It's a holiday week in the U.S. and Canada - and a happy Independence Day and/or Canada Day, depending on which side of the border you're reading us on - so things are already slowing down here in NERW-land. Here's what IS making news this warm, humid first week of July:
(Thanks to Sheldon Harvey of CIDX for supplying us with the latest on CJWI and the Canadian radio scene...)
From Toronto comes word that CJCL (FAN 590) morning talker Pat Marsden has signed on for five more years at the sports station, which would make him 71 (and making a reported C$1.5 million) when the new contract ends.
Just up the dial, we hear veteran CHUM jock "Big Tom" Rivers is returning to Toronto's airwaves with a Saturday night show, to air from 7 till midnight on CHWO (AM 740).
In fact, that format will continue; the present WKXL-FM (107.7 Hillsborough) will keep its news/talk programming, local hosts and all, when it becomes WTPL, "The Pulse." An old-fashioned talk war? In Concord, N.H.? Believe it!
On the FM side, "The Pharmacist", a/k/a Brian Mulhern, has parted ways with WFNX (101.7 Lynn) and its network, where he did the morning show. With the Pharmacist, his co-host Jaxon and entertainment reporter Angie C. all having departed in the last few months, we expect word of a new morning show at the FNX network soon.
Up in Lowell, we hear WCCM (800 Lawrence) has closed its little-used studio on Merrimack Street, leaving the station's programming to originate from home base in Methuen again.
And down around Foxboro, we hear WDIS (1170 Norfolk) is silent again. Anyone know what's up there these days?
Among the people associated with licensee "Newport Musical Arts Association" is programmer Tim Tobin, who brought "The River" AAA format to the Connecticut River valley at stations like WRSI, WUVR/WBFL, WNBX and WKXE. We have high expectations here at NERW (and you can decide for yourself by visiting WXHQ's Web site at www.radionewport.org.)
Speaking of WNNY, we neglected to mention another bit of sight-seeing from our recent New York City trip: a stop at 1380's Meadowlands site to see the latest addition to the New York tower scene.
WWRU (1660 Elizabeth - or is it Jersey City?) has been using one of the WNNY towers to diplex its day signal for a while now - but within the last couple of months, 1660 built four little stubby towers around the 1380 array to handle its night signal as well, presumably improving WWRU's coverage into New York City.
Heading upstate, WRKW (92.9 Saugerties) ditched its classic rock format late last week, stunting for a day before relaunching as active rock "92.9 Rock" on Friday (6/28). The station's still using syndicated Bob and Tom in morning drive for now.
Over in Warwick, Chris Cordani leaves his OM position at WTBQ (1110 Warwick) to take over mornings at WGNY (1220 Newburgh); his old talk show on WTBQ ("Roundtable", weekdays at 11) will be handled by rotating hosts for now.
In Syracuse, WSTM (Channel 3) has applied for new facilities on that new tower we mentioned last week: the NBC affiliate will drop from 100 kW visual to 41.9 kW, but it will move nearly 300 feet higher when it changes towers, so we expect little change in the signal we receive 70 miles away at NERW Central.
As WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield) copes with the bankruptcy of parent company Adelphia, the sports station also has to handle the departure of talk host Mike Schopp. He left WNSA last week for sports competitor WGR (550 Buffalo), where he's paired with "Coach" Chuck Dickerson. Elsewhere in the Queen City, Joe Chille is handling mornings solo for now at WJYE (96.1 Buffalo), with the departure of Karen Vance.
And we're sorry to report the death of Scott Robbins, whose career as a jock included stops at New York's WPIX-FM (101.9), Harrisburg's WFEC (1400) and several Long Island stations. Robbins, who had been in Tampa since the early eighties, was found dead in his home there late last week. He was 54.
Over in Harrisburg, country WCAT-FM (106.7 Hershey) has parted ways with music director Gwyneth Seese, better known as "Dandalion." The longtime overnight host at the former WRKZ had been with the station since it took the format in the early eighties; her position was eliminated as part of a restructuring at the Citadel station.
Max Morgan of Philly's WLCE (104.5), along with "Jake" of the former WAXK (102.3 Stonington CT, now WUXL), is headed down the shore; the two are the new morning team at WRDX (94.7) in Dover, Delaware.
And we're sorry to report the death of veteran Pittsburgh newsman Al Julius. He was heard on KQV in the sixties and seen on KDKA-TV in the seventies, when he delivered commentaries (remember those?) at the end of newscasts; he was 73 when he died June 28.
And that's it for this holiday week; we'll be back next Monday with (we hope) more!