There's a new program director at WEEI (850). Jason Wolfe had worked as the sports station's assistant sports director. His first big task will be to oversee the new 10-noon talk show featuring John Dennis (formerly of WHDH-TV) and Gerry Callahan of Sports Illustrated, which replaces the Fabulous Sports Babe.
Some programming changes at Marlborough's WSRO (1470): while Dave O'Gara continues to play some music during his radio show, the station goes all-talk after 9 AM, with syndicated hosts Doug Stephan, Blanquita Cullum, and Bruce Williams, along with local host Lindsy Parker in PM drive. Saturdays from 11AM to 1PM, the station is home to a new show called "The Heart of the Matter," with husband-and-wife attorney team Howard Caplan and Tricia Davidson arguing the conservative and liberal viewpoints, respectively.
NERW was in Boston last weekend for a visit, and in between bites of Legal seafood, we managed to squeeze in a bit of radio listening, including the country station at 99.5, which was still using the "WOAZ Lowell" legal ID last weekend, but has since managed to get the WKLB-FM calls that had accompanied the country format on 96.9 before the late-August swap.
So far so good...at least if you don't pick up the Boston papers. It was back on September 4 that NERW told you that the new 96.9 calls were WSJZ. If you read the Boston Globe, you'd have read about it on October 1! And then there are the radio dials in the back of the Sunday TV books...the Globe's has "WBNW" as the calls for 1260, "WFNT" (still!) for WNFT on 1150, and "WOAZ (Oasis) 96.9," a combination that never existed. The Herald is even further out of date; it kept listing WBIV on 1060 long after that station went dark two years ago, and never changed the listing to WJLT when 1060 reappeared in the spring. To the traditionalists at the Herald, 590's still WBNW (albeit religious), and 1260's still WEZE. The Herald also puts WOAZ at 96.9...but it still shows WBCS doing country there too! One final note: the Globe can transcend the laws of physics. Just ask the radio columnist who comfortably asserts in this week's column that daytimer WILD (1090) is about to go 24 hours -- an interesting trick, given WILD's lack of a license for night service, application for night service, or chance of getting night service what with the powerful co-channel skywave from WBAL in Baltimore. OK, we feel better now...and we're happy to entertain speculation that WILD may finally be finding a way to move its programming to an underutilized 24-hour signal elsewhere in the market. 1150, anyone?
The Worcester area continues to be the Bay State's pirate-radio hotbed; in addition to the long-running "WDOA" (89.3) and "WDEN" (90.1, which turns out to be from Shrewsbury), plus the Spanish-language pirates on 1620 and 1680, there are two more FMs operating without benefit of licensed out in Central Massachusetts. "WSCW" on 94.9 operates from Worcester State College, apparently under the mistaken assumption that they don't need a license. And on the south side of town, there's another Spanish-language pirate on 95.1. Licensed WCHC (88.1) at the College of the Holy Cross is back on the air after some technical troubles delayed their fall-semester startup.
Still more Spanish-language unlicensed radio is being heard up in Lowell; there's someone on 1620 up there with a lot of hum and a little music.
And not to be left out, Boston pirate "Rebel Music Radio" (89.3) has a web presence complete with a link to another pirate we didn't know about, "WPPS" (88.7) in Hingham. RMR has an annoying habit of leaving a dead carrier on when it's not programming, something that's bound to annoy DXers who treasure 89.3 as the last open DX channel in Boston. And as for the 88.7, which claims to be running 25 watts on weekend nights -- any guesses how long that lasts on a channel that's first adjacent to licensed (and powerful) WERS (88.9) in Boston?
Could Bridgeport pirate "WSPN" (1630) be aiming for legitimacy? They're running an ad in this week's Radio World looking for stations for sale in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area or in Florida...
In Buffalo, a successor has been named to replace Michael Collins as head of the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association. Donald Boswell comes to WNED-AM-FM-TV, WNEQ-TV, and WNJA-FM from North Texas Public Broadcasting (KERA FM-TV/KDTN-TV) in Dallas. He'll start in January.
Family Life Ministries has been granted a new translator in Cortland. W222AH (92.3) will relay WCII (88.5) in Spencer.
Downstate, WBWZ (93.3 New Paltz) and WRWD (107.3 Highland) in the Poughkeepsie market are being sold to Roberts Radio by Hudson Valley Radio Partners for $7.5 million. Meantime, former WRWD/WBWZ owner William Walker has been granted a construction permit for W279AJ, on 103.7 in Highland, to relay New York's WQXR (96.3).
In the New York market, WXLX (620 Jersey City NJ) is set to go all-sports on Tuesday, and new owner One-on-One Sports has applied for the WJWR calls to go with the new format.
And just over the state line in Tunkhannock, Pa., the classic rock format of "Endless Mountains Rock," WEMR-FM (107.7) has come to an end. WEMR-FM and its sister AM station on 1460 have been sold to Citadel, and it's now rebroadcasting the CHR format of WBHT (97.1) Mountaintop-Wilkes-Barre. Citadel also owns WARM (590), WKQV (1550), WKQV-FM (95.7), WMGS (92.9), and WZMT (97.9) in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market. WEMR-FM can be heard in parts of the Binghamton market.
Radio with pictures: Rochester Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31) has named a co-anchor for its new 10pm "Fox News First" broadcast. Tom Butler comes from weekends at KOLO-TV (Channel 8) in Reno. The new Fox newscast is tentatively set to start December 1.
And that's it for this week's NERW. We'll be back to our regular Thursday schedule next week; see you then!