They call it "April," and yet it's all of 24 degrees outside - maybe this
Rochester thing wasn't such a great idea after all, weather-wise...anyway, on
with the week's news:
- We'll start this week in Massachusetts, where Glenn Ordway is out
as program director at all-sports WEEI (850). Ordway tells the Boston
Globe the decision was a mutual one, to allow him to focus on his
on-air duties. Brad Murray takes over PD reins at WEEI, in addition
to his duties at sister talker WRKO (680). Up in Gardner, meantime,
little WGAW (1340) is about to be doing independent programming for
the first time in years. Doug Rowe kept WGAW when he sold WSRO (1470)
in Marlborough, and word has it that WGAW's program schedule will soon
include Red Sox baseball and other simulcasts from nearby WEIM (1280)
- More storm news: We're told WBPS (890) and WRPT (650) were also
knocked off the air during last week's big storm. WBZ (1030) broke
format for a while on Wednesday afternoon to take calls from listeners
who were unhappy about the slow state of snow removal. And with
morning jocks Ken Shelton of WBOS and Jack Brady of WOAZ stranded at
home, overnighters Julie Devereaux and Hillary Stevens got to stay on
for the morning gigs at Greater Media's newest stations.
- And the Lowell National Historical Park's 1610 TIS is now running
actual information about events at the park... after two years with
nothing but test messages!
- A busy week in Connecticut, as Nutmeg State correspondent Marty Waters
checks in with this report:
WTIC (1080) in Hartford added Robin King as a featured part of the
morning-drive Ray Dunaway Show as of April 2. The news-talk format of
the program remains the same, as does its name, although Dunaway and
King said in an interview published in the Hartford
Courant on April 9 that the intention is to "lighten up"
the program and broaden its demographic appeal beyond the strongly
male tilt it has now. The 33-year-old King, a 17-year veteran of radio
with eight years in the Hartford market, left her post last fall as
co-host of the "Ross and Robin" show on WKSS-FM (95.7) whose strongest
audience demographic is young women. She chose not to renew her
contract, preferring to spend some time at home with her 2-year-old
son, Kenny. The 47-year-old Dunaway has anchored the morning shift at
American Radio Systems' WTIC for the past five years.
Radio sources said last fall, according to the Courant,
that WTIC operations manager Bill Stairs, who made many staff and
programming changes before leaving the station in the fall, had
arranged for King to team up with Dunaway after her non-compete clause
expired this spring. But King said she left WKSS with no guarantee of
any local radio job when she decided to return to work. The
Courant noted that King "suddenly appeared" on the
program with no advance promotion. She is quoted as saying she only
visited the station for discussions for the first time on the day
before she was on the air.
King said she had heard a rumor---which had no basis---that she would
be reunited with Gary Craig on the morning show on co-owned
WTIC-FM. She and Craig were co-hosts when Craig worked the morning
shift at KISS 95.7 before he returned to WTIC-FM for his current,
second stint there.
Traffic reporter Dennis Kennedy of WICC (600) in Bridgeport escaped
injury yesterday when his plane lost power and he glided to an
emergency landing at Sikorsky Airport in Stratford, which serves the
Bridgeport area, the station reported. Another staff member took over
the traffic-reporting duties for the remainder of morning drive time.
- And in other Connecticut news:
The stations up in the state's northwest corner were hardly immune
from last week's big snowstorm. Dennis Jackson checked in from WQQQ
(103.3 Sharon), to report that the main generator at the station's
transmitter site in Millerton NY failed, knocking both Q103 and
WKZE-FM (98.1 Salisbury CT) off the air at the height of the storm.
WKZE-FM remained silent for three days, but Q103 was back within 11
hours, thanks to station staffers who made supply runs up and down
Silver Mountain with fuel for a portable backup generator. Q103
immediately went into emergency mode, relaying information from
listeners, utilities, and town officials.
