We'll start at Clear Channel, where some old familiar faces are back on the job in the Waltham studios of WJMN (94.5 Boston). Just a few months after leaving the PD chair at "Jam'n" to take over the same seat at crosstown WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford), a bout of management consolidation has "Cadillac Jack" McCartney taking that job back.
McCartney will now handle programming for both "Jam'n," with its urban-CHR sound, and "Kiss 108," Clear Channel's more mainstream entry in the CHR battle - a far cry from the old days, when the two stations (and WJMN predecessor WZOU) were bitter rivals. WJMN PD Dennis O'Heron stays with Clear Channel, becoming marketing director of both stations, while WXKS-FM music director Kid David adds the same duties at WJMN, displacing Michelle Williams, who departs the station.
But wait - there are changes on-air as well at "Jam'n," beginning with morning drive, where Baltazar is out of the morning show, replaced by afternoon drive jock Ramiro Torrez. Morning co-host Pebbles stays.
And AllAccess reports that both stations will go voicetracked during overnights beginning January 1, 2002, thus also displacing WXKS' Chris Shine.
Meanwhile across town at Infinity, WZLX (100.7 Boston) GM Jerry Charm is out, with Tony Beradini adding those duties at the classic rocker to his GM job at talk-alternative WBCN (104.1 Boston).
Religious satellator news: The "Living Proof" folks have managed to get their application for a new 91.7 in Lunenburg reinstated, which can't be good news for Boston's WUMB (though there's probably not much they can do to prevent the incursion into their chain of signals on 91.9 in Boston and Worcester and Maynard's WAVM on 91.7); meanwhile, down on Nantucket, a settlement finds "Broadcasting for the Challenged" yielding to "Nantucket Public Radio" for the 89.5 frequency there. That new station will run 78 watts vertical, 500 watts horizontal at 36 meters AAT from a stick on Swain Hill, a mile or so west of Nantucket village. (We're sure Nantucket fans of Boston's WGBH will be none too thrilled about this one...)
While we're down that way, we note the passing of one of Boston sports radio's most prolific callers. "Butch from the Cape," aka Thomas Speers, died October 17 of cancer. The former bar owner became a regular on WEEI when it went all-sports a decade ago, mocking the Red Sox and other Hub teams. Speers had lived in Connecticut before moving to the Cape, and was charged with harassment (though later acquitted) for making anti-Semitic calls to a radio host in Waterbury; he also served prison time for running gambling rings in the Nutmeg State. Speers, who had been honored by WEEI when he disclosed his illness last year (in an event called "Butchiepalooza"), was 58.
[NERW notes that WTIC would eventually have needed a new channel assignment anyway, since neither channels 5 nor 61 are within the "core spectrum" of channels 7-59 where all DTV is supposed to end up eventually.]
Asnuntuck Community College was granted the Nutmeg State's first LPFM license this week, to operate on 107.7 with 100 watts from Enfield.
Up in the Bangor market, Daniel Priestly has calls for his three new AM CPs. Mark 'em down: WNZT (1230 Hermon), WNZS (1340 Veazie) and WWNZ (1400 Veazie). (NERW wonders...those wouldn't be news-formatted stations, would they?)
Just to add to the simulcast fun: WMXR (93.9 Woodstock), which had been simulcasting country with the Springfield station, has dropped out of that format in favor of a simulcast with classic rock WVRR (101.7 Newport NH).
We also noticed this little tidbit in the FCC filings this week: cable systems are generally barred from scrambling channels on their "basic" service tier. But in the resort area of Waitsfield, Vermont, Waitsfield Cable has won permission to scramble those channels, arguing that much of its business comes from seasonal rentals of vacation properties. By scrambling everything, Waitsfield Cable says it can turn service on and off for daily and weekly renters without needing to dispatch a service truck. (Just thought you might like to know!)
Out on Long Island, WXXP (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) has applied to move its antenna about five miles to the southwest, edging it closer to the more populated parts of Suffolk County. The new site, which would run 1 kW at 150 meters AAT, is next to the WRCN (103.9 Riverhead) tower off County Road 111.
Up in the Hudson Valley, Chuck Benfer gets a promotion within Aurora: he moves from general sales manager at the group's Poughkeepsie/Newburgh cluster to GM at WFAS/WFAF in Westchester County. Robert Bongiardino, who'd been acting station manager at WFAS, stays on as general sales manager there.
There's been plenty of action in the Albany market, as Pamal (now doing business with the FCC as "6 Johnson Road License Corp.") and Galaxy take their pieces of the former Tele-Media cluster. On the Pamal side, the "Point" hot AC format of WCPT (100.9 Albany) ended today (10/29), with the station stunting in a simulcast with Pamal CHR WFLY (92.3 Troy) to draw listeners over. The rumor mill's flying about what happens next with 100.9, and we're not sure we believe a word of it yet...except that a new format might be in place as soon as Friday.
