NERW found a few stations worthy of praise during the Maine jaunt. WERU (89.9 Blue Hill) stands out, as a true community non-comm playing a very nice selection of folk and blues. On the commercial side of things in the Bangor area, WKIT (100.3 Brewer-Bangor), Stephen King's rocker, stayed live and local all night that Saturday night. Down the coast, the classical programming of WAVX (106.9 Thomaston) is now being simulcast on WBYA (101.7 Searsport), bringing the classics to the Bangor-Ellsworth-Belfast area. There was a LOT of satellite radio that weekend, including several of Bangor's big signals -- both AMs (sports WZON 620 and standards WABI 910) and a few major FMs (soft hits WEZQ 92.9 and oldies WWMJ 95.7) and a few of the biggies in the Augusta area (country WKCG 101.3, oldies WABK 104.3, country WMCM 103.3, and hot AC WQSS 102.5). WKCG was having some major signal problems, and was completely off the air for part of Saturday and into Sunday morning. 'KCG was also having automation problems -- the female jock on the satellite service was accompanied by locally-inserted station IDs from a male jock -- rather weird to listen to. One odd simulcast was oldies WGUY (102.1 Dexter) and WIGY (97.5 Madison), which run a satellite format, but with calls that were once very well known, WGUY in Bangor on 1250 AM years ago, and WIGY in Bath on 105.9 FM until the early 90s.
Back up in Bangor, the newest station in town, WBZN (107.3 Old Town) was doing a decent job of cranking out 70s rock, "from an abandoned convenience store," at least according to the top-hour ID. Religious WHCF (88.5, "Where He Comes First") gives its time checks in both Eastern and Atlantic times, to serve listeners in western New Brunswick who can hear its 100,000 watt signal. Noncomm WHSN (89.3) at Husson College sounded like a pretty good college station, and I'm told the same is true of the University of Maine's WMEB (91.9 Orono), although the latter was not on the air when I drove past Sunday morning. Another relative newcomer, WSNV (103.9 Howland) has recovered from serious technical problems last winter and is cranking out talk programming in mono. And WKSQ (94.5 Ellsworth-Bangor) is doing hot AC as "Kiss."
Up in Vermont, WCMD (89.9) in Barre is now on the air, simulcasting religious WCMK (91.7) in Bolton. The 90.5 construction permit in St. Johnsbury, granted as WAQA, has filed to change to WCKJ. This will reportedly be another religious outlet. Not too far away, in Keene NH, WKNE AM/FM (1290/103.7) have reportedly been sold for a total of $6 million...more on this next issue.