Moving down the road to Rochester, Jacor's WHTK (1280) is edging closer to becoming an all-sports station, adding an extra hour of the Jim Rome show from 3-4 PM (and pushing Don and Mike to a tape-delayed 4-8 PM slot), and dropping Bloomberg radio in the mornings for still more sports.
NERW headed down to the Binghamton area over the weekend, pausing in Ithaca to notice how all the big signal stations were satellite, while the smaller FM signals, WICB (91.7) at Ithaca College and WVBR (93.5), were local and as enjoyable as ever. There wasn't much to note about the Binghamton market, except that WEBO (1330 Owego) was back on the air as a simulcast of AC WGRG (101.7 Owego). Much of the rest was satellite, especially on AM. We returned to Rochester by way of Sidney and Norwich, where once again everything on the weekends was satellite-delivered. At least we got to hear the new WBKT (95.3), "Big Cat Country" in Norwich. WBKT, as well as sister stations WCHN (970, standards) and WKXZ (93.9, AC), is being sold by Cooney Communications to Banjo Communications. And one more bit of weirdness from Binghamton: while WRGG (107.5 Endwell) is not yet on the air, the frequency was in use by an unlicensed operator running the satellite feed of the "Amerinet" radio network, one of those "patriot talk" services. When NERW tuned in, they were talking about the "black box" that the FCC was requiring in every radio station in the country "so the government can take over all the programming." Here in reality, we call it EAS...and we have a sneaking suspicion that the system probably wouldn't work right even if the government tried to use it to take over the entire dial...
Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting is adding two more New York City-area stations to his roster. You'll recall he's selling WNWK (105.9 Newark NJ), buying WPAT (930 Paterson NJ), and keeping WKDM (1380 New York). Now he's adding WNJR (1430 Newark NJ) and WZRC (1480 New York) from Douglas Broadcasting. Douglas keeps several of its other stations, including WBPS (890 Dedham-Boston).
The new low-power TV station that will be signing on soon in Albany has call letters. W25CF will become WVBG-LP when it takes to the airwaves. Also getting call letters is John Bulmer's new station in Hague NY. That 93.7 will be WWFY. And a final bit of Empire State news: John Kelly's Albany Broadcasting is looking for a new chief engineer for its 1 AM/3 FM group in the state capital.
Framingham's WKOX now has permission to go 50 kilowatts day and night froom its present transmitter site on Mount Wayte Avenue. The construction permit would involve removing at least one of WKOX's two tall towers, and replacing it with three shorter towers. All three would be used at night, with two being used during the day. How would all of this affect WRPT (650 Ashland) and WJLT (1060 Natick), the daytimers that currently diplex off the WKOX tower? We're not sure yet. We're also not sure what became of the other WKOX CP, for 50 kw non-directional from the WNTN (1550 Newton) site, that was announced in an FCC release a few weeks back.
The new public radio station on Cape Cod has new calls. When 90.1 Woods Hole takes to the airwaves sometime next year, it will be as WCAI ("Cape And Islands") rather than WHMV ("Woods Hole Martha's Vineyard"). No change has been announced to its sister station, WNAN (91.1 Nantucket).
Peter Arpin's ADD Media is buying Attleboro's WARA (1320); expect that station to change to leased-time operation soon, like ADD's WRCA (1330) Waltham-Boston. NERW will be happy to entertain speculation as well about the engineering changes that could be made if one owned both of those adjacent-channel signals...
Congratulations to Lowell's WCAP, which raised a total of $16,800 in the two days of its Salvation Army Radiothon. Congratulations also to WLVI-TV (Channel 56) anchor Karen Marinella, who's expecting a baby. The news was announced by returning sports anchor Frank Mallicoat, who's back from a stint in Detroit.
And so much for Tunnel Radio, the service that provided AM signals to the Dewey Square Tunnel underneath Boston's South Station on Interstate 93. Tunnel Radio operated on the 450 kHz IF frequency, putting it all over the dial for anyone tuned to AM driving through the tunnel. Now it's been silenced; no word on whether anything will replace it.
We're now hearing that WMMM (1260 Westport) will be back for good in January; it's been testing on and off as recently as this week.
Former WCCC (106.9/1290) jock "DJ Lich," a.k.a. Hal Lichtenbaum, has taped two pilot episodes for a series called "Words and Music" on Connecticut Public Television. The shows featured Chicago and Yes; they'll air Friday night at 10 PM on CPTV.
And Bridgeport's WEZN(FM) (99.9) has changed calls, not that you'd be likely to notice. It's now WEZN-FM, to accomodate a Birmingham, Alabama station (the former WZZK) that's become WEZN(AM).
Clearing up the confusion over 91.9 in Harpswell: The former WMSJ facility has the new calls WYFP. It's running religious programming from new owner Bible Broadcasting Network, while WMSJ's contemporary Christian format has migrated down the dial to 89.3 Freeport.
Here's hoping your holidays were safe and healthy...we'll see you in 98! (Now is that WTRY, or WPXY, or maybe WILI...?)
See also part 1 of NERW's 1997 Year in Review.