While we're in the Albany market, we note that the FCC has granted the transfer of WCPT (100.9 Albany) and WKBE (100.3 Warrensburg) from Tele-Media to "6 Johnson Road Licensing Company," which is the licensee name for Pamal Broadcasting.
But that site is significantly lower than the rest of the market's FMs, and so Clear Channel is looking elsewhere for long-term use. An application filed last week will move WKTU to the ERI master antenna on the Empire State Building, joining more than a dozen other FMs (including fellow WTC refugees WPAT-FM and WNYC-FM) on the city's tallest remaining structure.
The engineering study (dated September 12 - they weren't wasting any time!) notes that WKTU will suffer slight additional interference from WBZO (103.1 Bay Shore) and WNNJ-FM (103.7 Newton NJ) as a result of the move, an inevitable result of the area's overstuffed FM spectrum.
WNYC-FM, meanwhile, says it will cost $4 million to get back up to full power from Empire. It's looking to fellow public radio stations to help, and indeed Minnesota Public Radio has already received special permission from the FCC to do on-air fundraising to benefit WNYC, with other stations expected to follow suit.
The TV DX types down that way tell NERW that the city's VHF signals are slowly getting back up to viewable power, with decent pictures being reported on channels 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 from respectable distances.
One more New York City note: Tracy Cloherty, PD at Emmis' WQHT (97.1), is now VP/Programming for the entire three-station cluster there, adding WRKS and WQCD to her duties.
We'll return upstate in Buffalo, where the UPN affiliation is moving in 14 months or so. After several years on little WNGS (Channel 67) in Springville, which can be seen only on cable in most of the market, UPN signed a new contract with LIN's WNLO (Channel 23), beginning in January 2003.
WNLO is the former WNEQ, the secondary public TV outlet that was sold and went commercial back in January as an independent. In addition to a full five-megawatt signal that blankets the market (and a big chunk of Canada, too), WNLO has a 10PM newscast produced by sister station WIVB-TV (Channel 4).
Buffalo's WEDG (103.3) has a new program director, as Lenny Diana makes the drive up I-79 from his old job as music director of Pittsburgh's WXDX (105.9) to take Rich Wall's old position. (And by the way, we noticed a big "For Sale" sign in front of the Citadel building at 464 Franklin Street in Buffalo when we drove by the other day...anyone in the Queen City know if that cluster is moving?)
Here in Rochester, a former anchor is suing WROC-TV (Channel 8) for age discrimination. Marty Aarons (real name: Martin Aarons Finkel) says his contract with the CBS affiliate wasn't renewed next year because he was nearing 50 and the station wanted a younger co-anchor.
Up in the North Country, it's a big power boost for three of Tim Martz' stations, as CPs were granted last week for increases at WYSI (96.7 Canton, jumping to 23.5 kW at 103 meters, nulled to the west-northwest), WRCD (101.5 Canton, jumping to 50 kW at 133 meters, nulled to the north-northeast) and WNCQ (102.9 Morristown, increasing to 17 kW at 108 meters, nulled to the north-northwest).
Also up that way, Ed Levine filed to build a new tower next to the current site of his newly-acquired WSCP-FM (101.7 Pulaski), raising power from 2.5 kW at 111 meters to 3.7 kW at 128 meters.
One final New York note: TBN's W22AZ in Olean has changed channels and calls; mark it down as W30BW if you're heading for the Southern Tier.
While Nextmedia turns on that new signal, it's transferred its 102.3 license (currently WLKK) to Regent, which began stunting this afternoon with a rotating roster of 24 different formats. The real format will premiere on 10/23 (get it?), with new calls reportedly on the way as well. WLKK PD Tim Stephens is out as well with the demise of "the Point" there.
Down the road a bit in the western 'burbs of Pittsburgh, Keymarket changed the legal ID on its "Froggy 103.5" this week, as WOGH migrates from Steubenville, Ohio down US 22 to Burgettstown, PA. Listeners won't notice any change for now, since the transmitter stays put in Steubenville, but look for this one to make a physical move east eventually (crossing paths with Froggy cousin WOGI, which will soon move from Charleroi, southeast of Pittsburgh, to the WDSY tower right in the heart of the city's North Side).
On the TV side, the FCC denied an application to change the status of WQEX (Channel 16) to commercial, a move long sought by public broadcaster WQED. The good news for QED, which hopes to sell the facility (it's been doing nothing but simulcasting WQED-TV for a few years now), is that the FCC did agree to issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on the move, opening the way to an eventual change of status and sale. (A deal to sell WQEX to religious broadcaster Cornerstone TV fell through two years ago, when questions arose about the noncommercial status of Cornerstone's programming.)
Across the state line in Maryland, the sale of Johns Hopkins University public radio WJHU (88.1) to "Baltimore Public Radio" means new calls for the station. WYPR is the new call for the station, which is being bought out by its management.
In the Allentown market, there's a new nickname at WODE (99.9 Easton). After a brief stint as "the River," the former "Oldies 99" is now calling itself "the Hawk."
Back in Philadelphia, an old Boston voice is coming back east. Jeff Katz, last heard in NERW-land at Boston's WRKO (680), has been hired by Infinity talker WPHT (1210), which is beefing up its local talk lineup in the wake of the demise of WWDB-FM (96.5) last year (and the increased demand for issues talk after September 11). Katz had been out in Las Vegas at KXNT (840 North Las Vegas), where we heard and enjoyed his show at NAB last April.
On the Web, fans of the defunct phillyradio.com might want to sample a new offering: www.phillytvradio.com offers many of the same features as Chris Coleman's old site, including station listings, histories and message boards.
The head of the local NAACP was among those lined up to protest the moves on Thursday, and Armstrong himself says he may sue the station. The 59 year old reporter has been at Channel 7 for 31 years, going all the way back to its previous incarnation as WNAC-TV. He says he believes his age and a recent illness led the station to fire him.
WHDH managers say they won't discuss personnel matters.
Up in Lawrence, Costa-Eagle will have to find a new buyer for WCCM (800), now that the Archdiocese of Boston has pulled out of its planned $1.5 million purchase.
UMass Boston's WUMB (91.9) and former WBUR (90.9) talk host Christopher Lydon almost hooked up this month, according to the Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh says the ex-"Connection" host talked with WUMB officials about going on the air there, but he suggests pressure from UMass chancellor William Bulger killed a potential deal. (NERW wonders: why would an all-music station like WUMB break up its day with talk, anyway?)
Radio People on the Move: WBCN weekend jock Seth Resler is headed to Seattle, to be music director at KNDD (107.7). Also out on the West Coast, former Boston talk host Gene Burns, now at San Francisco's KGO (810), is recuperating after a bacterial infection he picked up while vacationing in Tahiti.
A call letter change in Conway: WBNC (1050) files to become WXMT; we're waiting to hear if the format will change from the current oldies simulcast with WBNC-FM (104.5).
Up on Mt. Mansfield, Vermont Public Radio's WVPR (107.9) will be operating at reduced power or going off the air beginning tomorrow while it replaces its transmitter.
Up in the Bangor market, Daniel Priestly has been granted his two applications for new stations in Veazie. The two new AMs will share a tower alongside route 170 north of Eddington, operating on 1340 with 1 kW day and 630 watts night, and on 1400 with 1 kW day and 810 watts night. (The reduced night power, in the case of 1400, is to protect two long-gone AMs in Rivière-du-Loup and Lac-Megantic, Quebec...)
That's it for this holiday-shortened week.