North East RadioWatch: February 28, 1997
The Big Get Bigger
Amazing how much can happen in three weeks, isn't it? Now that
NERW has recovered from our California trip and a nasty bout with the
flu, here's what's been making news across the Northeast radio and TV
- Two of Boston's largest FM stations have new owners. CBS is trading
WBOS (92.9 Brookline-Boston) and WOAZ (99.5 Lowell-Boston), along with
WMMR (93.3 Philadelphia) to Greater Media, in even exchange for
Greater's KLSX (97.1 Los Angeles) and KRLA (1110 Pasadena-Los
Angeles). CBS was under Justice Department orders to sell WBOS and
WMMR, as part of its purchase of Infinity. WOAZ simply went along
with the deal, just as it did when Infinity acquired it from Granum
just a few years ago. No immediate format changes are expected at AAA
WBOS or at smooth jazz "Oasis," which now form a group with AC WMJX
(106.7), oldies WROR-FM (105.7 Framingham-Boston), country WKLB-FM
(96.9), and WNFT (1150).
WNFT is in search of a new format, following the demise of KidStar,
the Seattle-based childrens' network that had been leasing 1150 for
some four months. KidStar folded abruptly last week, sending 1150
back to its default mode of simulcasting 96.9 until someone else signs
up to lease it. Rumor has it that rival kids' programer Radio AAHS is
contemplating a deal for 1150.
The CBS-Infinity deal has caused some shuffling in the executive ranks
at CBS's Boston operations. New CBS Radio boss Mel Karmazin is
thinning the ranks of middle managers, which knocked Ed Goldman out of
his post as head of CBS AM radio. Goldman stays in Boston, returning
to the general manager's office at WBZ (1030), in turn displacing Ted
Jordan, who moves down the hall to become GM at WODS (103.3, "Oldies
103"). Odd man out is WODS GM Bob Pates, who's now looking for work
elswehere in the company.
- Still more big business: The massive merger of Evergreen,
Chancellor, and Viacom's radio operations touches Boston
tangentially, as Evergreen's WXKS-FM (107.9 "Kiss 108"), WJMN (94.5,
"Jam'n"), and WXKS (1430) become part of the renamed "Chancellor
- Little business, by comparison: We now know what Salem will call AM
1260, the former WEZE Boston. The new calls are WPZE, for "Praise
1260." The WEZE calls move to 590, the former WBNW. Both stations
are still simulcasting for the moment, but separate programming for
1260 is expected soon.
- Squeaking through: WRPT (650 Ashland MA) made it on the air with just
hours to spare before the February 9 deadline for keeping its
license. Like sister station WJLT (ex-WBIV) 1060 Natick, WRPT is
operating from one tower of the WKOX (1200) site on Mount Wayte Avenue
in Framingham. WRPT is running the "Talk America #2" network
programming for now. Also back in time were WEAV (960 Plattsburgh
NY), which is being leased by crosstown WZBZ (1070) to simulcast its
talk programming, and WAUB (1590 Auburn NY), which is simulcasting
WLLW 93.7 Clyde NY for now. We don't know the fates of WHWB (970
Rutland VT), WEGP (1390 Presque Isle ME), or WSCP (1070 Sandy Creek
NY) -- and we'd like to hear from anyone who does! Dead and gone are
WQQW (1590 Waterbury CT) and WLNG (1600 Sag Harbor NY).
- Rhode Island's got something to dance to: WDGF (100.3 Middletown) has
dropped its simulcast of WDGE (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale, "The Edge")
to become dance music "The Beat." WDGF is the former smooth jazz
WOTB; it had been simulcasting WDGE for only a year or so.
- Whither Radio Free Allston? The Boston-area pirate is reportedly
considering a move from 88.5 to 106.1, thus interfering with WCOD
Hyannis rather than WFCR Amherst. Rumor has it there will be a
lengthy article on RFA in this weekend's Boston Phoenix.
- Connecticut news: WREF (850 Ridgefield) has dropped its simulcast
with co-owned WLAD (800 Danbury), and is now running ABC's satellite
oldies format as "Oldies 850." Quinnipiac College's WQUN (1220
Hamden) is on the air with Music of Your Life and CBS hourly
newscasts. Low-power W10CG Hartford is on the air from the former
studios of WHCT (Channel 18) on Garden Street, running the More Music
network from noon to midnight and home shopping the rest of the day.
- Congratulations to Jay Allison and his Cape and Islands Community
Public Radio group, which has been granted a license for 91.1 on
Nantucket, with 2 kilowatts.
