CENTRAL NEW YORK — Here we are, wrapping another year documenting the happenings of local radio and television in Syracuse, Utica and Ithaca. Sometimes you don’t realize just how much has changed in local broadcasting until you stop to take a look back at the past twelve months. Today, we begin our annual Year in Review series with a recap of the many “comings and goings” we’ve reported over the past year.
- News/Talk 106.9 and 570 WSYR revealed Bob Lonsberry as its pick to host afternoon drive. The Rochester-based host’s timeslot would expand from two hours to three by month’s end.
- Rob Cartwright takes over as News Director at NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV), allowing Roger Mirabito to return to his Assistant ND role.
- WUTQ announces the debut of “Superior 95.5,” a weekly hour-long program hosted by Adolfo Cova, aimed at Utica’s Spanish-speaking population.
- Former 93Q (WNTQ) night jock Brandon C, who exited the then-Citadel station late in 2011, resurfaced several clicks up the dial at locally-owned MOViN’ 100.3/96.5 (WMVN).
- Good news for New York Mets fans, as ESPN Radio CNY (WSGO/WTLA) announces it’ll be carrying the baseball club’s games for the upcoming season.
- K-Rock (WKRL/WKRH/WKLL) welcomes Dex Mitchell aboard to host mornings, while interim wake-up man Ryno moves to nights at sister station TK99/105 (WTKV/WTKW).
Dave Frisina signs with Cumulus Media‘s recently-launched 105.9 The Rebel (WXTL) to host afternoon drive during the week, and to continue Soundcheck, his long-running Sunday night spotlight on locally-produced music.
- WRVO announced Director of Development Mathew Seubert is leaving the station after 18 years, to accept a similar position outside of broadcasting.
- Two departures from NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV): reporter Jan Carabeo and Bridge Street executive producer Maggie Sliter.
- Later in the month, NewsChannel 9 disappeared from local Verizon FiOS lineups for a few days, while top-level brass worked out a new retransmission agreement.
- After 25 years at Ithaca’s WHCU and its eventual Cayuga Radio Group sister stations, GM Susan Johnston announced plans to retire in March.
- Pairing up with item #5 on the arrivals list, item #5 on the departures list for January: The Boston Red Sox, dropped by ESPN Radio CNY to make room for the New York Mets.
- Surprising news from Utica, as longtime local broadcaster Tom Coyne is shown the door after 17 years as program director of NBC affiliate NewsChannel 2 (WKTV).
- Equally surprising was to hear of Dave Vieser‘s exit from co-hosting mornings at Ithaca news/talker WHCU.
- J. Daniel Pluff continued the parade of experienced on-air personalities exiting, citing a disagreement with WCNY-TV management in his decision to quit hosting Financial Fitness after 20+ years.
Simultaneous Arrival and Departure
- When people in Syracuse talk about “Upstate,” they’re usually talking about the hospital. But for a short time earlier this year, the term Upstate was better-known as the title of a sitcom that was being shot on-location in Syracuse. Former NewsChannel 9 GM Steve Kimatian served as Executive Producer, and the script was written by experienced sitcom writer Tom Seeley of Cazenovia. After the pilot aired on WSYR-TV, Seeley and Kimatian said they intended to pitch the show to network executives… but nearly a year, we haven’t heard anything else about it.
CNY Radio and TV News Alumni on the Move
- Former WSTM news anchor Jeff Glor is named regular Sunday night anchor of the CBS Evening News.
- Former WSYR radio anchor Matt DelSignore moves to Washington to help launch all-news WNEW, after spending more than three years at CBS-owned sister station KDKA in Pittsburgh.
- Ex-NewsChannel 9 reporter/anchor Heather Hegedus moves from Hartford’s WFSB (CBS) to Boston’s WFXT (Fox).
- Jeff Rossen, formerly of Utica’s WUTR-TV and Syracuse’s NewsChannel 9, is named national investigative correspondent for NBC’s Today show.
- WCNY-TV names not one, but two new hosts for its Financial Fitness program: frequent guest host Jim Burns and panelist Vicki Brackens will take turns co-hosting.
- WCNY-TV also announces plans to debut a new local talk show called Insight, to be hosted by Syracuse Woman Magazine editor Farah Jadran, with contributions from Susan Arbetter.
