Now it's poised to become a major group in our region, with Thursday's announcement of the $190 million sale of Broadcasting Partners Holdings to Citadel. Eight of the 11 markets in which Broadcasting Partners operated are in the region, using three different group names. Here's how it shakes out:
Grab your scorecards, because it plays out like this: Citadel, which is already at its ownership limits with the 2 AM/3 FM group it bought from Wicks, is buying the 680 frequency -- but not the WINR calls or nostalgia format -- from Titus Broadcasting. WNBF's news and talk format will move down the dial from 1290 to 680, with a simulcast lasting several months. Since Citadel then has to spin something, Titus ends up with the 1360 frequency (generally considered the worst AM facility in the market), which is where WINR's calls and format will end up. And once the 1290/680 simulcast is over, 1290 will pick up the WKOP calls and *that* nostalgia format, now heard on 1360.
Why do it? With just 500 watts, the WKOP night signal is a tough catch in growing areas like Vestal and Endicott, while the same 500 watts on the better 680 frequency (and with a more useful DA pattern) do much more at night. The recent daytime power boost at WINR (from a very directional kilowatt to a looser 5kw pattern) has helped immensely as well. What's harder to fathom is moving the established WNBF programming from that 1290 signal, which is quite respectable day and night, down to the at best marginally-better 680.
Confused yet? Now imagine being a Binghamton radio listener! NERW will be making the drive to Binghamton to hear it all go down; more details are certain to follow.
One more headline out of Binghamton, sadly enough: Micha Conover (air name: Micha Lee), the midday jock at Citadel's WHWK (98.1), was killed last weekend in a head-on collision on Interstate 88 near Binghamton. Police say Conover, 21, was driving the wrong way when he collided with a car carrying Tuong Le, his wife, and their son. All were kileld except for Le's wife, Nhut, who was seriously injured. A coroner's report said Conover was legally drunk and driving over 100 miles per hour at the time of the crash. Witnesses said Conover had been drinking at several bars in the hours before the crash, and a caller to the State Police reported a pickup truck similar to Conover's driving the wrong way on I-88 four hours before the collision.
Elsewhere in New York, Family Life Ministries has been granted two new translators: W210BL (89.9) in Norwich, relaying WCII (88.5 Spencer), and W219CK (91.7) in Wellsville, relaying WCID (89.1 Friendship). Best Media, meanwhile, has been hit with petitions to deny -- and rightly so -- for several of its poorly-engineered (and, dare we say, abusive) translator applications. Fordham University filed against the proposed 90.7 in Staten Island and 90.9 in East Port, which would interfere with WFUV on 90.7, while in Leonardo, NJ, Newark's WBGO (88.3) filed against an 88.1 application. Best was also hit with petitions in New England, as Amherst's WFCR (88.5) objected to applications in Lawrence on 88.5 and Hartford on 88.1. We're still looking for anyone who can explain why Best Media wants to translate a mixed bag of public and college stations -- or who they think they're fooling.
The new 92.9 in Saugerties is on the air. WRKW is running commercial-free for now, but will sign on for real November 1 with Bob & Tom in the morning and "quality rock" all day. We're hearing great signal reports for this one, from Albany well into Connecticut.
And a loss for the world of tower-hunting: One of just a handful of Blaw-Knox diamond-shaped towers has met its demise. WADO (1280 New York) took down its big stick last week out on Paterson Plank Road in Carlstadt, New Jersey, to be replaced by a new directional array for its high-power CP. Survivors include WFEA, WLW, WBNS, WSM, and WBT.
From the obituaries: Domenic Ruggieri, known on air as Don Rogers, died Wednesday (10/27) in Cranston. Ruggieri worked for WEAN/WPJB in Providence from 1945 until his retirement in 1985.
Dan Mason is leaving the Pine Tree State behind, as the WMME (92.3 Augusta) PD gives the Moose a goodbye Kiss. He's making a big jump in market size to go to work for Clear Channel's Cleveland CHR, WAKS (104.9 Lorain). Congratulations!
Northern Broadcast Ministries has applied for a new 90.7, presumably religious, up in Caribou -- which is already home to religious WFST (600).
And the former W219CC in Bangor is moving from 91.7 to 91.5 to become W218BJ, relaying California religious station KLVC.
Back to the East for one moment: CKDX (88.5 Newmarket) will get a big boost in serving its territory north of Toronto, with a power increase from 500 watts to 11,300 watts. Maybe now we can aircheck their new country format successfully...
And that's it for this week. We'll be a bit early next Friday, as we head for the airport and a vacation in Seattle, Vancouver, and, mais oui, Victoria -- and then a bit late the following weekend (November 12) as we recover from the red-eye flight home. Until then, we suggest a visit to <http://www.reelradio.com> on or after Halloween -- we hear the folks who revamped WVWA, Pound Ridge back in the 70s are (NINE!) at it again...