Replacing the adult contemporary format, which ranged in vintage from big-band standards to more recent tunes, is a talk lineup that includes current WDRC morning host Brad Davis, followed by Joy Browne and the Dolans. We hear the stations, which also include WSNG (610 Torrington), WWCO (1240 Waterbury) and WMMW (1470 Meriden), will add the Bill O'Reilly syndicated afternoon talk show when it launches later in the spring.
Missing from "Connecticut's World Class Talk and Information Station" is Jack Carney, who'd made the move from oldies WDRC-FM (102.9) to the AM side with the understanding that he'd return to FM if the music ended on AM. Carney is doing nights on WDRC-FM again, which displaces Glenn O'Brien from his shift.
Meanwhile down the dial, Southington's WNTY (990) has a format again, after several months with Fox News Channel audio as a filler. "Notty 99" features station manager Charlie Profit in morning drive, with a talk and leased-time lineup that includes some Fox News content, Westwood One sports, Business Talk Radio and some USA Radio talk shows. We hear Charlie's also looking for salespeople as WNTY relaunches.
On the TV side, WVIT (Channel 30) is losing morning anchor Natalie Morales, but it's all within the NBC family: she'll join MSNBC as a reporter beginning March 11.
And we hear WFSB (Channel 3) may be near a deal with the YES Network to put about 10 Yankees games on the CBS affiliate this season.
Gzowski first came to attention in the late sixties as the youngest editor ever named at Maclean's magazine, but his broadcast career began in 1971, when he joined CBC Radio as host of a new nationwide show called "This Country in the Morning."
He left CBC Radio a few years later for an ill-fated stint on CBC-TV as the uncomfortable host of "90 Minutes Live," then returned to writing before rejoining CBC Radio in 1982 to host "Morningside."
It was in that role, from the fall of 1982 until the show ended in 1997, that Gzowski became the unofficial voice of Canada, conducting tens of thousand of interviews with everyone from prime ministers to the most average of Canadians.
A typical "Morningside" show was as likely to include a call for favorite pie recipes as an interview with a political leader or literary luminary. Gzowski's commitment to documenting the quirks and distinctions of Canadian society came through in the contests the show ran, including one for the best completion of the phrase "As Canadian as..." (The eventual winner: "As Canadian as possible, under the circumstances.")
Gzowski never left the world of print, either, compiling several volumes of Morningside Papers and several other Canadian best-sellers, most recently A Peter Gzowski Reader, a compilation of his columns for the Globe and Mail and other recent articles.
Gzowski had also returned to TV after the end of "Morningside," hosting occasional specials for CBC television and radio.
He was 67 years old, and was survived by his ex-wife, five children and his longtime companion, Gillian Howard.
Up in Toronto's northern suburbs, CKDX (88.5 Newmarket) is trying something new - or should that be "old" - by ditching its rhythmic oldies format to play standards, still as "Foxy 88.5." The station is planning a power boost to better compete against CHWO (740), which just celebrated its first anniversary on the old CBL clear-channel signal.
Pat Cardinal has a new job. The former Toronto PD is now out in Vancouver, as GM/PD of "X104.9," CKVX.
We've been remiss in failing to mention a bit of news that came our way a couple of weeks ago: Toronto jazz station CJRT (91.1) is getting a new program director, and Toronto's gain is Rochester's loss: the new hire is Eric Gruner, who's done a stellar job with limited resources in bringing jazz to the Flower City as operations director of WGMC (90.1 Greece).
Eric starts at CJRT next week; his very big shoes have yet to be filled at WGMC, where he will be deeply missed.
Beyond Toronto, we hear the religious station on 99.5 in Brantford is now on the air, with Bruce Elving's FMedia! reporting the calls as CFWC. Bruce also reports the calls for the new university station at Ste.-Foy QC as CIIM on 96.9.
And up in Bracebridge, CFBG (100.9) gets permission to boost power from 2900 watts to 12 kW with a frequency change to 99.5.
The new show comes from Augusta, and is being heard over the "Voice of Maine" talk network Clear Channel created at WVOM, WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) and WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor).
(We're more than a little bit puzzled by the Web site at thevoiceofmaine.com; nowhere to be found are the calls or frequencies of the stations being promoted!)
