New England RadioWatch: April 3, 1996
- The big news is the April Fools' joke that wasn't: the move of
veteran WBCN morning host Charles Laquidara to co-owned classic
rocker WZLX, allowing Howard Stern to move from evenings on BCN
(where he's been since March 1993) to morning drive. Here's
what the fallout looks like so far: Most of Charles' crew moved
with him to WZLX (the exception is sports guy Tank, who stays with
WBCN to do Patriots games there), displacing morning host George
Taylor Morris, who will leave Infinity. Evenings are back to music
on WBCN, with no permanent jock named yet. At his press conference
today, Stern slammed all the usual Boston media suspects, but
from what I'm told, said he's especially determined to beat the
all-news station, which would be perennial AM drive leader WBZ. I
wasn't able to get Howard's April 1 and 2 shows on tape, and would
be grateful to hear from anyone who did. I *did* tape part of
Laquidara's first show on WZLX.
- Evergreen has named a new GM at WXKS-FM "Kiss 108." Janet Karger
arrives from corporate to help set a new course for Kiss, while
Matt Mills sheds the GM duties at Kiss to focus on sister CHurban
WJMN "Jam'n 94.5."
- From the tower-light nitpicking front: The lights were off again
on the former WCOP-FM tower in Lexington when I drove by April
1. If I were the FAA, I'd be a bit concerned. There's also a
cracked beacon on the top of one of the WGIR-AM towers alongside
I-293 in Manchester NH. The latter was noticed during a weekend trip
to Vermont and the Saratoga Springs NY area, which produced the
- In the Albany area, WXXO 96.7 Clifton Park NY remains satellite
oldies for now, despite the announced purchase by Crawford Broadcasting,
owner of crosstown religious outlet WDCD 1540 Albany (ex-WPTR). The
WPTR calls now reside on country 96.3 FM in Voorheesville, near
Albany, ex-WCDA. When I tuned in Sunday afternoon, WPTR-FM was
running locally-programmed country, followed by a NASCAR race.
WKBE 100.3 Warrensburg-Glens Falls is now a simulcast with WKLI
100.9 Albany, doing soft rock as "K100." WMVI 1160 Mechanicville-Albany
was on the air with extremely low power (I'd guess about 50 watts),
apologizing for technical problems and asking anyone who could
hear the station to call. I couldn't hear it well enough to
qualify, even driving through downtown Mechanicville. WMVI had
been dark for years.
- In the Rutland VT area, kudos to WEBK 105.3 Killington, for daring to
be an inventively-programmed station that lets the jocks choose
much of their own music. I spent a very pleasant half-hour
visiting the station, which has studios in a tiny booth poking
out of the roof of a popular ski-area restaurant (you get to the
station through a stairway in the kitchen!) I'm told "K105 The
Mountain" is a labor of love by a local lawyer. Good for him.
WHWB 970 remains off the air, while WSYB 1380 was doing Talk America
programming with no local content the whole time I was there. WJJR
98.1 appeared to remain live and local all night. WZRT 97.1 "Z97"
was an adequate CHR outlet. (The office door at WEBK is decorated
with a cartoon of Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, doing something
quite nasty, not to mention unsanitary, to the Z97 logo.)
- In the Upper Valley NH-VT area, there seemed to be two bright spots.
WUVR 100.5 Lebanon continues to program AAA as "The River,"
simulcast with WBFL 107.1 Bellows Falls VT and a 105.5 translator
in Keene NH. And Michael Vinikoor's WNTK AM-FM in Newport-New London
NH seems to have a healthy diet of local talk, judging from the
program guide/shopper paper of his I picked up. Dartmouth's WDCR
1340 sounded automated, with a very diverse selection of music,
including Disney tunes and heavy metal, while sister station WFRD
99.3 remains a straight-ahead rocker. Weekends sounded very
automated at hot AC WGXL 92.3, its sister station WTSL 1400, and
soft AC WKXE 95.3 and _its_ sister station WNHV 910.
- And over in Bennington VT, little rocker WHGC 94.3 and standards/talk
WBTN 1370 continue to do their quiet little thing from a little white
house next to Route 7. 'BTN was doing a decent local newscast
at 11am on a Sunday morning...kudos.
- Red Sox season is underway, on a radio network that includes flagship
WEEI 850 Boston, and for AM DXers to the west, WTIC 1080 Hartford.
TV viewers are still trying to find the Carmine Hose, who have parted
company with WSBK-TV 38 after two decades. Thanks to its Sox,
Bruins, and Celtics coverage, TV38 had built itself into a
regional superstation found on almost every cable system from
Long Island Sound north into Canada and west into upstate New York.
The Sox' new flagship, WABU-TV, is a 3-station UHF network on 68 in
Boston, 21 (WNBU) in Concord NH, and 58 (WZBU) on Cape Cod. Other areas
are filled in with full-power TV (WGME and WPXT in Portland ME) or
LPTV (WLNE-LP in Providence, WWIN-LP in Burlington VT, and WDMR-LP
in Springfield). Berkshire County, in Western Mass., was a trouble
spot, since neither WDMR-LP nor WABU reach out there. After weeks of
confusion and distress among Sox fans, the local cable companies
agreed to pick up a satellite feed of Sox games on basic cable.
Nobody wants to drop WSBK for WABU, because of WSBK's Bruins and
Celtics coverage and its stronger slate of syndicated programs
- And a programming note: What may be the only radio show in America
devoted to the local radio scene, "Let's Talk About Radio" on
WJIB 740 Cambridge/Boston and WKBR 1250 Manchester NH, is scaling
back for the summer. "LTAR" will air for only half an hour weekly
until further notice, at noon Sundays on WJIB and 9am Saturdays on
WKBR. In the interests of disclaimer, I'll admit, if pressed on
the matter, to being a co-host of said program.
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