Last week, rival station WUPE (95.9) reported that Tele-Media had sold WBEC (1420) and WBEC-FM (105.5) to Vox, the fast-growing group that already has big holdings up in Glens Falls, Vermont and New Hampshire. But a Vox official tells NERW there's no deal to buy WBEC in place.
If Tele-Media is selling WBEC, it would be a further exit from a region that it began leaving last year, when it sold its Albany holdings to Pamal and Ed Levine's Galaxy group. That move left the Pennsylvania-based company with the Pittsfield stations, WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls NY) serving Bennington, Vermont, and WKBE (100.3 Warrensburg NY) up in the Glens Falls market, where Vox is already a strong player.
Tele-Media paid Joe Gallagher's Aritaur group $4.65 million in July 1999 for the WBEC stations and WZEC; no word on what this sale might be worth if WBEC does eventually change hands - or on why the competition started this rumor spreading.
One more Bay State note: Mike McGowan, late of Hartford's WKSS, is doing weekend fill-in at WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) while looking for a new full-time gig.
Voornas, who made a high-profile move from Saga's WMGX to join WCLZ (then WTPN) in 1999, is joining Meredith Manning and Jeff Parsons on the morning show at CHR WJBQ (97.9 Portland), leaving Pete Dubuc alone on wakeup duty at WCLZ for now.
Up in Bangor, the Patriots will change stations this fall. They're moving from Stephen King's WZON (620) over to Clear Channel rockers WFZX (101.7 Searsport) and WNSX (97.7 Winter Harbor).
We also hear that Steve Cormier has yet another new duty at Clear Channel in Burlington; in addition to hosting the "Corm and the Coach" morning show on WCPV (101.3 Essex) and serving as ops manager for the entire cluster, he's now handling PD duties for "Star" WEZF (92.9 Burlington).
And Ken Squier's classical WCVT (101.7 Stowe) files for a license to cover for its power increase; the station jumps from 135 to 500 watts with a directional antenna (from more than 2000 feet AAT, mind you!), putting a solid signal over Burlington.
And Telefutura affiliate WUTH-CA (Channel 47) in Hartford changes hands from WXTV License Partnership (aka Univision) to Entravision.
Across town at talker WNEW (102.7), former WABC and WOR PD John Mainelli has been brought in as a consultant. Perhaps he can clean up the mess that is the Don and Mike/Opie and Anthony feud; at last check, WNEW was still running Don and Mike "Best Of" shows, even though the duo were back on the air in the rest of their markets. We don't get it...
Up in Syracuse, the Syracuse Community Radio folks have withdrawn their application for a license to cover for W208AQ (89.5 Marcellus), the translator that could finally have given them a signal into the Salt City.
The move means W208AQ is dead (it was about to lose its CP anyway, and so the application had been something of a Hail Mary pass to save it from deletion), and it made moot a petition to deny which pointed out that the facility in question hadn't actually been built. (The petition was signed by former Clinton aide Mark Gearan, whose connection to the whole SCR mess is tangential at best; he's president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges over in Geneva, where WEOS on 89.7 has been keeping a close eye on any incursions to its fringe signal...)
Say goodbye to "Ackerley," as the sale to Clear Channel closes. We still expect to see the TV group in upstate New York in different hands by year's end.
It looks like WXXI-TV (Channel 21) in Rochester will be back to its full signal soon; the big crane lifted the station's repaired antenna back to its perch sometime very early Monday morning, and we expect things to be all back to normal up there (well, except for all the trees that were ripped out to make room for the crane!) any day now.
There's digital TV in Buffalo! As of late last week, WIVB-DT was transmitting the CBS prime-time lineup in DTV on channel 39, thus making the station the first DTV service in Western New York, which is only fitting - WIVB, as WBEN-TV, was the first analog TV station in the region as well back in 1948. We hear the local LPTV on channel 39 hasn't signed off yet, which means fewer Buffalonians are seeing WIVB-DT right now than should be. (And we're poised to get a DTV card for NERW Central so we can try to tune in the signal here...)
Down in Fredonia, we hear WDOE (1410 Dunkirk) is running adult standards and WBKX (96.5 Dunkirk) is doing AC - and neither is using a satellite format, for the first time in years.
When WSNJ-FM (107.7 Bridgeton) was sold last year, speculation immediately began building about where the big signal could be moved. WSNJ filed an application to move its city of license to tiny Elmer, N.J., which made very little sense to us - but now it's all clear.
By "moving" from Bridgeton to Elmer, WSNJ positioned its next move to look even better to the FCC. The station now wants to relocate from Elmer to Pennsauken and change channels to 107.9, downgrading from a full class B facility to a class A.
From the FCC's point of view, it's a move from tiny little Elmer to much larger (35,000 instead of 1,571) Pennsauken, neither of which have their own "local" broadcast facility - and thus looks better than a move straight to Pennsauken from larger Bridgeton (which keeps WSNJ's AM sister on 1240 to pacify the FCC.)
But from the point of view of WSNJ's new owners, the station will now throw a city-grade signal over 1.5 million more listeners, since (even though Pennsauken is, as WSNJ goes to great lengths to demonstrate, an independent community) the new site would be just across the river from Philadelphia. The move does eliminate short-spacings between WSNJ and WPUR (107.3 Atlantic City), WBYN (107.5 Boyertown), WGTY (107.7 Gettysburg) and WFSI (107.9 Annapolis); it would also force high school station WHHS (107.9 Havertown) and translators W300AD (107.9 Philadelphia, relaying WWFM Trenton) and W300AA (107.9 Levittown, relaying WRDV Warminster) to find new spots on the dial.