(WCPT's sister station, WKBE 100.3 Warrensburg, was still running with the "Point" format at last check, but expect changes there as well...)
As for Galaxy, it ditched the soft AC on WKLI (94.5 Ravena) on Monday, stunting with covers of "Stairway to Heaven" en route to a new format soon. Future sister station WHTR (93.7 Scotia) is still on its old facilities in the Glens Falls market on 93.5, with a move expected there any day. Galaxy has promoted Syracuse/Utica OM/PD Mimi Griswold to VP/programming for Albany, Syracuse and Utica, and we hear she'll be the one implementing the new formats at WKLI/WHTR and WABY (1400 Albany).
Across town at Siena College, WVCR (88.3 Loudonville) dropped its hip-hop programming last week in favor of a more typical college-radio block programming sound. The move, as reported earlier in NERW, came at the behest of Siena College leaders, who felt WVCR's old format didn't reflect the college's values.
And the Albany Times-Union's Mark McGuire reports that the Stewart's Stores chain of convenience stores has ended its long relationship with Clear Channel talker WGY (810 Schenectady). Stewart's had been the sponsor of WGY's annual Christmas Wish, last year raising $450,000 of the fund's $480,000 total. Stewart's officials told the paper they didn't care for the tone of some of WGY's more outrageous talk hosts, and didn't want to be associated with the station; WGY says it will find a new sponsor for this year's fund drive.
Still more Hudson Valley news? You bet...we're hearing word of a power struggle within the Sound of Life religious FM chain that stretches up the valley from Port Jervis to Glens Falls. Sources tell NERW that founder and board president Bruce Winchell is out, following a threat of mass resignations by the network's staff. We're hearing that the new board at Sound of Life may try to sell some of the chain's outlying stations, including Scranton-area CP WPGP (88.3 Tafton PA).
In the North Country, Watertown's WLOT-LP (Channel 66) will move its transmitter site and dial position when it takes on "Class A" status. The LPTV was granted a change to channel 46 and a power boost to 19 kW visual from a new site atop its studio building at 95 Public Square in downtown Watertown.
Up in the tiny community of Paul Smiths, Paul Smith's College has asked the FCC to reinstate its class D FM station. WPSA (98.3 Paul Smiths) was deleted back on July 9, 1999 (and there was no sign of the station when the intrepid NERW Expeditionary Force visited the campus in the summer of 2000...)
Down in Binghamton, Clear Channel ditched the classic country on WINR (680) to return to an adult standards/soft AC blend, with veteran Binghamton voice Bill Flynn doing morning drive, ending the simulcast with country WBBI (107.5 Endwell) in that daypart.
Family Life Ministries' WCOV (93.7 Clyde) was granted a change to non-commercial operation.
Here in Rochester, Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31) said goodbye to its founding news director Monday night, devoting much of its 10 PM newscast to a farewell to Donna Dedee. The former WHEC-TV (Channel 10) reporter/anchor announced over the summer that she'd be joining the local United Way as its spokesperson after more than three years building the WUHF news operation; Christine Persichette succeeds her in the anchor chair as Steve Dawe takes over as news director.
And in Bath, Robert Pfuntner has applied to boost the power of his WABH (1380). The station currently runs 2500 watts day, 119 watts at night from its three-tower array alongside I-390 south of town, which was built in 1997 to replace the old non-directional daytimer facility at the WABH/WVIN studios. It's applying to increase to 5000 watts day, 450 watts night, using all three towers in both patterns (instead of two by day and two by night).
Speaking of the Indiana-based morning team, they've also added Citadel's "Z" stations in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to their network. Those stations got new calls this week, as WXBE (97.9 Hazleton) became WAOZ and WXAR (95.7 Olyphant) became WEOZ.
Down in Philadelphia, WURD (900) has been back on the air all week, running a mix of 50s-80s oldies to keep the meters moving while the station looks for someone to either lease airtime or buy it.
Anchor Siani Lee of KYW-TV (Channel 3) was killed Sunday afternoon when her car was broadsided in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Lee, who had just turned 39, had been with KYW since 1999, and in Philadelphia since 1993, when she moved to WCAU (Channel 10) from Washington, D.C.'s "NewsChannel 8." Lee, who anchored KYW's 6 PM news with Larry Kane, wasn't wearing a seat belt when her car was hit, we're told.
FLASH! Late word out of Nassau Broadcasting is that the oldies on WNJO (94.5 Trenton) are about to be a thing of the past. We hear that the station will flip to the "classic rock hits" that Nassau has been running for the last two months or so over in Easton on WODE (99.9) as "the Hawk." We hear the change will happen at 10 AM on Thursday (Nov. 1), and we hear the calls won't change right away...
That's it for the news this week.