WCAT (700 Orange) and WCAT-FM (99.9 Athol) are being sold. Jean and Richard Partridge's P&S Broadcasting (yep, the folks responsible for the unfortunate "WPNS" call letters on the AM a decade ago!) are selling to Jeffrey Shapiro, who pays $850,000 to add WCAT to his tri-state broadcast group.
The Mike Barnicle controversy reached fever pitch at the Boston Globe, with the veteran columnist resigning Wednesday amidst allegations that he made up characters who appeared in a 1995 column. Barnicle keeps his job at WCVB (Channel 5).
We enjoyed watching C-SPAN's rebroadcasts Tuesday of the Howie Carr show from WRKO and the David Brudnoy show from WBZ. In fact, we enjoyed the Brudnoy show so much, we called in to talk with the Boston Herald's publisher about the paper's redesign, which debuts next Monday.
Carr, meantime, is embroiled in a nasty shouting match with Don Imus. It started when Carr began poking fun at Imus' age, and escalated when Imus accused Carr's wife, Kathy, of having an affair with boxer Riddick Bowe. Now Kathy Carr has hired publicity-shy lawyer Alan Dershowitz to file a libel suit...
WBPS (890 Dedham) has been transferred from TSG Associates II to Z-Spanish Media. Could a format change be next?
If the Boston Celtics ever start playing this fall, their games will be seen on WABU (Channel 68), moving from last season's broadcasts on WSBK (Channel 38).
"Olives' Table" is off the air. WBZ (1030) has replaced the food show with more David Brudnoy, returning Bruds' show to the full 7-midnight slot on Fridays.
From the "all those North Shore towns look the same, anyway" file: Last issue, we claimed WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence)'s transmitter was in Middleton. Not so. It's in Peabody, and we should have known that, having enjoyed several tasty meals at the Bel Aire diner just down the road along US 1.
Bye, bye, Zapis: The Cleveland-based company that owned Worcester's WAAF for many years is now out of the game completely with last week's sale of its Cleveland stations (WZJM, WZAK, and WJMO) to Chancellor.
The folks at Worcester's WTAG (580) weighed in with a comment on last week's mention of the changes there since Capstar took over. News director Paul Tuthill says only one full-time news position has been cut this year, leaving WTAG with four full-timers and two part-timers.
That notwithstanding, the folks in Worcester still seem to like their radio locally-owned...as the latest Worcester Magazine readers' poll amply demonstrates. "Favorite Radio Station" honors went to WDOA (89.3), even though Mike Malone's unlicensed outlet has been off the air for months!
Also being sold is WBYA (101.7 Searsport). The classical station was in an LMA with WAVX (106.9 Thomaston), but now that Jon LaVeen has sold that station, WBYA is changing hands, too. Moon Song Communications, which already owns talker WVOM (103.9 Howland) in the Bangor market, will pay $265,000 for WBYA.
Way up North, the CRTC has authorized CJCJ (920 Woodstock NB) to put an FM station on the air at 93.5 in Grand Falls. The 5300-watt station, which ought to get into the Presque Isle area quite well, will run separate advertising from the Woodstock AM, and will be required to start its own morning show within three years. It's interesting to note that in approving the station, the CRTC said that 53% of whatever English-speaking listeners there are in Grand Falls are tuned to US-based radio stations.
Across the border, the CRTC has set an August 24 deadline for applications by Montreal stations to move to the 690 and 940 kHz facilities being vacated next month by CBF and CBM.
Meantime, former WCTK and WPRO jock Jimmy Gray has resurfaced in morning drive over at WHJJ (920).
And the FCC has renewed the license of WKFD (1370 Wickford) -- with conditions. We don't know what the conditions are, yet, but we wonder if it doesn't have something to do with WKFD's multiple extended silent periods over the last few years, plus that interesting era in mid-1996 when the station seemed to think its legal calls were "WEGM."
Monroe's WMNR (88.1), Fairfield's WVOF (88.5), and Stamford's WEDW (88.5) have all filed petitions to deny against the proposed KAWZ translator at 88.5 in Norwalk. NERW's usual rant against satellite-fed religious translators applies here...
Programming's overrated, anyway: Hartford LPTV W11BJ is still running 24 hours of classic color bars. So is brand-new LPTV W47BM up here in Rochester, NY.
WNVE (95.1) is the big winner, as Jacor gets to move its city of license from South Bristol Township to Honeoye Falls. That means the big class B gets to move its transmitter down from Bristol Mountain (some 40 miles from Rochester) to Baker Hill in Perinton, home of Rochester-licensed WVOR (100.5) and WBER (90.5), providing a significant signal increase for "the Nerve" in the city of Rochester and nearby suburbs.
The trade-off is that WMAX-FM (107.3) changes city of license from Honeoye Falls to South Bristol Township, which in practical terms means the little class A station will cease to exist for Rochester listeners -- but that's OK, too, because Jacor gets yet ANOTHER signal, the unbuilt CP to the west of the city in Albion, which has been approved to move from 95.5 to 102.1 (which probably means WNVE Rochester translator W238AB gets to stay on 95.5). What becomes of the urban-oriented "Jam'n" format now on 107.3? Here's one guess: Jacor might move "Jam'n" to the new 102.1, and then simulcast it on the east side on Canandaigua's 102.3, WISY. That station now simulcasts soft AC WYSY (106.7 Irondequoit), but "Sunny 106" could continue its Finger Lakes simulcast on that 107.3 South Bristol Township, couldn't it? We'll see how this all plays out.
