WNEQ signed on in 1987, with the stated intention of offering viewers in Western New York and Southern Ontario a more diverse diet of public television. In the ensuing years, however, WNED made the decision (in NERW's opinion, a misguided one) to leave its antiquated-but-functional studios for a huge (and hugely expensive) brand-new broadcast palace in downtown Buffalo. The costs of that project made it difficult for WNED to program Channel 23, and (at least according to published reports) contributed to the decision to sell WNEQ.
WNED will need to do some fancy footwork at the FCC to sell WNEQ as a commercial station. Channel 23 is allocated noncommercial to Buffalo, but Channel 17 is allocated as a commercial license, a relic of its days as pioneering NBC O&O WBUF-TV in the 1950s. WNED hopes the FCC will agree to reallocate channel 17 as noncomm and channel 23 as commercial. We'll keep you posted...
In other news from NEW YORK, there's a new station on the air in Eastern Long Island. Jarad Broadcasting's WXXP (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) went on at noon on Wednesday, as dance-CHR "Party 105." Jeff Levine, PD of sister stations WLIR (92.7 Garden City)-WDRE (98.5 Westhampton), handles PD duties for WXXP as well.
The former WNWK (105.9 Newark NJ) is now New York's latest Spanish-language station. Heftel Broadcasting flipped the switch to "Caliente 105.9, tu pulso Latino" this week. No word yet on how New York's WQHT -- "Hot 97" -- feels about another station using the Spanish translation of its name.
One of the longest-serving veterans of Hudson Valley radio is retiring. Bob Lloyd has worked in the region for fifty years, the last thirty of them at WFAS (1230/103.9) in White Plains. His retirement will take effect at the end of June.
In the Watertown market, there are two new translators to report. WTOJ (103.1 Carthage) already has a Watertown relay at 104.1; now it's adding W282AH, 104.3 in Alexandria Bay. The 10-watter runs from the roof of the Edward J. Noble/Samaritan Hospital on Fuller Street. (Obscure radio connection: NERW believes the hospital is named for the same Noble who bought the NBC Blue Network, today's ABC, in the early 1940s). And oldies WOTT (100.7 Henderson) has been granted a CP for W261CP, 100.1 in Lowville. Watertown's WCIZ (93.5) has changed its non-ID from "CIZ 93-5" to "Z93," possibly in preparation for the station's upcoming move to 93.3.
Confirming what we'd suspected, WIGS (1230) in Gouverneur is indeed dead and gone, reducing the "FSR Network" to WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur) and WSLB (1400 Ogdensburg). Now we're told WSLB is only being mentioned in top-hour legal IDs, with "95.3" the sole identification at other times. Further up route 11 in Chateauguay, WYUL (94.7) has reportedly turned on its permanent oldies format.
Family Life Radio's WCIY (88.9 Canandaigua) has applied for a translator in Penn Yan on 91.9.
Morning show movement: Buffalo's "Alice," WLCE (92.9), is now getting its morning show from sister ARS station WTIC-FM (96.5) in Hartford. The "Craig and Company" show started this week on WLCE, after a weekend of heavy promotion. Krista Bettino moves down the Thruway from WHTT (104.1 Buffalo), where she was Danny Neaverth's morning sidekick, to WPXY (97.9 Rochester), where she'll do the same with Scott Spezzano. WPXY also adds Music Director duties for night guy Mike Danger.
Another PXY note: NERW has noticed all of Jacor's Rochester-market stations running occasional drop-ins saying "Pixy is for kids." We thought it might be just a Rochester thing...until we saw what was going on with Jacor in its home market of Cincinnati. Check out Jacor's spoof site and the real site of ARS' WKRQ Cincinnati to see how Randy Michaels handles competition at home.
Congratulations to Chris Kapostasy, who leaves her anchor position at Albany's WNYT (Channel 13) after 17 years, to go to work for NBC.
Over the borders: In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market, oldies combo WSGD (94.3 Carbondale)/WDLS (93.7 Dallas) has flipped to country as "Cat Country." WDLS used to be country until it entered the simulcast a few years back. And in Canadian news, get ready to say goodbye to CKSL (1410) in London, Ontario; it's been granted a move to 102.3 on the FM dial. NERW can't wait to hear the summertime trops between London and that other 102.3, WJET-FM Erie, just across the lake.
And was that "Musicradio 77" on New York City's AM dial on Monday? It sure was...as WABC (770) gave its talk hosts the day off and ran oldies for the day, complete with vintage jingles from the "W-A-Beatle-C" days.
