As we reported last week, WVIP's historic round studio burned to the ground, prompting an outpouring of assistance from area engineers and from the Westchester community. As soon as WVIP was back on the air from a temporary studio, listeners and advertisers began showing up at the trailer with food, supplies, and entertainment, while WVIP's air staff cranked out local programming through an old Radio Shack mixer.
It all came to an end on Saturday, though, with a phone call from the hospital bed of owner Martin Stone. Unwilling to keep losing money on the station, Stone ordered WVIP off the air at the end of the broadcast day, and after a farewell speech by phone from the hospital, WVIP broadcast a tape of its first broadcast, 40 years ago next month, and signed off, apparently for good.
The WVIP license has not been returned to the FCC, and it's possible someone may buy the license and put 1310 back on the air, but it won't be Martin Stone. NERW salutes the WVIP staffers and volunteers who tried to keep the station alive; we hope someone finds a way to pull it off in the end.
Also silent is the 1260 frequency in nearby Westport, CONNECTICUT. After years of struggling as a stand-alone AM, owner Mark Graham announced late last week that he's donating WMMM's license and transmitter to Sacred Heart University. WMMM's final broadcast came Monday morning, complete with a phone call from Chile from weekend DJ Jose Feliciano (of "Light My Fire" fame). After an emotional farewell from Graham, WMMM played "My Way" and left the airwaves. Sacred Heart will return 1260 to the airwaves around Thanksgiving, programmed by its existing WSHU (91.1 Fairfield)/WSUF (89.9 Noyock, N.Y.) public radio operation, and likely with news-talk programming similar to WSUF.
Local radio is getting harder and harder to find down that way these days; the outstanding examples now are WVOX (1460) in New Rochelle and WGCH (1490) in Greenwich; seems like Hicks, Muse controls nearly everything else on the dial there lately.
As WNRB (1510) waits to be transferred to One-on-One Sports, owner Communicom has begun leasing morning drive for a simulcast of Concord's WADN (1120). While the telephone-quality simulcast is currently carrying Bloomberg business radio, the time is reportedly being bought by the New England Advisory Group investment firm for a morning business show.
Steven Provizer's Radio Free Allston is launching an all-out fight against the National Association of Broadcasters, in response to the NAB's recent call to licensed broadcasters to seek out and report unlicensed activity in their markets. Provizer is challenging representatives from the NAB and the FCC to a public debate on the issue of licensed low-power broadcasting, pointing out the inconsistencies in translator licensing versus the lack of class D licenses and the huge growth of the conglomerates. NERW will be happy to moderate if there's ever a debate; heck, we've managed to take both sides on this issue at once all too frequently in recent months.
Say goodbye to "Talk 94.9" on the Cape...and hello to "Talk 95.1." West Yarmouth's WXTK fired up this morning on its new frequency of 95.1, getting out from the shadow of Mount Washington's giant WHOM, and giving the latter an incredible signal all the way down into Boston once again. Further down the Cape, the construction permit for Truro's WCDJ (102.3) has been extended yet again; there's still no sign that Karl Nurse's station will actually be built any time soon.
It's like the 80s all over again...WROR-FM (105.7 Framingham-Boston) has introduced an "80s at 8" segment each weeknight, preceded by "60s at 6" and "70s at 7." Meantime, Greater Media stablemate WBOS (92.9 Brookline-Boston) has moved its constantly-changing format closer to 80s pop-rock again, this time under the "Quality Rock" moniker.
Curry College's WMLN (91.5) in Milton has applied to move its tower ever-so-slightly. The new tower would be adjacent to the current one on the campus and almost exactly the same height.
On the TV front, John Dennis has parted ways with WHDH-TV (Channel 7) after 21 years. Rumor has it that Dennis may replace the Fabulous Sports Babe on WEEI (850), but New England Cable News sports guy Mike Adams is also still being mentioned for the 10-noon spot.
Also, the WRDX calls that lasted about five minutes (or so it seemed) on 98.7 in Somersworth have reappeared on 94.7 in Dover, Delaware. That's the former WDSD, whose calls and country format have moved to 92.9 Smyrna, the former WSRV.
Christian Ministries has applied for a new station in Putney, Vermont, on 91.9. And there's a new TV signal on the air just over the border in Montreal; CKMI (Channel 5) Quebec City is now a Global affiliate, and proved it by adding a relay on channel 46 in Montreal this week.
Remsen's WRFM (93.5) will soon be acting more like a Utica station; it's been granted an application to move to Smith Hill with the big Utica FMs. Oswego's WZOS (96.7) has been granted the WOLF-FM calls it wanted, simulcasting Syracuse's WOLF (1490). And the WHAZ trimulcast in the Albany area will apparently split this fall for Union College sports, with WHAZ (1330 Troy) doing football, while WBAR (94.7 Lake Luzerne) and WMYY (97.3 Schoharie) do hockey.
Finally, there's a settlement in a dispute we didn't even know existed -- over the bragging rights for 670 and 680 kHz in Central New York. Binghamton's WINR (680) filed to increase its day power to 5 kW, which apparently conflicted with the application by East Syracuse's WSIV (1540) to move to 670, and another application for 670 way up in Waddington, New York. All three parties have asked the FCC to approve a settlement, and as soon as we get the details, we'll bring them to to you.
And that's another week in NorthEast radio; we'll see you here again next Thursday!