The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 2000s

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2000

Jan. 18
Three applicants along the Route 2 corridor file applications that conflict with high-school station WAVM (91.7 Maynard)'s attempt to upgrade to protected class-A status: UMass-Boston (for 91.7 Stow), CSN International (for 91.7 in both Gardner and Lexington), and Living Proof, Inc. (for 91.7 Lunenburg).
Jan. 19
UMass-Boston files a petition to deny against the upgrade of WAVM (91.7 Maynard).
May 1
CSN International's application for a new station on 91.7 near downtown Lexington is returned.
May 31
Maynard Public Schools and UMass-Boston agree on a time-sharing arrangement which would resolve the conflict between their pending applications for 91.7. Living Proof's application in Lunenburg remains in conflict.
May 30
CSN International files a petition for reconsideration, requesting that its Lexington application be reinstated.
Aug. 8
WAVM (91.7 Maynard) amends its application for class-A status to specify the same facilities as UMass-Boston's application and add share-time operation.
Aug. 23
UMass-Boston amends its application for 91.7 in Stow to specify share-time operation with Maynard High School's WAVM (also on 91.7).
Nov. 2
The FCC reinstates CSN International's application for a new station on 91.7 in Lexington.

2001

The FCC revisits the point system it adopted last April to resolve the large number of mutually-exclusive major-change applications for non-commercial FM stations, after receiving numerous petitions for reconsideration. In its February 28 memorandum opinion and order, the Commission reaffirms the basic principles of the point system and directs applicants in mututally-exclusive groups to file supplements to each application, documenting their qualifications under the system. Applicants are also invited to file amendments that would remove them from the conflict, or for all parties to agree on a settlement, but competing applicants may not buy each other out — settlements are limited to paying the withdrawing parties' actual engineering and legal costs.

May 8
WJLT (650 Ashland) files to add 9 watts of night power. Because the station remains officially daytime-only, it does not matter that the proposed night signal won't actually serve Ashland.
Aug. 9
The FCC grants WJLT (650 Ashland)'s application for night power.

2002

Mar. 14
WJLT (650 Ashland) adds 9 watts of night power. The FCC will grant a license to cover on May 20.
Aug. 2
CSN International files an amendment to its application for a new station on 91.7 in Gardner, removing it from the group of mutually-exclusive applications on 91.7 stretching along Route 2 from Lunenburg to Lexington and rendering it immediately grantable.
Dec. 20
WSRO (1470 Marlborough) takes new callsign WAZN, reflecting its move to Watertown and new leased-time Asian-language programming; WJLT (650 Ashland) takes the WSRO calls.

2003

May 22
Marlin Broadcasting agrees to sell WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) to Westport Communications for $4.6 million. It's all within the family, however: Westport is owned by Natick attorney Todd Tanger, grandson of Marlin founder Alexander. The transaction excludes Marlin's two remaining stations, in Connecticut.
June 26
The FCC grants CSN International's application for 91.7 in Gardner, now that it has been amended to resolve the conflict with four other applications for the frequency (all of which, including one of CSN's own in Lexington, remain pending)

2004

The FCC opens a filing window for major modifications to AM stations from January 26 to 30, which will eventually go to auction in 2014. Only two applications are filed for Massachusetts facilities, both of which go unbuilt.

In late December, the FCC announces that it will shortly begin consideration of the numerous groups of mutually-exclusive non-commercial FM major-change applications which have been pending since 2000. Each set of conflicting applications is assigned a “snap-shot date”, and the applicants must update their application supplements to reflect any changes in their situation which would impair their points rating, but discounting any changes after the snap-shot date that would improve their results. Applicants have until next January 21 to file the amendments.

Jan. 28
Langer Broadcasting applies in the FCC's major-change window to move WSRO (650 Ashland) to a new six-tower array in Walpole, where it would operate with 5 kW daytime only with a city-of-license change to Lexington. The application is mutually exclusive with an application by Steven Wendell for a new station on 650 in Raymond, Maine.

