We're back from our whirlwind Western trip (details next week, we promise), and what a week we missed back East...
Paquette's plane lodged a few dozen meters below the top of the 300-plus meter guyed tower, killing the pilot on impact Sunday afternoon (April 22).
After studying the situation, local authorities decided it was unsafe to climb the tower to retrieve Paquette's body. Declaring the tower itself damaged, they brought it down at week's end by cutting the guy wires. Paquette's widow protested the plan, saying officials should have tried harder to recover the body before bringing it down with the wreckage and the tower itself.
We're still unclear about what will become of the signals that emanated from the tower, which carried Cogeco's Radio-Canada affiliate (CKTM Channel 13) and TQS affiliate (CFKM Channel 16), TVA affiliate CHEM-TV (Channel 8), FM broadcasters CHEY (94.7) and CIGB (102.3), and several CBC and Radio-Canada relays to the area around Trois-Rivières. A replacement tower is to be built, but we're not sure whether the stations up there are off the air or operating from low-power facilities (such as the second, shorter tower at the site) in the meantime.
CHUM Group is also making official its plans to launch the "Team" sports format in Montreal next week, with "Team 990" replacing "Oldies 990" at CKGM on May 7. The station has signed a deal to carry Expos baseball in English, returning the team to the Anglo airwaves there for the first time since the 1999 season.
Down the road in Hawkesbury, Ontario, CIMF (94.9 Hull) has been granted the rebroadcaster it wants. The 759-watt signal on 88.9 MHz will keep CIMF's "Rock Détente" format reaching the area between Hull and Montreal when Radio-Canada boosts power on its CBF-FM (95.1 Montreal) signal next year.
And one more Toronto note: Yes, CFYI (640) relaunched last week as "Mojo Radio," featuring Humble and Fred (formerly of "Edge" CFNY 102.1) in mornings and male-oriented talk all day.
WXXI and WUHF currently share a candelabra tower on the hill for their analog operations, neatly wedged between WROC (Channel 8)'s tower (shared with NBC affiliate WHEC-TV, Channel 10) and the tower of ABC affiliate WOKR (Channel 13). WROC and WHEC plan to share an antenna on their existing tower for DTV, and it appears WOKR will use its existing tower as well.
The newspaper here has already published the requisite article full of neighbors complaining about the "eyesore" (though the neighbors quoted weren't even born, much less living near the towers, when Pinnacle entered broadcast service back in 1949), and no doubt we'll hear more about the evils of broadcast facilities when we drag ourselves away from the keyboard and down the street to Brighton Town Hall for the planning board meeting to consider the proposal in a few weeks. Suppose we'll be lynched if we explain how we really like broadcast towers? Or perhaps if we make the point that a strong DTV signal from Pinnacle means no "unsightly" rooftop antennas all over town to grab those hard-to-get 8VSB digital signals from other sites...
A few more Western New York notes: Over at the Infinity cluster here in Rochester, WCMF PD John McRae officially adds PD duties at AC WRMM (101.3), filling the shoes of Dave Symonds, who's now across town as OM at Entercom's group.
On the TV side, that new logo we showed you a few months back for WOKR (Channel 13) became reality on April 26, when the ABC affiliate retired its old set (after more than 15 years) to unveil a new on-air look (and a nice one, at that!)
Down in Jamestown, Family Life Ministries' WCOT (90.9) has been granted a power boost to 12 kW (at 199 meters above average terrain), while moving SUNY Alfred's WETD from 90.9 to 90.7, with 360 watts at 94 meters. Family Life will also get a bigger signal into Rochester, with the grant of a translator on 91.9 in Greece (just northwest of the city), over a petition to deny, presumably from WXXI-FM on 91.5. Let's make sure we have this straight: WXXI was itself denied a new signal in Spencerport on 90.9 because of potential interference to its own signal. LPFM is still being restricted to fourth-adjacent channels. And yet a second-adjacent translator like this is OK? Guess so...this thing already has calls (W220DE), and we expect to hear it on real soon now.
