The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed this week to accept Bob Vinikoor's appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the city of Hanover's decision not to allow Vinikoor to build three towers for WQTH (720 Hanover).
The city's zoning laws limit towers to 45 feet in areas where they're permitted at all, and city lawyers point to the controversial Cross-Field Antenna (tested in Egypt, but not approved by the FCC or conclusively even demonstrated to work) to show that the rule doesn't prohibit new AM towers completely.
Vinikoor, who owns WNTK (1020 Newport/99.7 New London) and WNBX (1480 Springfield VT), says that's just what the rule does, and he's asking the court to rule that the city can't keep him from building his station.
If it's built, by the way, WQTH will be the most powerful station in New Hampshire, with a 50 kW daytime signal.
Vinikoor is looking for anyone interested in filing an amicus ("friend of the court") brief in his support; if you're interested, contact us here at NERW and we'll put you together with his attorney.
In a memo to employees obtained by NERW, Gardiner says his plans after leaving MPBC in a year or so include "a long vacation,...time with my family, and enjoy[ing] some months with few schedule demands or responsibilities that would keep me awake in the middle of the night."
No replacement has been named yet.
Clear Channel changed formats at WRKD (1450 Rockland) over the weekend, dropping the news-talk that's been airing there in favor of sports. Local morning host Don Shields stays on board for the 6-8 AM weekday shift, with more local sports coverage promised in the future. Clear Channel believes talk listeners in the mid-coast area are well enough served by its FM news-talkers, WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor) and WVOM (103.9 Howland).
From the Christmas music front: WKCG (101.3 Augusta) and WGUY (102.1 Dexter) both made the flip, and we hear WGUY might not go back to its oldies format after the holidays. WABI (910 Bangor) is also doing the holiday thing, but that's because the Westwood One standards format it uses has gone all-Christmas. (The same "format change" applies at WFEA 1370 Manchester NH, WXKS 1430 Everett-Boston, WNLC 98.7 East Lyme CT and WAVZ New Haven CT, among others!)
"Calling All Sports" has a new station to call home. The long-running Sunday sports gabfest has been on WBZ (1030) on and off for more than three decades, most recently with host and producer Norm Resha buying the time for the show. As of this past weekend, though, "CAS" is on the FM dial, from 4-7 PM Sundays on WTKK (96.9).
CNet Radio landed in Boston on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 1), replacing "Amor 890" and Spanish romantica music on WBPS (890 Dedham). Still missing: a legal ID ("WBPS Boston" doesn't cut it)...
More Christmas music: in addition to the satellite format going all-holidays at WXKS (1430 Everett), the folks at WNBP (1450 Newburyport) checked in to say they're doing the ho-ho-ho tunes as well.
Varner starts the new gig at WTNH on January 7.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the Island, the student-run CHR format at WNYG (1440 Babylon) is history. Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting had been running the station as a free school to train future DJs, making for an interesting signal to tune in - but the lure of leased time was apparently too strong, and so the station has gone to an all-Chinese format.
In New York City, WBBR (1130) is edging back to being exclusively business news after a flirtation with general news. Any connection to WBBR's founder getting a new job as mayor, we wonder?
Kids in and around Albany will have a new signal to check out. We don't yet know the purchase price, but Disney/ABC is picking up WGNA (1460 Albany) from Regent Broadcasting to make it the latest Radio Disney outlet in upstate New York. The station has been simulcasting country giant WGNA-FM (107.7 Albany) for the last decade or so, but its 5 kW day, 1 kW night signal is one of the better AMs in the market, surprisingly enough, so it's been due for something more.
(From the irony files: ABC, before being bought by Disney, was swallowed by the former Capital Cities Communications, which drew its name from...Albany, where the company got its start with WROW all those decades ago.)
Way up north, New York Educational Broadcasters and Christian Ministries have settled their conflicting applications for 90.9 near Plattsburgh. Christian Ministries (the WGLY folks from Vermont) gets the CP, for 3 kW at 310 meters AAT from Terry Mountain southeast of Plattsburgh. The new station, which will be licensed to Schuyler Falls, should have a decent signal over Plattsburgh and an adequate one over Burlington as well.
