The $4.4 billion dollar deal creates a broadcast giant with more than 450 radio stations around the country, plus television, billboards, and international operations. But for listeners and viewers in the NERW region, it's likely to have little effect.
Neither group has been a major player in most of NERW-land; Jacor's only outlets in the area are its Rochester-area radio stations (news-talk WHAM 1180, talk-sports WHTK 1280, modern rock WNVE 95.1 S. Bristol/W238AB Rochester, hot AC WVOR 100.5, soft rock WISY 102.3 Canandaigua/WYSY 106.7 Irondequoit, and dance-CHR WMAX-FM 107.3 Honeoye Falls), while Clear Channel has TV in Albany (Fox WXXA 23) and radio in Springfield (news-talk WHYN 560, AC WHYN-FM 93.1, and newly-acquired talker WNNZ 640), New Haven (news-talk WELI 960, standards WAVZ 1300, and CHR WKCI 101.3 Hamden), and Providence (oldies WWBB 101.5 and classic rock WWRX 103.7 Westerly).
Clear Channel says Jacor will continue to operate as a separate company under Randy Michaels, so little change is expected at the Rochester stations.
Another WRKO talker is faring much better under the new ownership; Entercom will soon syndicate afternoon guy Howie Carr to its Seattle FM talker, KIRO-FM (100.7), in addition to his current New England network of stations.
New calls weren't enough for Webster's 98.9. The former WXXW, now WORC-FM, wants to change city of license to Spencer. With a new transmitter site near route 49 northwest of Charlton, WORC-FM would put a much more potent signal into Worcester if it gets the go-ahead from the FCC.
Hmmm...we wonder whether WBZ had a hand in the interference-reduction agreement that finds WBNN (1030) leaving the air in Union City, Indiana and surrendering its license and calls? WBNN was a 330-watt daytimer, and somewhere around here we have a tape of them signing off and WBZ booming in, as heard in Fort Wayne a few years back.
Out west, Glenn Stewart is the new PD of WAQY (102.1 Springfield/1600 East Longmeadow), moving there on Monday from his 9-year gig at WHEB-FM (100.3 Portsmouth NH). And we hear $1.2 million was the sale price for Clear Channel's takeover of WNNZ (640 Westfield).
On the TV dial, another top staffer at WHDH (Channel 7) is jumping ship. Managing editor Gerry Wardwell is headed for WCVB (Channel 5) as executive producer of the noon and early-evening shows, just two weeks after WCVB EP John Davidow went over to WBZ (Channel 4) to become assistant news director.
One call change to report in the Pine Tree State, as WAVX (106.9 Thomaston) joins the W-Bach family and becomes WBQX, matching sisters WBQQ (99.3 Kennebunk) and WBQW (106.3 Scarborough).
Congratulations to Randi Kershbaum, midday host at WMGX (93.1 Portland), on her new twins! She's off the air for two months, and then she'll do the show from home until the new year.
From our "that's not very nice!" file: WMUR (Channel 9)'s reaction to the start of nightly news on WNDS (Channel 50) was to register a whole bunch of domain names for itself. Someone associated with Channel 9 registered wnds.com, wndstv.com, wnds50.com, and wndstv50.com -- leaving WNDS itself to go with wndsnews.com for its real website. WMUR isn't the first area station to play dirty like this; up in the Portland market, wtht.com leads not to the Lewiston station on 107.5 but to its country competitor, WPOR (101.9).
For the second year in a row, the New Hampshire Radio Theatre will be reviving the lost art of radio drama with a Halloween production. Radio folks from across the Granite State will perform "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" at the American Stage Festival in Nashua on October 25, and it'll air the following weekend on stations including WEVO, WFEA, WKXL, WLNH, WPNH, WPCR, WKNE, WEZS, and WLTN. Proceeds benefit the New Hampshire Association for the Blind.
WZMX (93.7 Hartford) is running jockless for now (except for morning-driver Sebastian), as it becomes "93-7 The Point." It's still a classic rock format, focusing on harder rock from the 1970s with "no punk, no grunge, no rap, no metal."
Smith and Barber, the morning duo on New Haven rocker WPLR (99.1), add a second station down the coast -- co-owned WEFX (95.9 Norwalk).
And the WBIS calls that spent years on 1120 in Bristol (and a few months on channel 31 in New York) have landed again; they replace the heritage WANN at 1190 in Annapolis, Maryland.
Up north, American Educational Broadcasting is applying for 89.7 in Dannemora, while WVNV (96.5 Malone) wants to make a big jump from 2400 watts to 25 kilowatts, with the transmitter moving to a new site near North Bangor, just south of US 11, from the current site southeast of Malone.
Watertown's Forever Broadcasting is suing crosstown Radio Broadcast Center for allegedly misleading advertisers after last January's ice storm. Forever says RBC (which owns WATN, WTOJ, WBDR/WWLF, and WOTT) told advertisers that Forever's WCIZ and WFRY were both operating at sharply reduced power after suffering tower damage in the storm, causing Forever to lose business. The suit will be heard in Utica October 28; we'll keep you posted.
