So...just what does Berryhill see in a little AM daytimer? The plan is to bring well-known voices like Jerry Williams back to the Boston talk scene on WMEX, from a studio in a yet-to-be-announced downtown Boston location. Also moving to the 1060 spot will be Upton Bell, now heard on WRPT (650 Ashland), whose frequency will become home to the WJLT calls and religious format now on 1060. (The WMEX calls, by the way, have been hibernating on AM 1530 in McConnellsburg, PA, the once and future WVFC...just in case you wondered.)
We'll see how successful this bet of Berryhill's and Langer's is when we hear WMEX powering down at, oh, 4:45 on a December afternoon...
Moving west in MASSACHUSETTS, we find a new news director at WTAG (580 Worcester). Hank Stolz is promoted to the post while keeping his current morning host gig; joining him in the newsroom is Boston FM (WBCN, Greater Media) veteran Sherman Whitman.
Amherst will now have two full-time public radio outlets in town. For several years, WFCR (88.5) has been leasing part of the broadcast day of crosstown WTTT (1430) to carry additional news and talk programming. Now that service is going 24/7, under the new calls "WPNI" (known on-air as 1430/PNI).
Back to Boston for a few more news notes: Beau Raines is leaving KCFX (101.1) in the Kansas City market to become PD at WROR (105.7 Framingham), replacing the now-consulting Harry Nelson. And we note the passing of one of WGBH-FM (89.7)'s longest-running voices. Bill Cavness died Monday (10/18) at age 75. In addition to hosting "Reading Aloud" and "Chamberworks," Cavness founded "Morning pro Musica," the show better known for Robert Lurtsema's years at the helm.
On the TV side, Jim Jensen was one of New York's top-rated anchors, with a career at WCBS-TV (Channel 2) that began in 1964 and survived a bout with drug rehab in 1988. Jensen retired in 1995, and had been hospitalized for heart trouble when he died Saturday morning (10/16). Jensen was 73.
Moving upstate, WWLE (1170 Cornwall-on-Hudson) is getting a new owner. Charles Stewart Sr., who publishes the Hudson Valley's only black newspaper, is paying $100,000 for the station, which currently simulcasts country WRWD (107.3 Highland). It's expected to switch to an urban format, the Valley's first, when the deal closes.
More talk for the Hudson Valley? If you're listening to WGHQ (920 Kingston), that's what you'll find. The station dropped ABC Stardust this week to take on syndicated talkers like G. Gordon Liddy, Bob Grant, and Tom Leykis. Also dropping standards was WGNY (1220 Newburgh), which is doing local talk by morning and AP All News the rest of the day.
Smooth jazz didn't stay away from Albany for very long after being dumped by WHRL (103.1). Albany Broadcasting's WZMR (104.9 Altamont) is killing off its short-lived modern AC format to pick up Kenny G. and company as "Smooth Jazz 104.9." Of perhaps more lasting import at Albany Broadcasting is the impending retirement of market fixture Joe Condon, who's retiring from WYJB (95.5) at week's end. Condon joined then-WROW-FM in 1969, and has been hosting afternoons there for what seems like forever. Next up? He'll join his wife at her communications consultancy, as well as investigating Internet radio.
Tension between WJJL (1440 Niagara Falls) and its city of license is driving the station out of town. WJJL's owners have been at odds with city officials since a surprise health inspection last year (following on-air criticism of the fire department) prompted Niagara Falls to order WJJL's Main Street building condemned. What's more, 'JJL says the city wants to charge the station $50,000 for the permits to build a directional array to increase its day power from one kilowatt to five. So WJJL is leaving town...making plans to build new studios in Southgate Plaza, off Union Road in West Seneca, some 30 miles south of the Falls. What's more, the town fathers in West Seneca say they'll help WJJL find space in town to build that directional array, which would make WJJL the second Niagara Falls station to beam its signal north across Buffalo into its city of license (WHLD 1270 is leaving its current site on Grand Island to do the same), and the last NF station to move its studios out of town. WJJL mixes eclectic oldies with talk and leased-time ethnic. (One thing NERW wants to know: When WJJL leaves its current site on Buffalo Road, can we have the old blue "W J J L" letters scattered around the tower base?)
One final Buffalo note: We heard a 1630 TIS from the Peace Bridge earlier this week, joining the Thruway's 1610 that stops the scan all over town.
Speaking of WEXP, the current holder of those calls, 101.5 in Brandon, has taken on an actual format. "Express 101" is running CHR, commercial-free at the moment, aimed at the Rutland market.
And speaking of Rutland, it seems that pirate at 96.5 is leaving the air at month's end. Is there an object lesson here about the viability of commercial LPFM...or just an object lesson in how NOT to make friends and influence people? Or was the FCC about to pounce -- and was Mr. Personality more afraid of how his case would hold up in court than he's been letting on? So long, Monty...and good riddance.
Back to the legitimate broadcasters, and what appears to be a three-way swap of calls and formats. Last week, we told you that 103.3 in Waterbury had become WLKC with an AC format. Now we can report that the WGLY calls and religious format formerly heard on 103.3 will soon reappear on 91.5 in Bolton, presently known as WCMK and operating on 91.7. WCMK's owner, Christian Ministries, is leasing AM 1070 in Plattsburgh (now home to the WGLY calls), and will move the religious programming now heard on WCMK to the AM side as the swap and FM frequency change take place. Finally, the WDOT calls last heard on 1070 in Plattsburgh (and before that in Burlington for years) have resurfaced on WSHX (95.7 Danville), the Northeast Kingdom outlet for Steve Silberberg's "Point," based at WNCS (104.7 Montpelier).
And we hear Richard Lightfoot is selling WKNE (1290/103.7 Keene) for real -- this time to Tele-Media, the broadcast group whose first foothold in the Granite State was WNNH (99.1 Henniker) a while back. More details on this one next week...
And we see that Maine Public Broadcasting has received a construction permit for 90.5 in Camden.
We heard the new 94.3 from Chatham whilst visiting London on Thursday, but it turns out CKUE-FM doesn't get into the Forest City all that well. The modern rock format seems to be out of testing mode now, though.
And we'll close with the rebirth of 940 in Montreal: CIQC will move up the dial from 600 on the morning of November 24, according to the Montreal Gazette. When it happens, Jim Duff will lose his morning show, as the all-news format and "940News" moniker take over. Whither 690? We suspect CKVL will make its move that day, too, even though La Presse and the other French dailies haven't been covering it as closely.
That's it for this week...back next Friday with more!