Syracuse TV viewers are mourning one of the market's legendary anchors. Ron Curtis, who began his career in the Salt City as a high school student at the old WFBL, became an anchor at WHEN-TV (Channel 5) in 1966, staying with the station (now WTVH) until his retirement almost exactly a year ago. Curtis died Thursday (Nov. 29) at the age of 74.
Hip-hop fans in Syracuse may soon get a stronger signal: Clear Channel has been granted an on-channel booster for WPHR (106.9 Auburn), to operate from downtown Syracuse. The new booster will operate with 1740 watts, vertical only, with a directional antenna aimed south at Syracuse's inner city.
A much earlier era of popular music in Syracuse is being remembered at a new tribute Web site. Check out http://www.members.tripod.com/wolf1490 for the start of what looks like a fun remembrance of the old WOLF (1490), the little 250-watt pipsqueak that topped the Syracuse ratings in the sixties.
Here in Rochester, WBBF-FM (93.3 Fairport) received its license to cover this week for its transmitter move; the new signal is getting out much better in Monroe County than the old Avon-licensed facility ever did.
Cable viewers in Rochester will finally get full-time service from the local UPN affiliate after the first of the year. WBGT-LP (Channel 40) has been leasing prime-time hours on Time Warner's channel 98 for the last few months; starting January 1, the LPTV will lease the entire day on channel 18 to extend its reach to cable viewers throughout the area.
(One other Rochester note: our Fox affiliate, WUHF Channel 31, lost a good chunk of its viewers this week. The CRTC gave cable companies in Halifax, N.S. and St. John, N.B. permission to switch to a satellite feed of Boston's WFXT for Fox service. We wonder how this will affect WUHF's tendency to sell several half-hours in the middle of the afternoon for Canadian infomercials!)
In Buffalo, WTSS (Star 102.5) is the latest convert to the all-holiday format. The Entercom station joins a few other late additions to the roster in the Empire State, including Citadel's WLTI (105.9) in Syracuse and (on nights, weekends and lunch hours only) Barnstable's WKJY (98.3 Hempstead LI).
Radio People on the Move: Ray Marks moves up from news director to operations manager at Jamestown's WJTN/WWSE, reports Carl Gorney in his latest WNY/Southern Ontario update; over in Elmira, afternoon guy Joe Munroe is promoted to PD at Sabre's WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls), while crosstown WPHD (94.7 Tioga PA) adds the Greaseman show in morning drive. (WPHD, by the way, has moved in with sister station WCDW at the latter's new digs above a credit union at 495 Court Street in Binghamton. And although WCDW has completed its city of license swap with WKGB 92.5, it's still ID'ing with the old Conklin NY instead of the new Susquehanna PA. WKGB's covering all its bases with a "Conklin-Susquehanna-Binghamton" legal from its new site atop the WINT 680 site on Binghamton's Windy Hill Road.)
And we'll leave New York with a pirate: listeners across the East have been hearing Jewish programming on 1710 kHz, with an ID of "Lubavitcher Radio." We'd be surprised, indeed, if this didn't have something to do with the powerful Lubavitcher community of Hasidic Jews, headquartered in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Down in Pittsburgh, PAX television is finally coming to viewers' TV screens, but only if they have AT&T Broadband cable. The netlet has been trying for years to get a broadcast outlet in the Steel City (and still hopes to end up on WQEX-TV if it can be sold successfully), but in the meantime it's signed a cable carriage deal to start in January.
Out in the suburbs, we hear WLSW (103.9 Scottdale) isn't being sold to Cumulus after all, but the station does have an application in to move much closer to Pittsburgh. The new site, with 6 kW at 100 meters (down from 238 meters, but up from 320 watts!) would be on Mickanin Road southwest of Irwin.
Over in Philadelphia, meanwhile, WXTU (92.5) has added Blair Garner's syndicated "After MidNite" to its schedule, from midnight to 6 AM weekdays. Out in Roxborough, we're told WCAU-TV (Channel 10) has begun work on its new DTV tower, which will add the tallest stick yet to that city's already imposing tower farm.
In Kingston, Ontario, CFMK (96.3) wants to lower its power, from 50 kW to 14 kW; we're guessing an antenna height increase is involved as well.
And Mark Elliott's "People Helping People" show, one of the only call-in shows out there for those recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, is back on the air in Toronto. After stints on CFYI there and on CKLW in Windsor, Elliott can now be heard Saturday nights on CFRB (1010).