As with the shutdown of CBM in Montreal, the end of CBL will deprive many US communities of CBC service. While Buffalo and Niagara Falls can hear CBLA and its Crystal Beach relay transmitter at 90.5, the FM signals are blocked by co-channel and adjacent-channel US stations across the rest of Western and Central New York, areas where CBL has been nearly a local station for now.
NERW will sorely miss the intelligence, humor, and international perspective a CBC outlet can bring to an otherwise mega-opoly plagued radio dial like Rochester's. We're waiting to see what the CRTC does with the 740 frequency. Unlike Montreal's 690 and 940, which had several applicants lined up even before CBF and CBM went silent, no application window for 740 has been opened yet.
We plan to head north in the NERW-mobile to hear the end of CBL in a few weeks. If all goes according to precedent, programming on Friday, June 18 will be interrupted every ten minutes by announcements telling listeners to move to FM. At midnight, programming will be replaced with a repeating ten-second loop, with the transmitter going dead for good 24 hours later.
Anyone with high-level contacts in the Canadian government who can help halt this impending disaster is urged to contact NERW at once. We'll also be happy to report Bob Bittner's plans, if any, for late-night DX tests on 740 once WJIB has the empty channel to itself...
Over on the Saga side of the Portland market, WPOR (1490) finally became adult standards WBAE(AM), "The Bay," on May 24.
As we suspected back in March, the "J-Light" Christian contemporary format that's been heard on WJLT (1060 Natick) is now also being heard in Worcester on WNEB (1230), which J-Light programmer Great Commission is buying.
Congratulations to Steve LeVeille, who's been named to succeed Bob Raleigh as midnight-5 AM host on WBZ (1030 Boston). The LeVeille Broadcast will be heard Sunday through Thursday nights (or is that Monday through Friday mornings?) beginning next week. No word yet on who'll fill the other big talk opening at WBZ, the 10-midnight slot being opened by David Brudnoy's decision to cut back his hours on the air. As for LeVeille's current Friday night overnight spot, NERW hears Jordan Rich is likely to add that overnight to the rest of his 'BZ weekend duties.
LeVeille says the new weekday "Broadcast" will be more issue-oriented than the Friday-night version, but he promises "a very different approach" from other talk hosts -- a promise NERW's sure he'll live up to.
Congratulations also to WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford), celebrating its 20th anniversary as "Kiss 108." Events included a Dale Dorman-hosted "Top 300" countdown Memorial Day weekend, not to mention daily retrospectives at noon. We can't wait to get to Boston to hear it for ourselves...
Among the victims of the budget axe is Ron Rohmer, 68, who has spent more than four decades at WAVZ and WELI. He was fired from WELI a few years ago, sued Clear Channel, and ended up coming back to the stations as WAVZ morning host -- at least until this week, when the New Haven Register reports he was fired by PD Jerry Kristafer.
Also out the door at Radio Towers Park is WELI mid-morning co-host Roger Vann, who resigned Wednesday rather than let the station cut his salary and that of co-host Tom Scott. Scott was only a part-time employee, and tells the Register he wants to pursue syndication opportunities with Clear Channel.
Rohmer's WAVZ morning show will be replaced with satellite programming, while Limbaugh will start June 14 on WELI, pushing Dr. Laura Schlessinger's program to 3-6 PM, displacing afternoon host Tad Baldwin, whose future with WELI is uncertain.
Meanwhile on the TV side, two well-known anchors are leaving WTNH (Channel 8) in New Haven. Diane Smith was demoted from 5:30 anchor to reporter last year ater 16 years with the station, and will reportedly leave Channel 8 when her contract is up at the end of June. Joining her two months later will be anchor Brian Burnell, whose contract is not being renewed. New at WTNH is reporter Andrea Stasson, who joins the station June 14 from WGGB (Channel 40) in Springfield, Mass. And our best wishes go out to WTNH reporter Leon Collins, who was injured last weekend in an altercation with a landlord while trying to interview one of the landlord's tenants.
Just across the border, CJSS in Cornwall is still on 1220 for the moment, but with promos announcing the imminent arrival of "Blaze 101.9 FM, the Valley's hottest country," which would be the new FM replacement due on the air any day now. Also over that way, CKWS (Channel 11) in Kingston has been granted a new rebroadcaster on channel 36 in Smiths Falls. With 10 kilowatts visual power, the new transmitter is supposed to restore CKWS service to an area affected by co-channel interference with the CHCH relay on channel 11 in Ottawa.
Back in New York, there's a new satellite service at WABY-FM (94.5 Ravena). The Stardust service was replaced this week with the new ABC/SMN soft AC format that started at KMEO (96.7) in Flower Mound, Texas. And if you've spotted the ads in the New York Times and elsewhere for "waby.com," it's not the radio station's own Web site. The Schenectady-based site is operated by former WABY owner Paul Bendat and runs a 24-hour RealAudio service with a format that seems similar to the old WABY standards. Sounds pretty good, too...
Syracuse's "Hot 107.9" has a new program director. Tommy Frank comes to WWHT (107.9) from WAYV (95.1) in Atlantic City, replacing J.J. Rice, who left for WBLI on Long Island a few months back.
An update on the new "Big TV" LPTV on Rochester's east side: W67DQ has applied to change community of license from Penfield to Victor, and to move to channel 26 with 960 watts visual ERP -- albeit from Baker Hill, one of the best VHF/UHF transmitter sites in the area. Hey, maybe we will get to see "Dilbert" here at NERW Central eventually...
Speaking of LPTV, Buffalo's WKBW (Channel 7) has been granted a change for its relay in Wilson (northeast of Niagara Falls on the Lake Ontario shore) from channel 60 to channel 54 as W54CT. Also in Buffalo, WFBF (89.9) has applied to change transmitter site, and WXRL (1300 Lancaster) to change power, but the FCC has yet to share any details with us on either application, so stay tuned.
Finally this week, one more invitation to our readers to join us on Saturday, June 12, in Providence, Rhode Island, for the NERW Get-Together, spring 1999 edition. We'll be meeting for lunch about noon, then visiting the Rhode Island Historical Society's "Live From Studio 1-A!" exhibit on the history of Rhode Island broadcasting at 2. Those who wish to do so can then follow us down to Westerly on a driving tour of Ocean State tower and studio sites. It's a great chance to meet people who share your interests and make some new friends. Keep an eye on the official Get-Together Web Page for an announcement of our lunch destination, directions, and information on how to RSVP.
Because of the impending trip, there will be no NERW on Friday, June 11. We'll publish a special issue sometime around Wednesday, June 16 in its place. There will also be no NERW Friday, June 18, as we travel to Canada to pay our final respects to CBL; again, a special issue will follow a few days later. E-mail responses may also be delayed a few days while we're on the road. We'll get back on the normal schedule on June 25.