The WBZ-TV (Channel 4) sportscaster was hosting his weekly call-in show with Upton Bell when prolific caller "Butch from the Cape" dialed up to offer his comments about the World Cup, including the observation that most native-born Americans probably don't give a -- yes, that phrase -- about the competition.
Within seconds, the "batphone" at 1170 Soldiers Field was ringing, as program director Peter Casey ordered "Butch" to be cut off the air. And that was all it took for Lobel to leave the show.
In following days, both sides of the controversy took to the pages of Boston newspapers (and to the mailing list associated with NERW) to make their cases. Lobel says he was "censored," while Casey argues that WBZ is a family radio station that shouldn't tolerate the use of such language on the air.
In any event, Lobel and Bell have been replaced with Steve DeOssie and Dan Roche for the time being, and "Butch" says he's taken WBZ off his speed-dial. As for us here at NERW, we'll keep you updated if we decide we give a -- oh, never mind!
Could Entercom become the new owner of WRKO, WEEI, WEGQ, and WAAF? The radio trades were abuzz this week with rumors that CBS may swap the stations to Entercom, which has no Boston presence right now. Meantime at WBMX (98.5), the only ARS station CBS is keeping in Boston, APD/MD Michelle Engel departs for a PD gig out West at CBS's KBBT in Portland.
Lowell may soon be home to a 24-hour Portuguese station, albeit without a license. We're hearing rumors that a "WKNM" will start broadcasting August 2 at 1570 kHz.
Wish we could have made it to Wood Hill in Andover on Wednesday, the day the new WKLB-FM (99.5 Lowell) antenna was airlifted into place atop the station's new tower...
Moving west, Grandbill Inc. is transferring 51% of WRNX (100.9) and WTTT (1430) in Amherst to Thomas Davis' "RNX Radio" for $625,000. And clarifying a news item from last week, Jeff Shapiro's Southbridge Radio is not acquiring WESO (970 Southbridge) or WARE (1250 Ware). Their current owner, Eastern Media, has put the AMs up for sale. Shapiro is buying Eastern's Southbridge FM, WQVR (100.1), for a reported $2,375,000.
And a correction: As many of you reminded us, Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg did work at WRKO (680), but not for very long. When 'RKO went top-40 in 1967, they hired the Woo away from WMEX (1510) -- but the Richmond brothers quickly enforced their non-compete arrangement with Ginsburg, who then remained off the air for seven years in Boston.
One question still unanswered: what will become of WBYA (101.7 Searsport), the station WAVX was LMA'ing as a simulcast to reach the Bangor, Ellsworth, and Mt. Desert Island areas.
Manchester's WRND (91.7) left the airwaves earlier this year, so we can only assume that its application for license renewal means Notre Dame Academy still hopes to sell the dark station.
The "Morning News" is gone at WKNE (1290) in Keene and WKVT (1490) in Brattleboro, Vermont. Anchor Steve Zirlen did his last show July 11 before beginning a new career in radio sales. The stations are now running Doug Stephan's syndicated "Good Day USA" instead.
Rochester's CBS stations, WCMF (96.5), WPXY (97.9), WRMM (101.3), and WZNE (94.1 Brighton), will move out of their current home next year. The stations are in rented space in the suburb of Henrietta, awkwardly split between two floors of a facility originally designed for just two stations. They'll move into the Marine Midland Center downtown, in a space about twice the size of the current one. For those keeping score: this will be the fifth WPXY studio location in a decade.
Buffalo's PD shuffle continues, as Rich Wall is promoted from APD/MD at WEDG (103.3) to the vacant PD chair. Dave Universal makes the same move at WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls), just 11 years after starting at Kiss as an intern. And our apologies to Dave Gillen of WMJQ for calling him "Gillis" last week -- sometimes even we can't read our own handwriting.
In the Southern Tier, Wellsville's WLSV (790) and WJQZ (103.5) filed with the FCC to transfer ownership from Erin Communications to DBM Communications.
Call letter changes: WMKB (96.9 Ridgebury PA) in the Elmira market will become WMTT under its new owner, WDBA (107.3 Du Bois). The WMTT calls were last heard in the region on 100.5 in Conklin NY, now WCDW, when it was simulcasting "The Met" classic rock format with WPHD (94.7 Tioga PA) in the Elmira market. And Lyle Robert Evans' new 94.1 in Old Forge will be WDLS, calls last seen on 93.7 in Dallas PA.
A few more North Country tidbits from our loyal correspondents up that way: Malone's WICY (1490) has moved from AC to oldies, local in the morning and satellite thereafter. WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay) was still off the air last week. And on the TV side, Watertown's WBQZ-LP (Channel 34) will add UPN programming beginning August 10.
And we'll close with a Canadian note: Talk host Charles Adler, still remembered by many Bostonians from his stint a few years back at WRKO and WABU-TV, is leaving CFRB (1010 Toronto) for a new gig in Winnipeg.
That's it for this week's slightly-belated edition; we'll be back on Thursday with ratings, a few nifty Web sites (aerial views of your favorite tower sites? You bet!) and more.