The expected sale is that of CBS' WNFT (1150), which was one of the American Radio Systems stations CBS was required to sell in order to satisfy government regulations. The others (WRKO, WEEI, WEGQ, and WBMX) are going to Entercom, and now WNFT is going to Mega Broadcasting for a reported $5 million.
Mega's only current assets in New England are WNEZ (910 New Britain) and WLAT (1230 Manchester) in the Hartford market, and while WLAT fits with Mega's group profile as a Spanish broadcaster, WNEZ runs an urban format, which leads NERW to wonder whether WNFT will stick with its current ABC/SMN "Touch" R&B oldies format, or whether its future is as a Spanish outlet.
In any event, it's nice to see 1150 being put in the hands of an owner who'll likely pay some attention to it. Over the last decade, it's been WHUE, WMEX, WROR, and WNFT, with formats that included business news, oldies, leased-time Spanish, Kidstar children's programming, simulcasts of several FMs, and a few days as a testbed for digital AM.
Now for the surprise: "Mr. D" is selling WNTN (1550 Newton). Orestes Demetriades' Newton Broadcasting Corporation was one of the last single-station owners in the Boston market, running the 10 kilowatt daytimer with a mix of leased-time programming (largely Spanish and Chinese) and AC music. Late word is that WNTN is being sold to Robert Rudnick's Colt Communications for $602,800. We'll have more details on this one next week.
A third station sale in MASSACHUSETTS this week is outside the Boston market. WKPE (1170 Orleans) is being donated by GramCam Communications to UMass Boston, which will likely make it the latest outlet in the folk-music network that includes 91.9s WUMB Boston, WFPB Falmouth, and WBPR Worcester. This is the final nail in the coffin of commercial AM on Cape Cod; the other one, WUOK (1240 W. Yarmouth) was donated to Boston University by Ernie Boch last year and became WBUR(AM). WKPE's rock programming survives on 104.7 FM in Orleans.
WCRB (102.5 Waltham) has applied to move to the master antenna on the FM128 tower in Newton, running the standard 8800 watts from 351 meters AAT. Boston's classical station is being ousted from its current home across the road on the WBZ-TV tower because of the construction project that'll add 400 feet to that stick.
Radio people on the move: Jenny McCann's ouster as GM of WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence) brought out hundreds of people to a farewell party this week. NERW hears that Entercom's top brass regretted firing the Boston radio veteran once the news got out, but couldn't persuade her to come back. Over at Greater Media, WBOS (92.9) program director George Taylor Morris is back on the air in the noon-3 slot, while across the hall, Debbie Enblom is now news director at WSJZ (96.9). And just a few weeks after his contentious interview with Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell, WBCN (104.1) afternoon guy Nik Carter found himself suspended for a day without pay, this time because of an interview with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. It seems Carter didn't use a delay, thus allowing more than a few of McCready's obscenities out on the air. Out in Springfield, Glenn Stewart replaces Jon Robbins as PD at WAQY (102.1/1600). Stewart comes from Capstar New Hampshire and WHEB/WGIR.
Is the "New Hampshire Educational Radio Foundation" another Brian Dodge front? We don't know...but we can tell you it's applying for 91.9 in Conway.
One call change: The new channel 23 in Waterville, when built, will appear as WMPX-TV instead of the original WBDJ(TV). Can you say Pax TV? Of course you can...
WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay) has, at long last, landed on a format. As predicted here last time, it's a simulcast of hot AC WYSX (98.7 Ogdensburg) under the slogan "Yes FM."
Over in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market, the WILK-FM calls land on the former WWSH (102.3 Pittston), while WILP in West Hazelton is joined by WILP-FM (103.1), the former WWFH Freeland.
On the Web: If you're looking for another way to search the FCC's database, we heartily recommend Bob Carpenter's TVFMSTNS and AMSTNS programs, available for download. These shareware programs contain one feature that particularly appeals to us -- they interface with DeLorme's Street Atlas USA to make it much easier to create maps of your favorite tower sites. Check 'em out, and if you like them, tell Bob you read about them here on NERW!
And a final reminder: NERW readers in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, or anywhere else within driving distance of Torrington, Connecticut are invited to meet on Saturday, October 3, for lunch somewhere in the Torrington area. Contact us here at NERW for more details if you're interested! We'll also be at the SBE convention in Syracuse on Friday, so be sure to say hello.
That's it until next Friday; see you then....