Emerson College's WERS (88.9) dedicated its new home at 180 Tremont Street this week with the help of prominent station alumni, including WZLX (100.7)'s Charles Laquidara. But the decision to allow Laquidara, WBOS (92.9)'s Robin Young, and others to preempt the usual student broadcasts to play guest DJ met with static from students who say they weren't consulted.
WERS has long been the only major college station in Boston run solely by students, with no involvement from alumni or community members. Tufts' WMFO (91.5), MIT's WMBR (88.1), and Brandeis' WBRS (100.1) all use community members along with students, while WUMB (91.9) and WBUR (90.9) are run by professionals with almost no student involvement.
In an on-air roundtable led by Laquidara, students said the college seems to be more concerned about money (the station runs an annual deficit of about $400,000) than programming. Emerson officials denied the accusations, saying students should have been consulted about this week's preemptions.
WERS' new home in the Ansin Building (named after the parents of WHDH owner Ed Ansin, who donated much of the building's $1.8 million cost) replaces the station's old second-story offices at 126-130 Beacon Street. It also closes a huge circle in Boston radio history; the building was built by Edison Electric Illuminating to house its then-new WEEI almost seven decades ago.
Entercom has started shuffling personnel at its new Boston stations, and the first casualty is WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence) GM Jenny McCann. She leaves the "Eagle," with WAAF (107.3 Worcester) GM Bruce Mittman replacing her (and staying at WAAF as well).
Down the Pike in Worcester, several familiar Boston voices are about to resurface at WSRS (96.1). Austin Davis, known to WODS (103.3) listeners as "Austin of Boston," replaces Paul Connors on the morning shift at 'SRS on Monday. And Merilee Kelly, who's been at KYSR (98.7 Los Angeles) after stints at WBOS and WMJX (106.7), comes to WSRS on September 28 to do middays and serve as assistant PD. Across the hall at WTAG (580), John Wensky moves from producing the defunct Upton Bell show to morning drive and Jordan Levy's show. Former Levy producer Kerry Mathieson takes over as promotion director for WSRS and WTAG.
Congratulations to Tom Bergeron, the Boston radio and TV veteran who starts a new gig this week hosting the syndicated revival of "Hollywood Squares," and to the Middlesex News, which relaunches next month under the new name MetroWest Daily News.
The station was selling commercial time, significantly undercutting licensed urban station WKND (1480) Windsor in the process, which was enough to get WKND to alert the FCC to Prayze's existence.
This week, US District Judge Warren Eginton granted the government's motion for an injunction ordering Prayze off the air "until it receives a lawful license to broadcast from the FCC," which almost certainly won't happen unless or until LPFM becomes a reality, since 105.3 is short-spaced to stations in Great Barrington, Groton, Middletown, and Hartford's 105.9.
The Hartford Courant says Prayze was still on the air Monday, defying the injunction. A NERW reader reports Prayze was off a few days later, but that another long-running Hartford-area pirate, playing Spanish-language tunes on 97.1, was untouched by the FCC. We'll keep you posted...
Back on the air in New Haven: WNHC (1340) resumed broadcasting Tuesday morning at 6, now under the aegis of WYBC (94.3) and the Yale students who run it. The urban programming that WNHC ran until going bankrupt has been replaced by an eclectic mixture of alternative rock, blues, jazz, football games, and local talk. NERW thinks the New Haven AM dial has to qualify as the region's most interesting right now, what with WNHC, Quinnipiac College's heavily-local WQUN (1220), and Clear Channel's well-run talker WELI (960) and standards WAVZ (1300), not to mention all the New York stations that make it up the Sound.
(And this note to all our Connecticut and Western Massachusetts readers: The NERW-mobile will be in your area next month. E-mail us right away if you're going to be free October 3 for a special NERW event...)
Good news for Al Kaprielian fans (and we know you're out there): WNDS (Channel 50) in Derry launches its new daily newscast Monday, September 28. We can't wait to see the tapes...
And that 87.9 pirate that's being heard in southern New Hampshire is not the same one that used to be in Westford, Massachusetts -- at least that's what one Westford-area reader tells us.
