Our promised look at 1999 In Review, Part One will appear early next week. Sorry about the delay -- we've got a building implosion this weekend here in Rochester, and planning live coverage is keeping your editor busy at the ol' day job. Never fear, the Year In Review and the Year End Rant will be in your mailboxes next week.
Benedek is paying Chronicle $141 million for WOWT Omaha and KAKE-TV Wichita, in a roundabout transaction through which the stations are actually being sold to LIN Broadcasting. LIN will then transfer them to Benedek, in exchange for WWLP (valued at $123 million) plus $18 million cash.
The deal works well for LIN, since it creates a natural connection between WWLP and LIN's New Haven ABC affiliate, WTNH (Channel 8). WTNH engineering staffers will help WWLP with its move into new studios in Chicopee next year, and news partnerships between the two stations are expected as well.
Conn River Broadcasting is growing in both Massachusetts and VERMONT. Following its purchase of WHAI (98.3/1240) earlier this month, we hear Conn River is also picking up Bob and Shirley Wolf's WMXR (93.9 Woodstock) and WCFR-FM (93.5 Springfield), which simulcast as "Magic." No purchase price just yet...
Can Rochesterians pronounce "Watervliet" and "Skaneateles"? They'll have to learn, at least if they want some of the jobs opening up at WHAM (1180) in the Flower City. Sources tell NERW Clear Channel is planning to implement the statewide news networking the company pioneered in Ohio, with anchors in Rochester handling newscasts for Clear Channel stations like WSYR in Syracuse, WIBX in Utica, and WGY in Schenectady. Those newsrooms, in turn, would be reduced to offices for a small staff of street reporters. We'll bite our editorial tongue on this one until next week's Year-End Rant...
One more Clear Channel/Rochester note: WHAM is also looking for a Rochester-only anchor to replace Shelly Tripp, who leaves at year's end to do PR for a local hospital group.
Downstate, AAA Entertainment (formerly Back Bay Broadcasting) crosses
Long Island Sound to pick up WEHM (96.7 East Hampton) and WBEA (104.7
Montauk). Those East End stations are now Webcasting, albeit with the
technically-flaky Webradio service...find them at
Finally this week, we send our best wishes and prayers to Pat Townson, the veteran moderator of Telecom Digest (comp.dcom.telecom) and interim moderator of Airwaves Online (rec.radio.broadcasting). Pat suffered a stroke two weeks ago and has been unconscious in a Kansas hospital ever since. We're hoping for a successful recovery...
That's it for this week; look for Part One of the Year in Review sometime this week (once the old Hotel Rochester has been successfully reduced to a pile of rubble!) and Part Two, plus the Rant, next weekend.