2005

Jan. 18
CSN International files an amendment to update their points system ranking for their application for 91.7 in Lexington.
Oct. 6
The FCC proposes to resolve the group of four mutually exclusive applications for 91.7 in the Route 2 corridor, by tentatively selecting Living Proof's application for Lunenburg, on the grounds of “fair, efficient, and equitable distribution” — without proceeding to a hearing ranking the applicants on the previously announced points system.
Oct. 26
Radio One moves WILD (1090 Boston)'s urban contemporary format to WBOT (97.7 Brockton), which adopts new callsign WILD-FM.
Nov. 14
WAVM and UMass jointly file for a petition to deny against Living Proof's tentative selection for the 91.7 frequency, arguing that WAVM's original 1999 application for an upgrade to class-A status had been mischaracterized as a major change, when it should have been treated as an immediately grantable minor change.
Dec. 19
Living Proof files an opposition to WAVM (91.7 Maynard) and UMass's joint petition to deny, arguing that WAVM had forfeited the question of its 1999 application's treatment as a major change when it failed to object to the Commission calling for competing applicants in December, 1999.

2006

Jan. 30
WAVM (91.7 Maynard) and UMass file a joint reply to Living Proof's opposition to their petition to deny the tentative selection of Living Proof's 91.7 Lunenburg application to receive a construction permit.
Mar. 31
KJI Broadcasting files to sell WBET (1460 Brockton) to Business Talk Radio for $1 million. BTR's principals include chairman Michael Pisani, of Short Hills, N.J., and president Michael Metter, of Stamford, Conn. The FCC will approve the sale on July 31.
Apr. 12
Maynard Public Schools, UMass, and Living Proof file a settlement agreement with the FCC, agreeing with Maynard and UMass that the original WAVM (91.7 Maynard) upgrade application should have been treated as a minor change and therefore not subject to competing applications, but requesting a waiver to allow all three parties' applications to proceed, as amended. The recharacterization would not only result in the dismissal of CSN International's application for 91.7 in Lexington, but also CSN's subsequently granted construction permit for WJWT (91.7 Gardner); CSN is not a party to the settlement.
June 23
CSN International just beats the three-year deadline to construct its new station in Gardner, WJWT (91.7), which will operate at 850 watts ERP using a directional antenna at 84 meters above average terrain. The FCC will grant a license to cover on November 7.
Aug. 21
Radio One agrees to sell WILD-FM (97.7 Brockton) for $30 million. Buyer Entercom takes over immediately via an LMA, simulcasting WAAF (107.3 Worcester); WILD-FM becomes WKAF on the 29th.
Nov. 13
Michael Metter's Business Talk Radio closes on its $1 million purchase of WBET (1460 Brockton) from Joe Gallagher's KJI Broadcasting.

2007

On April 4, the FCC announces another window for new non-commercial FM stations and major changes to existing non-commercial FMs, to open October 12. A large number of applications are received, most of which are mutually exclusive (“MX”), and it will take several years to work through all of them. Some of the MX groups will be resolved by stations voluntarily amending their applications or reaching settlement agreements; others will be decided by the FCC according to a scoring system similar to what was used in the previous non-commercial window. One such group tangles 13 such applications in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

