While it's pretty much a given that WCAV's country format will switch to something with an urban focus once the sale goes through, it's not immediately clear what hope Radio One has of using WCAV to reach Boston's urban community. While the Class A station has a CP to move from the south end of Brockton to the north side, it's still tightly bound by WOKQ (97.5 Dover NH) up the coast and co-channels WINQ Winchendon MA and WCTY Norwich CT, so a massive power upgrade to reach Boston seems unlikely.
Radio One, which just recently went public, probably won't stop buying in the Bay State just yet -- and NERW has to wonder if this is the owner the Nash estate would feel comfortable selling WILD to? If not, the little urban daytimer could face its biggest threat yet. This will be an interesting one to follow.
(As far as we know, sister station WBET (1460) will stay with KJI for the time being, although we'd be unsurprised to see a sale there as well eventually.)
So what's really going on here? Look out west, where many of Best's applications specify religious KLRD (90.1 Yucaipa CA) as the primary. NERW suspects the New England translators would also end up with out-of-state religious primaries, and while we'll restate that we have no objection in principle to religious radio, we'll also restate our long-held conviction that translator regulation as it now stands allows a dangerous loophole by permitting what amount to national LPFM networks.
We're tempted to send the FCC a stack of letters opposing each and every one of Best's applications on the grounds that as long as LPFM is being considered seriously, it would be a tragic mistake to allow the few available channels (especially in congested areas like New York City and Long Island) to be handed over to explicitly non-local services. (And yes, we know translators are a "secondary" service, but we don't think the FCC remembers what that means any longer). Anyone want to join in fighting the good fight here?
WFXT-DT (Channel 31) has applied for its license to cover, while WNMH (91.5 Northfield) has asked the FCC to reinstate its license, which was apparently deleted in error earlier this month (NERW erroneously reported WZLY Wellesley instead of WNMH among the liste of deletees, as long as we're correcting things!). And Audrey Constant moves from Greater Media to WPLM (99.1 Plymouth) to handle midday duties.
There's a new program director at WCRQ (102.9 Dennysville). Kyle Kristofer comes down East from Madison, Wisconsin. Speaking of 102.9, the Bangor translator of WERU (89.9 Blue Hill) has been off for several weeks, allowing Stephen King and his neighbors to once again enjoy the noise of WCRQ fighting with co-channel WBLM Portland. And that 99.9 signal Bangor listeners were hearing with a rebroadcast of WKIT (100.3 Brewer)? 'Twas a pirate, we're told...
There's a TV affiliation swap in Burlington, as Fox affiliate WFFF (Channel 44) adds a secondary WB affiliation, with WB shows running at 10 PM after Fox is over for the night. Former WB outlet WBVT-LP (Channel 39) moves to UPN, while ex-UPN outlet WWBI-LP (Channel 27) in Plattsburgh goes independent. Could WFFF be making backup plans if the simmering battle between Fox and its affiliates over compensation erupts into full-fledged rebellion?
And a correction from last week: It was WTSA-FM (96.7) in Brattleboro that switched to CNN, not the AM side, which is all satellite sports and runs no network news at all.
Down the Hudson a bit, WBPM (94.3 Kingston) will drop CHR next week to go rhythmic oldies as "Rhythmic 94" under its new Roberts ownership. Meantime over at WDST (100.1 Woodstock), veteran GM Bob Wagner has returned to the station after some time away.
Across the Hudson and a hundred miles or so to the south, WNJR (1430 Newark) may soon have new calls. Arthur Liu says he wants "WNSW" to go with the "Sunny 1430" nickname -- and, no doubt, to remind listeners of the old WNEW (though we're reminded instead of a now-defunct AM station in Brewer, Maine, for some odd reason) The call change has not been officially filed with the FCC yet.
Speaking of now-defunct AM stations, the old "Musicradio 77" WABC will return to the air Memorial Day, sort of. WABC will replace its usual talk programs with a special Musicradio retrospective from 6 AM until the noon Yankee game, then for six more hours after the game ends.
Out on Long Island, Jon Krolick joins WLIR/WDRE (92.7 Garden City/98.5 Westhampton) and WXXP (105.3, er, Calverton-Roanoke) to produce the morning show. He had been GM of Cornell student station WVBR (93.5 Ithaca), a post now to be filled by Matt Golden.
In Binghamton, Steve Willett (formerly of WMRV) moves downtown to WAAL (99.1) to take over the morning shift from "Oz."
Up North, we hear classic rock will be the new format next week on WXQZ (101.5 Canton), replacing the current simulcast with WNCQ (102.9 Morristown). WXQZ has also applied to boost power to 5500 watts from 2400, from a new tower just north of the current one.
Rochester's UPN outlet may finally be viewable on the city's east side. WBGT-LP (Channel 40) owners David and Molly Grant are buying W55AC Penfield from Binghamton public broadcaster WSKG, which applied last year to move the former translator about 70 miles north from Avoca. It will operate on channel 67 when it finally takes air, allowing your editor to see UPN programs without having to hold the antenna in his teeth. Now if there were just something worth watching...
"But wait, there is!": On a purely self-serving note, cable customers in greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes may want to keep an eye on R News (cable channel 9 in Rochester, 14 Finger Lakes/Batavia) next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (June 2-4), as your editor presents "Out of the Box: 50 Years of Rochester TV," a three-part series commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary of the sign-on of WHAM-TV, Rochester's first TV station. We'll also be talking about local TV history on Tuesday night, June 8, at 7PM on the "756-TALK" call-in show. It promises to be a lot of fun; tune in if you're able.
That's it for this week. By next issue, we'll be ready to announce the location of our June 12 NERW get-together in Providence, RI. We can tell you that after we all sit down for lunch, the Rhode Island Historical Society has kindly agreed to open its doors for a special tour of their "Live From Studio 1-A!" exhibit on Rhode Island TV history. Full details next Friday...