With the coming of duopoly, WTXX ended up in the hands of Tribune, which is also part-owner of The WB and full owner of Hartford's Fox affiliate, WTIC-TV (Channel 61). As for WBNE, it will get the UPN -- now Paramount Network -- affiliation that now belongs to WTXX, at least for however much longer the Paramount Network continues to exist. Expect a call change to get rid of the "WB" at WBNE, as well.
Meanwhile down in Bridgeport, channel 43 is getting yet another new owner. The Azteca Network will pay Shop At Home $37.5 million for what's now WSAH(TV), making it the "New York" outlet for the new joint venture of Pappas Telecasting and Mexico's TV Azteca. The Spanish-language network will debut next spring, offering serious competition to Telemundo for the title of #2 network among Hispanic viewers (though we have to wonder how well its largely Mexican programming will fare among the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in New York City, especially without much over-the-air signal or cable carriage in the city proper).
Southington's WNTY (990) has returned to the air after that leased-time payment dispute that shut the station down for a few weeks. No word yet on a permanent format for the ADD Media station.
Former WNAB (1450 Bridgeport, now WCUM) GM Tom Kennedy II died September 20 at age 68 of cancer. Kennedy led the station during its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.
Bob Anderson, who left WTHT (107.5 Lewiston) last month, has landed at oldies WYNZ (100.9 Westbrook), filling the shoes of Dean Rogers, who's now crosstown at AC WHOM (94.9 Mount Washington NH). Meanwhile, Mac Dickson is out at WMWX (99.9 Auburn), headed for Augusta's WMME (92.3) and afternoons. Now doing mornings at 99.9: Rick Taylor and Donna Steele.
But wait...there's more. It seems 99.9 has a new nickname to go with its morning team. Gone is "Mix," which has become a Clear Channel servicemark. In its place, the station is back to the "Kiss" slogan it used for a decade or so back when it was WKZS -- but with that call sign long since taken, we hear the new calls at the new old "Kiss 99.9" will be WMEK.
And if *that* sounds like it should be a Maine Public Radio call, well, there's some news from the public radio folks as well this week. Keith Shortall, who's been with the statewide network since 1989, has been promoted to news director.
One more Portland change: WGAN (560) has dumped the syndicated Rick Emerson show in evenings, replacing him with the syndicated Mike Gallagher offering.
Just up the coast, Atlantic Coast's WCLZ (95.5 Topsham) has finally put the AAA format that's been wandering from station to station to rest. After migrating to 95.5 from what's now WTPN (98.9 Brunswick), the format was replaced last week by a simulcast of sports "WJAB" (aka WJAE 1440 Westbrook and WJJB 900 Brunswick).
A hearty congratulations to the "W-Bach" stations (WBQQ 99.3 Kennebunkport, WBQW 106.3 Scarborough, WBQX 106.9 Thomaston), which were the only stations in NERW-land to take home a Marconi Award at the NAB Radio Show last week in San Francisco. We're not sure which we enjoyed more: having a Northeast station to cheer for at the awards banquet, or watching a room of sixty-something station managers try to rock out to Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Free Bird," the headline act at said banquet. (If only the LPFM protesters in the lobby downstairs could have seen what was really going on inside...)
Our engineering-minded friends have been perusing the FCC database as it slowly returns to being current, and it seems Framingham's WKOX (1200) and Waltham's WRCA (1330) are both contemplating sharing a new set of five towers at the Newton site of WUNR (1600 Brookline). It's not clear whether WKOX would be at the new site all day or only at night, and we're also told that WRCA's proposed 17 kW from the new towers wouldn't provide that much improvement over its current 5 kW in Waltham. We're hoping to know more about these applications, as well as WMEX (1060 Natick)'s power increase and site move (back to its old Ashland location) sometime soon...
WWDP (Channel 46) in Norwell has dropped infomercials for Telemundo's Spanish programming, we hear.
Congratulations to "Cadillac Jack" McCartney, who adds station manager to his PD duties at Clear Channel's WJMN (94.5) in Boston, effective immediately.
We're told Carlo Lagrotteia, operations manager at WHDH (850, now WEEI), died last week of lung cancer. Lagrotteia ran things at WHDH from the 1960s until the early 1980s. He was 65. (By the way, contrary to an article in the Globe last week -- there's no way the "easy listening" station being heard on a radio at Walden Pond is WHDH. Shame that nice new design didn't come with any better fact-checking...)
Out west, it sounds like there may be a format split coming at Greenfield's WHAI (1240/98.3) -- at least, that's what we read into the word that Aaron Mintz' long-running Sunday night oldies show is leaving the station, rather than be relegated to AM only.
End of an era: Curt Gowdy, the legendary Boston broadcaster who exited New England a few years back with the sale of Lawrence's WCCM/WCGY, is now exiting radio ownership entirely. Gowdy sold KOWB (1290) and KCGY (95.1) in Laramie, Wyoming to (who else?) Clear Channel last week...
It seems new owner Adelphia decided to use the 10-11AM hour all week as a preview of what's to come, with the rest of the day still occupied by satellite country. We also noticed that, for a few days at least, the already potent signal was broadcasting in mono only, making it even more listenable around the fringes in Rochester (and presumably in downtown Buffalo as well).