Jan. 29
The FCC dismisses Langer Broadcasting's application to move WSRO (650 Ashland) to Lexington, with a six-tower directional array in Walpole, for failure to file a “307(b) showing” demonstrating that the move would comport with the equitable geographic distribution of broadcast signals as required in the Communications Act.
Jul. 25
In a letter decision, the FCC approves the settlement agreement among Living Proof, Maynard Public Schools, and UMass, granting construction permits for Living Proof's 91.7 in Lunenburg, the upgrade of WAVM (91.7 Maynard) to class-A status with 500 watts ERP from a tower on the high school's campus, and UMass's new 91.7 in Stow, which will share time and transmitter facilities with WAVM. CSN International's application for 91.7 in Lexington is dismissed.
Oct. 12
Christian Music Network, a Hopkinton-based non-profit, applies for a new station on 88.5 in Gloucester, with 100 watts non-directional at 68 meters above average terrain, from the WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester) tower in Cape Ann Industrial Park. The application will be part of the 13-station “Group 363” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Oct. 15
Home Improvement Ministries of Bedford applies for a new station on 88.5 in Middleboro, with 500 watts, directional and vertically polarized, from a cell tower off Route 28. The application will be part of the 13-station “Group 363” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Oct. 18
North Andover Community Access applies for a new station on 91.5 in North Andover, with 275 watts but from 400 Blackburn Drive in Gloucester. The technical exhibits attached to the application demonstrate community coverage of Rockport, rather than North Andover.
Oct. 18
Boston University applies for a new station on 89.1 in Eastham, with 10 kW horizontal, 40 kW vertical, non-directional, from 55.4 meters above average terrain off Route 6 in Eastham. It will be part of the 19-station “Group 516” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Oct. 19
Boston University applies for a new station on 88.5 in Amesbury, with 75 watts from a communications tower in Kensington, N.H. Chelsea-based Centro Familiar de Adoracion applies for a new station on 88.7 in Amesbury, with 130 watts from a tower in Newton, N.H. The applications will be part of the 13-station “Group 363” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Oct. 19
WGBH Educational Foundation applies for a new station on 88.7 in Eastham, with 15.5 kW, non-directional, from 112.4 meters above average terrain, on an existing communications tower in Eastham. WGBH requests that the FCC waive a rule requiring protection of analog TV on channel 6, which will soon be moot with the digital switchover. The application will be part of the 19-station “Group 516” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Oct. 19
UMass-Boston applies for a new station on 91.5 in Gloucester. The exact parameters of this application are unknown because of subsequent amendments, but it is mutually exclusive with another application filed for 91.5 three days later, by Light of Life Ministries, along with other applications for “North Andover” and for Burrillville, Rhode Island. In keying in the application, UMass's engineer mistypes the proposed tower's latitude, placing it 556 km farther north, and subsequent filings show the same Blackburn Drive tower as Light of Life's application.
Oct. 22
Religious group Centro de Intercesion y Adoracion Internacional applies for a new station on 88.5 in Rockport, with 500 watts on a building in downtown Rockport (which the application asserts to be 148 meters below average terrain). The group claims to be a church in Texas, but gives a Long Beach, Calif., address in its application. Gloucester-based charity Wellspring House also applies for a new station on 88.5 in Rockport, with 3 kW at 97 meters above average terrain. Talking Information Center, the Marshfield-based radio reading service for the blind, applies for a new station on 88.5 in Middleborough Center, with 1400 watts from the WVBF (1530 Middleborough Center) tower. All of these applications will be part of the 13-station “Group 363” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Oct. 22
Academy of the Immaculate, a religious group based in New Bedford, applies for a new station on 88.5 in “Bayview”. It is mutually exclusive with both of the Middleboro applications but does not end up part of “Group 363”.
Oct. 22
Augusta, Maine-based Light of Life Ministries applies for a new station on 91.5 in Rockport, with 800 watts at 56 meters above average terrain; it's mutually exclusive with the UMass application for 91.5 in Gloucester (and in fact they specify the same tower).
Oct. 22
Sherborn's Peace Abbey applies for a new station on 91.5 in Burrillville, R.I. The application is part of “Group 109” with the three Cape Ann 91.5 proposals from North Andover Community Access, UMass-Boston, and Light of Life. After filing two amendments which remove it from the MX group, the group eventually gives up on the application and asks for it to be dismissed, but not until December of 2009.
Oct. 22
Emerson College applies for a new station on 88.7 MHz in Barnstable, with 9 kW, non-directional, from 80 m above average terrain on a tower in Dennis, to be a satellite of WERS (88.9 Boston). Emerson requests that the FCC waive a rule requiring protection of analog TV on channel 6, which will soon be moot with the digital switchover. It will be part of the 19-station “Group 516” of mutually-exclusive applications.
Nov. 8
The FCC dismisses UMass's application for 91.5 in Gloucester, on the grounds that the coordinates given on the application are in Baie-St.-Paul, Quebec, and thus do not cover Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Nov. 16
UMass-Boston files to amend its now-dismissed application for 91.5 in Gloucester, correcting the error in the coordinates.
Nov. 21
UMass's attorneys file a petition for reconsideration on the dismissal of the UMass-Boston's application for 91.5 in Rockport and asking for reinstatement with the typo in the coordinates fixed per their recent amendment.

2008

The FCC begins work processing the hundreds of applications for new full-power, non-commercial FM stations. First, “singleton” applications — those that are immediately grantable and do not conflict with any other pending applications — are granted. On March 7, the FCC releases a list of 263 “small” groups of mutually-exclusive applications, containing four or fewer stations, so that those applicants can work out settlements or amend their applications to remove them from the group. Two such groups are located in eastern Massachusetts: a set of three applications for 90.1 (in Brockton, Easton, and Fall River), and the applications for 91.5 on Cape Ann; they are numbered 107 and 109, respectively. A further 193 groups are identified later in the year, including group 363 on 88.5 (stretching from Middleboro up to Milford, N.H.), group 365 on 89.3 in northern Worcester County, and group 516 (nineteen applications for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket). Several of the applications are patently defective and will be dismissed, thinning the groups.

