Also dark for now is WCVT (101.7 Stowe), but it should be on the air again any second now under the new ownership of Radio Vermont, running a classical music format.
Moving south, Brattleboro correspondent Doug Bassett checks in to report yet another new morning host on WKVT-FM (92.7), as that station settles down under its new owners at Keene's WKNE.
Still further up there, we received email this week letting us know that WEGP (1390) in Presque Isle is on the air, programming a talk format, and running Rush Limbaugh and Bob Grant among others.
And going all the way north to the Greater Madawaska area, CJEM (570) in nearby Edmundston, New Brunswick has applied to the CRTC to move to FM, operating on 92.7 with just over 40 kW.
Back towards civilization, work continues to put WWLA (Channel 35) on the air as Portland's UPN affiliate by August 1. Once WWLA debuts, many Portland-area cable systems will drop Boston's WSBK-TV (Channel 38) from their lineups, ending a two-decade-plus run as a Maine superstation for WSBK.
And Bangor's WABI (910) and WWBX (97.1) have new owners. Gopher Hill Broadcasting is buying the stations from the Bangor Radio Corp. for a reported $700,000.
The recent Boston Globe series about WGBH has apparently prompted a flood of responses from 125 Western Avenue. NERW has received at least one angry missive from a 'GBH employee, criticizing the Globe for a sloppy, biased series. We must be in good company; Globe columnist David Nyhan devoted yesterday's column to a response to all the PR spin that's been coming from WGBH since the articles appeared. NERW agrees wholeheartedly with Nyhan's point of view -- there's no question that the amount of local news seen and heard on the WGBH stations has plummeted since the 1980s. And to that point, WGBH has had no good answer.
Then there's WRKO (680), which seems to be turning its July 4th music programming into an annual event. WRKO talk hosts got the day off, and for the second year running, 'RKO played the hits of the 60s and 70s with a few pre-recorded liners from the talk hosts thrown in. Several readers of our sister mailing list, boston-radio-interest, thought WRKO could have done a better job rounding up old jingles, bringing back old jocks, and making the production smoother. One even went so far as to send WRKO e-mail about it -- and here's their reply, reproduced in its entirety:
"Maybe you should get a life"NERW's waiting to see whether WRKO does anything later this year to mark its 75th anniversary, as the oldest radio station that started in Boston...but we guess we won't write to WRKO directly about it!
Also in the American Radio Systems family, Barry Scott and his "Lost 45s" show has moved again. The lost hits of the 70s and 80s are moving from WBMX (98.5) down the hall to WEGQ (93.7). The show was previously heard on WZLX, WBOS, and WERS.
And the Boston Globe reports WEEI (850) has been operating at a reduced power of 10 kW while its towers are being painted.
Just up the dial, the marketing folks at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), have apparently reconsidered their decision last year to ditch the on-air use of the "WBZ-TV" calls and become "News 4 New England." Under new boss Ed Goldman, the WBZ-TV calls are once again being seen on Channel 4. Goldman was, of course, the general manager of WBZ radio for several years...
People on the move: Willie Chriesman is leaving his post as assistant news director at WCVB-TV (Channel 5) to become news director at NBC O&O WVTM (Channel 13) in Birmingham. Tom Bergeron, veteran of WBZ AM-TV, WMJX, WHAV, and New Hampshire Public TV, has departed "Fox After Breakfast," the morning show that grew out of his "Breakfast Time" show on the fX cable network. Rumor has it he may find his next morning job at ABC. And Steve Tuzeneu, operations manager of religious WVNE (760) Leicester, has been promoted to station manager.
Heading west, WNMH (91.5) at Northfield Mount Hermon School has been heard running the "Radio One" CHR satellite service, apparently without benefit of legal ID. Radio One replaces the radio reading service WNMH was running during the summer months. And a happy birthday to WNNZ (640) Westfield, which celebrated its tenth anniversary on that frequency this week. WNNZ grew from little daytimer WLDM (and before that, WDEW) on 1570, and is now running a full 50 kW during the day from brand-new studios in downtown Springfield.
