New England RadioWatch: May 21, 1996
Well, enough has happened in the last couple of days for me to
interrupt my packing and throw together a last-minute NERW:
- A big one I missed last time: Radio Equity Partners, parent company
of WHYN AM-FM Springfield MA and WWBB-FM Providence RI/WWRX-FM
Westerly-Providence, has been sold to Clear Channel Broadcasting
for $235 million. Both are new markets for Clear Channel, whose
only other New England operation is WELI(AM)/WKCI-FM/WAVZ(AM) in
the New Haven market. NERW wonders how this will affect Clear
Channel's planned purchase of WPRI-TV Providence from CBS...
- Classical survives on Cape Cod: Charles River Broadcasting, owner
of Boston's classical WCRB-FM Waltham-Boston, is buying WFCC 107.5
Chatham, the Cape's lone classical outlet. No terms announced
on the deal. WCRB PD Mario Mazza takes on WFCC duties as well.
- A few formats get cleared up: Our spies in northern New England
tell me WVFM 105.7 Campton NH is on the air, simulcasting oldies
WLKZ 104.9 down in Wolfeboro for now. And WRDX (ex-WRGW) 98.7
Somersworth NH, on the seacoast, is again running AC, after a brief
stint as standards "Radio Deluxe." Meantime in Rhode Island, the
smooth jazz is dead on WOTB 100.3 Middletown-Newport. New owner
Philip Urso is now using the station to simulcast his modern-rock
WDGE 99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale, "the Edge." There's a lot of
overlap between those two signals in southern Rhode Island. The
only remaining smooth-jazz outlet in the area now is WPLM-FM 99.1
Plymouth MA, which mostly runs SW Smooth FM, as does WKCD 107.7
Pawcatuck CT, which gets into some of the more remote parts of the
former WOTB listening area on the seacoast.
- WAMC swallows another one: The ever-growing WAMC Northeast Public
Radio Network, based in Albany NY, has acquired another outlet which
can be heard in New England. Control of WCFE-FM 91.9 Plattsburgh
NY, which also serves the Burlington VT area, is being transferred
from the Mountain Lakes Public Telecommunications Council (licensee
of WCFE-TV 57 in Plattsburgh) to WAMC, and 91.9 will presumably
become part of the WAMC network, allowing travelers to hear WAMC
from the Canadian border pretty much all the way down to the northern
New York City suburbs. Thanks to the main WAMC 90.3 transmitter on
Mount Greylock in Adams MA, the station can already be heard from
central Massachusetts most of the way to Utica NY.
- A new station in St. Johnsbury VT has been issued calls. WAOA will
operate on 90.5 up there, with a few hundred watts and what I
believe will be a religious format. Also in Vermont, the FCC has
revived the construction permit for WWGT 96.7 in Vergennes, south
- A tower move is in the works for WOAZ 99.5, Infinity's smooth jazz
outlet serving Boston from Wood Hill in Andover, Mass. WOAZ has
applied to drop power from 39 kw to 24 kw, boosting its antenna
from 550' AAT to 689' AAT from a new, taller tower just slightly
northeast of the current one.
- Speaking of the Merrimack Valley area, the Lowell Spinners, the
New York-Penn League (short season A) minor-league baseball team
that begins play in June, will have two additional radio outlets
in addition to flagship WLLH 1400 Lowell. The Boston Globe reports
the new outlets as "WNVU 900" in Nashua NH and "WADM 1120" in
Concord MA, but those are actually WMVU and WADN, respectively.
(Confidential to the Globe's radio columnist: 93.7 hasn't been
"WCGY" for a year and a half, even if you did call it that in two
consecutive columns. Try "WEGQ.")
- And we'll close it out with some fun. According to the latest
Arbitrends, as reported in the local papers, WBCN's decision to
move Howard Stern from evenings to mornings, bumping AM drive
institution Charles Laquidara to sister station WZLX, hasn't
quite paid off. WBCN took a bit of a hit in mornings in the
latest Trends...and it will be interesting to see what the next
book looks like. Meantime, Charles is reuniting all of his old
WBCN group over at WZLX. Sportscaster "Tank," who initially chose
to stay at WBCN (where he's involved in Patriots broadcasts, among
other things), has been lured over to the Big Mattress on WZLX...
after Laquidara launched a "Million Pound March" to bring the
rather hefty Tank around.
- And, barring something really huge tomorrow, that is it until
mid-June. Mark Shneyder will be watching things for the next
few weeks, and NERW will return on or around June 12.
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