Meanwhile at WEBB (98.5 Waterville), morning host Jenny Judge, aka Pat LaMarche, is suing the Brewer police officer who arrested her in 1999 on charges of drunk driving. That arrest, which LaMarche describes as "unjustified," came two years after another, successful drunk driving conviction that cost her her job as morning co-host at Portland's WGAN (560). In the meantime, LaMarche ran on the Green Party ticket for governor in 1998; ironically, her lawyer in this suit is Tom Connolly, her Democratic opponent in that race.
On the TV side, most Mainers will still be able to see the Patriots win the Super Bowl next weekend (oops, is our bias showing again?) despite the lack of a broadcast Fox outlet in the Pine Tree State. Portland's WGME (Channel 13) will pick up the game from Fox, with its usual CBS lineup diverted to UPN outlet WPME (Channel 35) for the night. In Bangor, low-power WCKD-LP (Channel 30) will take the game as part of its Fox Sports contract, and up north and down east they'll need cable (or perhaps a good antenna aimed at a Canadian Global affiliate) to see the big game.
Speaking of Maine TV, WLBZ (Channel 2) anchor Donna Gormley is leaving the Bangor NBC affiliate to work for John Baldacci's gubernatorial campaign.
And we heard from Al Sprague at the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters, clarifying last week's report on New Hampshire Public Radio's decision to leave the NHAB. He points out that New Hampshire has had a state lottery since 1963; what he and the association did was to sign a letter that said "we feel this revenue source (gambling) should be considered as a portion of the solution" to shortfalls in the state budget.
"We did this in an attempt to take business taxes off the table," Sprague tells NERW, "since our members were hit with increases in both major business taxes in the last legislative session."
Down on the Cape, Pax is applying to build a new tower next to its existing one north of Hyannis for WDPX (Channel 58) and the yet-unbuilt WDPX-DT (Channel 40). They'll share a directional panel antenna when the stick is completed.
At WBUR-FM (90.9 Boston), the "Special Coverage" nightly news program that launched in the wake of September 11 has a new name. Tom Ashbrook continues to host the renamed "On Point," heard weeknights from 7 until 9 on WBUR and several other stations around the country.
And we're sorry to report the passing of John Willis, the first host of WCVB's "Good Day" in the seventies and the father of John "J.W." Willis, current morning host at WKLB-FM (99.5 Lowell). Willis died last Wednesday (Jan. 23) in Baltimore, we're told.
Yet WBJA is coming in just fine here at NERW Central, complete with legal IDs claiming service to "Niagara," which does seem a bit unlikely to us, especially with a null in their directional antenna out that way. We'll check the signal out in more detail when next we head to Toronto next month...
Other Rochester-area FM news: WMJQ (105.5 Brockport) held a public hearing in the town of Hamlin last week on its proposal to build a new tower on Brick Schoolhouse Road to replace its existing inadequate site on the towers of WASB (1590 Brockport).
Since you read NERW, you knew about this proposal last October; it was news, apparently, to the local daily, which reported the story as though WMJQ were a brand new station that has yet to sign on, somehow omitting any mention of the station's frequency in the process. (Full disclosure: Mrs. NERW is a copy editor at said daily, and your editor is appropriately indebted to her for things like a roof and food. That said, the radio coverage there is still the weakest of any major paper in the region, especially compared to bright lights such as Mark McGuire in Albany and Alan Pergament in Buffalo.)
We'll let you know what happens as that application progresses; for now, let the record show that 105.5 is on the air as a simulcast of WASB and WRSB (1310 Canandaigua), which it's been doing since it first signed on back in December 1998. Hey, we're here to serve...
One more Rochester FM note: Clear Channel afterthought WLCL (107.3 South Bristol) filed for a license to cover this week for its transmitter move, from the Bloomfield site it's long called home (with 6000 watts at 93 meters AAT, about 20 miles south of Rochester) to the Bristol Mountain site recently abandoned by sister WNVE (95.1 Honeoye Falls), where it will use 650 watts at 303 meters above average terrain.
The move is likely to weaken WLCL's signal in Rochester even further, but it's a sacrifice that was needed in order to move WNVE closer into town. (WNVE was licensed to South Bristol, but it needed to trade for WLCL's Honeoye Falls city of license to make that tower move possible, blanketing Rochester with a full-market class B signal.)