- Morning TV news co-anchor Megan Koskovich announces she’s leaving WKTV for a new job as a producer for Baltimore ABC affiliate WMAR.
- After a hiatus that started in late 2011, the Irish Power Hour returns to local radio. Formerly heard on 95X (WAQX), hosts Sean Johnston and Cabrina Gilbert move to TK99/TK105 (WTKW/WTKV), and expand their reach into the Mohawk Valley with a simulcast on sister station 96.9 WOUR in Utica.
- Approximately one-hundred pounds of 93Q (WNTQ) morning co-host Ted Long have disappeared as a result of gastric bypass surgery the previous fall; Long appeared live on CBS 5 (WTVH) to talk about his weight loss with anchor Michael Benny.
- Frank Lischak returns to Ithaca’s Z95.5 (WFIZ) for his second tour of duty as GM for the CHR-formatted station.
- Another new GM for Ithaca: Saga Communications announces Chet Osadchey will replace the retiring Susan Johnston as head of the Cayuga Radio Group.
- Utica-Rome hot AC station Mix 102.5 (WUMX) adds the syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, allowing Syracuse-based “Big Mike” Fiss to focus exclusively on Sunny 102.1 (WZUN). Fiss had been hosting separate morning shows on both stations simultaneously for a little more than three years.
- Utica’s WUTQ (which recently started simulcasting on Roser‘s newly-acquired 100.7 FM), hires Taylor Harris to host middays.
- Popular local culinary expert “Julie Taboulie” jumps from being a frequent guest host on WSYR-TV’s Bridge Street to her very own weekly 30-minute show on WCNY-TV.
- Longtime local radio personality “Big Jim” Donovan is named morning news anchor at WSYR radio. The anchoring duties add to his midday hosting for Clear Channel sister station Y94 (WYYY).
- Cumulus Media‘s relatively-new 105.9 The Rebel adds its second local personality: Syracuse New Times music editor Jess Novak is added to the lineup to host middays, bridging the gap between the syndicated Bob & Tom Show in the morning and local host Dave Frisina in the afternoon.
- Hot 107.9 (WWHT) welcomes “AJ” to Syracuse, as the Clear Channel CHR station’s new PD and afternoon host.
- The nationally-syndicated Air1 Christian rock format disappears from 100.7 WRCK in Utica, replaced by a looped message alerting fans they can still hear Air1 programming on 93.5 WOKR out of Remsen.
- The Weather Channel‘s radio reports are gone from WSYR and Clear Channel‘s other Syracuse stations, as the cluster begins airing reports from AccuWeather.
- Morning man and program director Bob Cain is sent packing from Oldiez 96.1 (WODZ) at Townsquare Media‘s Utica-Rome cluster.
- Caroline Gable suddenly disappears from the anchor desk at Utica ABC affiliate WUTR and Fox affiliate WFXV, just a little over six months since the stations revived their local news operation.
- Thankfully no departures at the Syracuse Clear Channel cluster, on the late March day when America’s largest radio sation operator hands out pink slips in many other markets across the country.
- Almost six months after his sudden dismissal from WSYR radio, Jim Reith returns to the local spotlight by way of WCNY. The public broadcaster announces a daily TV show titled Reith will debut in May, along with word of a radio show in the fall — but you’ll need an HD Radio, since it’ll be on the WCNY-HD3 subchannel.
- Oswego-based WRVO Public Media announces its appointment of Catherine J. Loper to the post of Director of News and Public Affairs.
- Local pro-golfer Perry Noun begins another season of talking golf on Saturday mornings, but on a new station. Tee Time with the Pronoun moves to Love Radio 103.9 (WVOA-FM).
- Weekday afternoon New York Yankees baseball games returned to Syracuse radio, after a year off. For the 2011 season, WSYR-AM/FM passed on all weekday games that conflicted with Rush Limbaugh‘s early afternoon timeslot, as a result of Limbaugh’s iron-clad affiliation contract. For 2012, Clear Channel cleared the weekday afternoon games on urban AC station Power 620 (WHEN), which used to be the backup choice for Yankees games in 2010 and prior seasons, when WHEN was SportsRadio 620.
- WCNY-TV‘s annual “Great Television Auction” fundraiser, or, as it’s more commonly known, TelAuc, returns to April, after the station moved the multi-night televised auction to June the prior year.
