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WGY
810 WGY logo
City of license Schenectady, New York
Broadcast area Capital District, Mohawk Valley, western New England
Frequency 810 kHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date February 20, 1922
Format Talk radio
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 15329
Transmitter coordinates 42°47′32.409″N 74°0′42.9732″W / 42.79233583°N 74.011937°W / 42.79233583; -74.011937Coordinates: 42°47′32.409″N 74°0′42.9732″W / 42.79233583°N 74.011937°W / 42.79233583; -74.011937
Callsign meaning Obtained from sequential list, but explained as
Wireless General Electric
in SchenectadY
Former frequencies 833 kHz (1922-1923)
790 kHz (1923-1941)
Affiliations Fox News Radio, Premiere Radio Networks
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations WRVE, WHRL, WPYX, WTRY-FM, WKKF
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.wgy.com

WGY (810 WGY) is a Talk radio station licensed to Schenectady, New York and owned by Clear Channel Communications. It broadcasts 50,000 Watts non-directional from a single tower in the Town of Rotterdam.[1] It is one of the United States's oldest radio stations as well as the oldest in New York's Capital Region. WGY was the flagship station of General Electric's broadcast group from 1922 until 1983. It is the heritage clear-channel occupant of the 810 kHz frequency and has a signal which covers much of the Northeast by day and much of the eastern United States by night.

Contents

History

As early as 1912, General Electric company in Schenectady began experimenting with radio transmissions, being granted a class 2-Experimental license for 2XI on August 13, 1912 by the Commerce Department.[2]

WGY signed on on February 20, 1922 at 7:47pm at 360 meters wavelength (about 833 KHz),[3] with Kolin Hager at the mike, or as he was known on the air, as KH. Hager signed on with the stations call letters, explaining the W is for wireless, G for General Electric, and Y, the last letter in Schenectady.[4] The first broadcast lasted for about one hour and consisted of live music and announcements of song titles and other information.[5] The early broadcasts originated from building 36 at the General Electric Plant in Schenectady. The original transmitter produced an antenna power of 1,500 watts into a T top wire antenna, located about 1/2 mile away, also at the GE plant.[6]

By May 15, 1923 the station was operating on 790 KHz with a frequency/time share agreement with RPI's WHAZ.[7] Later, WHAZ moved to 1300 KHz allowing WGY to operate full time on 790 KHz.

WGY pioneered the art of Remote Broadcasting, carrying out the first one just days after it signed on. On February 23, 1922 the station broadcast a concert from Union College.

WGY also became one of the first stations to have regularly scheduled radio drama series, performed by the WGY Players beginning in September of 1922.[8] Other early programming included coverage of the Yale Harvard football game live from New Haven Connecticut, the WGY string orchestra live from the State Theater in Schenectady, and talks and presentations by various GE innovators, explorers, state and local officials.

In 1924, the transmitter site was moved to its current location in the Town of Rotterdam known as South Schenectady. This site was also home of GE's experimental shortwave radio stations W2XAF (31.48 meters or 9.525 mHz) and W2XAD (19 meters or 15 mHz). From this site, the station's power levels were increased first to 5,000 watts, then 10,000 watts and finally to 50,000 watts on July 18, 1925. Temporary broadcasts were carried out at the 100 KW (August 4, 1926) and 200 KW (March 9, 1930) power levels.[9] From those broadcasts, the station received reception letters and telegrams from as far away as New Zealand. Plans were to make those power increases permanent, but were never carried out.

WGY also used the first Condenser microphone, developed by General Electric for radio studio applications, on February 7, 1923.[10]

In 1923, WGY formed the first radio network with WJZ and WRC. Later in 1925, the New York State radio network was formed with WMAK, WHAM, WFBL, and WGY. In 1926, WGY became an early affiliate of the NBC Red Network, and after the split of the sister NBC Blue network into today's ABC Radio, WGY remained with NBC radio until it folded in 1989.

By 1935, the engineering staff of WGY began to make plans to replace the T top antenna system with a single vertical radiator in the form of a tower. At the time, the station was plagued with signal fading at a distance of 30-100 miles from the transmitter site due to cancellation by out of phase co-channel signals from the same source. The ideas for this tower were formed from experiments at WJZ in New York.[11] From this, a square, one half wave length (on 790 KHz), 625 foot tower was constructed in 1938. The one half wave length design greatly reduced high angle radiation, thus solved the close in fading issues. This tower is still in use today.

In 1938 the station's studios were moved from building 36 into a brand new building on River Road, in downtown Schenectady. These studios were torn down in 1961 to make way for I-890. At that time the studios were moved to 1400 Balltown Road in Niskayuna, New York co-located with GE owned and operated WRGB TV-6.

In 1941, WGY changed frequency from 790 kHz to 810 kHz to comply with the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement also known as NARBA. In 1942, during WWII, a concrete wall was built around the base of the tower to prevent saboteurs from shooting out the base insulator on the tower and taking the station off the air.

