Six staffers were dismissed from WTAG (580) and WSRS (96.1) in Worcester early this week, including WTAG program director Skot Pare, morning host Tom Gorham (a 26 year veteran of the station), and evening news anchor Ann Kenda. George Brown, who was recently moved from afternoons to pair with Gorham, stays on morning drive, while talk hosts Upton Bell and Jordan Levy keep their jobs as well.
Up north in New Hampshire, all three staff members at WXHT (95.3 York Center ME) are being dismissed, as "Heat 95.3" cools down and picks up a satellite modern AC format. In the same building, WHEB (100.3 Portsmouth) PD/OM Glenn Stewart has been named PD of sister station WGIR-FM (101.1 Manchester) as well. WHEB's new GM is Kim Jones, husband of WGIR PD Ruth Jones. WHEB sales manager Shari Soffen has been dismissed as well.
At WGIR, news director Bill Rossi, production manager/talk host Terry Benz, and FM program director Tim Sheehan are all reportedly out, along with sales manager Cathy Cram, who has resigned. Get ready for a simulcast between WGIR-FM and WHEB as well; word has it there's a 15k stereo line being installed to allow the two stations to share late-night and weekend programming.
NERW wonders what the Knight family makes of all the changes at what was once one of the region's best-run broadcast groups...
On with the rest of the week's happenings:
Carter Alan is the latest veteran of WBCN (104.1) to move across town to co-owned classic rocker WZLX (100.7). Alan leaves his music director duties at WBCN to take that role, plus assistant PD and midday jock, at 'ZLX. Current WZLX middayer George Taylor Morris will leave the station in April. In addition to his radio career, Alan is one of the pre-eminent experts on the band U2. Over at Greater Media, Shirley Maldonado is the new PD at WSJZ (96.9). Her smooth jazz experience includes stints at WQCD (101.9) in New York and WLVE (93.9) in Miami Beach.
East Boston's "EB101," displaced from its 101.3 MHz spot on the dial when WFNX translator W267AI took to the air last month, has landed at 97.9 MHz under the new name "EBRadio." In other news from the unlicensed, the Spanish-language religious pirate that's on 1680 kHz in the Worcester area is now reportedly being heard on FM as well. Its policy of giving away airtime to churches is causing some concern at licensed religious stations in the area, we're told.
Out west, the FCC has granted WBEC-FM its translator in Great Barrington. W231AK will operate on 94.1 MHz, filling in some shadowed areas of "Live 105" coverage to the south.
And we welcome the new radio critic at the Boston Globe, Clea Simon, while noting that the paper's questionable standards of accuracy have survived that job's previous occupant -- since when is Boston College's WZBC on 90.9, pray tell?
Radio people on the move: Jon Greenberg moves north from NPR in Washington to become features news manager at New Hampshire Public Radio (WEVO 89.1) in Concord. Brian Goode has resigned as PD at WKNE-FM (103.7) in Keene. And Kim Crawford moves from WLNH (98.3) in Laconia down the road to do middays at WZID (95.7) in Manchester. Speaking of WLNH, it's expecting to be back at full 6kW strength by March 21, more than two months after the ice storm that downed its tower.
And there's more religion on the way to Ashland: W245AF (96.9) is about to be on the air, if it's not already, as a translator of WGLV (104.3) Hartford VT.
A NERW reader in Portland is hearing an unusual signal on 97.3 -- nonstop 80s hits with no legal IDs, just a jingle that goes "Wavin' every hour, wavin' at our tower, Wave radio." Unlicensed? We think so...
Allan Weiner's shortwave station in Monticello is expected to take air later this year with the calls WBCQ. We hear the veteran radio pirate will be offering a discount on airtime to "free radio" broadcasters.
Wickford's WKFD (1370) is running a format of 70s pop hits and public-service announcements.
Pirate WICE (89.3) in Johnston is running on-air appeals for money to help the station expand to seven days a week from its current Thursday-through-Sunday schedule.
The 104.5 Spanish-language pirate in New Haven is off the air again after returning to the air following last week's FCC bust.
And we remember T.J. Martin, who died on Sunday. Martin was the longtime morning host at WAVZ (1300) in New Haven through the 60s and 70s, and spent 1969 and 1970 at WMEX in Boston as well.
New calls on Binghamton's ABC affiliate. Channel 34, previously WMGC (and before that, WBJA), has applied for WIVT. NERW thinks the new calls have two meanings, one paralleling sister station WIXT (Channel 9) up I-81 in Syracuse -- and the other reflecting the station's cable channel position of 4 ("IV") on many Binghamton-area cable systems. The change hasn't been reflected yet on ABC's website, or on the www.wmgc.com site either. Could Utica's WUTR (Channel 20), be the next to get new calls? NERW thinks "WXXT" would be perfect...
And yes, there could be yet another religious translator in Western New York. Family Life Radio has applied for 90.1 in Lockport for its WCOU (88.3) in Warsaw.
We'd hate to close on that note -- so instead we'll finish off with some ramblings from NERW's trip to Albany last weekend:
Utica's WRUN (1150) has been simulcasting country sister station WFRG (104.3) every time we've driven through recently. We're not certain yet whether this is a nights-and-weekends deal or 24 hours; stay tuned.
In Mechanicville, WMVI (1160) was running a gospel format -- with nary an ID that we heard, which leads to the question of which is worse, a wrong ID or no ID at all? Waving the flag for the "wrong ID" team is Sound of Life's WPGL (90.7 Pattersonville), which was heard two hours running with an ID for three other Sound of Life stations (WFGB Kingston, WLJP Monroe, and WRPJ Port Jervis) and no ID for itself.
WUHN (1110) across the state line in Pittsfield was putting a huge daytime signal into the Capital District -- with a radio-auction show that seemed to go on all day Saturday, simulcast with WUPE (95.9), which was harder to hear because of co-channel interference from WCQL Glens Falls.
WXLE (104.5 Mechanicville) was sounding good with AAA as "the Zone." We also enjoyed listening to WVCR (88.3 Loudonville), recently purged of all rap music by licensee Siena College. Union College's WRUC (89.7 Schenectady) was actually on the air for once, with a rap program. (Confidential to the Saturday-afternoon jocks: Yes, your mikes WERE working, even when you said that particular word on the air...and wouldn't ya know it, I was rolling tape...) Legal ID? I didn't hear one...
WRVE (99.5 Schenectady) was getting good response to the radiothon it was running. A different radiothon for the same cause was on Johnstown's WIZR (930) and WSRD (104.9), which mentioned that "95.5 the River" in Albany was part of the radiothon that day.
And to the fellow who lives next to the transmitter building of WROW (590) south of Albany: We weren't taking a picture of your house. Really.
That's a wrap for this Thursday. Coming next week: NERW visits New Jersey and Pennsylvania...and a brand new domain name for our Archives Web sites. See you then!