We're back from the first few phases of the summer's NERW travels (about which, much more in a bit), and just in time to find the mailbox overflowing with all sorts of interesting news from across the region...
Over in Hamilton, Doug Kirk and Rae Roe have started testing their new 1880 watt outlet on 94.7, and this one *does* have calls and a format. CIWV will program smooth jazz when it takes the air for real in a few weeks.
NERW wonders what will happen now to the rumors that WNYO was planning to partner with one of Buffalo's big three network affiliates for a 10PM newscast, something Sinclair still isn't offering on WUTV. (We believe that makes Buffalo the largest Fox market still lacking local news.) Sinclair will also likely need an FCC waiver for the overlap between the WNYO signal and that of Rochester's Fox affiliate, WUHF (Channel 31). (WUHF and WUTV have a long-standing co-ownership waiver that predates duopoly, so we don't really expect any problems on that account.)
Speaking of TV duopoly, it's about to happen in a big way in New York City -- that is, if Fox can overcome the regulatory hurdles that will no doubt accompany its proposed purchase of the Chris-Craft/United Television stations. If the deal goes through, Rupert Murdoch will add WWOR (Channel 9 Secaucus) to his WNYW (Channel 5) in the Big Apple, as well as creating a 2-VHF duopoly (KTTV 11 and KCOP 13) in Los Angeles. [As an aside, those are about the only markets where V/V duopolies are possible; almost anywhere else, they're ruled out by the FCC's requirement that only one of the TV stations in a duopoly can be one of the four highest-rated stations in the market.]
What might happen to UPN (make that the Paramount Network) if it loses its affiliates in the two largest markets? We'll know in a few months, since the Paramount/United affiliation contracts expire in January 2001.
Over on the radio side, Mega Broadcasting's AM 1380 in New York is getting ready to return to the air under new calls. As suspected, the WNNY calls that landed on the former WINX (1600 Rockville MD) in the Washington DC market were being parked there for use on Alfred Alonso's new Spanish-language all-news station; 1380's former calls of WKDM are headed down to Washington for new life on 1600. Expect the new WNNY on the air within a few weeks -- just in time to compete with the stronger signal of WADO (1280), which has finally accompanied its new towers with the 50 kilowatt day power (and 7500 watts at night) for which they were designed. (Thanks, but we'll take the old 5kw and the now-destroyed Blaw-Knox diamond tower instead...)
Returning across the river from the swamps of New Jersey, we find that CBS's (er, Infinity, um, wait, maybe that should just be Viacom) flagships in the Big Apple are moving out of Black Rock. After more than thirty years at 51 W. 52nd Street, WCBS-FM (101.1) has moved in with the Viacom FMs over in Times Square at 1515 Broadway, while all-news WCBS (880) will make the move over Labor Day weekend out to the Broadcast Center at 524 W. 57th Street.
Returning upstate, Clear Channel's proposed purchase of WINR (680 Binghamton) has triggered the expected FCC concentration review; no great surprise in a market with just two major owners, we guess. (By the way, we're hearing $1 million as the purchase price for this one).
Way up north, St. Lawrence University has been granted three new translators: W219CT (91.7 Boonville), W205BW (88.9 Paul Smiths), and W206BH (89.1 Lyons Falls), filling in little gaps in the coverage of WSLU (89.5 Canton) and its many relays across the Adirondacks and St. Lawrence Valley. (While we're up this way, we note that 1070 in Plattsburgh, which we believe to now be WLFE, has been transferred from Family Broadcasting to McEwing Services LLC, though it's being LMA'd to WLFE-FM across the lake in Vermont.)
Also up north, Jack Day departs as PD of Watertown's "The Border" (WBDI 106.7 Copenhagen/WBDR 102.7 Cape Vincent), with John Spezzano taking over programming duties at the CHR outlet. Kevin Morgan replaces Spezzano as assistant music director.
More than just a rumor: Reliable sources tell us that Ernie Anastos will soon be adding now-dark WMVI (1160 Mechanicville) to his other Albany-area stations, WUAM (900 Saratoga Springs) and WUAM (1240 Schenectady). NERW thinks WMVI's daytime signal will fill the hole in the "Moon" adult standards simulcasts that keeps it from being heard well in Albany itself...
Here in Rochester, Anthony Brandon's American General Broadcasting (through new subsidiary Winton Road Broadcasting) has sold religious-ethnic WWWG (1460) to an entity called "HHH Broadcasting" for $975,000. Who's HHH? Will there be a format change? Will 1460 finally get a ground system and an audio processor? We hope to know more next week (and we note in passing that, at least as NERW heads to press after midnight Sunday, 1460 is silent here in the Flower City...)
One thing we do know in Rochester: Oldies WBBF (98.9) is looking for a new "Breakfast Flake," to fill the morning co-host shoes (and big ones they were!) vacated by Ellis B. Feaster when he escaped the snow for PM drive at WWKA in Orlando. Interested? PD Bobby Hatfield wants to hear from you...
Down in the Jamestown area, that 106.9 CP in "Lakewood" is being transferred from Newman Communications to Cross Country Communications.
From the obits: We're sorry to report the passing, at age 73, of William "Rosko" Mercer. Rosko's resume is a list of firsts, starting with his tenure as the first African-American DJ on top-40 WINS (1010), followed a few years later by his prominent spot on the airstaffs of pioneering underground FM rockers WOR-FM (98.7) and WNEW-FM (102.7). In recent years, he was best known as the voice of CBS Sports. Mercer died August 1 in New York City of cancer.
There's a new senior manager coming to Entercom's Boston FMs. Julie Kahn arrives at 116 Huntington Ave. from San Francisco, where she was VP/director of sales at Susquehanna's KNBR/KFOG/KSAN/KTCT cluster. Kahn will oversee WAAF (107.3 Worcester) and WQSX (93.7 Lawrence). Speaking of Entercom, it's bringing back an old set of calls at its Worcester AM property. WWTM (1440) is ditching what's left of its local programming to return to the WVEI calls it used when it first began simulcasting Boston's WEEI, back when the latter station was still on 590.
And that's where we'll leave it for this week, as we attempt to get this NERW to you by Monday morning. We'll have a full rundown of our journeys to Ottawa, New York's north country, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City sometime later in the week, and of course another full week's news next weekend. See you then!
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