Regent gets active rock WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer) and WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill); country WGNA AM-FM (1460/107.7 Albany); sports WTMM (1300 Rensselaer); and rhythmic oldies WABT (104.5 Mechanicville), in addition to three FMs in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in exchange for 11 Regent stations in Ohio and California and $67 million in cash.
NERW says: The big prize here is WGNA, consistently among the top three stations in Albany. The others are either signal-impaired or consistent ratings has-beens. What Clear Channel ends up keeping from AMFM is oldies WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam/980 Albany) and mainstream rocker WPYX (106.5 Albany), to go along with the former Dame group of WGY (810 Schenectady), modern AC WHRL (103.1 Albany), and adult rock WRVE (99.5 Schenectady), along with the former Arcara property of WXCR (102.3 Ballston Spa), doing classic rock.
More translator action: After protests from co-channel WEOS Geneva, Pensacola Christian Church's Elmira translator, W209BG, is moving off 89.7. The new calls down on 88.9 will be W205BR, running six watts from the WLVY site in the hills east of Elmira Heights. Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls (the KAWZ folks) have applied for 90.9 in Shirley, out on Long Island. Family Life Network has been granted 88.1 in Binghamton (as W201CP) to relay WCII Spencer. The Bible Lighthouse has a license to cover for 91.7 in Elmira (W219CE); we'll check that one out when we head down that way in a few days.
A TV note from Binghamton: WBGH-LP (now on channel 8, but applying for a move to 20) has applied for a transfer from Smith Broadcasting (owners of Elmira NBC affiliate WETM, which WBGH relays) to "CNY News, Inc.", aka Ackerley, which owns four ABC affiliates in the region, including Binghamton's own WIVT (Channel 34). More on this as we find it out...
We heard the aftermath of the end of WSFW-FM (99.3 Seneca Falls) Monday morning, as plugs were pulled and STLs switched a few minutes before 6, moving the classic rock of WLLW from 93.7 Clyde to the 99.3 facility as "The Wall," installing Family Life Radio on 93.7, and ending the weekend simulcast of WNYR (98.5 Waterloo) on 99.3. For a few days, both 93.7 *and* 99.3 were legalling as "WLLW" -- though the FCC database shows those calls still on 93.7, with 99.3 legally WSFW-FM still. We rather enjoyed the Family Life morning show on 93.7, where the two hosts were having fun talking about the signal range (and about the last song WLLW aired on 93.7, the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want.") On the AM side, WSFW (1110 Seneca Falls) signed on at 6:15 with an abrupt dump into Music of Your Life programming, followed later by dual IDs with WAUB (1590 Auburn). We're told a local morning show on 1110 is on the way.
One more note from the road: There's an awfully powerful pirate playing a very deep playlist of oldies on Rochester's east side. The 92.1 signal makes it from downtown all the way out into Ontario County, and is especially strong around the Baker Hill area (home to the WVOR, WZXV, and WBER transmitters). We've yet to hear an ID...
On the TV dial, Jennifer Crompton is the new news director at WMUR (Channel 9) in Manchester, replacing veteran Karen Brown in the position (and with more than three years to go before her job becomes one of the most important, politically speaking, in the media world -- at least for a few weeks in January and February 2004!)
Also in MAINE, there's a new owner taking over at WKTJ (99.3 Farmington). Marc Fisher is a longtime engineer (at WRKO/WROR Boston and WHJJ/WHJY Providence); now he and partner Nelson Doak are moving into the owner's seat at one of the last vestiges of really good local small-town radio in the region. Best of luck!
While we're in Montreal, we note that there's still no radio deal for the Expos, in either English or French, and with just a few short weeks to go until Opening Day. Published reports up there say CJAD (800) and CKAC (730) are the only real prospects at this point, and both are balking at the team's terms.
Finally, a belated note about a call change way the heck up north in the Saguenay-Lac St.-Jean region. CKRS-TV (Channel 12) in Chicoutimi is changing calls to CKTV, now that it's no longer co-owned with CKRS (590). While we're way up there (where it's a balmy -7 degrees Celsius today!), we note (also belatedly) that CBJ has indeed made the move from 1580 to 93.7 FM for good, leaving just CJBC (860 Toronto) as a major Radio-Canada AM voice to the Northeastern U.S.
That's it for this week; coming next time, our long-delayed look at California (promise!) and then our annual check of baseball networks. See you Friday!