WWSR (1420) in St. Albans has applied to move its transmitter from the current studio site off Route 7. The new tower would be about a third of a mile west, off Newton Road (Route 38).
Stowe's WCVT (101.7) is applying to move from Mount Mansfield, where it now runs a whopping 50 watts (albeit at 809 meters AAT) to Ricker Mountain in Bolton, where its 140 watts from 630 meters might reach a few more listeners.
In the Rutland market, Terry Jaye has returned to mornings at WJJR (98.1), replacing Todd Chambliss, who exits. Ken Gilbert is now doing mornings at WMNM (92.1) Port Henry NY - Middlebury.
And what about these rumors we're hearing that Cumulus is interested in the Rutland market?
While we're in the neighborhood, we'll note that the WB network is coming to cable in Watertown, with Monday's debut of "WBWT." It's part of the "WeB," WB's partnership with local stations to launch cable-only WB outlets in markets too small to support WB on broadcast TV. "WBWT" will be operated by ABC affiliate WWTI (Channel 50) from its Arsenal Street studios.
Mark Williams' 3-6 PM talk show on WGY (810) Schenectady ended on Friday, with the station claiming low ratings as the cause for cancellation. The syndicated Jay Gach show, currently heard in Buffalo and New Orleans, will add WGY to its roster on Monday.
Cobleskill's WXBH (1190) has shifted to a talk format. M Street reports the calls stand for new owner Bob Heckler.
There's a new program director at Rochester country giant WBEE-FM (92.5). Fred Horton takes over for the departing Loyd Ford, who returns to Nashville to work in sales. WBEE and sister station WBBF (98.9) also survived the wind storms two weeks ago without leaving the air, we're told. Brockport's WASB (1590) still hasn't returned for good; it pops on and off the air almost randomly.
On the TV side, the first sign of the new ownership at WOKR (Channel 13) comes with the departure of veteran reporter Jim Redmond, who leaves (voluntarily) for a new job doing PR for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. WHAM (1180) loses a newsguy as well, with Kevin Bachman moving crosstown to become assignment editor at Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31). Speaking of WHAM...is it just coincidence that the home page features a link to the Starr report, immediately followed by the WHAM "Cigar Dinner," or is it just our sick mind at work here?
Keep an ear on the radio dial in Buffalo if the Sabres advance in the playoffs; it's one of four cities where the NHL has applied for an experimental license to transmit from the arena before, during, and after the game. The proposed call is "WN2XHL" (gee, wonder if they'll call it "WNHL" on the air?); no word on frequencies.
Speaking of Buffalo, WUTV (Channel 29) has finished its new, taller tower behind its Grand Island studios. The candelabra will carry WUTV, the future WUTV-DT, and probably WNEQ (Channel 23) and its DTV successor as well someday. Could co-owned WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) move across Grand Island to the new stick, too?
Former upstate radio guy Peter King took a break from his usual duties as CBS Radio's man in Orlando to fill in as anchor at the network in New York, doing hourly news on NBC/Mutual and newsbreaks on CBS Radio for a few days.
Downstate, Ken "Doc" Medek leaves his PD post at WBLI (106.1 Patchogue) to join WKRZ (98.5) in Wilkes-Barre PA as morning drive guy.
Port Jervis' WTSX (96.7) has applied to build a new tower next to its existing one, boosting its antenna from 50 to 186 meters and its power from 650 to 890 watts.
Tales from translator-land: Mars Hill's WMHR (102.9 Syracuse) applies for 89.1 in Riverhead, Long Island, with a very substantial 240 watts of power. This application marks the first time Mars Hill has strayed far from its home base in Central and Northern New York. Can translators in Boise, Phoenix, and Tallahassee be far behind? Sound of Life stays closer to home, applying for 89.1 in Pawling to relay flagship WGFB (89.7 Kingston). Sound of Life also lost a translator this week, with the deletion of W246AD (97.1) in Defreestville (known to you and me as Albany). It wasn't needed, thanks to the arrival last year of W255AJ (98.9), doing the job just as effectively from high in the Helderbergs.
And that does it for another week here at NERW Central. A happy New Year to our Jewish readers; and to all of you, we'll see you next Friday.