- WCNY-TV gets another back-to-back set of mentions, with the arrival of former Elmira Mayor John S. Tonello as VP of Advancement, Communications and Content Delivery.
There’s a new Morning Newswatch host at Ithaca’s WHCU 870 and 95.9… he’s Lee Rayburn, formerly of KNWZ in Palm Springs, California.
- New Country WOLF 105.1 promotes Taylor Smith from promotions director to midday on-air personality, and the station launches a newly-redesigned website.
- Former NBC3 (WSTM-TV) morning co-anchor Anthony Adornato temporarily returns to his old job, filling-in for the first couple weeks of Megan Coleman‘s maternity leave. Her second child, a boy named Harry, was born on April 28.
- The Weather Channel stops providing voiced forecasts to radio stations, forcing Townsquare Media‘s Utica-Rome cluster to find a replacement. News/talker WIBX 950 keeps former TWC meteorologist Jennifer Naramore on its airwaves by signing with her new syndicator, “The Storm Report.”
- Radio ratings provider Arbitron ends its long-standing “embargo” policy, in which absolutely no ratings data would be released to the general public in select markets. For quite a few years, Syracuse and Utica-Rome were embargoed, meaning you had to be a subscriber to see the ratings. The new policy isn’t quite a return to “the old days,” however, as Arbitron’s public ratings only include stations that subscribe to the full book.
- New Country WOLF 105.1 midday host Chili Palmer exits for a new job, while across the hall, MOViN’ 100.3/96.5 afternoon host Brandon C is promoted to webmaster for the two stations.
- Goodbye to the WADR call letters that had long been registered to 1480AM in Remsen. Roser Communications Network is using the AM station to bar others from picking up the market’s heritage WRCK call letters, after changing 100.7 to WUTQ-FM. The FCC’s latest list of call sign changes also shows 1450AM in Rome is ditching its identity as WRUY to bring back WKAL, the station’s original call sign from 1946.
- Syracuse Crunch team broadcaster Jason Lockhart leaves to take a similar job with the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls. Lockhart had called Crunch games on The Score 1260 (WSKO) and the Time Warner Cable Sports Channel.
- Syracuse community leader Mary Nelson debuts a weekly talk show on Power 620 (WHEN).
- Former NewsChannel 9 reporter Kelly French is next to make a temporary, two-week return to TV news, filling-in for Megan Coleman on NBC3‘s Today in Central New York.
- Utica NBC affiliate NewsChannel 2 names Janel Boston as morning co-anchor. She comes to Utica from Baltimore, where former co-anchor Megan Koskovich left for earlier in the year.
- After nearly six years off the air, Scott Dixon’s return to Syracuse radio (as the night host at 95X) is among the topics covered in a Syracuse New Times cover story about Dixon.
- Davey Jones, who has been filling-in on mornings at Oldiez 96.1 since Bob Cain‘s exit in March, is permanently given the morning show and “Brand Manager” duties.
- Geoff Storm, longtime Creative Director at Townsquare Media‘s Utica-Rome cluster, announces he’s leaving for a new job. Earlier in the year, Storm was named “Person of the Year” by the Mohawk Valley Ad Club.
- CNY Central (the combined news operation of WSTM-TV, WTVH and WSTQ-LP) is losing multi-media journalists Caitlin Nuclo and Chris McGrath to other television stations. McGrath moved to Florida, while Nuclo simply jumped across town to NewsChannel 9. Later in the month, the Syracuse Press Club announced longtime news producer Kristy Smorol would be leaving for a new job with the American Heart Association.
- At NewsChannel 9, longtime newsroom manager Roger Mirabito left for a new job at Onondaga Community College. For most of his 13 years at WSYR-TV, Mirabito served as the station’s Assignment Manager. Following the sudden 2011 exit of longtime ND Jim Tortora, Mirabito served as Interim ND, and later, as Assistant ND.
- Clear Channel Syracuse digital marketing director Julie MacConnell exits for a new job outside of broadcasting. (Note: though this happened in May, it was reported in July.)
- Local radio and TV newsrooms welcomed the arrival of Associated Press awards; within our coverage area, WRVO was the big winner among radio stations, and WKTV took home more TV awards than anyone else.