We got a look at the damage last month's windstorm did to WNSS (1260 Syracuse) earlier this week. Two of WNSS' four towers are on the ground, and only one is still in use, as the station runs 5000 watts day, 1000 watts night, non-directional under special temporary authority. We're told part of the top of one of the towers ended up underwater in a nearby creek!
Harry Jacobs is staying at Rochester's WCMF (which is now making a big deal out of the ".5" in "96.5"), instead of moving to Burlington's WIZN and WBTZ, as we'd reported last week. No word on why the sudden change of mind...
This just in...today's FCC digest includes a transfer of Rochester's WROC-TV (Channel 8) from Sunrise Television to Smith Broadcasting. More next week...
Buffalo's WGR (550), WBEN (930), and WWKB (1520) have a new general manager, as Sinclair promotes Al Green from regional sales director. Sinclair's selling $500 million worth of radio and TV stations...will any in our region be affected?
Family Life Radio's been granted a new translator in Fredonia. W203AW (88.5) will relay WCOT (90.9 Jamestown).
Downstate, we hear WGHQ (920) and WBPM (94.3) in Kingston are being sold to Roberts Radio, which owns WRWD (107.3 Highland) and WBWZ (93.3 New Paltz) in the Hudson Valley.
On the TV front, UPN added two low-power affiliates in upstate New York. WBGT-LP (Channel 40) brings the weblet to Rochester's west side, while WVBG-LP (Channel 25) serves Albany, though we suspect most folks there will watch UPN on Boston's WSBK via cable, if they watch it at all. Just across the border, Cornerstone's Channel 36 is now serving Hamilton and Toronto with family-oriented programming; still no word on the actual call letters for the new UHF.
And down in Pennsylvania, pioneering FM talker WWDB (96.5 Philadelphia) is finally adding AM; WWDB (860) is the former Spanish-language WTEL and will now be doing local talk to complement the national talkers (Dr. Laura, Rush, et al) on the FM side.
Finally this week, a quick review of the NERW New England excursion this past weekend...
We started in the Johnstown/Gloversville market, where the clear winner, at least on the NERW Quirky Radio Index, was WENT (1340). This little thousand-watt AM still does local news seven days a week, and even won a Murrow award a few years back. We had a nice chat with the owner and spent several hours listening to the 70s AC they program. WSRD (104.9 Johnstown) hasn't moved yet...but it's all-satellite, all the time, except for relays of the news from Albany's WTEN (Channel 10). WIZR (930) is satellite, too, except for morning drive. And down in Cobleskill, Bob Heckler (late of KABC/KMPC in Los Angeles) is doing local talk mornings and afternoons on his WXBH (1190), which he's claiming gets into Albany.
Home base for the rest of the weekend was Pittsfield, where WBEC-FM (105.5, with a new Great Barrington translator on 94.1) was about the only local choice most of the time. WBEC (1420) was a technical nightmare, with nary a legal ID heard Saturday and Sunday, and much of the time filled with "we are experiencing satellite problems, please stand by" messages. WUHN (1110) was mostly satellite as well, and sign-ons and sign-offs consisted of turning the satellite feed on and off without benefit of announcement. WBRK (1340) had local standards Friday afternoon; WBRK-FM (101.7) and WUPE (95.9) spent the weekend attached to the bird. WSBS (860 Great Barrington) was local and fun to listen to while within range, and WTBR (89.7 Pittsfield) was on with a polka show Friday night (!)
Heading into Connecticut for the NERW lunch on Saturday, we had a nice stop at the railroad-station studios of WQQQ (103.3 Lakeville), where we met station manager/morning guy Marshall Miles and had a nice chat (we also saw the transmitter across the state line in Millerston, NY).
The NERW lunch in Torrington drew an even dozen of us, from as far afield as Boston, Marlborough, and Albany, and a great time (including a stop at WSNG) was had by all. We're now thinking about a NERW convention next summer...
Sunday found us headed into Vermont, with a drive through Rutland allowing us a few minutes to listen to Radio Free Vermont on 96.5, which actually sounded pretty darned good for the short time its signal was strong (mostly heading east towards the town line on US 4). FMedia! reports RFV had a visit from the FCC a few weeks ago, which ended with the FCC's Victor Taliaferro being asked to leave the property (hmmm...didn't Monty tell us that if the FCC came to call, he'd invite them in for coffee?) We also enjoyed the CHR from WZRT (97.1), and spent a lot of time listening to our usual favorite, Killington's WEBK (105.3), which was heard calling itself "the closest you can get to pirate radio without all those pesky FCC violations!" We also drove up to Montpelier and saw the cute WSKI tower at US 2 and 302, and the "Point" (WNCS/WRJT/WSHX) studios on River Street.
The road home took us through Saratoga Springs to hear the end of the Jockey on 101.3...and wonder where WKAJ (900) is burying its legal...
That's it for this week; see you next Friday!