Waterbury's WATR (1320) breaks from adult standards in the afternoon to run the Howie Carr show from Boston's WRKO.
TV news: WHCT (Channel 18) in Hartford has a new address; they're at 40-B Weston Street. Programming is still ValueVision -- except for 3 hours off the air Saturday nights.
Boston University is selling the TV stations it bought from the Christian Science Monitor six years ago, and the buyer is none other than DP Media, owned by Lowell Paxson's son Devon. The price tag for WABU-TV (Channel 68 Boston), WNBU-TV (Channel 21 Concord NH), and WZBU (Channel 58 Vineyard Haven) is estimated at $40 million. Once the deal closes, WABU and its satellites will become PaxTV affiliates, replacing WBPX-TV (Channel 46) in Norwell. As for WABU's local programming and its 70 employees? Most are likely to lose their jobs as the station becomes the typical all-network Pax operation.
WAAF (107.3 Worcester) is moving even farther away from its city of license. A decade after leaving the downtown digs nicknamed the "Cocaine Realty Building," WAAF is abandoning its office-park facility in Westborough to move into the former WBMX studios at 116 Huntington Ave. in Boston, where sister stations WRKO, WEEI, and WQSX are located. WAAF general manager Bruce Mittman tells the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that it doesn't make sense to pay rent on two facilities, and with the open space where WBMX used to be (that station is now in the old WBOS/WSJZ Soldiers Field Rd. studios), the move was the logical thing to do. WWTM (1440) and a satellite sales office will relocate somewhere in the Worcester area within a few months. Speaking of Worcester, we heard from WWFX (100.1 Southbridge) GM Craig Della Riva, who wrote in to let us know "the Fox" is more "classic hits" than classic rock.
A programming change at Boston's WBCN (104.1). The CBS modern rocker picks up the syndicated "Loveline" show (produced at LA sister station KROQ) formerly heard on WFNX. It'll air from 10 PM until midnight, displacing the last hour of Bradley Jay's shift and the first hour of Albert O's.
The FCC still hasn't posted the missing week of broadcast actions and applications from mid-April -- but it has been busy erroneously cancelling the licenses of operating radio stations. Accidentally deleted this week were WDIS (1170 Norfolk), WMHC (91.5 South Hadley) at Mount Holyoke College, WZLY (91.5 Wellesley), and WMFO (91.5 Medford). NERW expectes all four deletions to be corrected soon.
Bangor's WZON (620) is switching networks. After almost 60 years as an NBC Radio affiliate (most of those as WLBZ), the station is now with ABC.
A pair of veteran Down East broadcasters are taking to the Web. Ed St. James and Mark Kauter, formerly of WMDI in Bar Harbor, are doing some neat blues programming, which you can tune in at <http://www.bluesboymusic.com>.
And thanks to the several NERW readers who reminded me that the WTWN calls now on 1100 in Wells River used to be on 1340 in St. Johnsbury, today's WSTJ.
It must be nice to be able to shuffle radio station formats as easily as a deck of cards -- at least, that's the only conclusion we can draw from the latest changes at Jacor in Rochester, or, more correctly, Clear Channel in Rochester (with the closing of this huge deal this week). Here's the latest on the little class A FMs that seem to have changed calls and format almost every month since Jacor took them over in early 1998:
The "Kiss 107" CHR format, just starting to make a ratings dent, disappeared from 107.3 (WMAX-FM "South Bristol Township") Thursday afternoon and was replaced with a loop advising listeners to retune their radios to 106.7. That would be WKGS Irondequoit, which dropped its soft AC "Sunny 106" format last December (after just 10 months!) to begin simulcasting "Kiss." The simulcast almost made sense -- the 106.7 signal is on an apartment building at the north end of the market and serves Monroe County and nowhere else (since it's rather short-spaced to WHCD 106.9 Auburn), while the 107.3 is on a short tower in Bloomfield, 20 miles south of Rochester, and does much better in the outlying counties to the south than in the city itself. What's more, the 107.3 will eventually be sacrificed to the top of Bristol Mountain, where it won't really reach Rochester at all. (This move preserves the fiction of local service to "South Bristol Township" once Jacor's WNVE on 95.1 moves its big class B signal from Bristol Mountain down to Baker Hill, using 107.3's old city of license of Honeoye Falls, but becoming a real Rochester class B in the process.)
Confused yet? We're just getting started...because when the loop on 107.3 ended at 5 o'clock Friday night, what popped up was a new country station. "The Big Cow 107.3" promised its listeners two solid hours of Shania Twain, which it delivered -- by repeating the same four songs over and over. But anyone anticipating real competition for the market's only country station (Entercom's WBEE-FM) was disappointed by what happened two hours later, when WMAX-FM became "Jammin' Oldies 107.3," presumably taking on another Entercom station, oldies WBBF 98.9. Real format? Weekend stunt? Sounds like the former...but with these guys, you never know.