- Jerry Kraus, aka “The Doctor,” is back on Utica radio, with a Sunday morning show on 92.7 The Drive (WXUR). (Update: His show, “The Time Warp,” is now called “The Recovery Room.”) Kraus previously hosted afternoons at 96.9 WOUR for thirty years, until 2007 when Clear Channel sold the station to Galaxy, resulting in nearly all on-air talent being dismissed.
- After several years without radio coverage in Ithaca, the NFL‘s Buffalo Bills will be returning via Progressive Talk 1470 WNYY.
- And the following week, we’d learn the Buffalo Bills are arriving at new locations on radio dials elsewhere: Galaxy Communications will air games on TK99/105 in Syracuse, and on 96.9 WOUR in Utica.
- The Syracuse Crunch announce Dan D’Uva will be arriving in time to handle play-by-play for the AHL club’s broadcasts on The Score 1260 (WSKO) and Time Warner Cable Sports.
- New arrivals at CNY Central include reporter Tom Eschen and reporter/anchor Katie Corrado.
- Power 620 (WHEN) adds more locally-focused talk with the addition of Saundra Smokes for an hour-long program each Saturday.
- After 12 years with WRVO, program director Fred Vigeant leaves for a similar position at WITF radio and television in Harrisburg, PA. Vigeant told CNYRadio.com he originally enrolled at SUNY Oswego with plans to become a high school science teacher, but “fell in love with radio” through his involvement with WRVO and student-run WNYO.
- CNYRadio.com editor Peter Naughton leaves Lite 98.7 (WLZW) after nearly three years on the station’s weekend DJ roster. Naughton originally worked for WLZW from 1999-2005.
- After many years during the 7pm “access” hour on WTVH, staples Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are leaving the CBS affiliate for the same timeslots on Fox 68 (WSYT).
- Even though it’s been around for a decade, you could say non-profit Ithaca Community Radio finally “arrived” this year by launching its own programming, after years of simulcasting the signals of other non-commercial stations from Geneva and Binghamton. ICR consists of WINO 89.9 Odessa, WRFI 91.1 Watkins Glen and 88.1 FM translator W201CD Lansing.
- Utica’s Big Frog 104 (WFRG) adds the syndicated Taste of Country Nights, bumping Lia at Night to overnights. ToC started out as the name of a national country music news website launched by WFRG parent Townsquare Media.
- A surprise arrival at WIBX 950, when actor Stephen Baldwin showed up one Saturday evening to “borrow” a studio to host his syndicated talk show. Baldwin had been in town for a scheduled appearance earlier in the day.
- Tom Herbert rejoins WRVO Public Media‘s underwriting team, after spending nearly three years in a similar role with the Christian-focused Mars Hill Radio Network (WMHR).
- He’s been at NewsChannel 2 since 2002, but new business cards arrived for Steve McMurray, as he is promoted to Station Manager, adding to his existing duties as anchor and News Director.
- Good Guys Broadcasting Corporation is founded by former WKTV executives Tom Coyne and Frank Abbadessa, who launch sports-formatted 95.5 WUSP on FM translator W238CA, the former 1550 WUTQ-AM (which became WUSP) and 1480 WRCK. The selling price listed in FCC records: $350,000.
- Longtime Utica-Rome radio personality Linda Rae, formerly of 97.9/105.5 Kiss-FM and Mix 102.5 (until Clear Channel exited the market in 2007), returns to DJ duty on weekends at 100.7 WUTQ-FM.
- A new weekday job prompts Tom Townsley to exit after 26 years hosting Sunday Night Blues on WAER 88.3.
- Newport Television is poised to exit the TV business, as the Kansas City-based owner of NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV) announces the Syracuse ABC affiliate is one of a dozen stations being sold to Nexstar Broadcasting, the company that already owns Utica’s Fox 33 (WFXV) and operates ABC affiliate WUTR.
- WRVO Public Media‘s lineup of news and talk programming expands northward, with the sign-on of WRVH 89.3 in Clayton, covering areas along the St. Lawrence River beyond the reach of Watertown-based WRVJ.
- The day after her replacement exits (see the departure section below), former Clear Channel Rochester GM Karen Carey returns to radio as GM of Townsquare Media‘s Utica-Rome cluster.