Elsewhere in the Garden State, we hear Dan Turi, late of WMGQ in New Brunswick, is the new PD at Millennium's WOBM-FM (92.7 Toms River), while Lou Russo takes morning drive duties at sister station WJLK (94.3 Asbury Park).
Allentown's WKAP (1470) adds another local oldies jock to its schedule; Dick Elliott, who was doing mornings at former oldies station WODE (99.9 Easton), takes the afternoon shift at 'KAP.
Up north of Johnstown, WHPA (93.5 Barnesboro) has gone modern rock as "The Point." The station is now under common management with talker WBZV (1400 Loretto) and country combo WNCC (950 Barnesboro)/WRDD (1580 Ebensburg).
Penn State is applying to move its WPSX-TV (Channel 3) in Clearfield to a new tower. The old tower on state forest land couldn't handle the load of a DTV antenna, so WPSX built a new, taller tower next door for WPSX-DT (Channel 15) - but the state now wants the old channel 3 tower to come down, so WPSX wants to move its analog PBS signal to the new tower, dropping power from 100 kW to 42.4 kW but raising the antenna to 395 meters above average terrain, which should give the station better penetration into its mountainous region of north-central Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh will soon have Scott Paulsen back on FM. The former WDVE (102.5) morning co-host has been doing sports talk on sister station WBGG (970) in the afternoons, but now he's headed back upstairs to the FM side, where he'll do the 6-10 PM shift on 'DVE beginning next Monday. Over in Greensburg, WSSZ (107.1) has been granted a move to a new site south of Latrobe. The move clears the way for simulcast sister WAMO-FM (106.7 Beaver Falls) to move its tower to Wexford, closer in to Pittsburgh and its urban audience.
There will be 10 new FM signals on the air in Toronto from July 22-28. Gary Hooper was granted temporary licenses for 89.9, 90.7, 91.9, 96.9, 98.7, 99.5, 101.7, 102.7, 103.9 and 104.9 to broadcast in ten different languages during World Youth Day celebrations.
CKUE (95.1 Chatham) is applying for an on-channel booster to improve its signal into Windsor and across the border into Detroit; listeners there have had a hard time hearing the station since it swapped frequencies with CKSY (now on 94.3) last year.
Mark Miatello has resigned as PD of CKLC (1380) and CFLY (98.3) in Kingston, we're told.
And for you DXers out there, Montreal's CINW (940) and CINF (690) will be silent from midnight until 4:30 on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, June 26 and 27, to make antenna-system repairs and upgrades.
We'll close out this week with the last installment of our annual baseball guide, as we look at the single-A teams in the region, most of which start their New York-Penn League season this week.
Up in Vermont, the Expos remain on WKDR (1390 Burlington), which shares some games with sister station WDEV (550 Waterbury), while the Lowell Spinners stay on WCCM (800 Lawrence) and fans wonder why they're hearing CJAD at the ballpark during night games.
The newest team in New York is the Tri-City Valley Cats, who moved to the Capital District this year from Pittsfield (where they had been the Mets and then the Expos) - and do they ever get a big signal! George Miller will do the Cats' play-by-play on 50-kilowatt WPTR (1540 Albany) for the entire 76-game season.
There's no radio for the Oneonta Tigers; the Hudson Valley Renegades will return to WBNR (1260 Beacon) and WLNA (1420 Peekskill); the Brooklyn Cyclones get their schedule on cross-Hudson WSNR (620 Newark NJ) and the Staten Island Yankees not only get radio on WSIA (88.9 Staten Island) but 9 TV games on the Yanks' YES network.
Upstate, the Auburn Doubledays are on WDWN (89.1 Auburn), while the Batavia Muckdogs (the favorite team of Freckles, the NERW Wonder Dog) get their away games on WBSU (89.1 Brockport) and the Jamestown Jammers appear on WKSN (1340).
The New Jersey Cardinals' home games will be on WNNJ (1360 Newton) and WHCY (106.3 Blairstown), while down the shore, the Lakewood Blue Claws are already playing on WHTG (1410 Eatontown).
In Pennsylvania, you'll catch the Williamstown Crosscutters on WRAK (1400 Williamsport) and WRKK (1200 Hughesville), and up in Quebec City, les Capitales are on CHYZ (94.3 Ste.-Foy).
While we're at it, the independent Northern League can also be heard on the radio in the region this summer: in Massachusetts, the Brockton Rox are on WBET (1460), while Pittsfield gets the new Berkshire Black Bears in the old Expos/Astros slot on WBRK-FM (101.7). In New York, it's the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs - but they're off the air after a few games on WOFX (980 Troy) - and the Elmira Pioneers on WWLZ (820 Horseheads).
The New Jersey Jackals play on WJUX (99.7 Monticello NY - make that W276AQ on 103.1 in Fort Lee!), while the Allentown Ambassadors are on WEST (1400 Easton).
And that's it for another week. We're on the road (if you're down in the NY/NJ/CT area, drop us a line!) until next week's issue, which will appear a day or so late. See you next Tuesday!