WILD's owners, the Nash family, have fought valiantly to keep a successful music format on the 5 kilowatt daytimer in the face of competitors like Clear Channel's WJMN (94.5) and now WBOT. Despite occasional rumors about deals that would give WILD an FM presence, until now the station has remained AM-only.
The deal with Radio One keeps the station's license in the hands of the Nash family, honoring Bernardine Nash's promise not to sell the station after the death a few years back of her husband. It is, however, expected to allow Radio One to change the calls of 97.7 to "WILD-FM," putting the well-known "WILD" brand where most of the format's listeners now tune.
As for format changes on AM 1090? NERW expects the station's music to start skewing a bit older, with more talk mixed in, but with no real change to the station's mission of serving Boston's black community.
WILD becomes Radio One's 50th station nationwide.
An affiliation change in New Bedford: WLWC (Channel 28) is shifting from being the WB affiliate for Providence to the UPN affiliate -- but fans of "Felicity" needn't fear. While UPN takes over the 8-10 PM prime hours on WLWC (and it's only fair; the station is owned by UPN parent Paramount), WB shows will air weeknights from 10-11 and on weekend afternoons and evenings.
Speaking of White River Junction, we're hearing that WGLV (104.3 Hartford) could soon be sold to commercial interests, following in the footsteps of former sister station WGLY (103.3 Waterbury, now WLKC).
A lightning hit on the tower of WLFH (1230 Little Falls) wiped out the computers for both "Bug Country" (WLFH, WBUG-FM 101.1, WBUG 1570) and "Wow-FM" (WOWB 105.5/WOWZ 97.9), forcing both stations to run commercial-free off a pair of CD changers for a few days until things were fixed. Up North, WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur) spent some time off the air last weekend, and we hear a bunch of suburban Albany stations were also off for part of the weekend as the storms rolled on through. We're told WABY (1400) was shifting between an FM simulcast, dead air, and its own all-news format while coping with lightning-related troubles.
Speaking of Albany, Dan Lynch is off the air at WROW (590) while he runs for a seat in the state assembly. The station says a replacement for his 11-noon show will be announced soon, and that Lynch may return to WROW if he loses in November.
Albany's public radio station is making some weekend schedule changes. With Robert J. Lurtsema on indefinite medical leave, WAMC (90.3) and its network are dropping "Morning pro Musica" from WGBH on Saturday and Sunday mornings from the schedule. "Weekend Edition" gets moved back to a live airing from its previous spot on tape-delay at noon.
We hear Ithaca's WVBR (93.5) is trying to work out a deal with the city of Ithaca that will allow the Cornell student station to return to its longtime home at 227 Linden Street. The former garage building was condemned last week by city officials, leaving the station (which is not officially associated with Cornell, but is operated commercially by students) to scramble for temporary quarters.
A long-gone signal has returned to the Rochester airwaves, not that anyone has noticed. WAWW-LP (Channel 38) slowly faded off the dial two years ago, apparently the victim of transmitter problems. Last weekend, it suddenly reappeared, with a satellite feed from the "ACN" home-shopping network in Tennessee. No local IDs or programming, of course....
And don't go looking for "Eyewitness News at 10" in Buffalo any time soon; the Buffalo News reports that the deal between Granite Broadcasting and WNGS (Channel 67) in Springville is off. It seems WNGS' owners, Caroline Smith and Bill Powley, were having a hard time keeping employees around during the transition period before Granite, which owns WKBW (Channel 7), was to have purchased WNGS. Smith and Powley tell the paper that they asked Granite for some financial assistance with operating costs while waiting out a delay in approval of WNGS' proposed transmitter move, but Granite was unwilling and the purchase was called off. Speculation is that one of Buffalo's three TV news operations will strike a deal to put a 10 PM newscast on WB affiliate WNYO (Channel 49) soon.
Up in Barrie, Rock 95 Broadcasting (CFJB 95.7) levels the playing field against Shaw/Corus, which owns CHAY (93.1) and CIQB (101.1), by getting a second FM. The CRTC turned down applications from CHUM Ltd. and from Larche, granting 107.5 to Rock 95 for a new CHR station.
We hear the hearings in Kingston for a new FM there went more or less according to plan this week, with the market's existing broadcasters arguing against a new station being allocated. No decision is expected for several months.
Out in New Brunswick, the University of Saint John has been granted a student station, to operate on 92.5 with 49.6 watts (not, mind you, the full 50 it had requested -- you'd have to ask Industry Canada to explain!)
And finally, more bad news for the CBC's beleaguered local TV newsrooms: Corporation president Robert Rabinovitch wants to eliminate the 14 local broadcasts across the country in favo(u)r of a national evening newscast with regional inserts. The Canadian Heritage Committee has rejected Rabinovitch's plan, which would be a far more heartening development if the committee actually had any power to stop the plan (it doesn't). More than 600 jobs are at stake across the CBC system, whether or not the evening newscasts (midday and weekend local programming was killed in budget cuts some years ago) survive.
That's it for another week; back next Friday!