Q-Country 103.7 (WQNY) morning man and PD Chris Allinger arrives back in Ithaca, following a week-long walk to every single town in Tompkins County. Along the way, Allinger collected nearly $16,000 in donations for a program aimed at helping underfed children in the county.
- A head-scratcher in Utica, as Townsquare Media sends GM Mary Jo Beach packing, a month shy of her 20th anniversary with the four-station cluster that includes perennial ratings leaders Big Frog 104 and Lite 98.7.
- NewsChannel 9 morning traffic reporter and Bridge Street co-host Kaylea Nixon is leaving town because her husband is taking a new job in Chicago — but she’ll continue to visit Syracuse occasionally, to tape TV spots for a local car dealership, something she has been doing since before joining the ABC affiliate. Taking her place is Caroline Gable, formerly of Utica’s WUTR and WFXV, and before those, WKTV.
- For the second time in two years, Pat Bailey is leaving Utica’s WKTV — this time, to join the news team at Albany CBS affiliate WRGB.
- Notable national news: the ABC television network announces Nightline will be leaving the 11:35pm timeslot it has held since the late 70s, to make way for Jimmy Kimmel Live, despite the news program’s ratings dominance in the timeslot. Staffers expressed concern that viewers won’t sit through Kimmel (who presently airs at midnight) to catch Nightline at 12:30am, but one report claims Kimmel “demanded 11:35 or said he would walk” during contract renewal talks.
- Just a little over a week after NBC3 (WSTM) announced longtime primary co-anchor Jackie Robinson would be inducted to the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame later in the year, her notable absence from the station’s traditional live-on-location coverage of the New York State Fair is followed by word that Robinson will be retiring after spending 34 years — her entire career — at WSTM.
CNY Radio and TV News Alumni on the Move
- Former WSTM news director Peggy Philip exits from the same title at Kansas City NBC affiliate KSHB. (Update: According to her LinkedIn profile, she recently joined Miami’s WPLG as Executive Producer.)
- Bob Morgan, who ran 95X from 1987 to 1990, is named General Manager at Clear Channel in Rochester.
- Former WHEN sports talk host Adam Schein is tapped to host NFL Monday QB for cable television’s CBS Sports Network. And former WSYR/WHEN sports anchor Joel Goddett is named the new radio voice of Ball State University‘s football and men’s basketball teams.
- Former Hot 107.9 (WWHT) and B104.7 (WBBS) personality JJ Ryan becomes PD of a country station in Tulsa, OK. He reports another familiar face has already been in town for a few months: “Austin,” the morning host at another station across town, formerly worked at Hot 107.9 under the name “AJ Hammer.”
- Upon her return from maternity leave, Megan Coleman is named evening co-anchor for NBC 3, filling the vacancy left by the retiring Jackie Robinson. Coleman is also named “News Content Manager” for CNY Central, which includes NBC 3, CBS 5 and CW 6.
- The ESPN Radio Utica-Rome trio of AM stations (WTLA/WRNY/WIXT) expands to the FM dial, adding 91.1FM (translator W256AJ) to the bunch. Galaxy Communications spent $40,000 to buy the new signal earlier in the year, and spent the summer simulcasting 96.9 WOUR until it could complete a transmitter move from downtown Utica to Smith Hill.
- Syracuse’s NBC 3 announces Today in Central New York will expand to begin at 4:00am, citing a growing demand for early morning local news. As a trade-off, the station cancels its News @ Noon newscast, which had been simulcast on CNY Central partner station CBS 5, giving ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 the distinction as having the only broadcast TV noon newscast in Syracuse.
- Longtime Utica broadcast personality Bill Keeler returns to the airwaves as the host of Plate Night, a weekly TV show that takes viewers inside the kitchens of popular local restaurants.
- Many present and former NewsChannel 9 personalities and journalists gathered at Onondaga Community College for the station’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The event was videotaped and edited down to a two-hour special which was broadcast in October.
Jackie Robinson anchors her final newscast at NBC3, retiring after 34 years with the station.
- Sinclair Broadcast Group pulls music video network “The Cool TV“ off of Syracuse’s WNYS-TV digital subchannel 43.2, and from 30 other stations across the country.
- Keith Kobland leaves NewsChannel 9 to take a new job with Syracuse University. Prior to joining NewsChannel 9, Kobland worked for more than 20 years at WTVH. Although his exit from TV means no more morning newscasts for Sunny 102.1 (WZUN), he continues to host weekend shifts as a DJ for the classic hits station.