John Bulmer checked in to share the full story of the call change at Jamestown's WHUG (101.9). 'Tis indeed now WMHU, and the calls stand for "102 MOO," just like sister Vox station WMOU-FM (102.1) down in DuBois, Pennsylvania. With a swap of frequencies to the east (WZKZ Alfred will go to 97.1, while the new Canaseraga allocation will get that 101.9 instead of the original 97.1), WMHU will also get a power boost soon. The WHUG calls land on a Bulmer CP in Cooperstown, Pennsylvania on 107.7.
Hearty congratulations are in order to this year's class of Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers hall of famers. Topping the list is Tom Shannon, now heard in afternoons on oldies WHTT, but also a veteran of the old WKBW and Detroit radio. The late Bill and Mildred Miller will be inducted for their "Meet the Millers" talk show on the old WBEN-TV (now WIVB). "Ramblin' Lou" Schriver, who brought country music to the Buffalo airwaves, will be honored for his long tenure as owner of WXRL (1300 Lancaster) and his live performance career. Dave Thomas, who co-hosted "Rocketship 7" on WKBW-TV with Promo the Robot, will be inducted for his Buffalo days, though he's better known now as Dave Roberts at Philly's WPVI (and even better known, perhaps, as the father of "Angel" TV star David Boreanaz!) Liz Dribben will be inducted for her days at WKBW-TV (including hosting "Dialing for Dollars"), while honorary awards go to Dan and Nancy Lesniak (for bringing FM stereo to Buffalo on WADV, now WYRK 106.5), Adelphia founder John Rigas and WKBW radio itself for celebrating 75 years on the air. The induction ceremony takes place May 15 at the Tralfamadore restaurant in downtown Buffalo.
Heading towards Central New York, Syracuse's WNSS (1260) is temporarily simulcasting sister station WLTI (105.9), now that the Comedy World network that was supplying its programming has ceased to exist. We're not yet sure what to make of the change of ownership at WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter)'s four translators; they change hands from Cram and Renard to "Pathway Community Radio Corp." as the parent station gets handed off to Clear Channel. Over in Utica, WOWB (105.5 Little Falls) and WOWZ (97.9 Whitesboro) are still simlucasting new Clear Channel sister WSKS (102.5 Rome), though it's obviously not a permanent situation, what with WOWZ and WSKS on the same tower farm! Clear Channel also flipped WLFH (1230 Little Falls) to a simulcast of its "Sports Star" trimulcast (WUTQ 1550 Utica, WADR 1480 Remsen, WRNY 1350 Rome), replacing "Bug Country" on that signal.
Up North, the word is that the AC sounds of "The Valley" will make their permanent home on the new 96.1 Norwood signal (now WYSI), while the original "Valley" signal at 96.7 in Canton (now WVLF) will join Tim Martz' "Yes FM" hot AC simulcast, along with WYSX 98.7 Ogdensburg and WYUL 94.7 Chateaugay. Bet we see a WYSI/WVLF call swap soon...
Working our way back down towards Albany, Vox submitted a three-part plan to the FCC that will move the "Wheels" oldies signal much closer to the Capital District from its current Glens Falls home. Here's how it works: Vox would move WHTR, now licensed to Corinth, from 93.5 to 93.7. It would then move that 93.7 allocation from Corinth down to Scotia, not far from Schenectady. And to keep a "first local service" in Corinth, sister station WFFG (107.1) would change city of license from Hudson Falls to Corinth. We see the hand of John Bulmer in this one, too...not to mention a clever way to squeeze another FM facility into Albany.
One more WFFG note: Justin Clapp is the new PD there, moving over from "Bob Country" (WMXR/WCFR-FM) in Vermont and a previous stint at WNCQ up in Ogdensburg.
Heading downstate, Korean radio is about to get a foothold in western Long Island. Fresh from unloading its WFOG (1570 Riverhead) for a song, Barnstable is also selling 25-kilowatt WGSM (740 Huntington), but $2.5 million is hardly a fire-sale price for the signal that covers most of the island in daylight. The new owner is K Licensee Inc, the folks who have been leasing New York's WZRC (1480) to program an all-Korean format. WGSM had been simulcasting standards from Barnstable's WHLI (1100 Huntington).
And in the city itself, Tom Joyner's syndicated morning show began running Monday on WRKS (98.7), though the Emmis-owned urban AC keeps former wakeup guy Isaac Hayes on hand to do local breaks in the Joyner broadcast.
