That was just the start of the feud, as Lonsberry kept up a running stream of commentary and calls on the state of WCMF, once the city's lone progressive rocker, and now one of several rock stations vying for Flower City listeners. One WCMF listener who had participated in the station's focus group the night before the firings called in to the Lonsberry show to talk about what he'd heard. That, coupled with Lonsberry's assertion that veteran WCMF morning jock "Brother Wease" is sounding tired and old, was enough to get Wease back in the station for a rare afternoon appearance, as he turned WCMF into a talk station to sound off against Lonsberry, who then devoted much of Wednesday's show to the issue, even inviting WCMF advertisers to jump ship to WHAM or its sister stations (including modern-rock competitor WNVE). It's unusual (except on WJIB/WJTO's "Let's Talk About Radio") to hear the nuts and bolts of the business -- ratings, demographics, music tests -- discussed on the air with as much passion as we've seen this week. We'll keep you posted on the outcome.
Elsewhere across the Empire State: There's a new format at Hudson Falls' WHTR (107.1); the station has flipped from hot AC to satellite oldies. Buffalo's WWKB (1520) is settling into its new identity as "SportsRadio 1520;" a long way from the KB monster that once owned the airwaves in Western New York and beyond. Operations Manager/Program Director Howie Green has departed Albany's new sports station, WTMM (1300 Rensselaer), for a new gig as morning jock with Cleveland modern rocker WENZ (107.9). Owego's soft-rock WGRG (101.7)/WEBO (1330) are being transferred from Michael McKilligan to Ron Kyle.
In translator land, Pensacola's WPCS has applied for an 89.7 relayer in Elmira, while the Educational Media Foundation wants 89.1 in Plattsburgh to relay KLOV-FM, which is listed as a not-yet-on construction permit in Winchester, Oregon.
TV news: Binghamton public broadcaster WSKG has been granted permission to move its channel 4 LPTV from the Catskills to channel 25 in Albany. This is the channel that's supposed to become a commercial broadcaster serving the capital later this year.
And we note with sadness the passing last week of Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins, the San Francisco DJ whose "Purple Grotto" was THE home for jazz in the Bay Area for decades on KSFO, KGO, and later KCSM. We didn't realize, until we read the obituary in the New York Times, that Jazzbeaux was born right here in Rochester. He worked at New York's WNEW (1130, now WBBR) as well. He'll be missed.
Some changes in the airstaff at the Concord-area RadioWorks stations: At classic rock WNHI (93.3 Belmont)/WRCI (107.7 Hillsborough), Sean Sullivan is the new Imus in the Morning co-host, coming from WXOD (98.7 Winchester). Eric Scott, formerly of WBHG (101.5 Meredith) and WCGY (now WEGQ, 93.7 Lawrence-Boston), is the new evening voice on the "I-stations." Jeremy Dale moves to overnights from evenings. At sister station WJYY (105.5 Concord), Chad Erickson is now doing 4-7 PM, with Sullivan voice-tracking overnights in addition to his Imus duties.
A correction for our mailing list and AIRWAVES readers: Last week's NERW incorrectly identified Rochester's 96.7 as using the "Cool" nickname. It's not; the station soon to be WQSO (and still WSRI for now) is going by "Oldies 96.7" on the air. Further proof NERW and a bad head cold just don't mix: we added an erroneous "O" to the late Officer Bill Connell's name. We know better...
Our alert NERW readers in southern Vermont tell us WNMH (91.5) in Northfield, Mass. has gone back to satellite CHR from "Radio One," in place of the Talking Information Center programming that had been heard there in recent weeks.
WTIC's erstwhile sister station, WFSB (Channel 3) marks its 40th anniversary with a special Sunday night, October 26. As always, NERW would like to hear from anyone who might be able to videotape it for us (come to think of it, we'd still like to see videos of the Connecticut Public TV special on Nutmeg State TV history, not to mention WCVB's 25th anniversary special and the debut of WLWC New Bedford...)
More TV news: WBNE (Channel 59) New Haven has picked up the rights to the Hartford Wolf Pack AHL team; the Pack will air five games this season on "WB59."
While it's not exactly radio, our compliments to the Hartford Courant on the elegant redesign they introduced on Sunday. Well done!
That'll do it for this week's NERW. We'll see you next Thursday...