WJAS' current two-tower site sits along the river near the eastern portal of the Squirrel Hill tunnel, on land that the station leased from the Standard LaFarge Company. In 1994, Standard sold the land to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, without giving WJAS the right of first refusal to buy it, something WJAS says it was entitled to by contract.
The URA tried to end WJAS' lease on the land, only to find itself in the midst of a three-way lawsuit, which the agency now hopes to settle by selling WJAS another piece of land that it owns, a few miles north at Highland Drive and Leech Farm Road in Penn Hills.
WJAS' application calls for a three-tower array, with two towers used by day with 6000 watts and two towers at night with 3300 watts. Normally, stations that change sites have to reduce nighttime interference on the frequency by 10 percent; WJAS is asking the FCC to waive that power-reduction requirement because the move is involuntary.
NERW wonders whether this site could eventually become a new home to WJAS' sister station just up the dial, talker WPTT (1360 McKeesport), whose two-site operation currently leaves most of Pittsburgh unable to hear the signal after dark.
Other news from the Keystone state: WIOV (1240 Reading) and WIOV-FM (105.1 Ephrata) pass from Reading Radio Inc. to Reading Radio, debtor-in-possession, as part of the bankruptcy reorganization of parent company Brill Media.
And Pax has another DTV move up its sleeve in NERW-land: in addition to the channel changes we told you about in Boston and Providence, Pax has applied to move the analog signal of Scranton's WQPX from its current channel 64 to the station's DTV assignment on channel 32. If approved, the channel 32 signal would run 400 kW visual from 491 meters above average terrain on Bald Hill, northwest of Scranton.
Speaking of WLIR, its "big announcement" Monday was, unsurprisingly, an April Fool stunt: a claim that musician Moby had bought the station and was turning it into "WMBY." Moby did, in fact, program the station for a few hours, playing a much more diverse list of tunes than normally heard on the commercial dial in New York!
Other stunts worthy of mention around the region: in Syracuse, WNTQ (93.1) morning team Ted and Amy claimed the state was about to outlaw eating and drinking in cars. It would have been only mildly amusing - until talk host Jim Reith across town at WSYR (570) was taken in on the stunt by a caller! Up in New Hampshire, WJYY (105.5 Concord) claimed its morning team was being "suspended" - and they were, from a crane 40 feet up during the entire (very rainy) morning show. And in Toledo, Ohio, WVKS (92.5) took a subtle jab at satellite radio by claiming it would soon start charging for access to its morning show. The funny part? The Toledo Blade's Russ Lemmon swallowed the gag whole, publishing an entire column that took it seriously. A red-faced Blade finally ran a correction the next day...
It may have sounded like an April Fool joke, but Binghamton's WCDW (100.5 Susquehanna PA) is really changing format. The station says it will let listeners decide over the weekend, voting among a series of stunt formats that will run in one-hour blocks; whatever happens, it appears the station will cancel the Greaseman's syndicated morning show and perhaps let some of its airstaff go. (We still suspect oldies are on the way to this rimshot signal.)
New York's WNYC (820/93.9) announced its new schedule, and we can't help but think it's a waste of a good signal over the nation's biggest city: the plan calls for simulcasting the AM news-talk programming, including Morning Edition, Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate, on the FM signal from 6 AM until 2 PM daily. The FM side would then offer listeners one hour of music with John Schaefer, "Fresh Air," and then return to the simulcast for All Things Considered before returning to music at 7 PM.
Kelly Stevens is changing stations in Albany; the veteran jock/newscaster/talk host will give up her 11 AM -1 PM talk show on WROW (590) to go across the hall and do news on sister station WYJB (95.5) in the mornings with Chuck Taylor. No word yet on how the schedule will shift on WROW, but we hear the station will pick up Bill O'Reilly's show when it launches.
Up north, WYBG (1050 Massena) owner Curran Wade is running for office: he'll challenge St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators chairman Bill Lacy for his seat this fall.
