The FCC still lists WMHB at its old 91.5 frequency, which the station vacated in the mid-80s to allow Maine Public Broadcasting to put WMEW on the air at 91.3 in Waterville.
So how does MPBC repay the favor a decade later? The statewide public broadcaster applied back in January for a 90.5 transmitter in Camden, on the coast southeast of Waterville and mutually exclusive with the 90.5 facilities WMHB has been using for years. The FCC deadline for competing applications for 90.5 is Monday night, July 19, and thus far, MPBC's application is the only one.
The students who run WMHB tell the Central Maine Morning Sentinel that they never received the warning MPBC claims it gave Colby about the problem. In the meantime, they took WMHB off the air last Saturday (July 10) while they try to resolve the problem.
Ironically, MPBC is funded in part by Colby College, thanks to the merger of the former MPBN network and WCBB-TV Lewiston, which was owned by Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin Colleges.
NERW's take: MPBC is playing dirty here. While it's true that someone at Colby made a mistake years ago by never making sure the final paperwork was filed on WMHB's move, there's no question that MPBC knew WMHB existed and believed it was operating legally. In light of Colby's contribution to MPBC, the public broadcaster should be helping WMHB square away its licensing issues, not trying to drive it off the air. As for the 90.5 transmitter proposed for Camden, it will serve an area that already gets MPBC radio signals from Waterville, Bangor, and Portland. A translator or two would fill in any dead spots without forcing WMHB off the air.
We'll keep you posted as this one unfolds in the days to come.
Over on the seacoast, WUNH (91.3 Durham) has taken down its old tower and is operating from the new one nearby.
Meanwhile in the halls of the tenth floor at 116 Huntington, Tom Baker has been named market manager for Entercom/Boston and VP/GM for WEEI and WRKO. Baker was brought in from Entercom's Portland, Oregon cluster last month as interim GM of the AMs. And WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) has a morning team now, with Charlie Wilde and Karen Blake handling wakeup duties alongside Frankie Foxx on traffic and WCVB's Mark Rosenthal with weather.
We hear that 102.3 construction permit in Truro, which has been sitting unbuilt for more than a decade, will finally go on the air sometime soon with minimal facilities and just enough programming to keep the transmitter needles moving. Will the calls still be WCDJ? We don't know, yet...but we do know the Outer Cape is one over-radioed market, even before the new allocation at 94.3 in Brewster is assigned to any of the applicants. The new 102.3 will knock out reception of WCRB (102.5 Waltham) for listeners on the Outer Cape, which would be a bigger deal if WCRB didn't have WFCC (107.5 Chatham) providing classical programming to Cape Cod audiences. As for the new 91.3 application in Orleans we mentioned a few weeks back, the FCC has been so slow in posting new data on its site that we still have nothing much to report about it. Just down the dial, though, we hear WGBH-fed public stations WNAN (91.1 Nantucket) and WCAI (90.1 Woods Hole) will make their debuts in early 2000.
Now for the one that wasn't quite so: NERW was startled to find a notice in last week's issue of Broadcasting & Cable that Brown University's WBRU (95.5 Providence) was being sold to Chancellor for all of $2 million. Not only did the price seem absurdly low for a class B signal in the Providence market, but we found it hard to believe Brown would have any reason to sell a station it's owned for half a century, or that B&C would list a sale long before it appeared in the FCC database or any of the on-line trade publications (which usually scoop B&C by a week or two).
Sure enough, we find next Monday's B&C will carry a correction indicating that such a sale is not, in fact, taking place. Could a company like Chancellor (now AMFM, Inc.) get a station like WBRU? Maybe, but we suspect the price would be more like $20 million than $2 million. Providence listeners will have to wait a while longer for "Jammin' Oldies," we guess...
Meanwhile down on Oxford Street, Matt Chase is parting ways with WWBB and WWRX after ten years as general manager. His replacement is Jim Corwin, last seen in Providence at WHJJ/WHJY and WSNE a few years back.
Down in the New London/Norwich market, we hear WVVE (102.3 Stonington) is being sold to Spring Communications, which owns WQGN/WSUB in Groton. No price on this one yet...
Across town, WBMW (106.5 Ledyard) is raiding WCTY (97.7 Norwich) for a new morning host. Michael Bernz is moving to "Mix 106.5" to replace Teresa Berry, who heads up Route 2 to Hartford and WHCN.
And in Southington, we're told WNTY (990) has dropped back to a 6 AM to 8:30 PM schedule, all in Spanish.
Must be the heat or something, because several Big Apple radio hosts were getting awfully testy on the air this week. First, the always-mature Opie and Anthony left their afternoon shift at WNEW (102.7 New York) last Thursday (7/8) 90 minutes early, whining about sister station WXRK (92.3) landing what was supposed to be a WNEW-exclusive interview with the creators of "South Park." A few days later, Joan Rivers used her WOR (710) talk show as a platform to criticize the station itself -- for running ads during her program sponsored by "Jews for Jesus."
Up in the Finger Lakes, WFLR (1570/95.9 Dundee) is experimenting with live audio feeds, but with the MP3-based "Shoutcast" system instead of the usual RealAudio or Windows Media Player systems. You can try to find "Finger Lakes Music Showcase" Sunday nights or "FLV" Monday and Wednesday nights by checking the listings at <http://yp.shoutcast.com>, for which you'll need the Winamp player.
While we won't make it quite as far north as Kirkland Lake, the NERW-mobile will hit the road next week for another one of our annual trips into the radio hinterlands of Canada. This time, the itinerary includes Sudbury, Owen Sound, Sarnia, Chatham, Windsor, and on the Michigan side, Port Huron, Flint, and some of the newer Detroit sites.
Because we'll be off looking at towers, there will be no NERW on Friday, July 23. We'll try to post some "On the Road" updates as we travel, and we'll be back with our usual update on July 30. See you then!