As for the listeners, they're probably getting pretty confused by now. Since last February, these 106.7 and 107.3 outlets have delivered dance-CHR (on 107.3 as "Jam'n," February-December 1998), soft AC (on 106.7 as "Sunny," February-December 1998, later shuffled off to the Canandaigua 102.3), mainstream CHR, and now rhythmic oldies -- and all without people. Yep, it's all jockless, personality-free, straight-outta-Covington, Kentucky formula programming. And the shame of it is, 106.7 used to be a creative AAA (as WMAX-FM) owned by a small regional cable company, with real people doing real radio for a real audience. 107.3 was never as local (in its original incarnation as smooth jazz WRCD), but at least it didn't flip formats and calls every six months.
NERW's having a hard time keeping all these changes straight -- and if we devoted radio junkies can't always remember who's where, what of the listener who just wants some good music? As it is, Jacor is still (just before midnight Friday) running TV spots announcing Kiss on "106.7 and 107.3 FM."
Enough grousing...back to the rest of the news upstate, which includes an update on the new WZKZ (101.9) in Alfred. "KZ102" is apparently being LMA'd to Hornell's Bilbat Broadcasting, which owns WHHO (1320) and WKPQ (105.3) in nearby Hornell.
Our best wishes to John McKay Jr. of Toronto's CFTR (680), who's recuperating from a car accident in Buffalo last week.
A Rochester-area talk show host wants to return to his old job as a Rochester city councilor. "Lonesome Charlie" Schiano earned his nickname as the only Republican on the council during the 1970s. He retired in 1979 and has been on the air with a weekday talk show and a Saturday soccer show for five years, currently on WASB (1590/105.5) Brockport and WRSB (1310 Canandaigua). Now he's running for his old seat again, and we'll keep you posted on the fate of his campaign as it progresses.
There's a new look to the news on WWNY (Channel 7) in Watertown, we're told, though it's not yet reflected on the station's Web site.
A minor format change to report in the Finger Lakes, where WFLR-FM (95.9 Dundee) was briefly simulcasting its country AM on 1570 while switching from local automated AC to using Jones AC satellite service in off hours.
Syracuse Community Radio has scored another victory with the FCC, with a CP for 89.5 in Marcellus. W208AQ will have ten whole watts -- and of all SCR's transmitters, it's the one with the best chance of having any signal at all into Syracuse itself (unlike SCR's only active station right now, WXXE 90.5 Fenner, which mainly serves a bovine population in Madison County. Also in the Salt City, WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter) has turned on translator W251AK (98.1 Nedrow). WVOA also picks up the Art Bell show and some leased-time programming from WOLF, which went to Radio Disney right on schedule Monday.
Albany correspondent Gavin Burt reports "WZMR" as the requested new calls at 104.9 in Altamont, known to the FCC at the moment as "WAAP" (although those calls were never used on-air, with "Z-104.9" going straight from the old WSRD to using WZMR at legal time).
And we'll close out the week with some more Winter Arbitrons, starting in ALBANY, where WGY took advantage of a stable schedule to take control of the 12+ top spot. Perennial leader WGNA AM-FM was in second this time, thanks to a strong showing by its new morning team. A morning show change at WFLY dropped the CHR station from first in Fall to third this time around, followed by a flat WYJB and WQBJ-WQBK, a dropping WPYX, and WABY in its last book as an AM-FM simulcast. A few other stations of note: WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville) almost tripled its ratings in its first book after changing from country WPTR to urban "Jamz," while WXLE (104.5 Mechanicville) stayed flat despite a change from a stunt AC format to rhythmic oldies.
In SYRACUSE, country WBBS stayed atop the pack, followed by news-talk WSYR, rock WAQX, CHR WNTQ, hot AC WYYY, and CHR WWHT (both CHR competitors showed increased ratings).
Here in ROCHESTER, WHAM seized the top spot from country WBEE-FM, which had a down book 12+ (but did very well 25-54), followed by AC WRMM, a rising WVOR, and urban WDKX. Down the book just a bit, both active rock WNVE (in its first book since changing from pure modern rock) and CHR WPXY showed substantial gains, with WPXY's coming at the expense of "Kiss" WMAX-FM/WKGS. WCMF's Brother Wease continued to edge out WNVE's Howard Stern slightly in mornings, although WHAM's Chet and Beth still lead the overall race in that daypart.
And that's it for another week...we'll see you again next Friday!