- People on the move: Congratulations to Gary James, the new vice
president and general manager of WHYN AM/FM Springfield. Gary steps
into the void left by the death of GM Mike Marder earlier this month.
A fund has been established for Marder's 18-month old son; donations
can be sent to the Evan Marder Fund, c/o the Bank of Western
Massachusetts, Springfield MA 01101. Chris Tracy takes Gary's place
as acting operations manager and FM program director at WHYN.
Retiring from the radio business after 45 years is Rochester's Jack
Palvino. Palvino's broadcast career began at WGVA Geneva back in
1952, and included a stint as top-rated morning host on WBBF
Rochester. In 1978, Palvino and Bud Wertheimer founded the Lincoln
Group, which bought WVOR Rochester and later added stations in Buffalo
and Syracuse, before being acquired by American Radio Systems last
year. NERW wishes him the best of luck in his retirement!
Longtime Schenectady broadcaster William Carpenter has died at age
81. Carpenter worked for WGY and WRGB-TV from 1947 until 1966.
- Religious Radio Marches On!: Don Crawford's Crawford Broadcasting is
buying WCMF(AM) Rochester from American Radio Systems. The 990 kHz
facility is expected to change calls to WDCZ, to simulcast Crawford's
WDCZ-FM 102.7 Webster-Rochester. ARS had planned to donate 990 to
St. John Fisher College before receiving Crawford's offer. In the
Albany area, the Christian Broadcasting Corporation is buying WMVI
(1160 Mechanicville) from Joseph Motto, spelling the end to WMVI's
eclectic oldies format.
- Once around the FCC docket: Sound of Life Ministries has been granted
90.9 in Glens Falls NY. WYFG Gaffney SC has been granted a Jamestown
NY translator, W205BA on 88.9. WIRQ Rochester, at Irondequoit High
School, has been granted a frequency change from 94.3 to 104.7
(necessitated by new WAQB 94.1 Brighton). Sullivan Broadcasting has
been granted a Burlington NY translator, W31BP. Connecticut Public
Broadcasting's WRLI (91.3 Southampton NY) has been granted an
extension of time.
A few unusual applications: Rochester's WXXI Public Broadcasting is
applying for 90.9 in Spencerport, a western suburb of Rochester. That
frequency would normally be unavailable for assignment because of
WXXI-FM on 91.5, but presumably WXXI is granting itself a waiver.
NERW guesses WXXI will use the new FM to boost the poor signal of WXXI
(AM) 1370 to the west -- am I right, Bob Smith?
Syracuse Community Radio has had another application returned, this
time for 90.5 in Cleveland NY. Holy Family Broadcasting's application
for 90.7 in Lancaster, near Buffalo, was also returned. Liberty
Community Family Broadcasting wants 90.1 in Watertown NY, while WSKG
Public Broadcasting is applying for 90.1 in Ithaca (presumably to carry
the second service that's already running on WSQX 91.5 Binghamton).
WSKG is also applying for TV channel 57 in Waverly NY.
- From the call letter front: WAQY (1600) East Longmeadow MA returns to
those calls from WMRE. WNBX (100.5) Lebanon NH becomes WVRR; WQIX
(820) Horseheads NY becomes WWLZ; and WLPZ (1440) Westbrook-Portland
ME becomes WJAE, an interesting echo of the legendary WJAB calls that
once graced that station. Maine Broadcasting's WCSH-TV (6) Portland
and WLBZ-TV (2) Bangor have become WCSH(TV) and WLBZ(TV),
respectively, reflecting the long-ago call changes of the former WCSH
and WLBZ radio (now WZAN and WZON). Speaking of Portland TV, WWLA
(Channel 35) Lewiston will reportedly hit the airwaves this summer, as
a UPN affiliate operated under LMA by Fox affiliate WPXT (Channel 51).
- Kudos and zings: Kudos, for once, to the Boston Globe's Susan
Bickelhaupt, who actually got the WEZE/WPZE call swap right. A little
zing to Time magazine, for claiming that Howard Stern broadcasts from
"KROQ" in New York City. And a big ol' zing to the New York Times,
whose brand-new New England Edition includes TV listings with
long-dead call letters like WNEV (which became WHDH-TV in 1990), WHLL
(which has been WUNI for years), and WQTV (WABU since 1993). For
- Finally, a hearty NERW congratulations to Carolyn Kruse of Boston's
WKLB-FM. After her morning show on Monday, she rushed to the hospital
-- and a few hours later became a proud mother. NERW
sends our best wishes to the family.
- We'll see you in a week or so...stay tuned!
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