The Pegasus-owned duopoly dropped its Fox affiliation (on WPXT) last year, and has been struggling with the region's poor economy since then. A 7 PM newscast launched last fall on WPXT was soon cancelled due to poor ratings, and the ratings for the 10 PM show have suffered as well.
WPXT had been doing news for nearly a decade.
(NERW would, of course, love to hear from anyone up Maine way who could tape the last WPXT news for us...drop us a line!)
WICC eliminated its weekday music as part of a station overhaul that includes new sounders and the station's first jingles in nearly a decade. John LaBarca stays in mornings with Tim Quinn, but now it's purely a news/talk block, followed by an hour of talk with Quinn at 9 and two hours of the syndicated Neal Boortz show from 10 until noon, replacing the Terry Michaels midday show (Michaels has left the station, we're told, but will do fill-in work at other Cumulus stations in the region)
Chris Conley will still do an hour of news at noon, but now that's followed by the syndicated Clark Howard show from 1 until 4. Fred Ebert remains on the schedule from 4-7 PM, followed by Yankees baseball or Laura Ingraham's syndicated show. We'll be sorry to see WICC turn into a more typical 21st century medium-market AM station; we still think there's room for a full-service format in this day and age.
With the FCC as mediator, WFUV and the Botanical Garden are holding two public hearings on Thursday, June 27, to hear comments on a plan to reduce the height of the WFUV antenna from the planned 480 feet to 380 feet.
Will WFUV finally get to finish building the tower that's been sitting half-finished for years now? Will wealthy Garden supporters come forward with money to build WFUV a new tower elsewhere, as several well-founded rumors are suggesting? Stay tuned...
Over in Manhattan, WNEW (102.7 New York) has another headache on top of the still-smoldering feud between Opie and Anthony and Don and Mike - a $21,000 notice of apparent liability from the FCC for several over-the-top O&A bits aired before the duo went into syndication. Of particular note: one of the citations stems from a listener's allegation that's not backed up with a tape, marking the first time the FCC has utilized its new policy putting the onus on broadcasters to prove they didn't air offensive material.
The Rev. Dr. Philius Nicholas got an FCC letter this week, too; the Brooklyn man was cited for operating a pirate on 88.1. (NERW says: one more down, 998 to go...)
Heading upstate, those who remember the days of local Rockland County radio on WRKL (910 New City) now have a place to congregate: a "Keep it on the R" tribute site is now up at http://users.bestweb.net/~kiotr/, complete with pictures and sound clips that range from WRKL's first broadcast to its last in English.
Over in Orange County, WTBQ (1110 Warwick) replaces the regionally-networked Adrian Flannelly Irish show on Saturdays with a local show called "Drop of the Irish," airing from 11 until 12:10 on Saturday mornings.
There's a new morning show at Clear Channel's "Kiss" in Poughkeepsie (WPKF 96.1 Poughkeepsie and WFKP 99.3 Ellenville); the station is taking Premiere's syndicated "T-Man" offering.
WENT (1340 Gloversville) made it back on the air, using the remaining stub of its tornado-downed tower to serve Gloversville and Johnstown all last week. A replacement tower is on its way, and WENT hopes to be back at full strength soon.
As Ackerley's TV stations head into Clear Channel ownership (or eventual resale), there's some shuffling taking place at several of the smaller stations in the upstate New York cluster. WIVT (Channel 34) in Binghamton and WWTI (Channel 50) in Watertown abruptly cancelled their early-morning and midday newscasts last week, replacing them with network and syndicated offerings (WWTI cancelled its weekend shows as well) and laying off several staff members.
WIVT says it will be the hub for a new regional morning news show to begin airing July 8 (presumably over sister stations WUTR in Utica and WETM in Elmira as well), but we have to wonder whether anyone in Watertown cares about Binghamton news, or vice versa...
Binghamton polka legend Bill Mack (Surmik) died last Saturday (June 1) at Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center in Binghamton. Mack, whose program began on WKOP in 1962 and ended on WNBF in 1999 (though his daughter Barb now fills the shift), was 85.
Up here in Rochester, "Big Dog Country" now has appropriate calls: the former WNNR (103.5 Sodus) became WUUF last week. (Freckles the NERW Wonder Dog says "Woof!" to that...)
Country competitor WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester), and Entercom sister stations WBBF (950 Rochester/93.3 Fairport) and WBZA (98.9 Rochester), will soon be doing its thing from a new home. After decades at Midtown Plaza, most recently on the fifth and sixth floors of the B. Forman Building, Entercom is moving its cluster to the High Falls entertainment district. The new storefront studios at 192 Mill Street will be right behind the offices of public broadcaster WXXI. (and WBZA's even got actual on-air personalities to fill its studio window, after more than a year of automation, with former WMAX-FM/WVOR jock Michael Gately handling middays and an afternoon jock on the way!)
