola.
NERW can't help but wonder what kind of engineering could be done by
someone who owned these two adjacent-channel stations to improve both
their signals...perhaps a higher-powered 1320 with a sharp null
towards WDER Derry NH?
Two corrections from last week: WJLT (1060 Natick)'s new 40kW daytime
CP is for the Unisys site in Sudbury, not the WKOX site in
Framingham. And the former GM of WBMX (98.5) is Jennifer McCann, not
- One bit of CONNECTICUT news: WMNR (88.1 Monroe)'s latest translator,
W233AG (94.5) in New London, has applied for a license to cover and is
presumably on the air.
- In NEW YORK, there's another "new" format on the air in the Big Apple
-- though we're not exactly sure how "Big 105" differs substantially
from any of the other hot AC/modern AC mixes that have been heard in
recent years on the 105.1 formerly known as WNSR, WDBZ, WMXV, WNSR,
and WRFM. In any event, Chancellor Media's latest offering on 105.1
is now known as WBIX.
An Albany broadcast legend is retiring after 45 years in the
business. Don Decker has been news director at WTEN (Channel 10) for
the past eight years, and before that was news director at
Schenectady's WRGB (Channel 6) for a whopping 18 years. Decker's
career began at WCSS Amsterdam and WTRY Troy. He joined WRGB and WGY
(810) in 1962 and remained there until the stations were sold in 1987,
then spending three years at WAMC (90.3) before joining WTEN. Decker's
retirement takes effect March 31; we wish him the very best of luck.
Downstate, John Katonah is adding yet another translator to its
collection in the Hudson Valley. W292CM (106.3 Poughkeepsie) is the
latest to be approved; it will relay WXHD (90.1 Mount Hope), which
itself relays the very neat WFMU (91.1 East Orange NJ).
It was a very good week for Syracuse Community Radio. They finally
hold a CP for a primary FM station with the FCC's approval this week
of their 88.7 Truxton NY application. They've also now applied for a
90.5 translator in Skaneateles.
In New City, WRKL (910) is becoming an all-news station for Rockland
County, dropping several talk shows to go all-news from 5:30 to 9 AM
and from 4 to 7 PM.
And we'll leave the Empire State with a few more bits of storm news,
from the Associated Press' weekly compilation of industry news. They
report that Potsdam's WSNN (99.3) and WPDM (1470) have been staying on
the air 24 hours a day (instead of their usual 6 AM to midnight
schedule) to get storm information out. WMSA (1340) in Massena also
went to 24 hour operation from January 7 until January 10, most of
that time on generator power. And a radiothon at Syracuse's WSYR
(570) raised $216,000 for North Country relief -- more than twice the
- One more web site for the week...those of you who listen to those
little Travelers Information Stations on 530, 1610, and (increasingly)
other frequencies now have a place to look them up. They're not in
the regular FCC database - but check out http://www.erols.com/wharms/tis
for the most complete list we've seen so far.
That's it for this week; we'll be back on Monday if events warrant
for another Ice Storm Extra, and we'll be back with our regular
report next Thursday.
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