And a programming quirk: Oldies jock Little Walter has returned to the Boston airwaves, buying weekend time from WBPS (890 Dedham-Boston) for his show. Walter was last heard on WODS (103.3) a few years back.
The last local show on Waterbury's WWCO (1240) is gone. Sarino Costa has moved his Italian-language show to WATR (1320), which is calling itself "Waterbury's only local radio station" now that WWCO is a simulcast of Hartford's WDRC (1360).
The Sound of Life religious radio network just keeps adding signals in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. The latest to be approved are 89.7 in Saratoga Springs and 88.1 in Liberty.
Albany Broadcasting owner John Kelly is beefing up his Hudson Valley station group with the $14 million purchase of hit radio WSPK (104.7) Poughkeepsie and talk WBNR (1260) Beacon from Enterprise Media Partners. Kelly's Pamal Broadcasting already owns WHUD-FM and WLNA in nearby Peekskill, along with several Albany stations.
Speaking of new owners, Sinclair Broadcasting is picking up Heritage Media's broadcast properties, including WPTZ (Channel 5) Plattsburgh NY/Burlington VT and four Rochester radio stations: country WBEE-FM (92.5), oldies WKLX (98.9), classic rock WQRV (93.3 Avon), and standards WBBF (950). The Rochester stations nicely complement Sinclair's massive Buffalo group, which includes four AMs and two FMs. And while Sinclair's TV stations are mostly Fox, any pressure to change WPTZ's NBC affiliation will be relieved when its new LMA partner, WFFF (Channel 44) takes to the air next month as a Fox affiliate. WFFF has already been cleared to replace Buffalo and Rochester Fox stations on several Quebec cable systems.
A hearty congratulations to one of New York's oldest radio stations. WHAM (1180) in Rochester turns 75 tomorrow, and it marked the anniversary with class, producing a three-hour show Monday night that brought back just about all the folks who've made WHAM what it is. Well done, WHAM!
Buffalo's newest TV station will debut next February. A very well-written article in last Sunday's Buffalo News says Lowell Paxson will have WAQF (Channel 51) Batavia-Buffalo up and running in early 1998 with his inTV programming.
The biggest news of the trip came in Simcoe, where CHNR (1600) is promoting on the air that it will be replaced "this summer" by the new "CD 106-7." And sure enough, at 106.7 on the dial, we heard the new CHCD testing its transmitter with a variety of rock tunes. Expect the big switch to happen within a month or so...
Kitchener's CKGL (570) has dumped country for (mostly-satellite) talk, including a lot of US hosts. Perhaps the CRTC should have a Canadian-content rule for talk, too?
There were plenty of magnificent tower sites to see, including 9-tower arrays at Toronto's CJCL (Fan 590), Kitchener's CKKW (Oldies 1090), London's CJBK (1290), and a 12-tower monster at Niagara Falls' CJRN (710). Equally impressive were the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto and the CBL (740) / CJBC (860) transmitter out in Hornby.
While the CBC has yet to secure CRTC permission to move CBL to FM, it did get the go-ahead this week to move its Montreal outlets off the AM band. In a news release that was apparently translated from English to French and back again (after possibly making a detour into Swedish), the CRTC announced that CBF (690) will get to move to the 95.1 MHz spot. The release says CBM (940) will also get an FM slot, but fails to give a frequency. CIME (99.5 Ste.-Adele) will apparently change to an undisclosed new frequency to open 99.5 for a new commercial French-language classical station in Montreal. And Quebec's CBV (980) also gets a new berth on FM; again, no frequency given.
And the best listening of the trip came from the Six Nations Indian Reservation between Brantford and Hamilton. Little CKRZ (100.3) in Ohsweken was playing a true "mix" of music, segueing back and forth among native music, rap, pop, and country, interspersed with comments from a group of teenage DJs. Professional? No way...but it was fun to have no idea what we'd hear next.