Back in 1997, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against Infinity's WXRK (92.3) for material Stern broadcast in October 1995, March 1996 and June 1996. Two Stern affiliates, WBZU in Richmond and WEZB in New Orleans, were also fined -- and paid.
Infinity took a different tack, contesting the fine, and it looks like its patience paid off: last week, the FCC announced that "because a significant amount of time has elapsed since the broadcasts," the Commission won't continue pushing for the money. (We suspect Infinity's "voluntary contribution" a few years back didn't hurt matters with the FCC, either.)
So what does it all mean? Look for more stations to play a similar waiting game with the Commission where fines are concerned; they have little to lose and, apparently, much to gain by doing so.
Down in Corning, Fox affiliate WYDC (Channel 48) is getting ready to power up. The station is now seen primarily on cable, since it runs just 12 kW from a short stick out to the west of Corning. It's applied to increase to 163 kW from 229 meters above average terrain, on the tower farm just west of downtown Corning (and easily visible from I-86 as you drive through town). The new facility would use a directional antenna; we suspect the translators in Bath and Elmira will stay on the air.
BanJo's purchase of four stations northeast of Binghamton has brought about some format changes, it seems. M Street reports that the simulcast of Walton's WDLA (1270) and WDLA-FM (92.1) has ended. WDLA is now running ABC's satellite standards format, while WDLA-FM sticks with country. The other two stations in the group, WIYN (94.7 Deposit) and WDHI (100.3 Delhi) are also simulcasting now, with both using ABC's AC service.
You can't please everybody all the time: that's the lesson New York's WFUV (90.7) is learning this week. The Fordham University public radio outlet gave fans of freeform radio a little present by offering Vin Scelsa and "Idiot's Delight" a new home on the dial. Big Apple polka fans, though, aren't so pleased, because Scelsa's Saturday night slot is the same one held for decades by Bill Shibilski's Polka Party.
Shibilski's show has been on WFUV since 1964, and his fans say the polka audience helped pay for the station's power increase and conversion to stereo in the seventies. Also ousted from WFUV as part of its Saturday overhaul were German-language and swing-music shows.
Shibilski is trying to organize his fans on the Internet to put pressure on WFUV to bring his show back to the airwaves.
And while your NERW editors head out to Long Island to check out the towers (which is why this issue is a little shorter and a little earlier than usual), there's word of a settlement in the nine-year fight for one of the Island's last FM allocations. There were five applicants for 92.9 in Southampton; now Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Sabbath Inc. and the East Hampton Broadcasting Corp. have all dropped out.
Meanwhile, Corus is launching a new province-wide talk format, starting in Hamilton (CHML 900) and London (CFPL 980) on Monday, then rolling out to Guelph (CJOY 1460), Oshawa (CKDO 1350), Peterborough (CKRU 980) and Kingston (CFFX 960) later in the month. The idea, apparently, is to give all the stations a chance to share talents like CHML's Roy Green (weekdays at 9) and CFPL's Wayne McLean (weekdays at 12:30 PM), while allowing them to opt out for local programming. Notably missing from the list of stations, thus adding fuel to the rumors of a format change: Toronto's "Talk 640" (CFYI).
Enough changes for a week? Nope...we also hear that Corus is about to ditch the AAA music on Toronto rimshotter CKGE (94.9 Oshawa, aka "Magic @ 94.9") to make the station the fourth link in its "Energy" dance format, which already surrounds Toronto on Burlington's CING (107.9) and Barrie's CHAY (93.1), not to mention CFHK (103.1 St. Thomas) out in London.
Let the LPFM fights begin: there's been an informal objection filed to the Broadcasters Club's application for 103.5 in Farmington. We don't know yet if it's from one of the third-adjacent locals (WDRC-FM 102.9 and WMRQ 104.1), or from another source, but we don't believe that 103.5 channel will work under the new LPFM plan anyway.
A clarification on last week's mention of the changes at WKXL (1450 Concord/107.7 Hillsborough): station manager Dick Osborne isn't hosting the daily noon news hour, though he stays on the air with arts features and weekly editorials. His "Coffee Chat" daily interview show was among the local programs cut by station owner Vox in favor of satellite programming.
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