Boston has lost one of its legendary broadcasters. Carl DeSuze died Wednesday night at the age of 83.
DeSuze was WBZ's morning host from the 1940s until the early 1980s, a record that's unlikely ever to be broken. His urbane on-air manner and affection for all things European made for an unlikely fit with WBZ's top-40 format in the sixties, but the combination worked, and DeSuze remained on top of the ratings for years.
In addition to his duties as "New England's Alarm Clock," DeSuze traveled the world, relating his experiences in lectures across New England.
A Maine native, DeSuze was proud of his Bowdoin education. After college, he worked at several Maine radio stations before moving to Boston and WBZ.
On a personal note, your editor had the opportunity to work with DeSuze while helping to prepare WBZ's 75th anniversary celebration in 1996. While DeSuze's health was already failing, he was eager to share his memories and his memorabilia. I'll long treasure the memory of spending several afternoons at his home in Concord, as he sifted through several boxes of photos and posters, recounting the stories of celebrities interviewed and distant capitals visited.
DeSuze's death follows that of Gordon Swan by only a few months; together, they represented an era of WBZ history that's now all but lost.
DeSuze is survived by his wife, Greta, and three children. Funeral arrangements remain incomplete at this writing.
More on Carl DeSuze's legacy will follow in next Thursday's NERW.
Now the rest of this week's news.
WUMB (91.9, simulcast on WFPB Falmouth and WBPR Worcester) is abandoning its nighttime smooth-jazz "Quiet Storm" format in favor of a mixture of blues, world music, gospel, and reggae. Days are changing too, as the acoustic traditional folk is joined by "electric folk" (their words!) and world music.
Could WUMB be taking a cue from public radio stations like Philadelphia's WXPN or Spindale, North Carolina's WNCW, which have found new audiences for public radio with their folkish spins on the AAA format? We're looking forward to giving the new 91.9 a listen...
Fairhaven's WFHN (107.1) has been granted a power increase from 2400 to 6000 watts -- and a transmitter move from Popes Island to the UMass/Dartmouth campus, which just happens to be closer to Providence, too. "Fun 107" has a new sister station in New Jersey, too. Owner Spring Broadcasting just signed on WZZP (107.3) in Atlantic City, with a CHR format as, hey, guess what -- "Fun 107."
Congratulations to Fran Charles, who exits WHDH-TV (Channel 7) in Boston to do sports on WNBC-TV (Channel 4) New York's "Today in New York."
And an addition to last week's obituary of Victor Best; we should note that after leaving WBZ-TV, Best was the first newscaster at WIHS-TV (Channel 38, now WSBK) circa 1964.
Auburn's WMBO (1340) has been sold. Craig Fox's Wolf Broadcasting is paying Butch Charles' Salt City Communications $103,000 for the station, which has been running satellite sports talk. NERW expects WMBO will switch to a simulcast of Fox's WOLF-AM/FM (1490 Syracuse and 96.7 Oswego). Speaking of Fox, he's applied for 57 watts of night power on his daytimer, WSIV (1540 East Syracuse). He's also applied for another extension to build WOLF's CP to move to 1090.
Live and local: WMEX (102.5 Westport) has dropped its satellite classical format in favor of live album oldies.
TV news: Buffalo's new UPN affiliate, WNGS (Channel 67) Springville, has applied to go full-power, with 5 megawatts from a tall tower in Colden, near the WKBW-TV (Channel 7) and WIVB (Channel 4) sticks.
Downstate, the Monroe (Conn.) Board of Education is busy applying for more translators for its Connecticut classical stations. 88.3 in Beekman (a little dot in the hills east of Poughkeepsie) and 88.9 in Mount Kisco would relay WMNR (88.1 Monroe), while the Hamptons of Long Island would get a relay of WGRS (91.5 Guilford) on 89.1 in Quogue. Jeffersonville's WJFF (90.5) has applied for a license to cover for its new 94.5 translator in Monticello, W233AH.
