Published reports over the past week suggest that era is about to come to an end. The city schools are apparently as eager to give up WNYE-FM (and its TV counterpart, WNYE-TV 25) as the city itself was a few years ago, when it sold WNYC-TV and spun WNYC radio off to a separate nonprofit entity. Ironically, it's that very entity that would take over WNYE under the plan now being considered.
Right now, WNYC operates two stations, the mostly classical WNYC-FM (93.9) and news-talk-variety WNYC (820 AM). What might WNYC do with a third station? Speculation so far has ranged from using 91.5 to extend the weak night signal of AM 820, to using the new station to bring back the adult standards format that's now extinct in New York City.
What about the French programming in the morning, the Haitian shows at night that seem to be heard in every other Manhattan taxi, and the schools shows? We'll know more when and if schools chancellor Harold Levy unveils an official plan to hand WNYE-FM management over to WNYC.
As for WNYE-TV, which picked up some of the ethnic programming displaced by the demise of the old WNYC-TV in 1997 (that station, sold by the city for $207 million, is now Pax outlet WPXN-TV), there's been talk of handing its operations over to competing PBS outlet WNET (Channel 13), but those plans appear less certain at press time.
Up in the North Country, Tim Martz has applied to make some big changes at his stations, now that the FCC has approved a swap of his frequency allocations in Canton and Morristown. Here's how things would play out: WVLF Canton, now a class A station on 96.7, would boost power to 23.5kw from 338 meters (with a directional antenna) from its transmitter site on Waterman Hill south of Canton. WVLF would move to 102.9, yielding its 96.7 frequency to WNCQ Morristown. That station would also get to go up to a class C3, with 17.2 kW at 354 meters from a new transmitter site northwest of Gouverneur, close enough to Watertown to make the new signal a rimshot contender there. Martz would also raise the power on his WRCD (101.5 Canton), which would go up to a full 50 kW (albeit directional) from 453 meters, at a new site on Whites Hill southeast of Potsdam (near the WNPI-TV tower).
While we're up that way, there are two applications in the works for signal changes near Syracuse. WVOQ (103.9 Mexico) wants to boost its signal from an A to a C3, moving to a 17 kW directional signal from 397 meters at a new site near New Scriba (a few miles east of I-81 at Sandy Creek). And daytimer WSIV (1540 East Syracuse) is applying for yet another signal change: this time to 2500 watts day, 400 watts night from the Sentinel Heights area near Nedrow that's home to TV (WSTM and WTVH) and FM (WYYY and WWHT) sticks. WSIV would change city of license to DeWitt if the application is approved.
Radio People on the Move: After more than 50 years at Dundee's WFLR (1570/95.9), one of the station's founders is hanging up his headphones. Robert William None has done everything from sales to news at the little community station. Most recently, he's been heard Saturday mornings and on the "Poem of the Day." Across the Finger Lakes in Cortland, Tony DeFranco has been promoted from PD to operations manager at Citadel's WKRT (920) and WIII (99.9). Congratulations to WGY (810 Schenectady) morning host Don Weeks, who's marking 20 years at the talker this month. Up in Potsdam, the folks at WPDM (1470) and WSNN (99.3) are mourning a station veteran. Dave Cady came to WPDM from Watertown's WOTT (1410) in the late 1960s, and hosted the "Dave Cady Good Morning Show" until his retirement in 1998. Cady was 62 when he died November 28 at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.
Moving to the Southern Tier, there's a new station of sorts in Elmira. After being off the air for just short of the one-year deadline (NERW, 12/10/1999), WEHH in Elmira Heights-Horseheads is once again being heard by listeners in Chemung County. Instead of its old 1590 signal from Latta Brook Road, though, WEHH is now operating on 1600 kHz from the studios and transmitter site of co-owned WELM (1410 Elmira) down on Lake Avenue. WEHH retains its locally-automated adult standards, and we suspect the Sunday morning polkas are once again being heard on both WEHH and WELM.
One more Southern Tier note: Steve Shimer is gone from his post as program director of Elmira's WPHD (94.7 Tioga PA) and Binghamton's WCDW (100.5 Conklin), leaving station owner George Harris handling programming while he looks for a replacement.
O'Brien's first big change at WSMN came Wednesday (11/29), when morning host Arnie Arnesen was informed she had just done her last "Morning Attitude" show. The former gubernatorial candidate was replaced by Bloomberg News in morning drive. Todd Feinburg stays on as station manager, with promises to add additional local programming in the months to come.
The original WMEX, today's WNRB (1510 Boston), is getting a new owner. One-on-One Sports, which owns WNRB, WJWR (620 Newark NJ), and KMPC (1540 Los Angeles), is being sold to Vulcan Ventures, the parent company of the Sporting News. When the deal closes, One-on-One will be renamed the "Sporting News Radio Network." Vulcan is owned by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, who was already involved in radio through KXL (750) and KXJM (95.5) in Portland, Oregon.
