Clear Channel will get four stations to add to its six-station Hudson Valley cluster: rhythmic oldies WBPM (94.3 Kingston), talk WGHQ (920 Kingston), hot AC WBWZ (93.3 New Paltz), and country WRWD (107.3 Highland).
By the way, we can now report that Clear Channel is paying $18.4 million for the six nearby stations it's buying from Straus Media, while Concord Media Group will pay $6 million for the four stations in Hudson and Catskill Clear Channel was barred from buying from Straus.
Heading west, Sabre Communications is beefing up its position in the Corning/Elmira radio market with a $1.8 million purchase of Hornell's WKPQ (105.3) and WHHO (1320). The seller, Bilbat Communications, is owned by William "Bil" Berry and Richard "Bat" Lyons. WKPQ is a sort of modern AC, with a penetrating signal across much of western New York; WHHO does some talk and simulcasts WKPQ.
SabreCom owns sports-talk WWLZ (820 Horseheads), country WPGI (100.9 Horseheads) and WGMF (1490 Watkins Glen), classic rock WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls), and CHR WNKI (106.1 Corning).
Two curiosities here: The Hornell stations, although in the same county (Steuben) as Corning, don't really have much signal overlap with the rest of the market, which leads to odd ratings changes when diaries aren't uniformly distributed across the county. We also wonder what will become of WZKZ (101.9 Alfred), the country station Bilbat has been operating from Hornell as an LMA. The WZKZ license is held by Robert Pfuntner's Pembrook Pines group, SabreCom's arch-rival in the Elmira/Corning market.
A Binghamton clarification: While Al Brock is coming to the Clear Channel stations there, his duties as operations manager will still leave the existing PDs at WENE, WKGB, and WBBI in place. (Hardly the biggest problem over at the Credit Union Center; we note that a woman suffered a heart attack outside the building this week while waiting for an ersatz "Britney Spears" to emerge from the WMRV studios, where she was being "interviewed" as a prank).
A moment of silence from the Bay State's birds? It would be in order, in memory of Robert J. Lurtsema. The veteran host of WGBH's "Morning pro musica" died Monday (6/12) of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Lurtsema began the show, complete with the birds chirping at the beginning, in 1971. Until 1993, he was on the air seven days a week, on a network that at its peak included Albany's WAMC, Amherst's WFCR, and several state networks in northern New England. "Robert J." cut back to weekends in 1993, and had been off the air completely for the last few weeks. Lurtsema was 68.
Waiting for "The Hub" on your TV? July 31 is the new target date for WHUB-TV (Channel 66) to drop home shopping and become an independent station from its new home on Portland Street, near North Station.
Another FM allocation in the north country? Yep, this time it's 98.7 in Stratford. The FCC added this one to the table of allocations at the request of Peter George, who's probably better known in the New England radio community for his translator W221AG (92.1 Wareham MA). (Stratford, by the way, is way north -- on US 3 about ten miles north of Lancaster).
That's it for this week's early issue, as we head up to fine spots like Sherbrooke, Newport VT, and Berlin NH (weather permitting). Next week's will also be an early issue as we prepare to head to Cleveland. See you then!