Way up north, WZEA (98.7 Ogdensburg) is off the air for the moment while the new station tries to correct some bleed-over onto the signal of Montreal's CBMT (Channel 6). WZEA and sister country station WNCQ (102.9 Morrisville) are looking for a new PD and operations manager, too.
And we mourn the passing of two veteran broadcast engineers. Charlie Hallinan died last Wednesday at his home in Binghamton. Hallinan was one of the founders of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and built many of the Southern Tier's radio stations. And Mike Venditti of Cherry Hill, N.J. died at home on Monday. Venditti was a legend in the world of superpower AM, having rebuilt border blaster XERF (1570 Ciudad Acuna, Mexico) in the 1970s and returned it to the air. Over the years, Mike built 57 AM stations. He'll be deeply missed.
A few new websites to check out: Rutland's WJJR is at http://www.mix981.com, and sister stations WJEN (94.5 Rutland)/WJAN (95.1 Sunderland) can be found at http://www.catcountry.net online.
Brattleboro's WKVT (1490) is replacing the defunct Mary Matalin talk show with Michael Medved in afternoons. Matalin's slot on WMVU (900) in Nashua, NEW HAMPSHIRE will be filled by Bob Grant from the WOR Network.
Laconia's WLNH (98.3) is back to full power, and touting the fact in full-page ads in the Concord Monitor, promoting its "all-new TOWER OF POWER, with the highest power allowed by federal law." Yep, all 3800 watts of it...
On the same tower, and likewise recovered from last winter's ice storm, is WBHG (101.5 Meredith).
And in RHODE ISLAND, say goodbye to WB28, and hello to UPN28. WLWC (Channel 28 New Bedford) switched affiliations last week.
Jim McKenna is new to the Ocean State. The former operations manager of WXLO in the Worcester market is now production director at WHJY (94.1 Providence)/WHJJ (920 Providence)/WSNE (93.3 Taunton MA).
Finally, MAINE could get a new CHR soon. Rumor has it that Pilot Broadcasting is getting ready to launch a hit radio station somewhere in Maine in mid-May...and considering that it already operates "92 Moose" WMME (92.3) in Augusta, that leaves the Presque Isle and Calais markets, where Pilot recently bought successful country WBPW (96.9), hot AC WQHR (96.1) -- and not-as-successful WOZI (101.7). Could that be the one? And will startup WHRR (102.9 Dennysville) be part of the package? We'll keep you posted...
In BOSTON, WBZ stayed on top again, despite dropping more than a full point. WMJX rose to second, followed by WJMN and WXKS-FM, also posting gains. The move to hot talk didn't help WRKO, which slumped, but the move to smooth jazz is finally working for WSJZ, which gained more than a point. Also posting a nice rise was classical WCRB.
The numbers in PROVIDENCE found big gains for WWLI and WPRO-FM, in first and second places. WHJY was down but still in third, followed by flat performances from WWBB and WCTK. Arbitron claims "WLKW" gained more than two points, but we think there's still some lingering confusion from the move of the WLKW calls from 790 to 550, since 790's new "WSKO" calls have yet to appear in the Arbs. Classic rock WHKK gained a point, while modern rock WXEX was far behind Brown University's WBRU.
In HARTFORD, WTIC(AM) gained a bit to land in first, followed by WRCH posting a big gain, WKSS and WTIC-FM both gaining, and WWYZ dropping. The big losers this time around? Rocker WHCN and urban WNEZ(AM).
What's WAQY been up to in SPRINGFIELD? Whatever it was, it was good for nearly a four point rise to a solid first-place finish, followed by WMAS-FM, WPKX, WHYN-FM, and WHYN(AM).
And in BUFFALO, WYRK and WBEN both dropped, but not enough to keep them from first and second place, respectively. WJYE was flat in third, followed by WBLK, WGRF, and WHTT. Standards WECK posted a decent gain, while modern AC WLCE dropped a bit as it approached its first anniversary.
We'll have more numbers from other Northeast markets next Thursday; see you then!