In the region, Sinclair gets CBS affiliate WGME-TV (Channel 13) Portland, ABC affiliate WGGB (Channel 40) Springfield MA, and ABC affiliate WOKR (Channel 13) Rochester -- but because Sinclair already owns a TV station in Rochester, Fox affiliate WUHF-TV (Channel 31), it's turning around and selling WOKR, and not to Sinclair's partner company Glencairn Broadcasting, either. Instead, WOKR will be spun off to the Ackerley Broadcast Group of Seattle, which is building quite a cluster of ABC affiliates in upstate New York, including Syracuse's WIXT (Channel 9), Binghamton's WIVT (Channel 34), and an LMA with Utica's WUTR (Channel 20).
Published reports in Portland say WGME's staff is nervous about the sale, since Sinclair's David Smith has a reputation for cost-cutting. At WOKR, the reaction is more that of relief, since Ackerley's reputation in the region is a good one, and the alliance will give WOKR access to WIXT's satellite truck and other toys.
Sinclair, meantime, also gets Guy Gannett's WICD (Channel 15) Champaign IL, WICS (Channel 20) Springfield IL, KGAN (Channel 2) Cedar Rapids IA, and WTWC (Channel 40) Tallahassee FL.
Elsewhere in Maine, we heard the debut Tuesday night of Al Weiner's new WBCQ (7415 kHz) up in Monticello. Their web presence advertises air time for as little as $50 an hour, and the new station will be home to ex-pirates Radio Newyork International, among others. Should be a fun listen...
Digital TV in the Pine Tree State: WPXT (Channel 51) and WPME (Channel 35) have applied for DTV construction permits, on channels 4 and 28, respectively.
The Calvary Chapel/KAWZ folks have been granted a construction permit for W218BD (91.5) in Southwest Harbor.
And we're told Bangor's WBGR-LP (Channel 33) is only a secondary Pax TV affiliate, retaining its WB and Fox Sports affiliations as well.
That 87.9 pirate we mentioned last week? It's not only being heard in Nashua, but as far north as Manchester, too, with a schedule of Wednesday and Sunday night operation. One NERW reader suggests this may be the same 87.9 that's heard in Westford, Mass. with lots of music and no talk.
li>In MASSACHUSETTS, WGBH has applied for DTV CPs for both its Boston stations. WGBH-TV (Channel 2) would be on 19; WGBX (Channel 44) would add DTV on 43.
One-on-One Sports has a new Worcester affiliate. The network is dropping WWTM (1440) in favor of the "Twin Towers of Talk," WORC (1310) and WGFP (940 Webster). Its programming will be heard from 10 PM till 6 AM weekdays (and we bet those mighty four watts from WGFP make it all the way to, oh, the south edge of route 16...) and all day on weekends.
The tradition continues: The former radio columnist at the Boston Globe must have left some helpful notes for her replacement; how else would WGBH have appeared as "(90.7)" in Thursday's paper? Doesn't matter to us -- now that that other colorful paper is on the Web we're spending more time reading Dean Johnson's excellent reportage, including an article this week that displays unusual insight into what Arbitron's really all about. Insider stuff, written for the public -- and this is Boston's number two paper?!?!?
Buckley's growing again: the owner of WDRC (1360/102.9) Hartford, WWCO (1240) Waterbury, and WSNG (610) Torrington is paying $630,000 for WMMW (1470) in Meriden. Will WDRC's standards replace the tropical music here? Wouldn't surprise us...
TV news: WTXX (Channel 20) Waterbury has a new on-air name, with "Connecticut's 20" replacing "UPN20." WTXX also picks up some syndicated sitcoms and sports from sister station WTIC-TV (Channel 61).
While we're up north, we'll note that Ottawa's CJBZ (1200) dumped the hits for sports on Tuesday, becoming "OSR 1200," with new calls possibly on the way. We'll also 'fess up to getting our Canadian mega-groups mixed up. It's Rogers, not Shaw, that's buying CHEZ, CFMO, and CJET in Ottawa and Smiths Falls.
Back on this side of the line, the week's big news upstate was the windstorm that tore across western and central New York early Monday morning, killing two people at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse as it went. Syracuse's WIXT was without power for nine hours, but used its satellite truck as a control room to originate news coverage until the power came back around noon Monday.
In Rochester, the storm knocked out power to most stations, with WJZR (105.9) and WDKX (103.9) about the only things on the air all night Sunday into Monday. Most everyone else was back on the air Monday morning, with CBS's WRMM (101.3), religious WWWG (1460), and noncomm WBER (90.5) notable exceptions. WRMM and WBER were back later Monday (although the CBS studios were running on generator power until Tuesday), while WWWG was silent until Wednesday afternoon. Also affected in the area: WASB (1590) in hard-hit Brockport was still silent as of Thursday afternoon, Newark's WACK (1420) was off on Monday and Tuesday, and Sodus' WNNR (103.5) was running a dead carrier on Monday. Two curiosities: Jacor's WNVE (95.1 South Bristol) lost its satellite feed of Howard Stern on Monday and was running the show over a phone line (and at times, was running translator W238AB Rochester without the primary being on the air), while Jacor sports-talker WHTK (1280) was simulcasting big brother WHAM (1180) Monday and early Tuesday -- without ever mentioning the simulcast, or even giving WHTK's legal ID, on the air.
Rochester public radio WXXI (1370) has a new news director. He's Flower City native Peter Iglinski, formerly with WSKG (89.3) Binghamton.
One more Rochester note: Pax TV is now on cable here, with an unannounced addition to Time Warner's lineup on former PPV channel 71.
A quick trip to Elmira last Sunday found WLNL (1000 Horseheads) off the air, and still no sign of former WLNL sister WMKB (96.9 Ridgebury PA) either. And when we tuned in W228AT at 93.5 in Elmira, we found it had a new primary -- no more WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls); now it's WNKI (106.1 Corning). WNGZ' other translator, W228AS (93.5 Corning), is silent.
Syracuse's top-rated country station, WBBS (104.7 Fulton), is losing its program director. Tom Fridley heads to Columbus, Ohio, and WCOL (92.3).
Last -- and least -- the WPCS folks from Florida have applied for an 88.1 translator in Middletown.
That's it for this week; see you next Friday!