- CNY Central reporter and anchor Jessica Cain leaves Syracuse to move to the Midwest. Cain got her start in TV news as a producer at NewsChannel 9, and moved into reporting and anchoring at Watertown’s WWNY-TV before coming back to Syracuse.
- Dennis Crawford says he has been removed from the weekend roster at 93Q (WNTQ), where his Sunday afternoon shifts will run jockless.
- Mimi Griswold announces she’s retiring from her post as VP of Programming for Syracuse-based Galaxy Communications at the end of the year. Griswold started with the company in 1992. She’ll continue to consult on programming, and she’ll keep hosting the Blue Moon Cafe on Sunday mornings for TK99/105 in Syracuse, and 96.9 WOUR in Utica.
- Syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage suddenly disappears from News/Talk 106.9 and 570 WSYR (and all of his other affiliates nationwide), after winning a lawsuit against his former syndicator, Talk Radio Network. Savage argued that a non-compete clause in his contract unfairly prevented him from pursuing better offers from other syndicators.
Not Going Anywhere
- In its annual revision of market rankings, TV ratings giant Nielsen says the Syracuse and Utica markets both lost population — but not enough to lose rankings. Syracuse remains the 84th largest television market in the country, while Utica stays put at #172.
Here and Gone Without A Trace
- September 15 was the 90th anniversary of the station now known as 570 WSYR. Oddly, the milestone passed with no celebrations, no special “promos,” or even any casual mentions by local hosts. Clear Channel management never responded to CNYRadio.com inquiries about the anniversary.
- Longtime Syracuse broadcaster Jim Campagna returns to local radio, doing morning news updates for Sunny 102.1 (WZUN), on top of his primary job as a news producer at NewsChannel 9.
- Fans of classic TV rave about the long-awaited arrival of the Me-TV network on WSYR-TV digital subchannel 9.2. The launch, originally set for September, was held up for a month by “equipment delays.”
- After a nearly 30-year run, the original logo of Y94FM (WYYY) is history, along with the “FM” at the end. It’s just “Y94” in a modernized logo for the Clear Channel AC station.
- Clear Channel Syracuse programmer Jason Furst heads south to become PD at Charlotte’s WBT. Furst arrived in 2006 as PD of Nova 105.1 (WWDG), and was later reassigned to SportsRadio 620 WHEN, CHR Hot 107.9 (WWHT) and Newsradio 570 WSYR. When he left, Furst was programming WSYR, along with Rochester news/talker 1180 WHAM.
A Departure… More Departures… A Comeback… and Legal Action
- 95X morning hosts Hunter Scott and Josh Grosvent resign after their show one morning. The next day, crosstown competitor K-Rock fires three people: morning host Dex Mitchell, middayer/PD Nixon, and night jock Candace. The day after that, K-Rock announces it has hired Scott and Grosvent for mornings. 95X owner Cumulus Media rushes cease-and-desist orders to the pair, who go on K-Rock anyway. In further legal action, a judge rules Cumulus can’t stop the pair from working at K-Rock, but bars them from their former program title, “The Show,” and other terms deemed “intellectual property” of Cumulus.
CNY Radio Alumni on the Move
- Former 95X staffer Kevin Keefe gets a promotion with Community Broadcasters, where he’s been Station Manager for a three-station cluster in Ogdensburg; he’s now the new GM for the company’s five-station cluster in Watertown.
- Former Lite 98.7 and Y94 personality Jeanne Ashley moved from Miami’s 101.5 Lite FM to crosstown competitor Easy 93.1 earlier this year, and recently added music director duties.
- Former Hot 107.9 host Ralphie Aversa lands in market #1, New York City, to host nights at the legendary 95.5 WPLJ. His show is simulcast on Cumulus-owned CHR stations in three other states.
As has been tradition for quite some time, the first of November means the arrival of 24/7 Christmas music on Galaxy classic hits station Sunny 102.1.
- An impressive milestone for NBC3 reporter, anchor and public affairs director Laura Hand —November 6 marked 40 years since she first reported to work at WSTM.
- WCNY radio and television appoints Peter S. Salizniak as Director of Business Development and Sales.
