New England RadioWatch: July 30, 1996
- The New England radio industry seems to have gone into a late-July
sort of a slumber, hence the long interval between the last NERW and
this one...but let's dip into the pile of notes on the desk and see
what pops up:
- Nostalgia is big on the airwaves in Boston this summer. As part
of Barry O'Brien's big WVBF reunion on August 10, former 'VBF jocks
have been invited to take airshifts for the day on 70s-rocker WEGQ
93.7. Tape will be rolling here at NERW headquarters. The hi-fi VCR
will also see action this coming Saturday, August 3, when the 3-8pm
slot on WRCA (1330) formerly occupied by the late Bill Marlowe will
be home to a Marlowe remembrance hosted by Ron Della Chiesa of WGBH.
And from the rumor mill: Greater Media's WMEX (1150) in Boston did
a brief stab at bringing back the oldies one Saturday night a few
weeks ago, and while it hasn't been heard since (the station is back
to its usual leased-time Spanish), rumor has it new jingles are being
cut. 1150 tried doing oldies when it got the WMEX calls a decade ago,
and of course the calls themselves were part of the "Wimmex" top-40
legend on 1510 (now WNRB) in the '60s and early '70s.
- Speaking of reunions: Gary James, PD at Springfield's WHYN AM/FM, is
looking for anyone who was a jock or newscaster at WHYN in the 60s
or 70s. You can reach him at 1331 Main St., Springfield MA 01101, or
by phone at 413-781-1011, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. No word yet
on whether an on-air reunion is planned; if so, I'll be parked at the
foot of the Mt. Tom transmitter site rolling tape! (Alas, the only
WHYN veteran I knew, early-60s newscaster Darrell Gould, died last year,
a short time after retiring from WBZ).
- Also from the history files: Longtime (1951-1983) WBZ radio and TV
weatherman Don Kent was honored a few weeks ago with the dedication of
Don Kent State Park, a small portion of the Wollaston Beach Reservation
in Quincy. The park sits on the site of the old Kent's Carpetland
store, from which Kent first broadcast the weather for WJDA (1300)
in Quincy in the late 40s. Kent now lives in New Hampshire, and
his forecasts are still heard on WQRC (99.9) on Cape Cod and WEMJ (1490)
in Laconia NH.
- From the "huh?" file: WXTK (94.9) in West Yarmouth MA, on Cape Cod, has
filed with the FCC to change height above average terrain, power,
and - yes - frequency. Of course, thanks to budget cutbacks at the FCC,
that's as much as I know. Anyone with access to docket number
BP960702IE is cordially invited to let me know what's up with the
Ernie Boch-owned, 50kw FM talker.
- From the "flagrant translator abuse" file: KTLW, 88.9 in Lancaster CA,
has applied for a translator in not-so-nearby Keene NH. "The Living
Way"'s proposed translator would be on 89.9, which will no doubt
thrill area residents who listen to the 100kw signal of public-radio
WGBH 89.7 Boston.
- From the "someday..." file: WCDJ (102.3) in Truro MA, way out there
on Cape Cod, has been granted a fourth extension of its construction
permit, which was first granted in 1988. The owner of this little
class A, one Karl Nurse, says he's still planning to build it. And
Kidstar Broadcasting is again claiming it's on the verge of signing
an affiliate in Boston. Mm-hmmm...and somewhere down deep in this
stack of stuff on the desk, I have the newspaper clipping from mid-1994
saying "Kidstar Broadcasting will buy a station in Boston by year's end."
- On the fringes of New England: M Street reports the former WMJR (107.1)
in Hudson Falls NY, some 50 miles north of Albany and just a few miles
west of the Vermont line, has become WHTR, "Hot 107.1." I'll check that
one out next weekend as I hit the road for Buffalo and Syracuse. And
a familiar sound in the southeast Connecticut area is about to go FM-only...
WLNG in Sag Harbor, Long Island is selling its AM 1600 operation to
Unity Broadcasting of New York City. Unity will presumably shut down
WLNG(AM), allowing its flagship WWRL 1600 New York to expand its
pattern a bit to the east (and since the WWRL transmitter is in
Secaucus NJ, west of NYC, that's good news for WWRL). Unity bought
silent WQQW 1590 Waterbury CT earlier this year for the same reason.
The good news is that the very distinctive, jingle-laden sound of WLNG
will continue to be heard in glorious mono on 92.1 FM. Also down that
way, the former WMRW 98.5 Westhampton LI has become WLRI, after a brief
stint with the WLIR calls that now live on its simulcast 92.7 in Garden
City LI. And 92.7's old WDRE calls are now in Philadelphia on the former
WIBF 103.9 Jenkintown. Scorecards are for sale in the lobby...
- Wanted: New frequency. That's the cry at little non-comm WSLX 91.9
in New Canaan CT (Dave Letterman's hometown). The 10-watter, which I
think is operated by the St. Luke's prep school, has applied to move
to 102.3, with 19 watts circularly polarized from 161 feet AAT, up from
the current 100. WSLX is now tightly wedged in at 91.9; a recent trip
through the area while WSLX was off the air found WSHR 91.9 Lake
Ronkonkoma LI owning the frequency instead.
- Sold: WKBR in Manchester NH. George Ketrelakis, who currently leases
Sunday afternoons on the 5000-watt, DA-2, 1250 kHz outlet, is paying
owner Bob Bittner $529,000 for the station. Bittner has been programming
automated beautiful music six days a week on WKBR; he'll continue to
do the same on his WJIB (740) Cambridge-Boston and his soon-to-return
WNEB (1230) Worcester.
- Not for sale just yet: WBET and WCAV-FM in Brockton MA. Despite
the sale last week of the co-owned Brockton Enterprise newspaper,
the word from the Fuller family to the WBET/WCAV staff is that there
are no changes planned for now at the radio stations. WBET is a
5000/1000-watt DA-2 news-talker on 1460; WCAV is satellite country
with 3000 watts from 300 feet AAT on 97.7.
- And finally, NERW wishes to thank folk-music station WADN (1120)
in Concord MA for simulcasting a portion of the nonstop coverage of
the Lowell (Mass.) Folk Festival last weekend. WLLH (1400) in Lowell
broadcasts the festival's music live all weekend, but their signal
is almost impossible to hear down around Boston. The "Walden 1120"
simulcast was hardly hi-fi, but it was at least audible. WGBH (89.7)'s
"Folk Heritage" show on Saturday afternoon also broadcasts live from
the Festival every year, and those within a few miles of Lowell can hear
much of the action in stereo on UMass Lowell's WJUL (91.5) all
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