We should know better when it comes to taking Labor Day off! This was a busy weekend around the region for format changes and station sales, so here's a quick roundup before we head off to the NAB Radio Show in New Orleans later this week (check fybush.com during the show for updates from the Big Easy...)
Upstate, ESPN gained another affiliate over the weekend, when Citadel switched WNSS (1260 Syracuse) from a simulcast of soft AC WLTI (105.9) to all-sports. New calls (rumor says WCUP) are on the way, along with Syracuse University sports play-by-play this fall.
Here in Rochester, Clear Channel's WLCL (107.3 South Bristol) dropped its little-noticed 80s-pop format at midnight Sunday night (Sept. 3), launching into (Mamma Mia!) an all-Abba stunt format as "Abba 107.3," complete with sarcastic announcements from "general manager Michael Doylini" taking potshots at the all-80s format that's still running across town on Entercom's WBZA (98.9 Rochester), under GM Michael Doyle. If they only put a tenth of the creativity into the regular programming that they do on the stunts, this weak-signaled facsimile of a radio station (it never had any jocks or real promotion during nine months of 80s music) might even get a listener or two...
Buffalo picked up Opie and Anthony last week, with Infinity placing the New York-based duo in afternoons on WBUF (92.9), to accompany Howard Stern in mornings. How much longer, we wonder, until Don and Mike get added to make this rock station a mostly-talk outlet?
Here's how it shakes out: in addition to getting a new FM license in Calgary (which Standard had to sell to stay under ownership caps), Newcap also ends up with the rest of the former Telemedia group in Alberta (except for CFMG-FM in Edmonton).
The bigger prize, though, looks to be the Rogers deal, which includes CJCL (Fan 590) in Toronto, three stations each in Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, two stations in Timmins and one in Orillia. The Fan becomes a sister station to all-news CFTR (680), as well as to CHR CISS (Kiss 92.5) and AC CHFI (98.1) - as well as to the Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays. Could that mean a switch in flagships for the Jays when their contract with CHUM Group's Team 1050 is up in two years? Wouldn't surprise us...
(Standard, by the way, keeps AC CJEZ (EZ Rock 97.3) from Telemedia, pairing it with news-talk CFRB 1010 and hot AC CKFM (Mix 99.9). The deals will be reviewed by the CRTC sometime in November.)
While we're in the Golden Horseshoe, we note that classic rock "Y95.3" (CJXY Hamilton) and dance-CHR "Energy Radio" (CING 107.9 Burlington) made their frequency swap Friday morning (at 9:53 AM, wouldn't you know!) Energy is already promoting its new home on "one of Canada's most powerful FM signals" for listeners in Toronto, an area the 107.9 signal never reached quite as well.
In the Steel City itself, WPTT (1360 McKeesport) dropped Laura Schlessinger's show at the beginning of last week. The new schedule at the talk station (now known as "the Point") begins with Doug Stephan's syndicated morning show until 8AM, followed by former morning drive host Jerry Bowyer from 8-11, then by market veterans Lynn Cullen and Doug Hoerth. Schlessinger moves to Salem's WPIT (730), which drops its southern gospel format for conservative talk during the day.
(And what of the "huge announcement" KDKA plans to make on Thursday morning at 8? We hear it just might be the retirement of veteran morning man John Cigna...)
On the other end of the state, a surprise format change in the Allentown market: recent Nassau acquisition WODE (99.9 Easton) dropped its oldies format of a decade in favor of classic hits as "the River," a play, we suppose, on the Delaware River that separates Easton from neighboring Phillipsburg, N.J. Expect a call change here soon!
And with that, we're off to New Orleans! Check back on fybush.com Thursday and Friday for some thoughts on this year's Radio Show, and we'll be back next week with our full report. See you then!
|NERW's Northeast Television Index||85.56|