- As for the 92.9 pirate mentioned last week, so far none of NERW's
Connecticut readers have actually heard it, although one reader notes
that there's what sounds like a Haitian pirate on 89.3 in the Norwalk
- New Hampshire news: It's the end of an era for independent TV in
the Granite State. WNDS (Channel 50) in Derry was officially
transferred to Ramcast, Inc. last Saturday, bringing with it a switch
to Global Shopping Network programming. Most of the station's staff,
including well-known weatherman Al Kaprelian, was laid off. WNDS had
recently been improving its cable coverage in the Boston market, and
is now available to viewers in most of the metro area - for whom it's
now at least the fourth all home-shopping signal on the UHF dial.
- There could be a new AM signal in the Upper Valley area. Koor
Broadcasting, which owns WNTK AM-FM (1020 Newport/99.7 New London), is
applying for 720 in Hanover. No word yet on facilities, but we'd
suspect a few thousand watts daytime, possibly directional to protect
CKAC (730) in Montreal, and a few watts at night. Apparently the
plans for 720 in Billerica MA are now completely dead and gone...
- One bit of news from Rhode Island this week: the long-awaited
debut of Providence's WB affiliate is now set for 5:30 PM on Sunday,
April 13. WLWC (Channel 28) is licensed to New Bedford MA and will be
operated by NBC's WJAR (Channel 10). WLWC is owned by Fant
Broadcasting, which has similar LMA deals in other markets around the
- One bit of Maine news this week as well: Bangor's country "Bear"
is finally shedding the WWFX call letters that marked its old CHR
"Fox" format. The Belfast-licensed 104.7 outlet has applied to become
WEBR, calls last seen in Washington DC on the once-and-present WGAY-FM
(99.5), and before that for decades in Buffalo NY on what's now WNED
AM-FM (970/94.5). By the way, we've yet to hear from any NERW
listeners who received the DX test a few weeks ago from Presque Isle's
WEGP (1390). Our tape here in Rochester turned up mostly WLAN from
Lancaster PA on the frequency, once WDCW in Syracuse had signed off
for the night. One more note: M Street reports Bangor's WWBX (97.1)
has dumped its local modern-rock format for ABC's satellite modern AC
format, still as "97X," apparently. That's good news for cross-town
rocker WKIT (100.3 Brewer), which is now one of just a handful of
live, local radio outlets up there.
- Vermont must still be snowed in, because there's been no word from
our usual gang of correspondents up that way, and no FCC news of note
from the Green Mountain State, either. Hope the snow melts soon,
- And here in Upstate New York:
"Smooth Jazz Doesn't Live Here Anymore"...but "Alice" does: Buffalo's
WSJZ (92.9) dumped its smooth-jazz format last week, to become modern
AC "Alice at 92.9." The ARS-owned station joins outlets in Denver,
San Francisco, and St. Louis with the "Alice" moniker and the modern
AC format. No jocks yet, and no new calls have been applied for
- Brand-new NERW correspondent Gavin Burt checks in from "just north
of Albany" with some information on Capital District radio during the
Blizzard of '97: Stations knocked off by the storm included WABY-FM
(94.5 Ravena), WDCD-FM (96.7 Clifton Park), WTRY-FM (98.3 Rotterdam),
WCTW (98.5 Catskill), WNYQ (105.7 Queensbury), and at least briefly
WPYX (106.5 Albany). WCKM-FM (98.5 Lake George) was apparently
running lower power than usual from their tower on Prospect Mountain
in the Adirondacks. One more note from the Glens Falls area: WENU
(101.7 Hudson Falls) has now switched to an adult standards format,
after simulcasting WNYQ for several months.
- An update to our Elmira-Corning rundown from last week: WNGZ (104.9
Montour Falls) and WGMF (1490 Watkins Glen) have now been sold to
SabreCom, which was operating them under an LMA anyway. Sale price is
listed as a quarter-million dollars. Expect big changes to the automated
"Wingz 105" classic rock format in the next few months...
- Amsterdam's WCSS (1490) has been sold to Weber Communications of
Amsterdam, Inc., by Gem Associates LP.
- William Walker, owner of WRWD (107.3 Highland) and WBWZ (93.3 New
Paltz) in the Poughkeepsie market, has filed an application for a
103.7 translator in Highland, to rebroadcast WQXR (96.3 New York).
The translator should placate Hudson Valley listeners who've had
trouble with WQXR's classical-music signal since Poughkeepsie's new
96.1 signed on last year.
