The crane was attempting to put the STL tower in place at the building next door to WLVI (Channel 56) on Morrissey Boulevard, which will be the home to Greater Media's Boston group (WBOS, WSJZ, WKLB-FM, WROR, and WMJX) this fall. The crane flipped on its side, sending the 140-foot tower into the hallway at WLVI.
The Channel 56 building was immediately evacuated, but engineers were able to get a signal back on the air from the transmitter site within about an hour. Later in the day, WLVI borrowed a satellite truck from New England Cable News to downlink the Kids' WB programming from sister station WPIX (Channel 11) in New York.
Meanwhile, WLVI's news staff became the guests at WCVB (Channel 5), where they were able to produce a 10 PM newscast using WCVB's equipment.
At this writing, the exact cause of the accident still hasn't been determined.
Another North Shore station spent a few days in silence after being zapped by lightning. WNSH (1570 Beverly) lost its Nautel transmitter to the bolt of lightning; a new Harris is on the way.
Also being sold is WSRO (1470) in Marlborough; its sale to Alexander Langer becomes official on Sunday, and NERW hears personnel changes are in the works, including the ouster of news director Gene Moulter and the demotion of GM Dave O'Gara, who stays on as morning host.
Now on the air, without a license: "WKNM" in Lowell at 1570 is being heard by several NERW readers with Portuguese-language programming on what's being described as a "TIS-strength" signal. Speaking of TISes, the Boston Globe's transportation column noted the arrival of the new 1610 TIS at the Big Dig, and made the same observation we did about its unfortunate proximity to WUNR at 1600.
And speaking of Portuguese, the O Jornal newspaper in New Bedford, which was about to be shuttered by its parent paper, the Standard-Times, is instead being bought by Robert and James Karam, who own Fall River's WHTB (1400) and WSAR (1480).
Fairbanks Broadcasting is down to just one station, WKOX (1200) in Framingham. The company's sale of its Florida stations closed this week...and it seems almost everyone's forgotten about the lone Fairbanks survivor. Radio&Records actually said "Fairbanks has no other radio holdings."
Broadcast people on the move: Staci Feger-Childers comes to WHDH-TV (Channel 7) as assistant news director. The New Hampshire native was executive producer at KPNX (Channel 12) Mesa-Phoenix. Judy Jarvis' syndicated show is being picked up by several Capstar stations in the region, including WTAG (580 Worcester), WHMP (1400 Northampton), WGIR (610 Manchester NH), and WHJJ (920 Providence RI). Congratulations to Tom and Ray Magliozzi of WBUR/NPR's "Car Talk"; they'll be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago this October. And we mourn Bob Starr, the former Red Sox and Patriots broadcaster who died Monday at his home in California. Starr was perhaps better known as the Angels' broadcaster, a job he held for 15 years, both before and after his 1990-92 stint with the Sox. Starr was 65.
And from the digital TV files: Boston's WBZ has been granted a CP for WBZ-DT on channel 30.
Another Manchester note: WMUR-TV (Channel 9) has applied for a DTV construction permit. WMUR-DT will operate on channel 59, adjacent to WPXB on Channel 60, which also transmits from Mount Uncanoonuc.
In St. Albans, WLFE (102.3) has dropped live programming outside of morning and afternoon drive to go satellite.
From the unlicensed front, we hear Radio Free Brattleboro (and you all thought I was going to mention a different station, didn't you?) has been heard on the air with a semi-regular schedule. RFB is running a wide variety of music, including an hour-long live concert by a local band heard one recent evening.
Still more Capstar shifts: Gordon Weingarth, general manager of the Hartford group (WWYZ, WKSS, WMRQ, WHCN, WPOP), is out, replaced by Rob Williams, who keeps his GM title at New Haven's WPLR (99.1) as well.
What happened to W11BJ? The Hartford LPTV, which relayed Telemundo programming from WRDM-LP (Channel 13), has been off the air for several days.
TV people on the move: Weekend sportscaster Joe Amato leaves WFSB (Channel 3) for the same gig at WWOR (Channel 9) in Secaucus NJ.
The Sound of Life network has WHVP (91.1 Hudson) on the air, filling the gap between WFGB (89.7 Kingston) and its Albany translators. Next up this fall: WSSK (89.7 Saratoga Springs) and WLJH (90.9 Glens Falls).
Moving along to Utica, public radio simulcaster WRVN (91.9) has been granted its CP to move from 210 watts on a downtown state office building (at 25 feet BELOW average terrain, we'd add) to 1850 watts from the SUNY College of Technology north of town near the Thruway (albeit still 29 feet below average terrain).
