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City of license Albany, New York
Broadcast area Primary: Capital District, Upper Hudson Valley
Secondary: Mid-Hudson Region, Lower Adirondack Region, Berkshires
Branding Channel 103.1
Slogan Albany's New Rock Alternative
Frequency 103.1 MHz
First air date 1966
Format Active Rock
ERP 6,000 watts
Class A
Callsign meaning WHiRL (original station name)
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations WGY, WRVE, WHRL, WPYX, WTRY-FM, WKKF

WHRL (Channel 103.1) is an active rock radio station licensed to Albany, New York that broadcasts at 103.1 FM; the station broadcasts 24 hours a day at 6 kilowatts ERP from a non-directional transmitter in North Greenbush, New York located near U.S. Route 4. The station is currently owned by Clear Channel Communications, and serves the New York's Capital District and surrounding areas, including the upper Hudson Valley. The station's signal can be heard as far away as Hudson and Catskill to the south, Pittsfield and North Adams to the east, Warrensburg, NY to the north, and Amsterdam and Cobleskill to the west.

The station is notable in that it is one of the few commercial FM radio stations in the Capital Region to have never changed its call letters.



WHRL signed on in 1966 with an easy listening format under the moniker Whirl. The easy listening format lasted in some form or another for much of the next two decades, evolving to a soft Adult Contemporary approach in 1987. In 1988, the station flipped to a New Age/Jazz format, and became known as "Easy 103.1" and "The Breeze". By 1993, the station had morphed into a more mainstream "Smooth Jazz" format, that had become common at that time.

After Clear Channel purchased the station in 1999, WHRL's future became cloudy and rumors of a format change circulated. The smooth jazz format eventually gave way to the station's current format, modern rock Channel 103.1, on October 2, 1999 two weeks after sister station WQBK-FM flipped from modern rock to active rock. Today, the station plays many alternative, punk, goth, emo, and metal bands and artists from about 1990 to the present, including Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Korn, Linkin Park, Slipknot, and Atreyu.

Early in the Channel 103.1 days, the station's slogan was "Albany's New Music Alternative", but the station later switched its slogan to "Albany's New Rock Alternative".

In 2005, WHRL upgraded to IBOC digital radio alongside the rest of Clear Channel's Albany stations. On August 17, 2006, WHRL began airing an HD2 channel with a "Classic Alternative" format. Coincidentally, sister station WTRY-FM operates a smooth jazz format on their HD2 channel.

In 2009, WHRL adopted Clear Channel's Premium Choice active rock format, becoming musically identical outside of morning drive to sister stations KHBZ in Oklahoma City and KIOC in Beaumont. This became the third active rock station in Albany, NY; only WZMR and competitor WQBK-FM have acquired the active rock format before WHRL. Albany, NY has now got the highest number of active rock stations for an American market.


Many contests are hosted on the station, ranging from giving away DVDs or music ("Win It Before You Can Buy It" every Monday), to giving away tickets to major shows, or small ones hosted near the station. One of the most recent ones was given to one person, drawn randomly from many who qualified and won small prizes from qualifying, where the person and a guest got to ride on Disturbed's tour bus for five Ozzfest shows, including one in the band's home town. Another was for Tool tickets, where the caller needed to identify a hardware item by the sound it gives.

Station trivia

  • The station's call letters were an anagram of the initials of the station's original owner, Robert L. Hill.
  • The station was an original affiliate of the Montreal Expos radio network.


External links



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