How much is Disney paying to upgrade Providence affilates? Buying WICE (550 Pawtucket) from AAA cost the Mouse a reported $2.46 million, while unloading WHRC (1450 West Warwick) to Hall recoups just $410,000, we hear.
It's an acid test for WHDH's philosophy that Boston viewers tune in for the news, not for the anchors. Will channel 7's rotating cast of fill-ins be enough to keep the station in its tight battle with WCVB for the top spot, especially as NBC's prime time lineup loses some luster? And where will Carrigan land? Stay tuned...
On the radio side, could WGBH be the new home base for Christopher Lydon? Station VP Jeanne Hopkins told the Herald last week that 'GBH is "interested" in the former "Connection" host for its news-talk outlets on Cape Cod, WNAN (91.1 Nantucket) and WCAI (90.1 Woods Hole), but we can't imagine such a deal not including a national distribution platform as well. It would be an interesting homecoming for Lydon, given the way in which he departed 'GBH a few years back when his "Ten O'Clock News" was cancelled.
Up on the North Shore, WNSH (1570 Beverly) has been heard testing, presumably from its new day site at Endicott College, though the reception reports we've been hearing haven't been very good.
Speaking of new sites, what's to become of the tower of WILD (1090 Boston) if the area north of the Wellington MBTA station is successfully redevloped as "TeleCom City"? A local newspaper article last week identified "171 Rear Corporation Way" as one of several properties acquired by the Mystic Valley Development Commission for the huge project -- and that's also the street address of the WILD tower! WILD could no doubt diplex with nearby WEZE (590) or even WXKS (1430) if worse came to worse...
Moving vans on Soldiers Field Road? Sounds that way; with WSBK (Channel 38) becoming an official duopoly with WBZ-TV (Channel 4), we hear WSBK and UPN sister WLWC (Channel 28 New Bedford) are moving their operations over to the WBZ facility from their longtime home just down the street on Leo Birmingham Parkway. That, in turn, seems likely to displace WODS (103.3), which would then move into a renovated Birmingham Parkway facility. And we're told WBCN or WZLX could eventually join WODS over there...just a stone's throw, in turn, from the new Entercom digs across the Pike.
Living Proof has petitioned for reconsideration for its dismissed application for a new 91.7 in Lunenburg. Meanwhile, Allston-Brighton Free Radio is moving into its new home at 451 Cambridge Street, having lost its original space at 107 Brighton Avenue.
Radio People on the Move: Michael Kellogg is coming back to Boston, where he was in sales at WEEI for a decade, to be general manager of Sporting News Radio's WWZN. Kellogg has spent the last few years in Charlotte running WFNZ/WSOC. Alan Chartrand is the new station manager at Greater Media's WTKK. And former WZLX and WBOS personality George Taylor Morris is the latest convert to satellite radio; he's heading down to XM to program one of that service's classic rock channels.
Over in the Middlebury market, WRRO (93.7 Addison) became "Alice" as WXAL last week, with George Paul still doing mornings at the now-AAA outlet. Meantime, WZXO is the new call on 96.7 Willsboro NY.
The shutdown of Comedy World means Atlantic City's WFPG (1450) is simulcasting AC sister WFPG-FM (96.9) for the moment; we believe the local morning show on the AM has continued throughout.
Over in Williamsport, Salt and Light Media Ministries has been granted a new signal on 90.7.
Pittsburgh's WWNL (1080) is getting a new owner, with Wilkins Communications Network of South Carolina paying Mortenson $900,000 for the strong daytime signal. Across town, Chuck Stevens arrives as the new PD at Steel City's WLTJ (92.9), with former PD John Gallagher staying around to do middays. Stevens came to WLTJ from the Cumulus cluster in Youngstown, and replacing him as OM there is Tim Roberts, who keeps his current duties as OM of Cumulus' Toledo cluster. That's a lot of work!
Up in Erie, Nextmedia gets the new 93.9 construction permit in Fairview, to join its existing cluster of WFNN, WLKK, WRGO, WRKT and WRTS.
And that's it for this week! Join us again early next week to hear all about the final moments at CHUM (audio and all), as well as a look at our big trip west. See you then!