We'll start with the Capstar-Chancellor deal, which has been rumored ever since Hicks, Muse began building two of the nation's biggest broadcast groups.
Chancellor was the big-market operator, with Boston's WJMN and WXKS-AM/FM and New York's WHTZ, WKTU, WAXQ, WBIX, and WLTW - along with WALK AM/FM on Long Island.
Capstar was the smaller-market broadcaster, with WZNN, WTMN, WMYF, WXHT, WSRI, WHEB and WERZ on the New Hampshire seacoast; WGIR AM-FM in Manchester; WEAV, WEZF, WXPS, and WCPV in Burlington-Plattsburgh; WTAG and WSRS in Worcester; WHJJ, WSNE, and WHJY in Providence; WHMP AM-FM in Northampton; WPKX serving Springfield; WPOP, WWYZ, WKSS, WMRQ, and WHCN in Hartford; WPLR (and an LMA on WYBC) in New Haven; and WTRY AM-FM, WGNA AM-FM, WXLE and WPYX in Albany.
The $4.1 billion deal makes the combined Capstar/Chancellor the largest radio operator in America, with 463 stations in more than a hundred markets -- not even counting Hicks, Muse's substantial TV holdings.
Meantime, more than two years after CBS bought Infinity Broadcasting, the Infinity name is coming back. CBS is spinning off its radio assets, along with some billboards, into a new company bearing the Infinity name. Mel Karmazin stays in charge of the new Infinity, along with his post as President of CBS Corp., which will continue to own 80% of the new radio company.
In our region, that puts the Infinity name on Boston's WBZ, WNFT (still being held in a trust), WBMX, WZLX, WODS, and WBCN; Hartford's WTIC AM-FM, WZMX, WRCH; New York's WFAN, WCBS, WINS, WXRK, WCBS-FM, and WNEW; Rochester's WZNE, WCMF, WPXY, and WRMM; and Buffalo's WECK, WLCE, WBLK, WJYE, and WYRK.
It's a far cry from the original Infinity -- WZLX, WBCN, WFAN, and WXRK, plus the since-sold WBOS and WOAZ in Boston and WZRC New York.
On the TV side of things, WNDS (Channel 50) in Derry has signed a "news alliance" with Boston's WBZ-TV (Channel 4). While we don't expect to see Al Kaprielian filling in for Ed Carroll, the deal will give WNDS' new 10pm newscast access to WBZ's Boston video, as well as giving 'BZ first crack at WNDS' New Hampshire stories.
In any event, Stern can still be heard on WIZN (106.7) in Vergennes.
While we're in Worcester, a clarification on last week's story: The Worcester Magazine reader's poll winner for best station was WTAG; defunct pirate WDOA was actually the editors' choice. WTAG talker (and ex-mayor) Jordan Levy was the readers' pick for best show on Worcester radio.
Ready for hockey season? Lowell's WCAP (980) is -- it'll be home to the inaugural season of the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL this fall. WCAP's Kevin Dunn will do play-by-play.
We now know how much Keating Willcox' Willow Farm is paying to add WOON (1240 Woonsocket) to his chain - $380,000.
Former WOON sister station WWKX wants to crank up its power; the 106.3 dance-CHR outlet has applied to go from 1150 to 2450 watts.
And Myrna Lamb is the new permanent occupant of Mary Ann Sorrentino's old 10-noon spot on WPRO (630 Providence), but don't count out Carolyn Fox just yet -- we hear she may resurface in place of Howie Carr in PM drive eventually.
The DTV applications were flying in the Hartford market, with WTIC-TV (Channel 61) applying for channel 5, WFSB (Channel 3), applying for 33, and WVIT (Channel 30) looking for channel 35.
Upstate, the FCC has granted a CP for Pensacola Christian College's latest WPCS translator, W205BK (88.9 Ithaca), despite an informal objection that the translator would interfere with WDWN (89.1 Auburn).
Ever wonder why the FCC can't seem to get anything productive done -- like, say, the long-overdue freeze on satellite noncomm translators? Check out the decision that granted WNVE and WMAX-FM their swap of cities of license. NERW wonders whether any of the FCC lawyers at least allowed themselves a chuckle as they drafted this document carefully assessing whether the little village of Honeoye Falls merits "its own, local" class B allocation -- knowing all the while that the "local" station in question will have neither studio nor transmitter in Honeoye Falls, and aside from what they mumble after "WNVE" will be entirely indistinguishable from any station licensed to Rochester.
Up on the soapbox for a minute: The FM allocations procedure currently in place is a farce, plain and simple. It's a waste of both taxpayers' money and Randy Michaels' (or should that be Sam Zell's?) money to jump through these silly legal hoops about how one dot on the map has 2,400 people while another has only 1,300, when in the end, neither dot will get anything that even remotely resembles "local" service from the stations in question.
The FCC knows it, too -- just look at the recent proposal to change the main studio and public file requirements that would allow a Rochester station to have its offices anywhere between Buffalo and Syracuse if it chose. Is it time to start allocating stations to markets instead of individual communities of license? NERW thinks so...
Sinclair strikes again: The broadcaster is paying $33 million to pick up WNEQ (Channel 23) in Buffalo from the local public broadcaster. Sinclair says it'll sell the station's license assets (presumably to partner company Glencairn, owned by the mother of Sinclair's David Smith) but keep LMA'ing the station in conjunction with its WUTV (Channel 29) in Buffalo. Programming will be typical indie fare, since (at least for the moment) every network is spoken for in Buffalo.
Meantime, Pax TV is more or less admitting it won't get WAQF (Channel 51) Batavia-Buffalo-Rochester on the air any time soon. The network-to-be has struck a deal with Buffalo UPN affiliate WNGS (Channel 67) Springville to run Pax TV programming out of pattern. NERW wonders if this is a prelude to Pax eventually buying WNGS (which holds an unbuilt CP to improve its almost-nonexistent signal to a full 5 megawatts), UPN moving to the new 23, and 51, if it's ever built, being used solely to serve the Rochester market.
A correction to a correction: The source for August 13's erroneous report of a format change at WBPM in Kingston was FMedia!, not M Street. The FMedia! report sounds a lot like somebody was hearing WKXZ (93.9 Norwich) or one of its translators via trop.
This tidbit from the Southern Tier: We hear Watkins Glen's WGMF (1490) has replaced its simulcast of WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls) with one of WWLZ (820 Horseheads), which itself sometimes relays WPGI (100.9 Horseheads).
In Salamanca, WQRT (98.3) has applied to boost power from 1600 watts to 3500 watts with a directional antenna, protecting WKSE Niagara Falls on 98.5 to the northwest and WVIN Bath on 98.3 to the east.
From the obits: Jim Sims, who was with Syracuse's WOLF (1490) from 1960 until 1979, left the market for a while, and later returned at WEZG (100.9 North Syracuse, now WKRL) and WSEN (92.1 Baldwinsville), died August 12 of cancer.
NERW wonders why the long-rumored move of KYW's top-rated all-news product from the directional 1060 signal (which can't hit the Jersey side or even some suburbs north of Philadelphia at night) to the incredible 1210 signal still hasn't happened. We're also not in the least surprised that the 1210 talk format never achieved any ratings; we never saw a bit of promotion for WPHT during any visit to the City of Brotherly Love and Very Little Listenable AM.
And as long as we're in Pennsylvania, we'll note the demise of AM easy listening in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. WICK (1400 Scranton) and WYCK (1340 Plains) have switched to satellite oldies in place of beautiful music...
And on that note, we'll close things out for this week. See you all next Thursday...