The National Weather Service says winds at the height of the storm measured at least 73 miles per hour, enough to topple the 180-foot self-supporting tower behind WENT's Gloversville studios. Crews were at work over the weekend to repair the antenna to allow WENT to get back on the air; a new tower will be needed for permanent use.
Elsewhere in upstate New York, the FCC approved Clear Channel's acquisition of Ackerley, albeit with restrictions that will force the company to spin some of its holdings in four upstate markets.
The $800 million deal, originally announced last October, includes Ackerley ABC affiliates WOKR(TV) Rochester, WIXT-TV Syracuse, WIVT(TV) Binghamton, WWTI(TV) Watertown and WUTR(TV) Utica, as well as NBC affiliates WETM-TV Elmira and WBGH-CA Binghamton, as well as TV stations in California, Oregon and Washington and radio and billboard interests.
The FCC says Clear Channel will have to spin off four Utica radio stations, two Binghamton radio stations and one radio station each in Rochester and Syracuse to stay within its ownership limits; NERW notes that Clear Channel also has the option to stay within those limits by spinning the Ackerley TV stations, and we still wouldn't be surprised to see the TV cluster spun off, with Clear Channel keeping the billboards and Seattle radio cluster that seem to have the greater strategic value to the company.
The FCC gave Clear Channel 12 months to divest; it also misspelled a certain city as "Binghampton" throughout its ruling. (Perhaps a vacation in "Worchester" might be in order?)
Speaking of Binghamton, the Sunday "Country Capsule" show that was formerly heard on Citadel's WHWK (98.1) has moved down Vestal Boulevard to take up new residence at Clear Channel's WBBI (107.5 Endwell), where it's heard from 7 until 10 on Sunday mornings.
Over in Jamestown, we can report $5.05 million as the price for MediaOne's acquisition of WJTN/WWSE from the heirs of Si Goldman; Pittsburgh broker Ray Rosenblum handled the deal.
Here in Rochester, Pinnacle Hill (the site that's home to all the city's TV stations and several FMs) is looking a little different this week. That's because a crane was up there last week removing the 22 year old antenna of public WXXI-TV (Channel 21), which was damaged in a storm in February.
WXXI has been operating at low power from a temporary panel antenna halfway down the tower since then, rendering the station unviewable by anyone more than 15 miles or so from Pinnacle Hill - not a good situation to be in during a pledge drive!
WXXI's partner on the tower in question, Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31), had to sign off while WXXI's antenna was removed. We're keeping an eye on the temporarily one-tined candelabra from our perch a mile away at NERW Central, and we'll let you know as soon as WXXI gets its antenna back up and returns to full power.
Congratulations to former upstater (and your editor's colleague at Radio World) Peter King; the alumnus of Rochester's WKLX (and Ithaca radio before that) has been promoted to a fulltime staffer at CBS Radio News; he'll remain based in Florida, where he's been a freelancer for CBS for several years.
Time Warner Cable is getting ready to launch its "Capital News 9" all-news channel in the Albany market, and that means hiring a staff to get things going this fall. In addition to former WNYT (Channel 13) staffer Chris Brunner as news director, the station has named Mary Rozak, formerly assignment manager at Fox affiliate WXXA (Channel 23) as assistant news director. The station also has a logo - borrowed almost exactly from its Tampa sister operation, Bay News 9!
Occupying the 11 PM - 1 AM slot, beginning tonight (June 3), will be "VB's Pleasure Palace," a local talk show hosted by the Howie Carr producer formerly known as "Virgin Boy." (And if you were hoping to tune into VB over the Internet, sorry; WRKO, along with the rest of Entercom's stations around the country, suspended its streaming audio last week, citing the continuing questions about copyright issues.)
Barry Scott is getting busier at WODS (103.3 Boston); in addition to his "Lost 45s" on Sundays, he's now hosting "Oldies 103.3's Saturday Night Party," which started this past weekend in the 8-midnight slot at the Infinity station. (Infinity also named WBMX VP/GM Mark Hannon as "market captain" for its entire Boston cluster, which includes WBZ, WZLX and WBCN as well.)
