We promised an update on WKOX, and now we know enough to provide one: the station's new owner is Ed Karlik, a former executive with Spanish Broadcasting System. And the $14.5 million deal includes three UHF stations (LPTVs, we assume) in Massachusetts and Vermont; as soon as we figure out what those are, we'll let you know!
Our friends on the Seacoast reminded us that we'd overlooked the Portsmouth market in our rundown of the 12+ Fall Arbitrons. Let's rectify that: WOKQ had a very good Fall, jumping almost three points into first place. WERZ's CHR format was down a bit from its first-place finish in the last book, entering a tie for second with rocker WHEB (also down). In fourth place was the blowtorch signal of Boston's WBZ, followed by classic rock simulcast WXBB-WXBP. Other out-of-market signals filled up the top ten: Boston's WBCN, Manchester's WZID, Boston's WRKO, Portland's WHOM, and Boston's WJMN. Among the local AMs, WTSN was down significantly and, in their first book as a simulcast of WGIR(AM), WGIN-WGIP failed to make any showing whatsoever.
We can't leave the Meadowlands without noting that WLIB (1190) is promoting 24-hour operation...but from up here at NERW Central, we have yet to hear any evidence (under the WHAM splatter from 1180) that WLIB is actually operating at night yet. On the other hand, we also haven't heard WOWO lately.
A few call changes: Dennis Jackson's WMEX (102.5 Westport) becomes WCLX to match its current classic-rock format; unbuilt WDLS (94.1 Old Forge) becomes WNOB. Are the WMEX calls actually unclaimed now? We can't imagine this heritage Boston call would go away that easily...
A correction: We printed an incorrect URL for the Web site of WPAC Ogdensburg last week.
One staffing change this week, at Albany-area classic rocker WXCR (102.3 Ballston Spa): PD David Day has exited; no word on a replacement.
No "Hockey Night in Canada"? And on the night the new arena in Toronto opens for the first time? Unthinkable (well, it is if you're Canadian, trust us) -- yet that's just what's happening as a result of the strike by CBC engineers across the country (except in Quebec and Moncton, New Brunswick). The strike has disrupted most of the programming on the English network, forcing most of its TV stations off the air at 11PM, when the late local news would normally be airing. Other news broadcasts have been replaced with repeats of entertainment shows or stripped-down newscasts produced by management staff. There's no local or regional news on TV for the moment. On the radio side, the Toronto Star reports that CBL/CBLA (740/99.1)'s "Metro Morning" had a substitute host Thursday after Andy Barrie refused to cross the engineers' picket lines. Other CBC shows either offered repeat segments ("This Morning") or were cancelled ("Richardson's Roundup," "Ontario Today.") And the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto, normally accessible to the public, is off-limits for the moment; its atrium shops and studio windows are closed and even CBC staffers have to sign in at the door, according to the Star. The latest scheduled posted at the CBC Web site shows temporary national shows called "Canada Today" (noon-2PM) and "All in a Day" (4-6PM, and presumably a relay of the Montreal afternoon show on CBM) replacing the local/regional programs in those slots; we'll tune in Monday and check things out...
Outside of Syracuse, we heard "Syracuse Community Radio" on new WXXE (90.5 Fenner), and we weren't terribly impressed; the audio was being fed over what sounded like a single standard phone line, in mono, and the 7-watt signal, while decent around Thruway exit 34 (Chittenango/NY 13), was gone completely by the time we passed within I-481 heading back towards Syracuse on the way home. A noble attempt...maybe LPFM will do well for this station?
Rome's WODZ (1450) hasn't changed calls (to WYFY) or format (to Bible Broadcasting Network religion) just yet; it's still simulcasting oldies WODZ-FM.
We heard the "Jammin' Oldies" on WXLE (104.5 Mechanicville-Albany) and "96-3 Jamz" on WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville-Albany) for the first time, and all things considered, we'd like the AAA and classic country back, thanks.
Once in the Berkshires, we found ourselves really enjoying the music format on WNAW (1230 North Adams). Alanis Morrissette on AM? Yep...and in a nice mix with older AC, as well, along with plenty of local news and talk. On the FM side, WMNB (100.1) is one of the last holdouts for beautiful music.
In Pittsfield, we heard the legal IDs that were missing from WBEC (1420) when we caught them having a very bad Sunday morning back in October. Nothing local in the morning, though...just Imus with a few headlines dropped in. We tried to listen to WUHN (1110)'s morning drive as well -- but they're not using pre-sunrise authority, so instead we tuned into "Charlotte's Morning News" on WBT until 6:45, when we heard a few clunks, dead air, half an ID, and into the satellite country format. Graceful, graceful...
On the noncomm side, there was no sign of WTBR (89.7 Pittsfield), but from the hotel garage, we caught a bit of WFNP (88.7 Rosendale), the SUNY New Paltz station that shares the transmitter with WRHV, the Hudson Valley relay of Schenectady classic station WMHT (89.1). WFNP was calling itself "The Edge" (wonder if Jacobs Media knows?) and sounding pretty professional. Also sounding good were WJJW (91.1 North Adams) at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and WCFM (91.9 Williamstown) at Williams College.
And that's it for this week; we'll see you again next Friday!