On Monday afternoon, Entercom's oldies station WKLX (98.9), a sister station to WBBF(AM), began calling itself "BBF" -- and, more important, ditched the satellite-delivered oldies format that it's been using in favor of live, local programming. The soon-to-be WBBF-FM is being programmed by Chris Whittingham (formerly with sister station "The River," classic rock WQRV 93.3 Avon), who's also doing middays. Former WKLX morning jock Mike Vickers moves to the 2-7 PM slot, and Ellis B. Feaster returns to Rochester from KBEE (98.7) in Salt Lake City to do mornings. Feaster handled AM drive duties on 98.9 in its WKLX incarnation before leaving for Salt Lake as well.
NERW expects the WBBF revival to be just the first in a series of changes at the Entercom stations, which were purchased from Heritage (by way of Sinclair and News Corp.) just a month ago. Rumors are flying about a call change at WBBF(AM) to avoid confusion, although we're told there may not be any truth to the speculation that the new calls will be WEZO, last heard on 93.3 -- and before that on Rochester's AM 990 (later WRMM, WCMF, and now WDCZ), and most memorably for 16 years on 101.3 FM (now WRMM). AM 950 is now local in morning drive, with operations manager Todd Blide spinning the standards. And morning drive at WQRV is being handled by fill-in jocks now that Whittingham is across the hall at BBF-FM. As for Entercom's other Rochester outlet -- well, you don't fix what ain't broke, so expect no changes at top-rated country station WBEE (92.5, and the original WBBF-FM back in the sixties).
NERW's enjoying the "return" of a station we fondly remember from our younger days -- and now we're just waiting for some savvy radio operator in Buffalo to find a way to resurrect "KB"!
There's a "1000 W AM daytimer near Albany" being shopped for sale in the trades.
Across the border, Sunday is the big day for Toronto's CBL (740) and CBLA (99.1), as the CBC officially moves its Radio One service from AM to FM. The event will be commemorated by an all-day open house at the CBC Broadcast Centre at 250 Front Street West, as well as by an hour-long broadcast at noon. As crushed as we are by the imminent loss of CBC service to upstate New York (the AM transmitter will be turned off for good sometime this fall), NERW can't pass up a good open house, so we'll be up there checking out the scene and rolling tape on the Big Moment.
WBPS (890 Dedham) is getting a new owner, as John Douglas spins it to New England Continental Media...AKA Salem Media, the owner of WEZE (590) in Boston and dozens of other religious and conservative talk stations around the country. No word yet on format changes for the leased-time ethnic outlet. This is the second time in recent years that WEZE has had a sister station; Salem ran WPZE on WEZE's old 1260 frequency for a year or so before spinning 1260 to Hibernia and Radio Disney.
Meantime, Marlboro's WSRO (1470) is being sold by Great Radio to Alexander Langer, the owner of two other Metro West AMs, WRPT (650 Ashland) and WJLT (1060 Natick).
Congratulations to Boston College's WZBC (90.3 Newton), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend, perhaps just a little bit early. The station's Web page says that it was in 1973 that carrier-current WVBC (650) was granted an FM license, but NERW's records show a 1974 sign-on date for the FM. No matter; it's nice to see a college station that's aware of its own history.
Down in Attleboro, WARA (1320) is reportedly about to switch to leased-time ethnic programming, supposedly by way of a week of "Aquarium Sounds."
Opie and Anthony redux: The fired shock-radio pair could soon end up with a new Boston radio home, according to the Boston Globe. Rumor has CBS' WBCN (104.1) picking them up -- while their old home, WAAF (107.3 Worcester), has moved Rocko from nights to afternoons.
And check out the brand-new Web site of Greenfield's WHAI (1240/98.3).
WTIC (1080) in Hartford has named a new news director. Bill Pearse is a 20-year veteran of Connecticut radio news. He worked at WPOP (1410) and WWYZ (92.5 Waterbury) before joining WTIC.
The Hamden zoning board has postponed a public hearing on WKCI (101.3)'s request to build a new tower; it'll now be held May 21.
Score it "Metropolitan Opera 1, Red Sox 0" in Brattleboro -- as WKVT (1490) sticks with the Met this coming Sunday, sending the Sox over to sister station WKVT-FM (92.7) for the afternoon.
WPEA (90.5) in Exeter was heard on the air last weekend for the first time this school year.
That's it for this week; see you again next Thursday!