Boston's two big NPR affiliates will sound even more alike beginning this week; WBUR-FM (90.9) is putting PRI's "Marketplace" back on its weeknight schedule (the show was displaced after September 11 by extended news coverage), slotting the business show at 6:30 PM - which just happens to be the same time the show airs on crosstown WGBH (89.7). WBUR and WGBH now run substantially identical programming from 6 until 8 each morning (NPR's Morning Edition) and from 5 to 7 at night (All Things Considered, followed by Marketplace). WBUR's move displaces the last half of the 6-7 PM hour of ATC, which is a rebroadcast of the program's first hour (heard on WBUR from 4-5 PM).
(NERW recalls with pleasure our recent visit to Louisville, Kentucky, where three public radio stations licensed to two separate institutions got together a few years back to coordinate the programming and operation of their facilities, thus providing listeners in that fine city with three completely separate programming options from public radio at all times. Imagine that!)
Former WHMP-FM (99.3 Northampton, now WLZX) PD Adam Wright joins Clear Channel's Springfield cluster as director of marketing and non-traditional revenue.
On the TV side, veteran KYW-TV (Channel 3) anchor Beverly Williams is suing the CBS station, saying she's been passed over for promotions repeatedly over the years. Williams, who has been at KYW on and off since 1975, is alleging race, sex and age discrimination in her suit against the station.
Speaking of KYW, it's getting ready to launch a morning news broadcast on UPN sister station WPSG (Channel 57) - but with content coming from the newsroom of KYW radio (AM 1060) instead of from channel 3 down the hall. (NERW wonders: could we eventually see WBZ radio's Jay McQuaide doing mornings on WSBK, too?)
Up in Allentown, Cat Collins is suing Citadel's WCTO (96.1 Easton) for $550,000. Collins, who left the station in February after just six weeks in morning drive, alleges sexual harrassment and wrongful termination.
Michael McKendree's Cambria Radiowerks is buying WRDD (1580 Ebensburg) and WNCC (950 Barnesboro) from Vernal Enterprises for a reported $320,000. The two stations, which serve the mountainous area between Johnstown and Altoona, simulcast an oldies format.
Pittsburgh listeners have Tom Joyner in mornings again. The syndicated urban morning show had been heard on Inner City's WURP (1550 Braddock) until that station went dark a few months back; it's now resurfaced on Sheridan's WAMO (860 Millvale), which had been simulcasting the morning show from sister WAMO-FM (106.7 Beaver Falls).
On the TV side, Bob Kudzma did his last weather forecast on KDKA-TV (Channel 2) on Friday, ending a career that started at the station in 1968. He's keeping his day job as (we kid you not!) a school bus driver. Meanwhile, Channel 2 says it will add a 4 PM newscast this fall, which means the station will offer national and local news straight through from 4 until 7 PM weeknights.
The lockout cancelled most news programming in Quebec; it also left Radio-Canada Stanley Cup telecasts running without play-by-play commentary. The good news is that the finals will get play-by-play; the bad news is that these will be Radio-Canada's last Stanley Cup games.
The Montreal Canadiens wanted Radio-Canada to commit to carrying all 82 regular-season games, in addition to the playoffs - and the broadcaster said it couldn't commit that much airtime to the team. The Habs then signed a deal to put their games on cable's Réseau des Sports (RDS), which will also get rights to the Stanley Cup as part of the deal.
While Radio-Canada loses its Saturday night "Soirée du hockey," which dates back to the 1952 dawn of Canadian television, the English-language "Hockey Night in Canada" remains in place on the CBC television network.
One more Canadian item this week, also from Quebec: Radio-Canada's CBFX-FM-1 (104.3 Trois-Rivières) applies to boost power from 38.4 kW to 43 kW and move its antenna to a new tower 1.9 km northeast of its old site, the former CKTM-TV tower near Shawinigan that was destroyed in a plane crash in 2000. The Radio-Canada chaîne culturelle outlet has been running from a temporary antenna since the accident.
That's it for another week; we'll see you next Monday!