- HD programming is now possible around the clock at NewsChannel 9. Previously, HD offerings were limited to live network programming and local newscasts. A master control upgrade allows all other programs and local commercial breaks to air in HD.
- Galaxy Communications President and CEO Ed Levine is among this year’s inductees to the Professional Gallery at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
- New signs near the CNY Central studios designate the 1000-block of James Street as “Jackie Robinson Parkway,” honoring the anchor who retired in September after 34 years at WSTM. Back in 2000, a similar honor was bestowed upon the late Ron Curtis, along the 900-block where WTVH used to be located.
NewsChannel 2 legend Bill Worden announces his final newscast will happen by month’s end, after anchoring the NBC affiliate’s 6pm and 11pm newscasts since 1977. A few days later, the station announces a series of anchor lineup changes set to take place after Worden’s departure. The week after Thanksgiving, the station devoted most of it’s 5:00-6:30pm newscast to honoring Worden’s career.
- There’s an opening for a News Director at Ithaca’s News/Talk WHCU 870 and 95.9, as Geoff Dunn announces he’s leaving the post for a new job outside of broadcasting.
- Brent Axe announces he’s leaving radio, after spending the better part of the last 16 years talking sports every day at The Score 1260 (2008-2012), the former SportsRadio 620 WHEN (2002-2006) and Utica’s WIBX 950 (1996-2002). On his last day on-air, “The Axeman” revealed he’s going full-time with syracuse.com, where started blogging about sports while in between the two Syracuse radio jobs.
- Surprisingly, Dr. Rick Wright wasn’t shown the door at Clear Channel, after openly criticizing the extensive use of automation in a newspaper interview. Wright told The Stand he’s the only live DJ in the building during his Old School Sunday show on Power 620 (WHEN). “That’s not radio,” Wright told the reporter, going on to say, “Radio has lost its luster because we have no act.”
- Jeff Szczesniak of Cayuga Community College‘s Win 89 FM (WDWN) wins “Adviser of the Year” at the College Radio Day 2012 Spirit of College Radio Awards.
CNY Radio Alumni on the Move
- CBS Sports Radio Network announces former WAER sports director Damon Amendolara will host overnights, when the network launches in January 2013.
- Aaron Trimmer is the new PD at News/Talk 106.9 and 570 WSYR. Just like Jason Furst before him, Trimmer splits his time between WSYR and Rochester’s 1180 WHAM.
- Immediately after closing on its purchase of NewsChannel 9, owner Nexstar Broadcasting informs dozens of back office staffers they’ll be out of a job by mid-January. People who handled functions like accounting, traffic and HR for WSYR-TV and sister stations in Binghamton, Elmira and Watertown will have their duties absorbed by Nexstar staff in Rochester. No advance notice for the station’s part-time news photographers, who were dismissed immediately.
- For the second time in two years, talk host Jim Reith is “on the beach,” as WCNY-TV suddenly cancels his daily half-hour talk show just shy of 7 months on the air. Management explained it was “a greater challenge than we anticipated to move Jim’s brand from radio to television.” Prior to WCNY, the host had worked at WSYR radio for 27 years, and hosted an afternoon drive talk show for the last 11 of those years.
- December 7 is declared “Mimi Griswold Day” in Onondaga County, in honor of the retirement of the longtime Galaxy Communications VP of Programming.
- 95X midday host and Assistant PD Joe Detomaso gets a promotion, taking the “assistant” out of that title. He had been interim PD since Hunter Scott left in October.
CNY Radio Alumni on the Move
- Matt Johnson, who went by the name “Jimmy Olsen” during his time at 93Q, exits from Wild 104 in Binghamton, as he and his wife move to New York City for an opportunity outside of radio.
- Alan Furst, who programmed Y94 and WSYR when they were owned by NewCity Communications in the early 1990s, is leaving the PD’s office at news/talker WIBC-FM in Indianapolis to take a similar role at Houston’s News 92 FM.
- Syracuse University says former WSTM sports director Roger Springfield has been dismissed from his duties as media director for SU athletics, pending a police investigation of a yet-undisclosed nature.
- Tomorrow: Two separate articles. At 8:00am we’ll pause to remember those we lost this year. And at noon, a look back at this year’s format flips.
- Monday: Our annual countdown of the top 10 stories from the past year, and some other miscellaneous statistical stuff.