Amazingly, WVIP was back on the air later Wednesday morning, operating from makeshift studios in the nearby transmitter building. It's a tribute to the local broadcasting community that engineers and managers from other local stations have been pitching in almost nonstop since the fire to help get WVIP back on the its feet with a temporary studio and automation system. We'll keep you posted over the next few weeks as WVIP recovers. Next month marks the 40th anniversary of this pioneering suburban station.
Elsewhere in the Empire State, public radio station WAMC in Albany is launching a syndicated weekly show with Mario Cuomo as host. The former governor is a close friend of WAMC boss Alan Chartock, who was Cuomo's sparring partner on the regular "Ask the Governor" broadcasts while Cuomo was in office.
In Binghamton, LPTV W08DL has been reborn as WBGH-LP, and it's being sold to Smith Television. NERW expects channel 8 to become a relay of Smith's WETM (Channel 18) Elmira, which has served as the NBC affiliate for Binghamton since WICZ-TV (Channel 40) changed to Fox two years ago. Channel 8 may have only 82 watts...but they come from the Ingraham Hill transmitter site of ABC affiliate WMGC (Channel 34), 603 meters above average terrain.
Translators on the march: Pensacola Christian College has applied for 88.1 in Middletown to relay WPCS in Pensacola.
And congratulations to Todd Blide, who's adding operations manager duties at WKLX (98.9 Rochester) to his similar duties at co-owned WBBF (950) in the Flower City.
Bruce Williams is picking up an affiliate in the western suburbs. WSRO (1470) in Marlborough is adding his 7-10 pm show starting September 29. He's already heard on WESX (1230 Salem), WJDA (1300 Quincy), and WADN (1120 Concord).
Springfield's WHYN (560/93.1) is shifting some talent from band to band. "Morning Mayor" Dan Williams and his co-host Kim Zachary have shifted from AM to FM, with Bo Sullivan and former Northampton talent Fred King taking over the AM side in the mornings. Don't look for the changes at the WHYN website, which still lists several former voices (including retired WHYN veteran Ron Russell) who no longer grace the WHYN airwaves.
Speaking of websites, you might want to pay a visit to the new online home of Beverly's AM 1570. New owner Keating Willcox says there will soon be companion sites available for sister stations WPEP (1570) Taunton and WMVU (900) Nashua, N.H.
Home shopping outlet WHSH (Channel 66) Marlborough-Boston has been on and off the air this week, apparently while construction is underway on a power upgrade to 5 megawatts. Sometime next year, station owner Silver King is expected to drop home shopping and begin local programming aimed at Boston. Meanwhile, could Worcester's WUNI (Channel 27) be ready to say "adios" to Univision? NERW's heard rumors that "Fox 27 Worcester" promos are in the can and ready to roll.
On the pirate front, Worcester's "WDOA" (89.3) has been increasing its broadcast hours, and is now on the air from 6pm-midnight daily. "WDOA" has been featured in Worcester Magazine, and is reportedly planning a power increase as well...see it for yourself at http://members.aol.com/wdoafm if you're curious.
And a big "welcome back" to Mark Jurkowitz of the Boston Globe, who ends his stint as that paper's ombudsman to become media critic. During his time as the Boston Phoenix's media critic, Jurkowitz was one of the Hub's best, and we're looking forward to seeing his work in the Globe. Jack Thomas takes over in the ombudsman's chair.
When it comes to coverage of radio, though, there's nobody in Boston who can quite match the Herald's Dean Johnson; NERW's still chuckling over his wrap-up of all the summer's sales last week, in which he concluded that local radio is a medium "with all the subtletly and muted grace of Central American politics."
(And NERW won't even try to compare the Boston papers with the media coverage in the Washington Post or Chicago Sun-Times, to name a few of the on-line sources we read regularly. The Post offered a particularly well-written summary of the summer's radio changes in Tuesday's paper.)
Vermont Public Radio is moving south, applying for a 106.9 translator on Dorset Peak in Manchester, with more translator applications to follow soon in Bennington and Brattleboro.
In reporting on "WZVU" in Howell, New Jersey, we misidentified the station from which most of its equipment was reportedly stolen. WRLJ in Freehold is/was on 89.7, not 89.9, and while Sal Anthony was running WRLJ, he was not the licensee.
And just hours after we wrote that Philadelphia's WFLN (95.7) was still classical, Greater Media proved us wrong. Last Friday at 6 pm, 48 years of classics came to a close, replaced by Sheryl Crow and the modern AC sounds of WXXM, "the Max." The end of classical on WFLN was probably inevitable; the station had changed hands several times in the last year, each time for a bit more money, increasing the debt load on each successive owner.
NERW is very sorry to see WFLN go; your editors visited the station back in 1994, and found the people who worked there to be among the friendliest and most professional radio folks anywhere. WFLN was a cultural institution in Philadelphia, and while Temple University's WRTI (90.1) and its relays are stepping to the plate by adding classical music, that will in turn dilute WRTI's legacy as the jazz station in Philadelphia.
The moral of this story? NERW is grateful for the independent owners who keep commercial classical alive; owners like Charles River Broadcasting (WCRB Waltham-Boston and WFCC Chatham), Marlin (WFLN's former owner, and still owner of WBOQ Gloucester and WBQQ Kennebunk), Radio Vermont (WCVT Stowe), Dennis Jackson (WMEX Westport NY), and the New York Times (WQXR New York). When you don't have a ton of debt, a classical station can draw a very profitable adult audience. In fact, this morning's Globe reports that Charles River is eager to buy a station in Philadelphia and take it classical (so, for that matter, is West Coast classical broadcaster Saul Levine). Somebody might want to tell the Globe, though, that no matter how much a broadcaster "petition[s] the FCC and show[s] cause that there is a need for a classical station," the FCC will neither care, nor magically create a new spot in the packed Philly radio dial....
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And that's it for this Thursday. We'll see you next week!