On the TV side, LPTV W59BV in Rochester, which carries the TCT religious network, is running a crawl announcing its impending move to channel 42, clearing the way for the eventual WOKR-DT on channel 59. Perhaps W59BV will fix its transmitter when it moves; right now, the video level is set so high that the picture is mostly white!
More LPTV news: "Big TV" (WBGT-CA Channel 40 and W26BZ) is picking up the "Students First" show from the Rochester City School District. Previously seen only in the city on cable, the show will air Sunday mornings at 6 on WBGT, which now has full cable carriage throughout Time Warner's Rochester system.
And there are new calls for Family Life Network's 89.5 CP in Arcade, east of Buffalo: mark down WCOF(FM) for that one when it makes its debut.
(While we're in Scranton, we hear that Fox affiliate WOLF-TV, channel 56, has a new translator: W52CE, just recently licensed to Sayre, has moved into Clarks Summit, just northwest of Scranton, where it's now operating on channel 24.)
John DiBella isn't the only Philadelphia morning host returning to the city's airwaves; over at WPTP (96.5 Philadelphia), "The Point" has hired former WYXR (104.5, now "Alice" WLCE) morning man Mike Rossi to do wakeups, beginning today.
Out west, Forever has been granted booster WFGY-1 (98.1 Johnstown), which will relay Altoona's Froggy with a 50-watt signal from the roof of the Promistar Bank building in downtown Johnstown.
(And way out west, beyond the state line, Akron's WHLO 640 relaunches this morning as a Clear Channel-owned talker after weeks of simulcasts with CHR WKDD 98.1. After spending the weekend running a repeating loop of highlights of WHLO's top-40 days, the station launches with Bill Hall doing morning talk, Helen McKelvey handling morning news, and Cleveland's WTAM providing the rest of the day's news.)
Out in Greenfield, WGAM (1520) slides into a "classic oldies" format, with PD Brian Eagan at the helm.
And we hear that WBZ just might break the rules and offer a rebroadcast of Larry Glick's fun guest stint on the Steve LeVeille broadcast a few weeks back. Stay tuned; we'll let you know as soon as we know...
WNBX/WNTK (99.7 New London NH) talk host (and former NEW HAMPSHIRE gubernatorial candidate) Arnie Arnesen is reaching out to a much bigger market; she'll soon begin doing mornings, via ISDN, on new Hubbard talker KFMP in the Minneapolis market!
Over in Truro, CKTO (100.9) drops AC to go rock as "Big Dog FM," which matches sister station CKTY (99.5)'s "Cat Country" moniker. CKTO puts a solid signal into Halifax, where the format provides competition for established rocker CFRQ (104.3).
In Ottawa/Hull, Radio Nord has found a frequency. The TV station owner was granted a licence for a French-language classical station last fall, but its proposed 97.9 frequency was rejected; now Radio Nord wants to operate on 97.1 with 12.6 kW. Radio Nord just changed the channel of one of its two Hull TV stations, too: TQS affiliate CFGS has made the move from channel 49 to channel 34, boosting power from 17.6 kW visual to 117 kW (with a signal that's now been seen down here in Rochester!)
Craig Communications will get its new Toronto TV station after all. The Canadian Cabinet rejected appeals of the CRTC ruling awarding the Western broadcaster channel 52 for a new service to be called "Toronto One," and that means Craig can move forward with its plans, which include a nightly live variety show called "The Toronto Show."
Across town, the CHUM/City folks are focusing their energies out West, where new acquisition CKVU (Channel 10) in Vancouver is being relaunched as "Citytv," with all the hallmarks ("Citypulse News," "Breakfast Television," "Speakers Corner") of the Toronto original.
Finally, some news from the home front: we'll be keeping a closer eye on TV and FM developments in places like Buffalo, Syracuse, Watertown and Kingston, thanks to the new array of Channel Master antennas (an 1110 for VHF and a 4248 for UHF) now perched on the roof of NERW Central.
A big huge NERW thank you (and happy birthday!) to Rick Lucas, the fellow local DX'er who did all the rooftop work to make TV and FM DX a reality hereabouts. Now we just need a better TV to handle the incredible amounts of RF coming from Pinnacle Hill, just 4300 feet from the NERW offices! Any suggestions? Drop me a line...
And that's it for another week; we'll see you again next Monday!