Also in Rochester, Fox affiliate WUHF-TV (Channel 31) has been granted a CP to go to the full 5 megawatts from its Pinnacle Hill site. We're watching the tower from the NERW studio window right now, and we'll update things just as soon as we see some action up there...
New calls: From the FCC's sequential list, Kevin O'Kane gets WBGJ for 100.3 Sylvan Beach and 21st Century Radio gets WBGK for 99.7 in Old Forge (one of two unbuilt CPs there). Pax TV (don't say "PaxNet" anymore!) makes it official with WSPX-TV replacing WAUP on channel 56 in Syracuse. And for you AM DXers, Pittsburgh's AM 1250 loses the WTAE calls it's had for decades (they live on on the non-co-owned channel 4) in favor of WEAE. NERW is perplexed; a history-minded guy like Jacor's Randy Michaels should have taken the station back to the original WCAE. The calls are available, unless they belong to a ship...
The Mary V. Harris Foundation still wants to put 90.7 on the air in Williamsville, near Buffalo. It's asked the FCC to reconsider its decision to deny its application.
From the religious translator files: Family Life's WCOU (88.3 Warsaw) wants to rebroadcast at 89.7 in Albion. Will Henrietta's WITR file to stop this co-channel incursion? And Ithaca College's WICB (91.7) has filed a petition to deny the proposed 91.7 Elmira translator of WPEL (96.5 Montrose PA). Yo, FCC, isn't it time to at least consider a freeze on new translator applications? Anyone want to help put together a proposed rulemaking? (We'd think the LPFM folks would want to see this happen!)
Down there in the New York market, WBAH (1660 Elizabeth NJ) will go all-Catholic sometime in September, now that John Lynch's Catholic Radio has closed on its purchase of WBAH and many other Children's Broadcasting Company outlets.
And "we wuz misled": No matter what M Street said last week, Kingston's WBPM (94.3) continues to crank out dance-CHR. Hmm...maybe whoever thought they were changing to standards heard one too many Cherry Poppin' Daddies songs...
Finally this week, "NERW On The Road" made a highly unexpected weekend visit to San Francisco, and here's what we noticed during our 36 hours or so in the Bay Area:
The ARS/CBS/Jacor frequency shuffle continues to work its way through the system. The KOME calls that long graced 98.5 in San Jose stayed with CBS when the station went to Jacor, and are now being warehoused on 1470 in Sacramento. Meantime, 98.5 has taken the KUFX calls that used to be at 104.9 Fremont, having moved there last year from 94.5 Gilroy. "K-FOX" is simulcasting on 98.5 and 104.9 for now -- well, sort of. The two stations run parallel in morning and afternoon drive, but at other times they're actually obeying FCC non-simulcast rules and running a 24-hour tape delay at the 104.9 spot (now legally KLDZ). A new format is expected at KLDZ shortly. Jacor's KSJO (92.3 San Jose) is going area-wide, with the addition of an East Bay simulcast on 92.1 KZWC Walnut Creek, and soon a San Francisco simulcast on 92.7 KZSF Alameda. The KZSF calls have moved to the former KKSJ (1370 San Jose).
On the X-band, it's KDIA now for the 1640 in Vallejo, which puts a nice strong signal into the South Bay. The longtime home of the KDIA calls, 1310 in Oakland, is now Radio Disney's KMKY. On 1650, we heard KKTR Costa Mesa, "K-Traffic" with 24-hour traffic reports for the 24-hour traffic jam they call Southern California. And at 1660, Utah checked in with Brigham City and KXOL, the X-band simulcast of KSOS (800)'s oldies format. No sign, alas, of some of the new Oregon and Washington X-banders we'd hoped to hear -- but back home, we ARE hearing Iowa on 1700, KBGG Des Moines, with business talk that's migrated up the dial from now-defunct KKSO 1390.
We love the Bay Area noncomm scene, and especially enjoyed nighttime music offerings on San Francisco's KALW (91.7) and Sunday morning folk on KFJC (89.7 Los Altos Hills).
KKHI (1510 San Rafael) has built its new 4-tower directional array on a (very big) warehouse rooftop in the East Bay, and its new 8000-watt daytime signal gets out far enough to the south to pose a real challenge to adjacent-channel KSJX (1500 San Jose) in areas like Palo Alto.
Good listens: We liked the classic soul format on KISQ (98.1 San Francisco), had fun with the classic rock on the reborn KSAN (107.7 San Mateo), and always enjoy the AAA offerings of KFOG (104.5 San Francisco and KFFG 97.7 Los Altos). CBS' newly-acquired KEZR (106.5 San Jose) is taking its "Mix" moniker seriously -- from logo to format, it's a near-duplicate of WBMX in Boston. The CHR that's now on 95.7 in San Francisco (KZQZ) seemed a bit bland, and still a bit disconcerting after all those years when classical KKHI occupied that spot on the dial.
That's about it for this week; see you next Thursday!