McBride tells NERW the problems began when she sent a memo to co-workers looking for someone to fill a shift she was scheduled to work on the first night of Chanukah last December. Another jock sent a note back to her, in what she says was an anti-Semitic tone, accusing her of trying to bring the holiday "up to the level of Christmas."
While the initial reaction from her supervisor was supportive, McBride's complaint claims station management soon stopped talking to her, then fired her on March 8. That afternoon, she was due to leave the station early to celebrate the first night of Purim with her daughter.
McBride had worked at WBEE since 1985. NERW contacted Entercom/Rochester general manager Michael Doyle for the station's response, but he has yet to return our calls.
While we're out in Suffolk County, Chip Kelly's 100000watts.com is reporting a change of calls on 102.5 in Bridgehampton, from WBSQ to WCSO. That frequency will be the permanent home of the soft AC now being simulcast there from WBAZ (101.7 Southold).
Back home in Western New York, we're saddened to report the death of a 62-year veteran of the Buffalo and Rochester airwaves. Ed Little's resume included stints at WKBW, WBBF and WBEN; he retired last year from WBEN on the same day the station left its longtime Elmwood Avenue studios (his was the last voice heard from the old location). Little had been hospitalized since suffering kidney failure in February; he was 78 when he died last Wednesday (May 16).
Two days later came word of another death: veteran WOKR (Channel 13) Rochester anchor Dick Burt succumbed to a heart attack while on vacation on Cape Cod. Burt began at WOKR when the station signed on in 1962, and for many years was paired with Dick Alhart as one of the Flower City's best-known anchor teams. Burt retired from WOKR in 1987. He was 75.
A proposed new tower on Brighton's Pinnacle Hill was the topic of a Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, and your intrepid editor bravely sacrificed most of his evening to take part in the democratic process. American Tower wants to replace the 15 year old tower that's now home to WZNE (94.1 Brighton) and W238AB (95.5 Rochester) with a new, taller stick that can handle DTV for WXXI-TV (Channel 21) and WUHF (Channel 31), as well as a possible new master FM antenna.
Pinnacle is one of the region's more urban tower sites, with densely-populated city and suburban streets running within half a mile of the hilltop in some areas, so it was no surprise to see the neighbors out in force to complain about cable ingress problems, interference with garage door openers and baby monitors, and other issues that won't go away regardless of whether or not the new tower is built.
Your editor received precisely no applause whatsoever for his comments in support of the new tower, not that it came as any surprise. (You'll recall that NERW Central is located less than a mile from the 5 full-power TVs, 3 LPTVs and 5 FMs that call Pinnacle home.)
The general managers and chief engineers of every TV station in town were out in force for the meeting, and we learned why when the lawyer for WHEC-TV (Channel 10) and WROC-TV (Channel 8) addressed the board. Those stations, which share the original 1949 tower that brought TV to the hill, are asking the board to order American Tower to conduct an engineering study to determine whether the new tower, 400 feet from the current cluster of three tall towers, could cause reflections and ghosting to their signals.
No decision was rendered, and the issue is expected to come up again at the board's June meeting as well as at a public information session American Tower plans to conduct in the next few weeks. We'll be there, of course, so stay tuned...
Where are they now? Former WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester) operations manager and morning guy Fred Horton has landed in Erie, Pennsylvania, serving as PD and morning guy for country WXTA (97.9 Edinboro). Chuck McCoy is still at the Rochester Entercom cluster, doing nights at WBBF -- but he's also being heard as a character voice on morning shows all over the country, thanks to his contributions to Jones' All Star Radio comedy service.
Back to New Brunswick for a moment: May 28 is the target start date for St. Stephen's first local radio station. CHTD (98.1) is owned by the giant Irving Oil company's New Brunswick Broadcasting. To be called "the Tide," the station will run a country format with plenty of local Charlotte County news, serving a community that's long depended on cross-border WQDY in Calais, Maine for radio coverage.
Toronto news this week: CKFM (Mix 99.9) has a new morning team. Carla Collins and Steve Anthony are among a number of new staffers at the station.
Boston University's WBUR is apparently eyeing acquisitions far beyond New England. The NPR outlet is one of several reportedly interested in buying WJHU (88.1 Baltimore) from Johns Hopkins University, which built the station up from a 10-watt student outlet (shades of WBUR's own history?)
The Baltimore Sun reports Johns Hopkins rejected a joint bid from Maryland Public Television and NPR itself, which would have been the network's first entry into owning its own stations. That still leaves Washington's WAMU, WBUR and a local Baltimore group in the running to acquire the station.
Congratulations to Candy O'Terry, who adds assistant PD responsibilities to her afternoon duties at WMJX (106.7 Boston), as well as to veteran Worcester jock Dave O'Gara, who's back on the air doing weekend afternoons at WORC-FM (98.9 Spencer).
And from the courtroom files: WHDH-TV (Channel 7) owner Ed Ansin says he plans to sue the Boston Herald for libel, in response to a May 1 Marjorie Eagan column that sharpky criticized Ansin's management of the NBC affiliate. (Editor's note: Ansin and the Herald reached a confidential settlement after the original publication of this report.)
Where are they now? Former WZMX morning guy Sebastian is doing fill-in work on morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio network, reportedly as a tryout for the permanent gig there.
Down the Northeast Extension in Allentown, WAEB (790) has taken Saturday talk host Ron Angle off the air while he runs for Northampton County executive. During the race, Angle is buying one hour of his old two-hour shift from WAEB to continue the show on a paid basis; the Citadel station hopes to sell the other hour to his Democratic opponent.
Down the Extension some more in Philadelphia, Steve Harmon has departed WXTU (92.5), where he was the longtime host of the "Harmon and Evans" morning show. Scott Evans stays on at the renamed "Evans and Andie" show, with sidekick Andie Summers picking up top billing.
Up in Erie, Ron Arlen stays on as PD of WXKC (99.9) after giving up those duties at sister station WXTA. And over in Cleveland, word is that Salem will move WKNR's sports format from 1220 to 850 this summer, replacing the nostalgia format and WRNR calls at the 850 spot. Will nostalgia move to 1220 -- or will Salem plug in those WHK calls and religious format there? Stay tuned...
Dan Finn stays with WMTR (1250 Morristown) and WDHA (105.5 Dover) as New Jersey Broadcasting sells the stations to Greater Media. Finn moves from New Jersey's president and COO to Greater Media's vice president and regional manager for the group's New Jersey stations, which also include WCTC/WMGQ New Brunswick and WRAT Point Pleasant.
Down the shore, WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres) morning team Mark Kaye and Kris Gamble make a big move south; they're taking on morning drive at Clear Channel's new Washington CHR, WIHT (99.5).
Finally this week, best wishes to Glen Jones of WFMU (91.1 East Orange), who'll spend next weekend trying to break the 73 hour, 33 minute record for longest DJ shift ever. Jones will begin broadcasting on WFMU at 9:00 Friday morning (May 25), and he'll stay awake and on the air at least until 10:33 AM the following Monday, including his usual Sunday noon-3 shift. Check it out on the station's Web site.
That's it for this week; join us again next week as we recap the rest of our West Coast trip. In the meantime, check out where we'll be for the rest of the summer...go visit our Travel page and see if the NERW-mobile will be driving by your community's tower!