In the midst of all our travels, a quick look at what's been making news back home in NERW-land:
There's not a lot of local content to be heard on the new "Bob"; mornings are handled by the syndicated team of Tim and Willy, while Lia and After Midnight take the evening and overnight hours. Still, it ought to be enough to shave a point or two off the "Frog," which seems to be Clear Channel's motivation here.
Also in Utica, the "K-Love" folks change the calls of WVVC (100.7 Utica) to WKVU, presumably for "K-loVe Utica."
Down the Thruway toward Syracuse, WBGJ (100.3 Sylvan Beach) hit the airwaves this past week, initially with a simulcast of Radio Disney from WOLF (1490 Syracuse) and its sister stations. The signal's not drawing many raves so far, but we hear it's not yet at full power, either. (We'll have to head out that way once we get back to town to see what the site looks like.)
Meanwhile, the religion finally came to an end on WVOQ (105.1 DeRuyter) last week, as Clear Channel took over that historic facility (it dates back to the Rural Radio Network of the late forties) with a temporary simulcast of country WBBS (104.7 Fulton). We suspect this isn't the final flip for the station.
Speaking of Clear Channel in Syracuse, a big "congratulations" this week to WSYR (570), whose news team took home the national Edward R. Murrow award from RTNDA for overall excellence (small-market division). It was a very good year for the Clear Channel group upstate, in fact; WGY (810 Schenectady) won a national Murrow as well, for its continuing coverage of the Amadou Diallo trial. The trophies will be presented at this fall's RTNDA convention in Nashville.
Still more Syracuse news: Citadel's WNTQ (93.1) has re-signed morning team Ted and Amy to a three-year contract beginning next January. That will mean over a decade in the Salt City for the two, an admirable longevity record these days.
Here in Rochester, we've noticed Clear Channel's "Nerve" (WNVE 95.1 Honeoye Falls) with new liners. Gone is the "95-1, 95-5" identification that long directed listeners to the Pinnacle Hill translator (W238AR), and with the new strong 95.1 signal from Baker Hill blanketing the city, we wonder what will happen now to 95.5...
From the FCC files this week: Cram Communications (the folks who just sold WVOQ) have their application for a new 720 facility in DeWitt (just outside Syracuse) accepted for filing; ditto for Canandaigua Broadcasting (George Kimble's WCGR group) and 650 in Canandaigua. More on both when we return.
Michael Sleezer's new 1440 in Gloversville has calls: WFNY will be the ID on the brand-new AM there; those calls lived on a never-built Family Radio CP in Syracuse for a while in the 80s (it eventually took air at 90.3 as public radio WRVD).
Up north, Mike Roach checks in to report a new Web site for the reborn WRCD (101.5 Canton); find them at www.1015thefox.com.
Downstate, the FCC is getting ready to do some shuffling in the FM table of allocations, at the request of several would-be station operators. Just across the state line in Sharon, Connecticut, WQQQ (103.3) will move to 102.5, thus opening up three new FM channels in and around the Hudson Valley: 103.3A at North Canaan, Connecticut; 102.5A at Rhinebeck, N.Y.; and 98.9A (instead of the previously-allocated 102.5A) at Rosendale, N.Y. Both North Canaan and Rhinebeck are reserved for noncommercial applicants, the former at the request of Sacred Heart University's WSHU, the latter at the request of SUNY New Paltz, one of the original applicants for 102.5 in Rosendale (which still has ten pending applications).
In New York City, the "Save WEVD" folks have set Thursday (June 21) for a street protest in front of the Forward Association headquarters at 45 E. 33rd St. They're hoping to persuade WEVD (1050 New York)'s owners to keep the left-leaning talk station rather than selling it to Disney, as has been widely rumored. The protest is scheduled to run from 4 until 6 PM.
On the booster front, it's not just WFUV looking to shore up the edges of its signal against translator invaders and such; WNYU (89.1 New York) filed an application this week for its own on-channel booster in Manhattan. The twist here: it would only be on the air a little less than half the week. The New York University station shares its channel with Fairleigh Dickinson U.'s WFDU (89.1 Teaneck NJ), and both would have to yield the channel if the United Nations ever got serious about the little-noticed proviso deep in the FCC rulebook that allocates that frequency for UN use in New York.
Talker WRKO (680 Boston) has a new PD. Jay Clark is heading to the Entercom station to replace the departed Al Mayers; Clark had been VP/GM of the now-defunct Comedy World network.
Who'll be the new news director at WHDH-TV (Channel 7)? We still don't know, though the rumor mill was churning a bit when former ND Mark Berryhill left his ND post at San Francisco's KRON (Channel 4) last week. Berryhill tells the trades he does want to move back east, but WHDH is denying that he's returning to 7 Bulfinch Place.
Down on the Cape, "Boy" Troy Smith has resigned as OM of the Boch Broadcasting group.
We hear WNSH (1570 Beverly) has been on and off the air again sporadically; owner Keating Willcox tells NERW health problems contributed to his decision to sell the rest of his Willow Farm group to Ernie Anastos' group. The reported price tag on that sale, by the way? $2.1 million.
Another national Murrow winner to report, again in the small market category: Congratulations to Marshfield's WATD (95.9), which added to its hefty collection of trophies with a Murrow for feature reporting.
Up in Sharon, WKZE (1020) adds a new Saturday morning jock: Bob Chatfield comes over from WQQQ (103.3), reuniting him for a third time with WKZE PD Marshall Miles.
The new Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League will have plenty of radio coverage when they begin play this fall. WGIR (610 Manchester) will be the team's flagship, with outlying areas hearing the games via WGIR relays WGIN (930 Rochester) and WGIP (1540 Exeter), as well as WTSL (1400 Lebanon), all part of Clear Channel's New Hampshire group. We'll still be rooting for the Rochester Amerks, thanks...
Norm Gagnon's GGN Information Systems site (www.ggninfo.com) is a great source of lore about the early days of FM and TV in New England, and now he's added a page of test patterns (www.ggninfo.com/testpattern.htm). Check it out - and if you can help him with some of the early IDs on his want list, the radio and TV history community would be grateful!
On the transaction chart: Shane Imler's New Millennium Communications picked up WSKE (1040/104.3) in Everett from Marty King's Radio Everett, for a reported $300,000. Just over the state line, Dame is adding two more stations to its growing cluster in Chambersburg. The new additions are Gemini's WHAG (1410) and WQCM (96.7), both licensed to the Hagerstown, Maryland suburb of Halfway; the price is a reported $3.4 million. (We were just in that market two weekends ago; a complete travel report will follow when we get home for good!)
A call change in western Pennsylvania: the 107.7 in Cooperstown that was WMHU and then WHUG-FM becomes WUUZ; a sign that it will soon be on the air, perhaps simulcasting classic rock "Wuzz" WHUZ (94.3 Saegertown) in the Meadville-Oil City area?
Down in the Harrisburg area, All Access reports WHYL (960 Carlisle) flipping from adult standards to the same oldies format in use at Citadel sister WARM (590 Scranton). Meantime, we hear WEGK (92.7 Starview) will pick up the oldies and even some of the jocks when WWKL (99.3 Harrisburg) goes CHR as "Kiss" in a few weeks...
And that'll be that for a few weeks, as we gas up the NERW-mobile and head out for our big roadtrip to find interesting towers, airchecks and stories to tell. Check out the Travel page at fybush.com to see where we'll be, and keep checking back during the trip (June 23 - July 7) for updates and pictures from the road!