NERW comes to you one day early this week, because we're on the road for our Connecticut get-together this Saturday (read on for details), as well as checking out radio dials everywhere from Johnstown, New York to Sharon, Connecticut to Pittsfield, Mass. to Rutland, Vermont. Read all about it next week!
Eleven years after signing the station on, Curt and Cele Hahn are selling their WNNZ (640 Westfield) to Lowry Mays' big group, which also owns WHYN-FM (93.1) in Springfield. No word yet on potential changes to the 50-kilowatt (by day, anyway) talker, which was the last major locally-owned radio station in Hampden County.
WNNZ is the descendant of the old 1570 in Westfield, which was WDEW and WLDM at various times. Hahn bought out two competing applicants for the 640 channel before signing it on in July 1987. He points out that it's only appropriate that a company called "Clear Channel" should have a station on one of the two CONELRAD clear channels - 640 and 1240.
Staying in Western Massachusetts for a moment, we note that WMNB (100.1 North Adams) has applied to boost power from 1200 to 1300 watts. (We also note that at least one on-line directory still gets the broadcast WMNB in North Adams mixed up with the subcarrier-only Russian broadcaster by the same name that happens to be listed in the Boston phone book. "MNP," of course, are the Cyrillic letters for "Mir," the Russian word for peace. Barring some really good trop, I don't think North Adams' WMNB gets into Boston much...)
In Boston, the big news is on the TV side, as Stu Tauber resigns after a two-decade stint as general manager of WSBK (Channel 38), effective January 1, 1999. Tauber's departure is just one of the changes at UPN38 -- it's also cancelling its 10PM newscast that's produced by New England Cable News, effective October 4. The stated reason is a change of focus, with sports and entertainment taking precedence over news. NECN will continue to produce news inserts to run during Bruins games. (NERW notes that the channel 38 newscast has never been a serious ratings threat to WLVI or WFXT).
WLVI, meanwhile, has expanded its Saturday newscast to a full hour.
WBUR (90.9) will increase its local news commitment in a big way on Monday, with the debut of the hour-long "Hear and Now" at noon. The weekday show will be hosted by Tovia Smith and Bruce Gellerman, with a full-time staff of six. And which Boston newspaper called WBUR "99.9" this time? Believe it or not, it wasn't the big broadsheet...
Greater Media's making some changes, too. WROR (105.7 Framingham) will be the first GM station to operate from the new facility on Morrissey Boulevard, starting this weekend. WBOS, WSJZ, WMJX, and WKLB-FM will move later on. The WROR move was the most critical, because Friday is the last day of WROR's lease on its 13th floor space in the Prudential Tower. Early word from GM folks who've seen the new studios is that they're very impressive; we're hoping to visit early next year ourselves. Former WBOS/WSJZ general manager John Laton is serving as a group-wide consultant in the move after being ousted from his GM position; that job will not be filled, we hear.
One more note: The Rob Rudnick who's buying WNTN in Newton is, of course, the same one who's served as news director and PD at the station. We wish him the best of luck!
The "Action News Network" out of WGIR (610 Manchester) is also running on Capstar sister stations WMYF (1540 Exeter) and WZNN (930 Rochester), leaving little WWNH (1340 Madbury) with its Christian contemporary format as the last AM music station on the Seacoast.
Peterborough's WNHQ (92.1) has applied to move from its current tower to a brand new one next door atop Pack Monadnock. Power would drop from 180 to 170 watts, with HAAT going from 406 to 423 meters.
Up north, the National Radio Club's DX News reports a logging of WSYY (1240) Millinocket, so it looks like this long-silent station isn't gone forever. It was heard simulcasting WSYY-FM (94.9).
Across the border, the CBC may not be abandoning CBM (940 Montreal) quite as fast as expected. We hear they've figured out what we've been saying for months: the replacement FM signal, CBME (88.5), isn't getting out to the West Island or the Townships the same way the AM was.
If and when 940 does become vacant, CIQC (600) wants to move there and retrieve its old CFCF call letters. It also wants to keep 600, we hear, and run it as a bilingual all-newser in partnership with sister French-language talker CKVL (850 Verdun).
One more Connecticut note: WNHC (1340 New Haven) has filed to change calls to WYBC, to match its FM on 94.3. We were shocked, too -- okay, maybe not.
A belated storm damage note: the windstorm that killed two people in Syracuse a few weeks back also reportedly took down two of the four towers of WNSS (1260). We'll be checking the site out this weekend; details next week.