Jan 7
Academy of the Immaculate files a unilateral amendment to its application for a new station on 88.5 in “Bayview”, to operate at 880 watts, directional, from a cell tower in South Dartmouth; the amended application is no longer mutually exclusive with the pending applications for 88.5 in Middleboro.
Jan. 7
Talking Information Center amends its application for 88.5 in Middleborough Center to change the proposed directional pattern and remove it from the mutually-exclusive “Group 363” by eliminating overlap with Wellspring House's application for 88.5 in Rockport and Academy of the Immaculate's 88.5 in “Bayview”. TIC's application remains mutually exclusive with Home Improvement Ministries' application for 88.5 in Middleboro.
Jan. 28
WTTT flips from conservative talk to Spanish-language Christian music.
Feb. 5
The FCC grants an application for a new translator on 102.9 MHz in Newton, N.H., from the 2003 translator window, to Airport Investors LP; it receives the callsign W275BH, and will eventually be moved to Andover to serve as a translator for WNNW (800 Lawrence). Newton is just over the state line from Haverhill.
May 21
The FCC grants Academy of the Immaculate's application to construct a new station on 88.5 in “Bayview”.
June 10
The FCC dismisses North Andover Community Access's ill-advised application for 91.5 in North Andover because the proposed transmitter site in Gloucester does not serve North Andover. The organization does not contest the dismissal.
July 2
CSN International, formerly known as Calvary Satellite Network, sells most of its station portfolio to Calvary Radio Network for $1.8 million, including WFGL (960 Fitchburg) and WJWT (91.7 Gardner). The FCC approves the transfer on September 29 and the sale closes October 21. The sale is ultimately the settlement of a dispute between Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls and the “mother church” in Santa Ana, California. CSN keeps for itself the construction permit that will eventually be licensed as WSMA (90.5 Scituate).
Oct. 29
Calvary Radio Network agrees to settle a $2 million debt owed to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa by assigning CRN's entire station portfolio, including WFGL (960 Fitchburg) and WJWT (91.7 Gardner), to the church. The FCC approves the transfer on December 24 and the sale closes December 31.
Oct. 24
Costa-Eagle Radio Ventures, owner of several Merrimack Valley AM stations, agrees to acquire the construction permit for W275BH (102.9 Newton, N.H.) from Richard Snyder's Airport Investors, for $65,000. After the parties file an amendment on December 10, the FCC grants the assignment on the 16th and the sale closes two days later.
Dec. 22
Costa-Eagle applies to modify the construction permit for W275BH (102.9 Newton, N.H.) to increase power to 150 watts and change the transmitter site to the WXRV (92.5 Andover) tower on Observatory Ave. in Haverhill, which is also the site of Costa-Eagle's own WCEC (1490 Haverhill). The application specifies WXRV as the translator's primary station, making it a “fill-in” translator and thus exempt from certain rules regarding interference to the (second-adjacent) primary station. (Costa-Eagle had to receive the consent of WXRV's owner, who is also the tower landlord, to do so.) There is no change proposed to the translator's city of license.
Dec. 30
The FCC grants W275BH (102.9 Newton, N.H.)'s move to 92.1 MHz in Haverhill, with new callsign W221CH.

2009

The FCC continues to process groups of mutually-exclusive applications from the 2007 non-commercial FM window. After allowing applicants some time to come to voluntary settlements or remove themselves from the MX groups with technical amendments, the Commission begins to evaluate applications according to its established point system and announces tentative selections in each remaining group. Group 363, with 13 applications in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, is decided March 30.