Informal monitoring here at NERW Central suggests WLCL is still using the Bloomfield site as we write this (which is to say, we can still hear the station here!); we'll keep an ear on the channel to see what happens next.
On the AM side, several weekend radio fixtures in Rochester are shifting. We'd been remiss in not mentioning the move made last December by "Sound Bytes," the Saturday-afternoon computer talk show that ran on public radio WXXI (1370) for almost 12 years.
Hosts Nick Francesco, Dave Enright and Steve Rea moved the show to WHAM (1180) to take advantage of a longer timeslot (12:25 to 2 PM) and syndication opportunities through Clear Channel; WXXI says it plans to launch a new tech show later this year in the old "Sound Bytes" slot, now occupied by "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." (That sounds like a job we'd be very interested in, come to think about it...)
WHAM is also saying goodbye to Kelly Badger, who moves from that newsroom to the assignment desk at Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31). (More full disclosure: Kelly was an intern under your editor at another local TV station a few years back...)
And there's still more weekend shuffling: Michael Warren Thomas, who's leased the weekend morning hours on WHTK (1280) for a batch of hour-long shows that cover cooking, gardening, wine, travel and antiques, moved his lineup down the dial to WYSL (1040 Avon) this past weekend. His shows run from 9 until noon on Saturdays, 10 till noon on Sundays.
There's more LPFM news from around the state, in addition to the Hudson grant last week that we erroneously reported as New York's first. WKUY-LP (105.9 Newport) and two without calls (94.3 in Jefferson and 93.5 in Central Islip) also hold construction permits, and now the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council in Geneva joins them, as the FCC approves its application for 100 watts on 105.7 there.
Up north, it's a big upgrade for WLPW (105.5 Lake Placid), as the FCC grants a construction permit for the station to jump from a 3 kW class A facility to a 25 kW class C3 facility. The transmitter stays in the Nardiello family's back yard in Lake Placid, on a tower shared with WIRD (920), but height above average terrain jumps a bit, from -72 meters to -59 meters. (OK, make that height below average terrain!)
If you can't hear it now, a DX test probably won't help you much, but just in case WGY (810 Schenectady) has somehow escaped your DX log, the Clear Channel clear channel station will conduct a test on Sunday morning, February 24, from 2-4 AM under the auspices of the National Radio Club. DX tests normally involve a station using its daytime facilities and power, but since WGY is 50 kW non-directional all the time, we'll have to settle for special IDs at :03, :32 and :58 past the hour, possibly in Morse Code. Reports should go to Greg Foster, program director, at One Washington Square, Albany NY 12205 - and be sure to thank him for his support of the DX hobby!
Downstate, WRNN (Channel 62) in Kingston won permission to change its digital TV allocation, moving from channel 21 to channel 48. The move is good news for Long Island public broadcaster WLIW, which gets to avoid interference to its analog signal on 21. It's good news for WRNN as well, which will be able to move its transmitter further south in the Hudson Valley to better serve its true target market of New York City and suburbs. But it's very bad news for WKOB-LP in New York, which recently paid more than a million dollars at auction to move from channel 53, where it's being displaced by New York DTV already, to channel 48. Since WKOB was recently denied "Class A" status, it has no protection from further DTV moves, and it appears WRNN's move will knock WKOB-LP off the air completely.
Over at the Millennium group, Andy Santoro adds GM duties at WKXW and WBUD in Trenton to his executive responsibilities; he replaces WKXW GM John Dziuba.
If it's granted, WFGY-1 will operate from the roof of the Promistar Bank building, right next to sister Forever station WUZI (105.7 Portage)'s booster, WUZI-1.
One more thing before we leave you this week: if you have a good local newsstand, you just might want to head over and check out the February issue of Monitoring Times magazine.
It's always worth reading anyway, but we're particularly proud of the cover photo. Yes, that's the WHO (1040) tower in Des Moines, photographed at sunset last June by your editor as part of the Big Trip that we chronicled on Tower Site of the Week.
Those of you who ordered the Tower Site Calendar 2002 may also recognize this image from the inside back cover. Next up...the poster? the coffee mug? Stay tuned...and we'll see you next week.