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City of license Poughkeepsie, New York
Broadcast area Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Extreme Northern New Jersey
Branding 101.5 WPDH
Slogan The Home of Rock and Roll
Frequency 101.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date 1962
Format Mainstream rock
ERP 4,400watts
HAAT 469 meters
Class B
Facility ID 71514
Callsign meaning W Poughkeepsie Dutchess Hudson (River/Valley)
Owner Cumulus Media
Webcast Listen Live

WPDH is a mainstream rock radio station licensed to Poughkeepsie, New York, and serving from extreme Northern New Jersey to New York's Hudson Valley and Catskills. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and broadcasts on 101.5 MHz at 4.4 kilowatts ERP from a tower site on Illinois Mountain in Highland, New York.[1] Since 1976, the station has had a rock-and-roll format which has been changed several times.

Though WPDH is one of only four Class B FM stations between New York City and Albany (WSPK, WHUD, and WFGB the three others), WPDH has a satellite station, 106.1 WPDA, based in Jeffersonville, New York, which brings the signal to other areas.



WPDH signed on as WEOK-FM in 1962 as the sister to WEOK and Poughkeepsie's second FM station after WKIP-FM (today's WSPK). The main purpose of the station at the outset was to provide Muzak programming to area offices and businesses via its subcarrier; as a result the on-air programming was limited to simulcasts of the AM's middle of the road format and block programming between the AM's sign off and 10:00 p.m.

In 1972, WEOK AM and FM were sold to the Dyson family (also owners of Dyson Racing) and with the sale came key changes to the FM side. The transmitter moved from a site in Milton (now used by WVKR) to the current Illinois Mountain site, upgrading to a full Class B and adding stereo capabilities in the process, and at the end of these upgrades relaunched as country music formatted WPDH. At the time, this format was largely unproven and given the newness of FM at the time struggled to the point of being beaten by New York City signal WHN after that station flipped to country. At this time, the hole for an album-oriented rock (AOR) station in the Hudson Valley (where WPLJ and WNEW-FM were had multiples of WPDH's ratings with marginal signals) was seen and in 1976 WPDH abandoned country for rock which lasts to this day.

Formatic evolution

In its three decades in rock radio, there have been several variations of WPDH's format. At the outset, it was a typical AOR for the period with a slight lean towards Top 40 and the occasional jazz track though as that format evolved the station tightened its focus. The splintering of rock in the 1980s and early 1990s had varying effects on WPDH, they were quick to integrate heavy metal into the playlist in moderation but were less open to early alternative rock. Nevertheless, the station remained successful and by the 1990s was alternating the #1 spot in the market with WSPK though the station's reluctance to incorporate much alternative into the playlist had an effect on its future.

In 1994, WPDH owners Crystal Radio Group (the Dyson family spinoff headed by now-family head Rob Dyson) purchased Middletown-based WKOJ and WALL from Orange & Rockland Utilities. With this purchase came an opportunity to both solve the new rock dilemma and to strengthen WPDH by taking out its only direct competition. WPDH spent the latter part of 1994 and early 1995 evolving to Classic rock while WKOJ flipped to alternative WRRV in April 1995.

WPDH's ratings went through some instability in the early years as classic rock, however being with no competition they became the regular #2 to WSPK's #1 by the turn of the 21st Century. It was at this time, amid consolidation, in which Rob Dyson sold the Crystal Radio Group to Aurora Communications in 2001 which, in turn was bought out by Cumulus Media in 2002. Amid an extended drop in ratings, WPDH was relaunched as a mainstream rock station over Labor Day Weekend 2003. Gary Cee, formerly of WLIR, was hired as Program Director, and the station stabilized at the top of the ratings in both Dutchess and Orange counties.

Current air staff

  • Cooper
  • Tobin
  • Kricket
  • Robyn Taylor (formerly of WCZX and WBPM)
  • Gary Cee (also Program Director)

Past DJ's (aka the WPDH Airforce)

Full Time:

  • Stew Schantz (later of WSPK currently doing afternoons at WUPE)
  • Ron Nenni (later of WPYX)
  • Kevin Belcastro (later of WPYX)
  • Ron Rizzi (former Program Director)
  • Ken Gonyea (later of WRWD-FM)
  • Rick Buser
  • John Steffanci (later of WKIP)
  • 'Bubbles' (morning show sidekick with Schantz/Stefanci and Sussman/Stefanci)
  • Joe Sussman (later Program Director Q-104/WQBK Albany and WPYX)
  • Wolf (later of WPYX)
  • Kevin Karlson
  • Pete McKenzie
  • Reno
  • Frankenberry (now Program Director on WCZX)
  • Bill Palmeri (longtime Program Director and Operations Manager, now General Manager for Citadel Broadcasting in Scranton Wilkes-Barre radio Market))
  • Greg O'Brien (former Program Director of both WPDH and WRRV. though not simultaneously, and before that, WPDH Music Director)
  • Clayton Tragg, The Rock and Roll Rebel, later of Q-104/WQBK Albany
  • "Mad Mike" Colvin (Producer of, and voice actor on, several WPDH morning programs Most Notably: "Wakin' Up with the Wolf", "Cooper & Zolz", and "Cooper & Tobin", Voice characters included "40's Man", "Cognac the Magnificent", "Guy", and parodies of various sports announcers voices.)
  • Rockin' Steve
  • Rick Zolzer
  • Erica Pierson (later on WLNY55 a Long Island TV station; now on-air at WLVG)
  • Mike Harris (longtime General Manager)
  • Shelli Sexton
  • Jeff Jensen
  • Bill Moran aka "the Moranimal" (now producer of the Brother Wease show)
  • "Dirty Ernie"
  • "The Doctor" Dan Giannascoli
  • Rich Coelho
  • Pam Brooks (now on WRKI, I-95 in Danbury, CT)
  • Greg Gattine (former Program Direcor, now on WDST in Woodstock, NY)
  • Brandon Terry
  • "Tigman"
  • Scotty Perry "Scotty On The Air" Voted Best Radio Disc Jockey In Hudson Valley & Best Disc Jockey Website in 2007s Best Of In The Time's Herald Record

Part Time:

  • Justin Foy (now on WDST in Woodstock, NY)
  • Jay Burstein
  • "The Candyman" Scott Carlin (onetime Promotions Director, later Program Director then Operations Manager)
  • Jim Hansen (aka Steve Clark on WCZX) - died suddenly after his first full-time air shift on WCZX, in 1994
  • Chris Donahue (aka Marty Allen on WCZX)
  • "Tommy Potatoes"
  • Jack George (aka Jack the Ripper on WRRV)
  • Amy Salerno (now a traffic reporter for WCBS-AM in New York City)
  • Steven Colvin (Also part time on WRRV 92.3 & 96.9 late-nights)
  • Anthony (aka Tony) DeBarros (now an editor at USA TODAY

Notable alumni

HD radio

Cumulus Broadcasting began upgrading its stations to HD Radio broadcasting in 2005. One of the first ten stations to be upgraded was WPDH.[2]


External links



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