Down in the Big Apple, Floyd halted the move of WHTZ (100.3 Newark)'s studio from Secaucus up to Jersey City, and closed many stations' offices as the city more or less shut down Thursday.
The good news is that we've yet to hear of any permanent serious damage to broadcast facilities from the storm, and we hope it stays that way.
The other big news in New York City was Monday's long-long-awaited debut of "FM Talk 102.7," keeping the WNEW calls, morning guy Steve Mason, and Opie and Anthony in afternoons (now for five hours, starting at 2 PM). Former WRKO "Chick" Leslie Gold shares middays with Mike Adams, Tom Leykis follows Opie and Anthony, and Lovelines and a Leykis replay fill nights. Some rock survives on weekends, most notably "Idiot's Delight" with Vin Scelsa on Sunday nights -- at least until his contract runs out.
More big business dealings in TV this week, as NBC paired up with Pax TV, although not in the buyout that had been rumored. For now, the Peacock takes just a 29% stake in Pax (to stay beneath the 33% attribution limit), but with an option to go up to 49%. Will an NBC interest in stations like WBPX Boston provide leverage against non-owned affiliates like WHDH in future negotiations? We'd think so...
There's some talk-show shifting afoot in Albany, as the Mike Gallagher show switches from WGY (810) to a live (9-noon) berth on much smaller WABY (1400). That puts Tom Leykis back in the 6-10pm slot on 'GY, following local talker JR Gach (who just celebrated his first anniversary on 810).
There are new calls for that 92.9 construction permit in Saugerties; it'll be WRKW, at least for now. Also appearing in this week's call changes: the WUAM calls for 900 in Saratoga Springs, which we'd mentioned in NERW way back in early July.
Downstate, former WALL (1340 Middletown) morning host John Moultrie has resurfaced down the dial and a few miles away as host of a new morning talk block on WGNY (1220 Newburgh).
Remember that Pottersville translator we mentioned last week? Seems despite our snide commentary, there is a need for a religious signal up that way -- since the Word of Life religious camp and Bible college draws 10,000 people to the area every summer. It also appears that this translator will replace the 91.1 in Schroon Lake. Very well, then, but did anybody get our gratuitous "It's a Wonderful Life" reference, at least?
While we're up that way, we note that WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls) is finally simulcasting WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield MA) and its CHR format. Religion continues on WNGN (91.9 Argyle) in the area.
We've been checking out the proposals for new FM allocations over the next few months, and it seems Boston-area contract engineer Dana Puopolo has been busy. More on his New England proposals later in NERW; we note here that he wants to add 103.1A in Saranac Lake. What's interesting is that there's already an open FM channel there -- the 101.7 that the station now known as WSLK used before moving to 106.3. (There's also a proposal to move that 101.7A allocation to 93.3...)
Western New York? Nothing much doing out here, although we did drive out to Brockport last Saturday to hear pirate "WOOO" sign on. The signal pretty much matched their claim of one watt on 91.9; the programming was the usual "we hate big radio so we'll just play the stuff we want to hear"; and the signal sure seemed to be coming from that truck in the back corner of a SUNY parking lot.
NERW on the road: If we get our packing done in time (yes, we're moving; see the very end of this week's report for more), we'll be at the SBE Region 22 annual convention next Friday (9/24) at Turning Stone in Oneida. It's always a good chance to see the latest in broadcast technology and hook up with our engineer friends from around the region; be sure to drop us a line if you'll be going as well.
"FM Talk 96.9" is shaping up at WSJZ, with some new additions to Boston's new FM talker. While Mike Barnicle is part of the station, he's doing just two hours a week, Thursdays 10-noon. That post-Imus slot is being held down by Marjorie Eagan of the Boston Herald the rest of the week. Stacy Taylor follows from noon till 2, Jay Severin (by ISDN from Long Island) 2-6, and Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald move over to WSJZ to do 6-7 pm weeknights before the station returns to smooth jazz for the night. By the way, former WSJZ midday jock Jackie Brush has moved 40 miles west -- she's now doing middays at Worcester's WSRS (96.1).
Across town at Entercom's WRKO (680), the company faces several complaints from AFTRA. The union complained to the EEOC about the company's plan to mandate arbitration instead of a trial for complaints of sexual harrassment and discrimination, and to the NLRB about a rumored plan to cut wages and benefits for part-time employees.
And as long as we're talking talk radio, there are some changes in the works at Lowell's WCAP (980), with news taking the forefront in a revamped morning block called "the Morning Information Team." Veteran newsguy Dave Faneuf leads off, with Rob Carolan doing weather and Chris Meehan on sports. Talk segments during the show will be handled by longtime 'CAP fill-in guy George Anthes and Karen Theodores.
What's that pirate on 89.3 in Boston? We hear it's doing religion, in stereo...
Citadel has new calls for the 99.7 in Wakefield-Peace Dale. The former WXEX becomes WHCK, to match simulcast partner WHKK (100.3 Middletown).
On the TV side, veteran channel 12 (WPRI Providence) anchor Walter Cryan is dropping his 11 PM anchor duties, but keeping the 6. Cryan has been with Channel 12 since 1965, when it was still WPRO-TV.
Thought you heard country on WKBR (1250 Manchester) last weekend? You did...but it wasn't the permanent format switch. WKBR returned to One-on-One Sports sometime Sunday, but we hear the real permanent change to country will come next week -- maybe.
The new WZEN (106.5 Farmington) was dark for a few days; a computer problem knocked the station's automation down, but we're told it will get up again shortly.
Back to the allocations files we go, where we see Dana Puopolo filing in recent months for 99.1 in Whitefield, 93.7 in Lancaster, 97.3A in "Mount Washington" (which, if granted, would give an amazing ratio of one full-power FM allocation to every two full-time residents of this alleged community of license!), and a certain Peter George (operator of translator W221AG Wareham MA) proposing 98.7A in Stratford. No FCC rulings yet on any of these...
We also have more to report on the sale (mentioned briefly last week) of Power Broadcasting. The group is actually going to Corus Communications, the broadcasting arm just spun off from Shaw -- but we hear Corus has little interest in the TV side. Expect CKWS Kingston and CHEX Peterborough-Oshawa to be sold, likely to the CHUM group, in the near future (which would force the CBC to build new relays for CBLT Toronto or CBOT Ottawa in those areas...wonder if they'll get across the lake?). TVA affiliate CHAU in Carleton, Quebec is likely to end up as a TVA O&O.
On the radio side, Corus gets: CIZN (92.9) Cambridge, CIMJ (106.1) and CJOY (1460) in Guelph, CIQB (101.1) in Barrie, CKCB (95.1) in Collingwood, CKRU (980) and CKWF (101.5) in Peterborough, CFFX (960) and CFMK (96.3) in Kingston, and CKDO (1350) and CKGE (94.9) in Oshawa on the Ontario side. In Quebec, it's CFZZ (104.1) St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, CJDM (92.1) Drummondville, CFLP (1000) and CIKI (98.7) in Rimouski, and CFEL (102.1) in Montmagny. Will some get spun? Wouldn't surprise us a bit...
That's it for this week; we'll be back next Friday -- and then we take a one-week break while NERW Central moves down the street into much bigger and more comfortable quarters. (Which reminds us: if you've been sending us material by snail mail -- and we appreciate all of you who do -- please drop a line for the new address!)