A well-known upstate New York jock and station manager is turning station owner: Donald Derosa will pay David Zinkhann $300,000 for WZZZ (1300 Fulton), north of Syracuse. Derosa is probably best known for his stint at Albany's WPTR in the sixties; his resume also includes stops at WTLB and WRUN in Utica, the latter as GM, and at WSNY in Schenectady.
An update on translator W201CD (88.1 Lansing): it is indeed on the air, serving Ithaca as a relay of Geneva's WEOS (89.7), which stepped in to help Syracuse Community Radio get the signal on the air before the CP expired.
And while Long Island and the Bronx still can't see the Yankees on TV, Buffalo now can: Adelphia agreed to carry the YES Network signal on a part-time basis until June, when it will displace the MSG Network for full-time carriage.
Tribune is cancelling its morning show at WLVI (Channel 56); "Boston's WB in the Morning" entered a tough race against four other morning shows, and never quite achieved the critical mass of the company's morning entries in places like New York and Los Angeles.
Up on the North Shore, WNSH (1570 Beverly) adds oldies from the Waitt Radio satellite service to its diet of talk shows.
And Greater Media has been granted a license to cover for W227AM (93.3 Andover), the Wood Hill translator that's supposed to relay WBOS (92.9 Brookline), but the signal has yet to be heard on the air by our ears up that way.
Across the state in the Upper Valley, we're told WVRR (101.7 Newport) has now joined WMXR (93.9 Woodstock VT) in a modern rock simulcast as "New Rock 93-9 and 101-7."
And WWSR (1420 St. Albans) has applied to change calls to WTWK, presumably for "Talk."
That's as good a cue as any to offer our minor-league baseball list for the season, and we'll start our AAA International League and AA Eastern League coverage in Ottawa, where the AAA Lynx will appear on CFGO as well, with 20 TV games on Rogers Cable. (The Blue Jays move from CFGO to Oldies 1310, CIWW, but for weeknight games only. CIWW and the team are both owned by Rogers. More on the Jays network, while we're thinking of it: CJRN 710 Niagara Falls, CKGL 570 Kitchener, CFOS 560 Owen Sound, CKRU 980 Peterborough and CJCS 1240 Stratford all join flagship CJCL 590 Toronto, which pushes games to CFYI 640 if the Raptors are playing - and we don't know where the Jays go if the Leafs are playing on CFYI at the same time!)
Elsewhere in the IL, the Buffalo Bisons continue on WWKB 1520, the Rochester Red Wings on WHTK 1280 weekdays and WHAM 1180 weekends, the Pawtucket Red Sox on WSKO 790 and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons on WICK 1400, WYCK 1340 and WITK 1550. In Syracuse, the SkyChiefs move up the dial from WHEN to sports challenger WNSS 1260.
As for the Eastern League, the Portland SeaDogs move to WMTW (870/106.7) this season, with games also heard on WPHX (1220 Sanford), WLAM (1470 Lewiston), WKTQ (1450 South Paris), WOXO (92.7 Norway), WTBM (100.7 Mexico) and WRKD (1450 Rockland). We suspect WKTQ, WOXO and WTBM are carrying the games only when they don't conflict with the Red Sox.
Connecticut listeners will hear the Norwich Navigators on WICH 1310 (and on WMRD 1150 and WLIS 1420 when the Mets are off), the New Haven Ravens on WAVZ 1300 (and on WATR 1320 for some games) and the New Britain Rock Cats on the Buckley stations, WDRC 1360, WSNG 610, WMMW 1470 and WWCO 1240. WWCO is also on the Yankees network, so the Rock Cats may get bumped by the pinstripes during the season. (Speaking of which, WLAD 800 in Danbury will also be carrying the Yankees this season.)
The Binghamton Mets continue on WNBF 1290 (and add WENE 1430 to the Yankees roster there.)
The Trenton Thunder will appear on WTTM 1680, with TV games on Comcast's CN8, which will also carry some Reading Phillies games. Reading radio will be on WIOV 1240. The Harrisburg Senators will be on WKBO 1230, while the Altoona Curve show up on WFBG 1290.
And we'll finish up Pennsylvania by mentioning that WPAZ (1370 Pottstown) is the latest suburban addition to the Phillies network.
That'll do it for another week...