The format change comes just on the heels of WPOP's sale to SFX Broadcasting from Multi-Market Communications, which had run the station as a mix of local and satellite talk. Among the shows that originated at WPOP was the syndicated "Judy Jarvis Show," which has shifted production to the Robinson Media Arts Center next to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Farmington. Jarvis no longer has a Hartford-area outlet. Jarvis needed to move no matter what, since the WPOP studios in Newington are being sold as part of SFX's consolidation of its many Hartford stations.
Regaining an outlet in Hartford is the "Fabulous Sports Babe," whose show originates just down the road from WPOP at ESPN in Bristol, CT. WPOP's new format includes five hours a day of the Babe, along with copious quantities of "One-on-One Sports." Local sports talk will reportedly follow soon...
Another pirate that's been pinned down is an 87.9 in Westford MA, northwest of Boston. NERW has learned that the station is coming from Graniteville Road, near Westford Center. So far, all that's been heard on 87.9 is music, apparently alternating from two CD players.
92.1 W221AP Westfield MA 94.3 W232AJ Greenville NH (atop Pack Monadnock, near Peterborough) 95.9 W240AE Hinsdale NH 95.9 W240AL Bernardston MA 95.9 W240AM West Keene NH 99.7 W259AB Marlboro VT 105.5 W288AN West Brattleboro VT 105.5 W288AZ Bernardston MAAll these stations, with the exception of Westfield and Marlboro, are licensed to Brian Dodge's Harvest Broadcasting, which owns WWNH (1340) Madbury NH and has gotten into FCC trouble in the past for running an illegal STL at a Manchester NH station and operating WRUT (107.5) West Rutland VT after its construction permit had been cancelled. The Westfield station was to have been a translator of WIHS (104.9) Middletown CT, and Marlboro was to have been a translator of WVAY (100.7) Wilmington VT.
Doug says the Alive network has been appealing on-air for money to replace the 1950s-vintage transmitter at WMYY, and saying that the WMYY signal feeds WBAR and the New England translators. Doug also reports that the audio quality of the feed to the translators is hideous.
After seven years in Boston, I'm picking up the radio and heading west next month. Starting February 3, I'll be the assignment editor of R News, Time Warner's 24-hour cable news channel in Rochester NY. As most of you know, I've spent the past five years as a newswriter and editor at Boston's WBZ, and while it's been an exciting, rewarding place to work, I'm ready for a new challenge -- even if it is TV!
Don't panic, though -- NERW will live on. The nice thing about the Internet is that I can use it just as easily from Rochester NY as from Waltham MA. I'll still be getting regular Boston updates from NERW's many friends up here, including Boston Radio Archives co-creator Garrett Wollman and contributing editors Peter George, Donna Halper, and so many others. The scope of this column will change a bit, though -- as we change the name to "North East Radio Watcher." You can still call us "NERW" for short, and we'll still cover the goings-on on and off the air in the six New England states. Starting this spring, though, you'll also read about what's happening in upstate New York here in NERW, as I begin re-acquainting myself with the radio dial I grew up with (it was emptier then!)
Our e-mail addresses won't change, and the Boston Radio Archives will stay put at http://radio.lcs.mit.edu/radio/bostonradio.html, albeit with an expansion of upstate NY content over the coming year. As I'll be in the process of moving for most of February, please try to limit e-mail to urgent news items!
My thanks to everyone who's helped NERW grow into the most comprehensive source of New England broadcasting news and information over the last few years. This isn't farewell -- I'll see you soon, from a new location!