NERW is guessing that what's now WROR-FM (105.7 Framingham-Boston) will soon revert to WROR(FM)...we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, we're finding 1150 to be very nifty indeed -- nicely localized, with a fun blend of music that's not at all unlike what the local CHR stations are playing. The audio quality is another story; the stereo pilot is on but it's hard to hear any stereo separation, and it often sounds overmodulated, splattering stations as far down the dial as New York's 1130 WBBR.
A bit further afield in upstate NY, Remsen NY's WUUU (serving the U-U-Utica market, of course) has applied for the WRFM calls on 93.5. Those calls were, of course, long resident on 105.1 in New York City. Syracuse newcomer WXCD (105.9) has changed calls to WLTI, formerly found in Detroit. WGLI (1290) in Babylon, Long Island -- a station that's been dark for years -- has applied for WZZU. And NERW has applied for a grant for aspirin from the headache we get keeping track of all this movement!
There was only one station in Piscataquis in 1971, Dover-Foxcroft's WDME. There's still only one, and it's still WDME. The only difference is that back then, WDME was on 1340 AM (and a relative newcomer; it signed on in 1967). WDME-FM signed on in 1980, as a simulcast on 103.1 A few years later, both stations moved into a converted railroad car, and not long after that, the AM vanished from the airwaves. Today, "D-103" makes a big deal out of its exotic studio location, with IDs that feature train sounds underneath.
Next door in SOMERSET COUNTY, it's all changed since 1971, when the only sounds on the dial were Skowhegan's WGHM AM/FM, the former a daytimer on 1150, and the latter a little class A newcomer on 107.1. The AM changed calls a few years later to WQMR, and then made a nice move up the dial in the mid-80s, going to 1160 with 10kw day and 1kw night, and changing calls to the present WSKW. The FM pulled off an even more spectacular upgrade in the early 70s, moving to 105.1, and becoming a full class C. The new calls reflected the new transmitter location; WTOS stood for "Top of Sugarloaf," as in the Sugarloaf Ski Area, from which "The Mountain of Pure Rock" has held forth ever since, with a signal that reaches out as far as Bangor and even Portland on a good day. Skowhegan's second FM, WHQO 107.9, was a 1989 newcomer that now simulcasts WSKW. The rest of Somerset County'radio stations are equally new to the air: WIGY (97.5) in Madison signed on about a year ago, simulcasting WGUY Dexter; WCTB (93.5) in Fairfield signed on last year as a duopoly partner to WTOS/WSKW; and WPBC (99.5) in Pittsfield is a yet-to-be-built CP.
Further east in FRANKLIN COUNTY, the only station on the air in 1971 is now gone. WKTJ(AM) was a little 1kw daytimer on 1380. WKTJ-FM popped up on 99.3 in 1973, and has stayed there ever since, while the AM went silent in the early 90s. WUMF(FM) in Farmington is at the University of Maine's campus there; it went on the air in 1972 on 91.9, and later moved to its current 100.5 spot on the dial, after a brief stint on 92.3.
OXFORD COUNTY was all-AM in 1971, with Rumford's WRUM on 790 and South Paris' WKTQ on 1450 the lone broadcasters. Both are still there, but WRUM sprouted an FM in 1975 on 96.3. WRUM-FM became WWMR in the early 80s, upgrading eventually to a mighty 100kw signal that serves almost all of Central Maine. Owner Melvin Stone, who also owned WEMT-TV/WGUY-AM-FM in Bangor, eventually sold out, and both stations now belong to Boston religious broadcaster Ken Carter. WKTQ also went religious in the 1980s, after a stint as top-40 WXIV. 1450 was known as WOXO for a few years in the 1980s, parallelling its sister FM in Norway, Maine, before returning to the WKTQ calls in 1986. As for WOXO-FM in Norway, it signed on in 1970 on 105.5, moving to 92.7 a couple of years later to accomodate WTOS in Skowhegan on 105.1. WOXO's been on 92.7 ever since, now as a country outlet. It's simulcast on WTBM in Mexico, Maine, which made its debut in 1987 on 100.7 and has been there ever since.
Heading back towards more populated areas, we find plenty of change in KENNEBEC COUNTY, home to Augusta, the state capitol. Back in 1971, Augusta radio consisted of three AMs and an FM. WRDO was the old-timer, with a mighty 1kw day/250 watts night on 1400. WFAU was another heritage AMer, with similar power on 1340, and the city's only FM license, WFAU-FM on 101.3. And Gardiner-licensed WABK was a relative newcomer, on 1280. FMs began sprouting in the 1970s and 1980s, with WABK-FM bowing in 1974 on 104.3, and WRDO's FM making its debut in 1981 as WSCG, a little class A on 92.1. WFAU-FM went country as WKCG in the early 80s, upping power to 50kw from 2.2kw. WSCG became WRDO-FM shortly thereafter, moving to 92.3 with 50kw, and then in 1986, WRDO-FM/AM was reborn as WMME-FM/AM, hit radio "92 Moose." The WMME(AM) calls inexplicably changed to WEZW last year, but the simulcast remains. Last year's other big move was the duopolization of WFAU/WKCG and WABK, in which WFAU's old 1340 facility was sold off to become religious WMDR, and the WFAU calls and nostalgia format moved down the dial to take over WABK(AM)'s 1280 spot. WABK-FM dumped its AC format for oldies, and everyone moved into WABK's Gardiner studios (except WMDR, which settled in at the old WFAU digs on Bangor Street).
Up the road a bit in Waterville, there were two stations in 1971, WTVL AM/FM at 1490 and 98.3. The FM moved to 98.5 in 1986, briefly using the WDBX calls before going back to WTVL-FM. In 1993, it upgraded to 63kw, as country WEBB, "B98.5." WTVL now simulcasts the FM, but keeps its own calls. For the last few years, WTVL/WEBB have been duopolized with WMME/WEZW in Augusta. Later additions were WMHB "Mayflower Hill Broadcasting" at Colby College, which started in 1974 as a 10-watter on 91.5, then moved to 90.5 in the early 80s to make way for Maine Public Radio's WMEW on 91.3.
Heading out to the coast, we double back to KNOX COUNTY, where Rockland was the only radio town in 1971, with WRKD on 1450 and WRKD-FM was a simulcast class A on 93.5. WRKD-FM changed calls to WMCM ("Mid-Coast Maine") in the mid-70s, and did the upgrade thing in 1989, jumping to 103.3 with 20.6kw. A year later, WMCM embarked on an ill-fated era as a classical outlet, later moving to the current country format. WRKD(AM)'s still there, still on 1450, too. Over in Camden, 102.5 WESK debuted in 1985, changing calls a year later to the current WQSS, "Coast 102." And Thomaston's WAVX signed on in 1990 on 106.9, taking over the classical mantle from WMCM.
LINCOLN COUNTY is where we'll close out this portion of the Maine NERW history. The county's one and only radio outlet, WCME 96.7 Boothbay Harbor, signed on in 1984 as an easy-listening outlet. It's been simulcasting 95.5 from Topsham (about which we'll have more next time) for the last couple of years, first as country, and now as classic rock/oldies "Golden Eagle."