The country vanished for good over the weekend (as did any sign of a legal ID -- Sunday morning we heard only "Sports Radio 107.7 Wethersfield Buffalo"), and we're told the full format arrives Monday morning (10/2). Tom Campbell moves over from WYRK (106.5) to do mornings, followed by Fox Sports in late morning, Art Wander from noon till 2, Mike Shopp (moving from Rochester's WHTK) from 2-6, and Dave Miller from 6-11 on nights when the Sabres aren't playing. Buffalo Blizzard soccer moves from 107.7 over to WWKB (1520), in the unlikely event anyone notices.
We've also been listening to the fringes of Syracuse's new urban station. Just a week after WRDS (102.1 Phoenix) ditched "Power" for soft AC "Sunny," in stepped Clear Channel, jettisoning the smooth jazz of WHCD (106.9 Auburn) for urban as..."Power 106.9." The change took place at 10 AM on Sept. 21, we're told, with local hosts and the Tom Joyner morning show (a WRDS relic) arriving soon. (NERW notes that the urban format is now on one of the least urban Syracuse signals, emanating from some 30 miles out of town in the Finger Lakes...)
We're not sure we believe the new calls attached to the latest FCC filing on that new 106.9 in Lakewood, near Jamestown. The commission says it's "WKSQ-FM" being transferred from Newman Communications to Cross Country Communications, but that call is still very much alive in Ellsworth, Maine, as far as we know.
Another new call: Saranac Lake's WSLK (106.3) is changing to WYZY. We're waiting patiently to hear from our North Country correspondents about this one...
While we're up north, we note that Watertown's WWTI (Channel 50) is beefing up its morning news, adding a 5-7 AM show and a noon broadcast on Monday (10/2) to compete with WWNY-TV (Channel 7), which itself expanded the morning show to a full hour last month.
Downstate, Wednesday marked the launch of New York City's newest all-news station. WNNY (1380) will have a staff of 50 people, comparable to its English-language competitors WCBS and WINS. Alejandro Guerrera is the news director at Mega's new entry into the Big Apple's increasingly crowded Spanish-language market.
Speaking of New York, Arbitron is adding two new "embedded markets" to its surveys of the #1 market's suburbs. Starting this fall, Middlesex-Somerset-Union NJ and Westchester NY enter the Arbitron market lists, at #33 and #59 respectively. They join Nassau-Suffolk, Monmouth-Ocean, Morristown and Stamford-Norwalk as "markets within markets" in the New York survey.
We'll recap that Ohio trip next week -- we promise. This week, though, we have something else to offer: some early clues from the FCC to what's next on the AM and FM dials in NERW-land.
AM first: The Commission released a list of uncontested major AM applications last week, based on the applications submitted during January's window for new AM authorizations. We'll know all the details on these later this month, when the full Form 301 applications are due, but here's what's being proposed:
Up in Maine, a Daniel Priestly has applied for 1230 in Hermon and 1340 and 1400 in Veazie.
New Hampshire finds Bob Vinikoor (of WNTK and yet-unbuilt WQTH fame) applying for 1490 in Lebanon as well. In addition, one Jeffrey Steven Wendell wants 540 in Jaffrey.
We already knew about the Connecticut proposals: Fair Communications for 1590 in Oakville, and Dennis Jackson's 1490s in Torrington and Uncasville and 1400 in Falls Village.
Heading into Massachusetts, things start getting interesting. Remember our speculation that Alex Langer bought 1470 in Portage, PA (near Johnstown) with an improvement to WSRO Marlborough in mind? Seems he's applying to move WSRO to Watertown with a significant power upgrade...and to move the Portage station, WFJY, down the dial to 660 and an hour west to the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg. (He's also applying to move WVFC 1530 in McConnellsburg PA a few hours east to the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, and on 1180, to boot!)
Also applying to change city of license to Watertown is Waltham's WRCA (1330) -- related, perhaps, to the proposed tower move?
In New York, Arthur Liu's WNYG (1440 Babylon) would move to Islip Terrace on Long Island. Michael A. Sleezer wants a new station on 1440 up in Gloversville. Long-unbuilt WKNJ (550 Lakeside NJ) wants to slide across the state line to Harriman, NY. And in the Syracuse area, WOLF Radio wants a new DeRuyter station on 780, WSIV (1540 East Syracuse) wants to move to DeWitt and 720, while Craig Fox's Renard Broadcasting wants to put a 1510 on the air in Mexico, near Oswego.
We'll have technical details on all of these, we hope, when the applications are filed later in October.
Meantime on FM, the FCC is asking for comments on a proposed February 21, 2001 auction that would clear the backlog of newly-allocated FM frequencies. The commission has released tentative starting bids for the channels...and check these out:
In Massachusetts: 94.3A Brewster ($170,000) and 104.3A West Tisbury ($75,000).
In New Hampshire: 93.7A Groveton ($40,000), 97.3A Jefferson ($60,000), and 99.1A Whitefield ($60,000).
In Vermont: 100.3A Barton ($60,000) and 105.9A Hardwick ($75,000).
In New York: 97.1A Canaseraga ($115,000), 97.9A Dannemora ($140,000), 97.5A Delhi ($90,000), 107.1A Livingston Manor ($115,000), 92.5A Old Forge ($5,000), 107.1A Saranac Lake ($40,000), 96.5A Speculator ($5,000), 93.5A Wellsville ($90,000), 106.7A Windsor ($115,000), and -- sitting down? -- 92.1A Amherst ($800,000). That's right, nearly a million dollars just to apply for the last available FM frequency in the Buffalo market.
And on that revenue-producing note, we'll sign off for another week. See you in seven...
|NERW's Northeast Television Index||98.45|