- Translators are the big news out of Syracuse. Religious WZXV
(99.7 Palmyra-Rochester) signed on a 103.5 translator serving
Syracuse last week. W278AH are the calls they're mentioning in the
ID. All of two watts, albeit from 505' above average terrain. And
the Radio Corporation has applied for a 101.3 Syracuse translator for
its WKRL (100.9 North Syracuse).
- A bit of Utica information: WUTQ (1550) has joined the simulcast
with WADR (1480 Remsen) and WRNY (1350 Rome). That means you can now
sit in downtown Utica in daylight and hear three signals with
satellite big-bands. And you can now sit in downtown Utica at night
and hear almost nothing on all three frequencies.
- Here in Rochester, WHEC-TV (Channel 10) has followed the
early-morning lead of WOKR (Channel 13), adding 30 minutes to its "AM
Live" newscast, which now starts at 5:30 AM. No radio news this week,
but we're told there will be at least one format change to tell you
about for next week...
- Digital TV is coming...at least if you're in Boston or New
Hampshire. The big four networks have given the FCC a list of
affiliates in the top 10 markets that will be on the air with digital
TV by the end of 1998. In Boston, those are WGBH-TV, WCVB-TV, and
Manchester's WMUR-TV. There's no word yet from the FCC on channel
assignments for the new digital broadcasts. Boston will actually have
more DTV than New York, where WCBS-TV is the lone station on the
- Take me out to the radio: It's baseball season again, even if it
is freezing outside, and that's enough excuse for us to run down the
information we've got on Northeast radio outlets for America's
No change in the major-league flagships this year, as the Red Sox continue on
WEEI (850), the Mets stay on WFAN (660), and the Yankees remain on WABC
(770). The Blue Jays are still on CJCL (590 "The Fan") as well as just about
every other AM station in Ontario, or so it seemed last Sunday when we parked
the NERW-mobile at the nice spot we've found on Lake Ontario where all the
Canadian stations blast in.
Now, for the state-by-state rundown of who's where:
Thanks to Bill Dillane for Connecticut info and to
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com for a lot of the other
information...and we look forward to hearing updates from all of you
out there! You'll find us parked in front of a couple of Zweigle's
hot dogs at Rochester's new Frontier Field...
The Eastern League's Portland Pirates stay on WPOR (1490) for another
season. We're not sure whether Bangor's Blue Ox are on the radio up
there. And of course you'll hear the Red Sox on just about every
small-town station up there...
- NEW HAMPSHIRE:
No minor league teams up that way..but of course the Red Sox network
finds its way to every corner of the Granite State, including WGIR
(610) in Manchester.
The Vermont Expos are on Burlington's WVMT (620) for another season of
single-A action. Plenty of Red Sox affiliates as well - just spin the
dial and you'll find them somewhere. What's missing this season is
Montreal Expos baseball, which had been heard on WEAV (960 Plattsburgh
NY) in recent seasons. Expos flagship CIQC (600) doesn't have much
signal in Vermont, but French speakers can tune in the action on CKAC
- Major Sox affiliates include WEEI, WSAR (1480 Fall River), WTAG
(580 Worcester), and WHYN (560 Springfield), but there's one big hole
this year: no Sox outlet on Cape Cod. WCIB (101.9 Falmouth) didn't
renew for another year, and that means WEEI is scrambling for a new
broadcaster to bring the Sox to the huge summer crowds on the Cape,
where its own signal is weak at best, especially at night. Cape
viewers can see some Sox action on WZBU (Channel 58) in Vineyard
Haven, part of the WABU-TV network. By the way, someone ought to tell
the Globe that WCIB isn't on the network anymore...
Yankees fans in the Worcester area will find the team on WWTM (1440), which
is now simulcasting co-owned WEEI most of the rest of the week.
In the minors, you'll find the Lowell Spinners on WLLH (1400 Lowell-
Lawrence) for another season. The Pittsfield Mets return to WBRK (1340). The
Massachusetts Mad Dogs have moved from Lowell's WCAP (980) to Salem's
WESX (1230), closer to their home base in Lynn.