Our readers in central Massachusetts tell us Worcester's WYDN (Channel 48) is indeed on the air, but has been suffering signal problems that have made it hard to watch for a week or so.
Moving west, Southbridge's WESO (970) is returning to its original owners. The Newhoff family's Eastern Media sold the station to Evergreen Communications in 1998 with a provision that Evergreen (which is controlled by Stonebridge Press, publisher of the Southbridge Evening News) could sell WESO back at any time. Stonebridge put WESO up for sale a few months ago, and now it's back in the hands of the Newhoffs.
There's a new morning host at the River (92.5 WXRV Haverhill), as Keith Andrews heads south to Dallas-Fort Worth, leaving Dana Marshall solo in mornings at the AAA station. Andrews' new gig is a production job at AAA "Merge" (KKMR 93.3 Haltom Hills).
More than a year after the death of station owner Peter Orne, Sr., Rockland's WMCM (103.3) and WRKD (1450) are apparently being sold. Orne's Rockland Radio Corp. filed this week to transfer the mid-coast stations to Clear Channel. Until now, that company's only Maine group was its six-station cluster in the Bangor market.
Down south in Windsor County, religious broadcaster Brian Dodge has been turned down in his bid to move his trial for domestic abuse. Dodge's wife, Phyllis, works for the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, and Dodge argued that she knew the prosecutors handling the case too well. The trial will go forward in Windsor County, but with prosecutors being brought in from elsewhere in Vermont. (We're still awaiting word of the return to the air of WNBX 1480 in Springfield, the station Dodge operated until recently.)
There's a new arrival at Rutland's WEXP (101.5 Brandon): station manager Jay Gadon and his wife Carleen welcomed Myles Francis Gadon into the world Thanksgiving morning. We're told all three are doing well; no word on when the new arrival will start pulling an airshift on "the Fox"!
As long as we have Imus on the mind, we'll mention in passing that that other big-name Infinity New York-based morning guy is still claiming December 15 will be his last day. We still think that smells like a ploy for publicity...just like all the cheap stunts certain other shock-talk hosts in New York and Worcester have been pulling in the last few weeks in an unsuccessful attempt to get their names in NERW. (Just because the Herald and the Daily News bit doesn't mean we will, too...)
One of Providence's longest-serving TV reporters is leaving the business. Dyana Koelsch has been with WJAR-TV (Channel 10) since 1985, covering politics and doing investigative reporting. Koelsch, a veteran of the old WEAN (790)'s all-news days, says she wants to be able to spend more time with her family once she leaves the NBC O&O.
The Energy Radio operation will move from the side of Highway 401 in Burlington to the CHML/Y95 complex on Main Street in Hamilton, and we hear the plan is to combine Y95, Oshawa's "Magic" (CKGE 94.9), and Barrie's CHAY (93.1) into a new station that will surround Toronto with a simulcast on all three frequencies.
We haven't heard any more tests on 740, but we can tell you a little more about the new station that will soon launch there in Toronto. We're told the calls will be CFPT, "Prime Time Radio," and that the adult-standards station will use the CBC facility at Hornby, the same transmitter that operated as CBL until summer 1999. That should mean no trouble hearing the signal across southern Ontario and western New York once it does launch. (We also note that the folks at CHWO Oakville, the station that's transmuting into CFPT, have registered primetimeradio.net as a domain name, though nothing's active there yet.)
The folks at Smiths Falls' CJET didn't wait long to shut off their AM once they had their FM signal going on 92.3; we're told the AM 630 signal is now off the air for good. A NERW reader who spent some time in Ottawa during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday reports the CJET-FM signal doesn't reach the capital city very well, which is exactly the way the CRTC wanted things (to ensure that CJET continues to be a local Smiths Falls station.)
There could be some new programming coming to one of Montreal's least-known TV stations. CJNT (Channel 62) has been broadcasting ethnic programming for the last few years, but new owner Canwest Global has persuaded the CRTC that there's no way CJNT can ever be profitable without adding more mass-market programming -- which is why the CRTC is allowing CJNT to add some English-language programming during the week and some English and French movies on weekends. The idea, apparently, is for CJNT to become a Quebec equivalent to Toronto's CFMT (Channel 47), which uses English programming like David Letterman to subsidize its ethnic broadcasts the rest of the day.
And that's it for another week here at NERW. A reminder to those of you reading the mailing-list version of the column: you can now find NERW every Monday at <http://www.fybush.com>, a full three days before it's posted to the mailing list. And be sure to check out the new "Tower Site of the Week" that's added to fybush.com every Wednesday. This week, it's the WCBS/WFAN site on City Island!