Thunderstorms took Haverhill's WXRV (92.5) off the air for a few hours Friday afternoon; one Boston listener reports he was hearing Connecticut's country station WWYZ (92.5 Waterbury CT) instead.
Howie Carr nationwide? We're hearing that the WRKO (680 Boston) talk host will be entering national syndication this summer.
Last week, we told you WWWA (95.3 Winslow) was on the air with religion. What we didn't tell you was that WWWA has taken over the programming that used to be on WMDR (1340 Augusta), which has in turn moved to a children's format.
WXGL (95.5 Topsham) midday jock "Shoe-Man" served a one-day suspension this week. He's accused of insulting a station sponsor on the air.
What's up with WKBR (1250) in Manchester? Every week, it seems there's another piece of mail in NERW's mailbox about technical gaffes at the sports outlet. This time, we're hearing from listeners who tried to tune in the Nashua Pride baseball team on WKBR -- only to hear the game replaced midstream with a Chicago White Sox game, complete with local spots from the Windy City's WMVP (1000). The Pride are also being heard on WSMN (1590) in Nashua.
On the Seacoast, WTSN (1270 Dover) has added the Yankees to replace the Red Sox play-by-play that's now on WTMN (1380 Portsmouth). At WERZ (107.1 Exeter), Jay Michaels becomes solo music director, with the departure of former co-MD Chris Tyler to Boston's WJMN.
Brattleboro's WKVT-FM (92.7) makes some changes at the end of July. The CNN Radio affiliation is out -- and so is the Westwood One Adult Rock & Roll satellite format the FM has been using. 'KVT-FM will reportedly keep a classic rock format, but we're not sure yet whether it will be local or another bird-based format.
We hear Bloomfield's WRDM (1550) will change calls to WDZK to go along with its new Radio Disney format; no sign of the change in the FCC database yet.
In Hamden, WKCI (101.3) has withdrawn its zoning application to build a new tower. The station is reportedly considering possible sites in other towns for a new transmitter site once it's evicted from the WTNH-TV (Channel 8) stick in Hamden, if it's unable to convice Hamden officials to allow it to build a new tower.
A few quick notes from our Midwest journey of last weekend:
Jacor is really "Mix"-ing it up across Ohio. We heard the same "80s, 90s, and 70s" format on WMVX (106.5 Cleveland), WMTX (102.7 Sandusky, ex-WCPZ), and WMLX (103.3 St. Marys-Lima) that we hear at home on WVOR (100.5 Rochester). WVOR and WMVX have both gotten mentions in their local newspapers for the "Win $5,000" contest that ALL the Mix-es are running...without making it really clear to listeners that the $5,000 winner each day could be anywhere from Rochester to Des Moines.
The WCPZ calls, by the way, have landed on 100.9 in Clyde OH, ex-WNCG.
It's definitely prime FM DX season; we were hearing trops from Detroit as we headed down to Akron, with Motor City outlets like WGPR 107.5 booming in. In the morning, upstate New York FMs like WWSE 93.3 Jamestown (not to mention WRRN 92.3 Warren PA) were overwhelming semi-local co-channels from Cleveland Heights and Youngstown.
We had a nice visit with the DX Audio Service's Fred Vobbe at WLIO-TV (Channel 35) in Lima, Ohio. That market has been built up considerably in recent years, although about half of it is Jacor-owned.
Over in Fort Wayne, WEJE (96.3 Churubusco) has ditched the "Edge" for "Extreme 96.3," while "Star 94.1," WYSR Roanoke, is now being simulcast on co-owned WGL-FM (102.3 Auburn).
Are you a NERW reader in Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Quebec? Now's your chance to get in touch with us as we finalize plans for next month's NERW "field trip," as we head from Boston up the coast of Maine, and then across New Brunswick, on to (and then off of) PEI, up through Aroostook County, Maine, and then back home through Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa.
We always enjoy meeting our correspondents in person (especially when it includes a station visit)...and we're already making plans to see several of you en route. Drop us a line if we haven't heard from you already, and we'll add you to the itinerary.
NERW will not publish a regular issue on June 25; instead, we'll be publishing trip updates every day or so from the road June 19-27.
And that's it for another week of NERW. Thanks to everyone who wrote in about the delay in this week's issue; there was a death in the family earlier in the week, right on the heels of the Midwest trip, leaving exactly no time for a Thursday issue. All is well now, and we'll be back with another action-packed edition next Thursday. -=Scott Fybush - NorthEast Radio Watch - (c) 1998=-