- RHODE ISLAND:
Besides Red Sox coverage on WPRO (630) and Yankees games on WPNW
(550), there's AAA action from the Pawtucket Red Sox, with WLKW (790)
as the flagship.
Radio heaven for baseball fans, with affiliates for all three area
major-league teams, as well as three Eastern League clubs. Here's how
it shakes out, with thanks to Bill Dillane:
The New Haven Ravens have WAVZ (1300) as their flagship, with WNTY 990
Southington and WMMM 1260 as affiliates. The New Britain Rock Cats are on
WMRD (1150 Middletown), as well as WLIS (1420 Old Saybrook). WMRD
and WLIS are also carrying some games from the Ravens and the Norwich
Navigators, who move to WSUB (980 Groton) and WILI (1400 Willimantic)
from their former flagship, WVVE (102.3 Stonington).
The Red Sox net includes WTIC (1080 Hartford), which is where everyone east
of the Hudson gets their Sox at night, along with WILI, the WSTC-WNLK-
WINE trimulcast in Fairfield County, WINY (1350) in Putnam, and WAXB
(105.5) across the state line in Patterson NY.
Yankees outlets include newcomer WICC (600 Bridgeport, nights and weekend
games only), WPOP (1410 Hartford, returning after several years), and WWCO
- NEW YORK:
We'll start with the AAA teams, two of which are in new stadiums this
year. The Rochester Red Wings move from WCMF (990) back to WHTK
(1280) after an absence of several years, with an added bonus---Sunday
afternoon games, as well as opening night this Friday and the annual
Orioles exhibition game, will air on sister station WHAM (1180), with
a 50 kilowatt clear-channel signal. Syracuse's SkyChiefs, now in
their new home at P&C Stadium, remain on WHEN (620). And Buffalo's
Bisons stay on WGR (550) in their final American Association season
(they'll join Rochester and Syracuse in the International League next
year). TV coverage is almost nonexistent except for opening night
games, seen in Syracuse on WIXT-TV (Channel 9) and in Rochester on
WHEC-TV (Channel 10).
Further down in the minors, Binghamton's Eastern League Mets are on WNBF
(1290). In the New York-Penn League, the Batavia Clippers are on WBTF
(101.7 Attica), the Hudson Valley Renegades are heard on WBNR (1260
Beacon), the Jamestown Jammers appear on WJTN (1240) and the Watertown
Indians show up on WTNY (790). There's no radio for the Auburn Doubledays
or the Utica Blue Sox.
- And finally this week: Since replacing the (very) old Mac with a brand-new
Pentium last month, we've been spending a lot of time checking out radio sites
on the Web, and from time to time we'll be presenting some hits and misses.
Here's what we found this week:
HITS: WSHU/WSUF, Sacred Heart University's public radio outlets for
southern Connecticut and Long Island, have an awfully nice site at
http://www.wshu.org. Coverage maps are included, showing the way in
which they've used translators to create two networks in the region...
and best of all, they've given their engineer a monthly column. One
minor nit to pick: nowhere on the site will you find WSUF's actual
city of license, which is Noyock NY. Another nifty site is Lance
Venta's Mid-Atlantic Radio Page, a worthy southern counterpart to the
Boston Radio Archives (and the soon-to-debut Upstate NY Radio
Archives). You'll find all sorts of radio info stretching from New
York City to Washington DC at http://www.tcnj.edu/~venta2/radio.html.
MISSES -If you're going to have a web site for your radio station, it
helps to keep it up to date..a concept apparently lost on Providence's
big AM stations. Our search for Providence baseball information ran
up against a dead end at www.wpro.com and www.whjj.com. Most of
WPRO's links were dead...and at WHJJ, we found a "Coming Events" list
that ended in mid-February. (And speaking of inaccuracies, does
anyone out there know why Broadcasting & Cable magazine listed
"WIYY(FM) Baltimore [formerly WTYY(FM)]" in last week's issue? Or why
they insist on listing "Unavailable" for the format or facilities of
any station not listed in last year's Yearbook? Or why they still
think WLKW in Providence is classical, four years after the fact?
Have these people never listened to a radio in their lives? Never
- And with that, we'll pull ourselves away from the keyboard for a
few hours. Next week, all the corrections to the baseball list, and
much more...stay tuned!