You can read the entire decision on line, but suffice it to say that the complaint involved the use of language regarding prices on the air.
WBLQ argued that it didn't sufficiently understand the rules (an argument that's never carried any weight with the Commission), and that the rules weren't being applied equally to other noncomm stations in the region (fair enough, we suppose; we've heard plenty of similar language on other allegedly "noncommercial" stations in the region).
In any event -- are you listening, WBER Rochester? -- WBLQ's fine sends a message that the Commission is still paying attention to a few of the finer points of its own rules and regulations.
What are the correct call letters of 1260 in Westport? NERW reported last fall that the station was changing from WMMM to WSHU(AM) -- but the call change appears not to have made it all the way through the FCC. We're guessing it's part of the ongoing database problems, and we'll be keeping an eye on the situation.
A power outage at WLVI (Channel 56)'s Dorchester studios blacked out the 10 PM news Thursday (5/11) for more than 12 minutes. We hear anchor Jeff Barnd came back from the unscheduled break with a quip comparing the station to "Apollo 13." (Wonder if Tribune has any plans to buy a backup generator now?)
WCEA-LP (Channel 19), the low-power Spanish-language station in Boston, has been granted a move to channel 58, clearing the way for WGBH-DT's arrival on channel 19.
There's something new coming to Rutland: Late word from Jay Gadon, GM at WEXP (101.5 Brandon), is that the station is about to ditch its commercial-free CHR "Express 101" format to go classic rock as "Rock 101, The Fox," with Imus in the morning. (And after the Scranton incident -- read on -- Gadon says WEXP has no plans to bring the I-man up for a remote!)
WEVO (89.1 Concord) is having some problems of its own, but on a technical level. The studio-transmitter link to WEVO's Concord transmitter has been plagued by dropouts and noise, forcing the station to use a phone-line link instead. And because WEVO's relays in Keene (WEVN 90.7) and Hanover (WEVH 91.3) pick up the WEVO signal off-air, they're having problems as well.
After 26 years at WPOR (101.9 Portland), Hal Knight is packing it in and heading south to Florida. Maine's best-known blind DJ was demoted a while back from mornings to overnights; now he's entering the digital age, doing customer service for a technology company in the Sunshine State.
The storms that blew through Albany this week knocked several local stations off the air, and when they cleared, one was back on the air. WABY (1400 Albany) had been simulcasting sister station WKLI (94.5 Ravena) for a few days before going silent; it's now back on with the all-news format it had been using.
We're also hearing that WMVI (1160 Mechanicville) was back on the air for a few hours this week to stay clear of the "one year and you're gone" silent-station rule. Rumors of a major group purchase and power increase appear, for now, to be just rumors.
One more Albany note: If Dan Lynch decides to run for the New York Assembly, WROW (590) says it's ready to pull his daily hour of talk off the air, as election law requires.
M Street (which just released the ninth edition of its Directory, a welcome addition to the NERW bookshelf, despite the best efforts of the UPS guy to leave it in the pouring rain!) reports a change of format at WWLE (1170 Cornwall), from a simulcast of country WRWD (107.3 Highland) to CNN news. A sale of the station is still pending.
The Hudson Valley's newest big group is about to go public. Nassau, which is adding the Aurora stations to its New Jersey-Pennsylvania group, is planning a summer IPO worth $190 million; watch the NASDAQ ticker for "NBCR."
Upstate, WMHT translator W04BD is moving up the dial. On its new home at channel 65, it'll be known as W65DY.
Buffalo's nostalgia station is getting a new morning host, as Stan Roberts hangs up the headphones at WECK (1230 Cheektowaga) in favor of doing sales for the Infinity station. Replacing him is Jerry Reo, a voice familiar to listeners in both Rochester and Buffalo. Reo and Roberts worked together at WGR in the 1970s.
Across town at Entercom, WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) will end up donating more than $150,000 to charity -- the take from this year's high school spirit competition. The students at Holy Angels Academy won the Kiss 98 contest, and a concert at school, by donating 2,153,547 pennies over the last few weeks.
Dan Neaverth will be among the inductees Tuesday at this year's Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers hall of fame ceremony. Other members of this year's class include Al Anscombe, Jack Mahl, Phil Beuth, Ed Little, and Joe Rico. They're not on the Web site yet, but check back next week...
And speaking of Web sites, we've frequently had nice things to say about Jim Hawkins' Radio Room, and this week is no exception: he's just added a super visit to the WBBR (1130 New York) transmitter site in Carlstadt, NJ. Find the site at its new URL: <http://hawkins.pair.com/radio.shtml>, and update your bookmarks while you're at it.
That's it for this week, as we head off to Our Nation's Capital for a few days. More on the radio scene there, and the trip down, next Friday!