Jan. 27
Costa-Eagle Radio Ventures applies for a license to cover on its move of the former W275BH, now W221CH, to 92.1 MHz in Haverhill.
Jan. 27
Academy of the Immaculate requests the callsign WPMW for its construction permit on 88.5 MHz in “Bayview”.
Jan. 30
Costa-Eagle apples to move W221CH (92.1 “Newton, N.H.”), to the WNNW (800 Lawrence) tower in Andover. Costa-Eagle's application notes that second-adjacent interference this would cause to WXRV is permissible under FCC rules because the interference does not occur in Andover, and W221CH is authorized as a fill-in translator for WXRV.
Jan. 30
W221CH (92.1 Newton, N.H.) requests Special Temporary Authority to rebroadcast WNNW (800 Lawrence) instead of authorized primary WXRV (92.5 Andover). The FCC has established this STA process to allow AM-to-FM translators while it works on rules that will allow such translators under the regular procedures for translator primary stations.
Feb. 2
The FCC simultaneously grants Costa-Eagle's applications for a license to cover on W221CH (102.9 Newton, N.H.)'s move to 92.1 MHz in Haverhill, and for a construction permit to move W221CH to Andover (with new city of license Lawrence).
Feb. 26
Costa-Eagle files for a license to cover its move of W221CH (92.1 “Newton, N.H.”) to the WNNW (800 Lawrence) tower in Andover. The license will never be granted.
Mar. 20
WNNW (800 Lawrence) translator W221CH (92.1 Lawrence) files to reduce power from 250 to 200 watts under Special Temporary Authority while it attempts to resolve interference complaints.
Mar. 23
The FCC dismisses Emerson College's application for a new 88.7 in Barnstable, on the grounds that it does not provide sufficient protection to the soon-to-be-silenced analog TV operation of WLNE (6 New Bedford) and denies Emerson's request for a waiver. WGBH's application for very similar facilities, which contains a similar waiver request, is not dismissed.
Mar. 26
WFEX (92.1 Peterborough, N.H.) objects to Costa-Eagle's license application for W221CH (92.1 Lawrence), citing interference complaints. Costa-Eagle responds April 21.
Mar. 30
The FCC tentatively selects a UMass-Boston application for 88.5 in Milford, N.H., as the one application out of thirteen in “Group 363” to be accepted for filing. The other applicatons in this group, from Boston University, Centro Familiar de Adoracion, Centro de Intercesion y Adoracion, Wellspring House, Talking Information Center, Christian Music Network, Beverly Cable and Telecommunications, Bangor Baptist Church, ACN2, and Highland Community Broadcasting, are all to be dismissed at the end of April. A number of the losers will contest the FCC's choice.
Apr. 27
Emerson College asks the full FCC to review the denial of a waiver of the soon-to-be-obsolete TV channel 6 interference rule, which doomed its application for a new station on 88.7 MHz in Barnstable.
May 4
Wellspring House asks the FCC to withdraw its “Group 363” application for 88.5 in Rockport.
May 8
Talking Information Center files a “petition for severance” with the FCC, arguing that its and Home Improvement Ministries' applications to serve Middleboro were only included in “Group 363” because they conflicted with Wellspring House's application, and with that application withdrawn, the two Middleboro applications conflict only with each other and can be removed from the now 12-station group, allowing the FCC to grant TIC's application after separate evaluation under the points system.
May 8
The FCC formally dismisses Talking Information Center's and Home Improvement Ministries' applications for 88.5 in Middleboro and all of the other non-preferred “Group 363” applications.
May 14
Talking Information Center files a petition for reconsideration of the dismissal of their “Group 363” application, asking the FCC to take note of their petition for severance, reinstate their application and grant it under the points system.
May 22
WNNW (800 Lawrence) translator W221CH (92.1 Lawrence) files to further reduce power to 60 watts as it continues to respond to interference complaints.
June 10
Home Improvement Ministries files a petition to reconsider the dismissal of HIM's application for 88.5 in Middleboro. HIM and Talking Information Center jointly file for approval of a settlement agreement between the two groups. The settlement calls for TIC's application to be granted and for TIC to pay HIM $4,926 for its engineering and legal costs.
June 12
Christian Music Network files a petition to reinstate its application for 88.5 in Gloucester, arguing that its application does not conflict with the UMass-Boston application in Milford, N.H., that was ultimately granted out of “Group 363”.
June 16
The FCC denies UMass's petition to reinstate its application for 91.5 in Gloucester and grants Light of Life's competing application for the same frequency on Cape Ann, which was the only remaining mutually-exclusive application. Light of Life will request the callsign WWRN.
July 16
UMass files a formal application for review before the FCC, appealing the FCC staff decision denying reinstatement of UMass's application for 91.5 in Rockport.
Dec. 16
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa agrees to sell WFGL (960 Fitchburg) and WJWT (91.7 Gardner) to Horizon Christian Fellowship, a 500-member church in Fitchburg. Calvary will finance the $200,000 purchase, which includes WFGL's studios and real estate.

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