Entercom still has some bugs to work out, including a missing top-hour ID just about every hour we've tuned in (including, alas, the very moment when the "Swifty 950" stunt ended and the new format started), but things sound like they're off to a good start at WROC. (It's a nice move for WROC-TV as well; the channel 8/950 partnership means all three major TV newsrooms in town now have radio partners - Clear Channel owns both WHAM and ABC affiliate WOKR(TV), while Hubbard's NBC affiliate, WHEC-TV, simulcasts its news on WYSL 1040 down in Avon. In addition to sharing its calls with 950, the channel 8 partnership includes simulcasts of the 6 and 11 PM newscasts on the AM station, as well as weather for 950 listeners provided by channel 8's meteorologists.)
More on the new 950 next week...
If the format and the nickname already sound familiar to listeners in the region, it's no surprise: Clear Channel flipped WWKL (1460 Harrisburg) from oldies to standards two years ago as "The Ticket," WTKT, with a programming lineup (heavy on Fox Sports offerings) very similar to what will be heard on WLAN after the flip takes place in the next few weeks.
The new "Ticket" won't have a couple of key sports franchises: the Phillies air in Lancaster on Hall's all-sports WLPA (1490), while NASCAR is over on the FM dial at WIOV-FM (105.1 Ephrata).
Will the heritage WLAN calls disappear from AM and be relegated solely to FM use at 96.9? And how much local programming will remain on 1390? Stay tuned... (and in the meantime, we're wondering what the "new" 1390 site was doing over the weekend at the www.wkbo.com Web address of Harrisburg sister station WKBO 1230 instead of the correct www.1390theticket.com site that will be WLAN's new Web address.)
While we're in central Pennsylvania, we're keeping an eye on the fate of the Brill Media stations. The group heads to a bankruptcy auction Tuesday, but we're told WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) won't be part of that sale, leaving only WIOV (1240 Reading) and WIOV-FM (105.1 Ephrata) as NERW-land stations in the auction. Results next week...
Over in Shamokin, Clear Channel is selling dark WISL (1480) to David Gorman's "Basic Licensing" for all of $65,000 - and with just a few months left to remain dark before facing license revocation.
And up in Erie, Beth Ann McBride has left the PD chair at "Star" WRTS (103.7 Erie), leaving the NextMedia CHR seeking a replacement.
Asbury Park noncomm WYGG (88.1) got caught by the FCC, and now the Haitian gospel station wants to straighten things out. WYGG was issued a Notice of Violation back in May that accused the station of having moved its transmitter from 517 Cookman Avenue to 601 Bangs Avenue without permission. Now the station is applying to make the move legal, with 50 watts of power at 35 meters above average terrain. (As for the DX reports that have accused WYGG of operating an unlicensed on-channel booster all the way over in Brooklyn, we'll leave that to the Enforcement Bureau to sort out...)
Still more good news for 'FUV fans: after several months of repeats, Pete Fornatale has settled his dispute with the station and returned to his Saturday "Mixed Bag" show. Fornatale's beef with WFUV stemmed from some comments he made over the winter that station management felt were too political; in the meantime, he had been doing some work with WBJB (90.5 Lincroft NJ) down in Monmouth County.
Lynn Samuels is off the radio again: the left-leaning talker has been replaced on her WABC (770) weekend shift by the syndicated Suze Orman financial-advice show.
And those afternoon guys at that FM talk station would want all the publicity they'd get from their latest moronic stunt this week - so we're glad to deny them that satisfaction.
On the TV side, there's word that Dianne Doctor will move from the news director's chair at WNBC (Channel 4) over to WCBS-TV (Channel 2), part of a shuffling of news talent prompted by the move of O&O stations boss Dennis Swanson from NBC to CBS. Doctor's move to WCBS apparently means the end of Joel Cheatwood's stint as news director at the perenially ratings-challenged channel 2.
Out on Long Island, David Weiss has exited the morning show at WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue).
Up in Albany, morning guy Ric Mitchell is out again at WTRY-FM (98.3 Rotterdam). Mitchell, whose career in the Capital District stretches back to the seventies, had been with the Clear Channel oldies station for six years this time - and this wasn't even his first stint with WTRY. No word yet on a permanent replacement for WTRY wakeups...
Over at Regent's Albany cluster, they're looking for a new PD for modern rocker WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer)/WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill), which is losing PD Dave Hill to a bigger gig programming Hearst rocker "98 Rock," WIYY (97.9 Baltimore).
Up north, some good news for Watertown public radio fans: their relay of WRVO (89.9 Oswego) is about to get a lot stronger. WRVO was granted its CP this week to move WRVJ (91.7 Watertown) from the top of an office building in downtown Watertown to the WPBS-TV (Channel 16) tower out near Copenhagen. With 1600 watts from 41 meters above average terrain, WRVJ should have a much-improved reach from the new facilities, especially in outlying areas such as Carthage and Lowville.
And back here in Rochester, it's still "Swifty 950" stunting on WBBF (950 Rochester) - but a few clues about the station's future have begun to surface - at least if you're looking for Allan Harris' radio history pages, which have moved to a new home at www.aharris950.com. (And is there any truth to the rumor that one of 950's new talents personally painted over all the graffiti on the 950 transmitter building?)
The FCC granted the transfer of WLYN (1360 Lynn) from ADD Media to Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting; Liu is paying $1.78 million for the 700-watt ethnic station.
And we're sorry to have to report the arrest of former WBCN afternoon guy Mark Parenteau, who's now running the comedy channel for XM down in Washington. Parenteau was arrested last Wednesday (August 14) on charges of first-degree sexual assault involving a 14 year old boy.
Some sad news from NHPR as well: reporter Chris Bracken, whose work was heard often on the public radio network, as well as on Vermont Public Radio and NPR, died August 3 after a battle with liver cancer. Bracken was just 48 years old.
One more bit of Concord news: we can now tell you how much the new owners of WKXL (1450) are paying to buy the station from Vox - the sale price on the deal, which was approved this week, is $370,000.
A correction from last week: that's Brian DePoe who's moving from the PD chair at 95.3 back to Toronto's "EZ Rock" (CJEZ 97.3), effective today.
And up in Ottawa, Milkman Unlimited reports the arrival of a new local show at sports "Team 1200" (CFGO). The "Sports Call" show that used to be heard on sister CFRA is being revived at 1200, filling the 9 AM to noon slot that had been occupied by Team national programming from CHUM in Toronto.