WGY was the flagship station of General Electric's broadcasting group until 1983 when it was sold to Empire Radio Partners, Inc. General Electric also owned pioneering sister stations in television (WRGB-TV, signed on as WGY-TV in 1928) and FM radio (W2XOY, later WGFM, then WGY-FM, and today WRVE, signed on 1940).

As the golden age of radio ended, WGY evolved into a full service middle of the road format, slowly evolving as programming tastes changed. The station changed from full service to news/talk on Memorial Day Weekend, 1994.

Dame Media, Inc acquired WGY and WGY-FM the during proceedings in the Philadelphia bankruptcy court, late 1993. Dame moved the studios to One Washington Square at the end of Washington Avenue Extension, in the Town of Colonie, late 1994, where they remained until 2005.

In 1999, Dame Media sold its entire radio group to Clear Channel, whose ownership remains to this day. Clear Channel combined all of its radio station studio operations into the former CHP (Community Health Plan) building on Route 7 (Troy-Schenectady Road) in Latham August, 2005.

Programming

Like its Clear Channel sister stations, WGY carries the standardized Clear Channel talker lineup of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Coast to Coast AM. Newscasts air every 30 minutes with more frequent coverage in cases of breaking news or inclement weather. Top-of-hour newscasts are approximately six to seven minutes long and usually include two minutes of Fox News Radio, award-winning[12] local news, traffic ("WGY All-Day Traffic"), and weather ("WGY Storm Team Forecast"); some weekend newscasts substitute sports for traffic. Bottom-of-the-hour updates, lasting around three minutes, usually consist of a lead national story, some local news, and a weather report.

During Don Weeks and the WGY Morning News (weekdays 5:30-9:00 AM), this format is altered in that there are also local news updates at :20 and :50 past the hour, sports updates at :15 and :45, and "Traffic and Weather on the Eights" to go along with the normal news updates anchored by Chuck Custer and Ali Skinner. WGY carried ABC News Radio from July 1994 until August 2005, when Clear Channel Communications switched the majority of its news/talk radio stations to Fox News Radio as a boost to that network's launch. Paul Harvey would remain on WGY for an additional year though.

Besides Weeks, WGY's other weekday local show is hosted by Al Roney (9:00AM-Noon). Handling local talk on the weekends is WGY veteran Joe Gallagher (6:00-10:00 AM), and Jamie Roberts (Sat. 11:00-12:00 PM).

Three notable former WGY hosts are Mike Gallagher (who hosted afternoon drive in the mid-1990s before moving to WABC and is now part of the Salem Radio Network), J. R. Gach (controversial shock jock) and Andrew Wilkow of Sirius Satellite Radio (who did part of afternoon drive and later late mornings from 2003-2006).

Schedule

The complete program schedule can be found directly from WGY's schedule page.

News Team

  • Chuck Custer - News/Program Director
  • Jim Knapp - Anchor/Reporter
  • Read Shepherd - Afternoon Anchor
  • Ali Skinner - Morning Anchor

Source:[1]

Streaming audio

In late 2005, WGY began streaming its local shows on their website (the combination of affiliate contracts and/or hosts with pay services preclude full streaming). In May 2006, WGY began posting the most recent top-of-hour newscast on the website for on-demand streaming as well as podcasts of newscasts and key features.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ "WGY Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/amq?call=WGY.  
  2. ^ Department of Commerce, US government license number 112, dated August 13, 1912
  3. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin Number 59, March 1, 1922". Federal Radio Commission. http://www.fcc.gov/ftp/Bureaus/Mass_Media/Databases/documents_collection/radio_service_bulletins/220301.pdf.  
  4. ^ Empire Radio Partners, WGY 65th year of service commemorative book, 1987
  5. ^ Operating log, WGY dated 2/20/22
  6. ^ "Description of the General Electric Company's Broadcasting Station (WGY) at Schenectady, NY.". Baker, W.R.G., Proceedings of The Institute of Radio Engineers, Inc, Volume 11, issue 4, 1923. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/tocresult.jsp?isYear=1923&isnumber=34876&Submit32=View+Contents.  
  7. ^ "Building the Broadcast Band". White, Thomas H. June 7, 2008. http://earlyradiohistory.us/buildbcb.htm.  
  8. ^ "WGY and the Birth of Radio Drama". McLeod, Elizabeth 1998. http://www.midcoast.com/~lizmcl/wgy.html.  
  9. ^ Wheeler, Howard. History of WGY, W2XAF and W2XAD, memoir and personal papers of (WGY engineer), July 3, 1933
  10. ^ Wheeler, Howard. History of WGY, W2XAF and W2XAD, memoir and personal papers of (WGY Engineer), July 3, 1933
  11. ^ National Broadcasting Company, MEMO INT-628 dated October 2, 1936
  12. ^ "2009 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award Winners". http://www.rtdna.org/pages/media_items/2009-regional-edward-r.-murrow-award-winners1764.php#region11.  
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