Monday, December 10, 2007


Container lines in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA) have announced plans to introduce separate bunker fuel surcharges on recovered fiber contracts.

Contracts on recovered fiber shipments from the US to Asia have typically included provisions mitigating bunker surcharges, using instead an all-inclusive base freight rates.

"WTSA lines are taking a first step with respect to the leading commodity in the trade in terms of volume," WTSA executive administrator Brian Conrad was quoted saying.

"Wastepaper... BRATTLEBORO -- The new owner of WTSA radio has loved radio since he was 7, when he used to listen to find out if school had been canceled due to weather. Later, when Bill Corbeil turned 16 and bought his first car, he asked for license plates that read WBIL.
"This has been my dream to do something like this," he said, about buying the radio station. "I can't even put into words what this means to me."

Corbeil, who was born and raised in Brattleboro, graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in 1987 before attending the University of Vermont, where he met his wife Kelly, co-owner of WTSA.

While in high school, he interned at WTSA, where he "really got the bug," later working at WIZN radio in Burlington for 10 years. He returned to Brattleboro in 1997 to manage R.S. Roberts, an auto dealership that was owned by his family, which eventually became Auto Mall before being sold.

In the summer of 2006, Corbeil announced he had an option to buy WTSA from John and Michelle Kilduf, who had owned the radio station since 1986.

"Having grown up listening to WTSA, I appreciate its history and its commitment to the community," said Corbeil. "Locally


owned radio stations have a flexibility that big companies don't have." And he should know, having spent some time working for Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest owner of radio stations.
On Dec. 1, the sale of WTSA to Corbeil's company, Four Seasons Media, was finalized.

WTSA was the first AM radio station to set up shop in Brattleboro, in 1950. Twenty years later, WTSA began to broadcast on an FM frequency as well. In 1993, WTSA's studio was moved from the location of Top of the Hill Grill on Putney Road to its current location on Western Avenue.

Corbeil is now in the process of moving the studio back to Putney Road, building a new facility in the old Rollerdrome near the Brattleboro Marina. Corbeil hopes that in the next two weeks the move to Putney Road will be finished. The move puts the studio closer to both its FM and AM towers, allowing WTSA to send digital signals to both and improving the quality of the station's sound.

The sale and some of Corbeil's actions -- including the termination of long-time disc jockey John Ashley and former owner John Kilduf, who was known on the air as John Clarke -- have not been without controversy, especially among those who are concerned the changes mean WTSA doesn't care as much about the community as the previous owners.

"The decisions (to fire Ashley and Kilduf) were really difficult business decisions," said Corbeil. "(But) we felt they put us in a good position for out startup. Our commitment to local programming will stay as strong as ever."

"I want to be a gentleman, but I am mad for the audience, which may feel disenfranchised," said Ashley, about his dismissal from the job he held for 23 years. Ashley said he was given 20 minutes to clean out his desk when he was notified by Corbeil that his services were no longer required. Clark was fired shortly thereafter.

"I am upset because the listeners got blindsided just like us," said Ashley. "Most people don't know what happened. It didn't need to be handled like it was with John and me. I certainly wish it had been otherwise."

"Change is difficult, but stay with us," said WTSA newscaster Tim Johnson. "I think you'll be pleased."

While there have been changes at WTSA, said Johnson, he expects he will continue to work there until it's time for retirement.

"I'm still here and I'm going to be here for a long time."

Corbeil said listeners will still hear some of the voices they've grown to love over the years, including Dan Taylor, Doug Brigham and Bob Coffey.

The format of WTSA-FM, adult contemporary, won't change, he added. In fact, he said, in the last 18 months, the size of the station's music library has been doubled and is all digitized, available at the DJs' fingertips on a touch screen.

"We have put everything we have into this project," said Corbeil. "It's a big financial commitment to do what we are doing."

WTSA-AM will continue to carry live high school sports and new technology in the newsroom will allow Johnson "to be in more places at once." It became an ESPN Radio affiliate earlier this year and has also started carrying more pro and college sports game coverage.

WTSA-FM will use a technique called "voice tracking," which allows DJs to record their voices in advance of shows, especially for overnight programming.

"That is part of today's technology," said Corbeil, which will help save money, adding it won't take away from local programming.

"The upgrades in technology means I can put the news together and get out into the community where the action is rather than wait for it to come to me," said Johnson, adding WTSA's old studio "was in woeful need of a modernization. Bill and Kelly have allowed us to do that."

"Brattleboro is a great audience," said Corbeil. "We hope they give us a chance to share our vision for the new station."

Ashley said that though he has had job offers, he's not sure what he will do.

"I have taken very little vacation time over the years and plan to take a couple of months just to see where things settle," he said, adding he has received more than 100 e-mails of support since he was released.

"To all my listeners I thank you more than you can know for your support, your loyalty and your friendship over the years," he said. "It was a great fit. Thank you for the happiest years of my adult life."

Kilduf said it was his and his wife's intention when they sold WTSA that it remain local, but he was surprised when Corbeil told him he was no longer needed.

"I expected to remain with the radio station and was given assurances that I would, but it didn't turn out that way. I was jettisoned and never really saw it coming."

Despite his disappointment, Kilduf said he realized that's the way the industry works. "I wish I had known all along I was going to be let go, but that's business."

Kilduf signed a non-compete clause when the station was sold and is forbidden from taking a job for the next year at any broadcast facility within WTSA's range.

"I miss the business, I miss the people and I miss the wonderful perch it provided overlooking the community. I met so many wonderful people and


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