Binghamton's WIVT (Channel 34) is getting back to normal after that spring tornado that took down its tower. The ABC affiliate has been granted permission to build a new 172 meter tower where the old one sat on Ingraham Hill -- and to nearly double power to 2.82 megawatts. NERW will be back up that way in October; maybe this time we won't be chased off the site!
From the LPTV displacement files: "National Minority Television" (read: Trinity Broadcasting)'s W26BG in Ithaca to 20 and W59CH Syracuse to 46 -- and W51BA in Syracuse, which relays WPCB Pittsburgh, will move to the WOLF (1490) tower while remaining on 51. Speaking of WOLF, its owner, Craig Fox, has taken over operation of WMBO (1340) in Auburn, which is now the newest relay of WOLF's talk format, dropping satellite sports in the process.
While we're in Central New York, the FCC has granted WINR (680 Binghamton) a daytime power increase from 1 to 5 kilowatts, as well as granting WSIV (1540 East Syracuse) a CP to move to 720.
There's a new LPTV in Rochester, and the programming is gripping. W47BM was first seen Thursday morning with color bars (and was first noticed by a NERW reader interfering with a local cable channel's off-air pickup of Toronto's Channel 47, CFMT). It's owned by the same folks who own WAWW-LP (Channel 38), which seems to have quietly faded off the air in recent months.
Radio people on the move: Joan Brandenburg's evening talk show on WHAM (1180 Rochester) has ended; Bruce Williams is now filling the 8-10 PM hours. And afternoon guy Jim McGee exits Buffalo modern AC WLCE (92.9), with PD Jay Nachlis holding down the shift until he can hire a replacement.
From the strange promotions file: WFLY (92.3 Troy) is giving away a Kia Sephia (that's a car, we think!) to one of the three people currently living inside the vehicle. The curious, or merely bored, can see the "action" live at http://www.fly92.com.
TV business news: The rumors are swirling about future ownership of Rochester's WOKR (Channel 13), part of the Guy Gannett group that's for sale -- and the leading one right now has Hicks, Muse-owned Sunrise Television selling WROC-TV (Channel 8) to buy the much higher-rated WOKR across town. WOKR's buyer should be announced any day now; we'll keep you posted. Meantime, the NFL season won't bring as much good news to Syracuse CBS affiliate WTVH (Channel 5) as it had hoped. WTVH would have been the closest station outside the Buffalo Bills' blackout zone, bringing games to viewers near Rochester just as WSTM (Channel 3) did for years when NBC had the AFC. But the league recalculated its blackout zones and realized that a tiny piece of tiny Yates County, on the fringe of the Syracuse TV market, is less than 75 miles from the Stadium formerly known as Rich -- so no Bills games on WTVH this fall. Bar owners in Ontario and Wayne counties, who used to depend on Rochester fans driving east to see the games on cable, will have no easy source for the games now. Even Utica, nearly 200 miles from Buffalo, will be affected; it has no CBS affiliate, and so WTVH serves that function. The nearest CBS stations outside the blackout zone now are WWNY (Channel 7) in Watertown and WBNG (Channel 12) in Binghamton.
Across the border: Cambridge's CIAM (960) is gone, replaced by CIZN (92.9, "the Zone," and suffering mammoth co-channel problems with Buffalo's WLCE). The CRTC is now taking applications from broadcasters interested in the soon-to-be-vacated 690 and 940 spots in Montreal; early money is on CKAC (730) and CJAD (800) making the moves to the non-directional clear channels. Expect a similar application process within a few months for Toronto's 740 frequency. And if you, like us, were thinking of taking a drive to Lindsay to see the towers of the former CKLY 910, don't bother -- we're told they're gone.
Travelogue time: Last weekend found the NERW-mobile pointed south, for the hills near Olean and the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association convention. We spent more time listening to stations outside the region than within, but we did notice a much more professional sound to locals WMXO (101.5) and WMNS (1360), which have changed ownership since we were there last year. We also spent some time just south of the state line, in the satellite-radio wasteland of PA towns like Smethport, Coudersport, and Port Allegany. There were a few bright spots -- the local full-service on Bradford's WESB (1490), the folk show on Kane's WPSB (90.1, relaying WPSU 91.5 State College), the local hot AC on WKBI-FM (93.9) and CHR on WPKK (97.5) from St. Mary's, and the local AC on WNAE (1310 Warren). We also got a kick out of the remote broadcast (from across the state!) of high-school girls' softball on little WWCB (1370) in Corry, before returning to New York State.
And that's it for this week! See you next Thursday...