For some WABY-FM listeners in the South Troy area, that 94.5 signal may be a bit hard to receive -- thanks to a new pirate in the neighborhood. "WRDE," aka "Oldies 94-7," is operating just up the dial with a fairly strong signal. NERW Capital District bureau chief Gavin Burt reports "WRDE" also has a much broader music mix than the market's licensed oldies station, WTRY (980/98.3).
In Syracuse, one of the market's oldest stations is about to get fitted for its mouse ears. WOLF (1490) will switch from satellite talk to Radio Disney May 3, along with simulcast partners WOLF-FM (96.7 Oswego) and WKGJ (1340 Auburn). Also in the Salt City, we note that WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter) has told the FCC it has no interest in moving city of license to Chittenango anymore, so the matter has been dropped for now.
Up North, Mike Roach checks in to report the departure of Denise Jackson from her 11PM anchor spot on Watertown's WWNY-TV (Channel 7). Also at WWNY, we note the passing of sales guy Michael Dickson, who spent 13 years at the old WOTT/WNCQ (1410/97.5, now WUZZ/WFRY) and a few years at WTNY-FM (93.5, now WCIZ 93.3) before joining WWNY in 1996. Dickson died Tuesday (4/13) of an apparent heart attack. He was 49.
The cast of characters on the "Brother Wease Morning Circus" is changing a bit. Rochester's WCMF (96.5) is parting ways with Scott Van Dusen and Billy D'Ettore; replacing them are Joe T. as show producer and "Walter" as the show's engineer.
Over in the Buffalo market, WXRL (1300 Lancaster) is looking for a new operations manager, as Dave Saunders parts way with the little country station 22 years after coming on board.
A federal judge in New York City is allowing unlicensed "Steal This Radio" (88.7 FM) to return to the airwaves of the Lower East Side while it fights its court battle against the FCC. STR has until May 4 to make its temporary injunction against the FCC permanent. NERW's more than a little amused by the irony of a judge essentially saying, "Go ahead and keep breaking the law until we figure out whether or not you shouldn't be."
Out on Long Island, WWVY (107.1 Hampton Bays) has picked up the WWXY calls recently dropped by sister "Y107" country outlet WYNY-FM (107.1 Briarcliff Manor), thus restoring the WWXY-WWYY-WWZY alphabetical order of Big City Radio's Y107 outlets in Long Island, Monmouth-Ocean, and Phillipsburg-Easton.
And as long as we've crossed the line into New Jersey, WJHR (1040 Flemington) is airing construction noises, apparently for the next week or so, as it prepares for a format change to talk from the current hot AC. Coming aboard, both from New Brunswick's WCTC (1450), are Ed Palladino as operations manager and Ted Efaw as a talk host. The change happens May 3.
The first round of Winter '99 Arbitrons are out, and the 12+ numbers were sweet indeed for WTJM (105.1), the new Jammin' Oldies outlet in NEW YORK. The station more than doubled its last book as "Big 105" WBIX to land solidly within the top 10, albeit far behind perennial market leader WLTW (106.7). Also in the top ten: a strong number-two finish for WQHT (Hot 97), down a bit for WSKQ-FM (Mega 97.9), flat for WHTZ (Z100), a down book for rocker WXRK (K-Rock 92.3), an up book for all-news WINS (1010), flat ratings for WRKS (Kiss 98.7), and a drop for oldies WCBS-FM (101.1) -- perhaps a draining of listeners up the dial to 105? Not showing at all this time is WQEW (1560), in its first book as Radio Disney. Barely showing was WNEW (102.7), which again placed lowest of all the secular commercial NYC-licensed FMs, again prompting rumors of a format change.
Out on Long Island, WXRK led the NASSAU-SUFFOLK book, followed by WALK-FM, WHTZ, WLTW, and WBLI. Making a strong showing in their first book as a standards simulcast were WGSM (740) and WHLI (1100), with oldies WBZO (103.1) right behind. WTJM also did well on the Island, again more than doubling its ratings from Winter and WBIX.
Speaking of Jammin' Oldies, the format claimed yet another market this week with the addition of WZJM (92.3 Cleveland Heights), formerly a rhythmic CHR outlet.
Alan Sagal, who spent most of the 1970s and 1980s in the newsroom of WTIC (1080 Hartford) before becoming the spokesman for Hartford's AAA, died Friday (4/16) after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Sagal was 59.
Looking for the New Britain Rock Cats on Hartford radio? You'll have to tune in WPRX (1120) from Bristol; we're told plans to run some games on WPOP (1410) have fallen through for now.
WTIC-TV (Channel 61) has been hit with a $14,500 Notice of Apparent Liability from the FCC for repeated violations of the rules governing ads during children's programming. NERW notes that this seems to be about the only thing that gets TV licensees in financial trouble on a regular basis these days.
WEBE (107.9 Westport)'s Web site has a new address: you can find it at <http://www.webe108.fm>.
Gary LaPierre is leaving WBZ -- the TV side, anyway. The 35-year 'BZ radio veteran has been anchoring the noon news on WBZ-TV (Channel 4) for the last few years, but now he's given up that gig to concentrate solely on his morning radio shift and daily commentary...and be out the door well before noon every day (well-deserved, we might add, since Gary's one of the hardest workers in the business).
Frankie Foxx is now with Metro Networks/Boston. Foxx checked in to let us know the departure from WCIB (101.9 Falmouth) last month was purely voluntary.
There's a very familiar voice on the airwaves in Las Vegas; we hear WABU (channel 68) "Movie Loft" host Dana Hersey is doing voice work for KXNT (840) out in Sin City. Hersey was with WSBK (channel 38) for many years.
NERW research director Garrett Wollman spent Boston Marathon day doing his own marathon drive around Central Massachusetts, and checked in to report that Worcester's WORC (1310) no longer maintains studios at the old Grove Street location; a sign on the window advises visitors that WORC is operating out of sister station WGFP (940) out on Route 16 in Webster.
Rico Petrocelli is all over the place lately: In addition to WSMN (1590 Nashua NH), the former Red Sox star is co-hosting "The Home Team" daily at noon on WRPT (650 Ashland) and WSRO (1470 Marlborough). The two stations are now a 24-hour simulcast. And if the name of the show sounds familiar, you're right: Petrocelli and co-host Stu Taylor used to lease time for it on WBPS (890 Dedham) when that station was a sports outlet.
Just in to NERW: the BOSTON Winter Arbitrons, and it's no surprise to find WBZ at the top of the pack, despite a fall of nearly a full point 12+ from the Fall book. WJMN was solid in second place, followed by WMJX, a good book for WXKS-FM, a flat one for WRKO, a down one for WBCN, and a ratings gain for WCRB. WEGQ was down a bit in its last book as "Eagle," and down the book a bit, WNFT cracked a 1 share with its new tropical Spanish format.
Mark Ericson checked in from the Fuller-Jeffrey Seacoast stations to let us know that while he's no longer PD at WOKQ (97.5), it's only because he's been promoted. Ericson is now vice president for operations at WOKQ-WPKQ and "Arrow" WXBB-WXBP. All four stations will soon have a new home; they're hard at work on a brand-new facility in Dover that's scheduled to open later this summer.
That's it for this week; next Friday, more Winter ratings and more FCC news (they're having computer problems and haven't been able to post the usual applications and actions information we depend on!)