The deal expands Tele-Media's reach eastward from its station group in Albany (WABY, WABY-FM, WKLI/WKBE) over the state line into the Pittsfield market, and leaves NERW wondering -- is an Albany-Pittsfield simulcast on the way?
We also have to wonder what will become of the other station owned by Aritaur's Joseph Gallagher, WBET (1460) in Brockton. Gallagher's KJI Broadcasting sold WBET's sister station, WCAV (97.7), to Radio One a few weeks back for a tidy profit.
Meantime, the other station in Brockton, WMSX (1410), is getting a new owner -- and it's a familiar buyer of late. Keating Willcox's Willow Farm Broadcasting is paying $674,000 to buy WMSX from Donald Sandler, the second deal in a year Sandler's Metro South Broadcasting has made to sell the station. The first, to Monte Bowen's Griot Communications, was never consummated.
Willcox has been building quite a ring of stations around Boston, from Beverly around to Nashua and down to Woonsocket and Taunton. Could MetroWest be next?
There's a change of program directors at Boston talker WRKO (680), as Kevin Straley takes his last elevator ride down to Huntington Avenue after two years in the big seat. Replacing him is veteran Beantown programmer Al Mayers, whose resume includes an earlier stint at WRKO as well as the now-defunct WHDH. Also leaving Entercom/Boston is promotions honcho Frank Murtaugh, who's off to form his own national media marketing company.
On the TV dial, both viewers of channel 46 out of Norwell probably failed to notice the new calls on the all-infomercial station. It's dropping the WBPX calls that went with its old Pax affiliation, in favor of WWDP(TV) for owner Devon Paxson. WBPX is being warehoused on an LPTV down in Florida, but we'll be not one bit surprised to see the calls show up on Boston's channel 68 one day soon.
Up in East Orland, the fine folks at WERU (89.9 Blue Hill) are making plans to co-host the 1999 Grassroots Radio Conference August 20-23. Mel and Randy and Lowry won't be there, but you can find out who will be by checking the conference Web site.
A correction from last week's special edition recounting the Big Trip of 1998: Dan Cole is still very much at WGAN (560 Portland), no matter what we may have said.
The FCC has flagged the proposed sale of WINE/WRKI/WAXB in the Danbury market for market-share review. It's probably not that big a deal; the FCC seems to be clearing these pretty quicly of late.
Up in the Albany area, the ABC/SMN "Soft Gold" format being heard on WABY-FM (94.5 Ravena) is getting picked up just a little ways to the west as well, on WIZR (930 Johnstown), recently purchased by WABY competitor Albany Brodcasting.
Saratoga Springs' WKAJ (900) is getting new calls to go with its new owner. Ernie Anastos has applied for WUAM as the new calls for the little adult-standards outlet, marking the second time the station has dropped its original calls. Just north in Glens Falls, the FCC lists WCQL as the "new calls" for the station on 95.9, which is kind of silly since the license has been around for a couple of decades and the WCQL calls have been in use there for a few years now. Sounds like a database correction to us...
Heading towards Syracuse, we're told new WRVD (90.3) is on with just half power for now, but that should change soon.
Auburn's WHCD (106.9) is indeed being sold, as Butch Charles hands over the keys to the smooth-jazz outlet to "Mag Mile Media LLC." We're keeping an ear on this one, which comes in quite well under the flea-power signal of local WKGS (106.7 Irondequoit); updates to follow.
A well-known voice is returning to Rochester's WCMF (96.5) on the weekdays. Bill Moran ("The Moranimal") yielded the 3-7 PM slot on 'CMF to BJ Shea two years ago; now Shea is out the door and Moran returns to the slot after a couple of years in the advertising business (and doing weekends on WCMF to keep his pipes fresh).
Congratulations to WXXI (1370 Rochester) on its fifteenth anniversary on the air (and hey, Bob, did you ever find that tape from July 2, 1984?)
Across the lake, the CBC changes frequencies on its Peterborough transmitter on Monday (July 5), as CBCP moves from 93.5 to 98.7. Listeners on the U.S. side will lose that signal under the hash from WBBF (98.9 Rochester), just a few weeks after losing the big signal from CBL 740. Little CKOL in Campbellford will move to 93.5 from 98.7, with 93.5A also being opened in Toronto for what's likely to be an urban-formatted station.
The CRTC, meantime, is taking applications for a new commercial station at Belleville. Open allocations include a class A channel on 100.1 and class B channels at 102.3 and 104.3. The latter could even get across the lake to Rochester sometimes...
Finally, the FCC has dismissed Family Life Radio's application for an 89.3 translator on Grand Island (between Buffalo and Niagara Falls) for WCOU (88.3 Warsaw).
That's it for this week; we'll see you next Friday. A happy (if slightly early) Fourth to our US readers, and a happy (if slightly belated) Canada Day to our readers north of the border.