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WZMR
Edgelogo.jpg
City of license Altamont, New York
Broadcast area Capital District
Branding 104.9 The New Edge
Frequency 104.9 MHz
First air date 1968
Format Active rock
Power 530 watts
ERP 6,000 watts
HAAT 284.0 meters
Class A
Facility ID 27551
Transmitter coordinates 42°38′10.6872″N 73°59′57.9264″W / 42.636302°N 73.999424°W / 42.636302; -73.999424
Former callsigns WIZR-FM (1968-1984)
WSRD (1984-99)
WAAP (1999)
Owner Pamal Broadcasting
(6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.)
Sister stations WAJZ, WFLY, WKLI, WROW, WYJB
Website http://www.albanyedge.com

WZMR (104.9 FM, "104.9 The New Edge") is an Active rock music formatted radio station licensed to Altamont and serving New York's Capital District and surrounding areas. The station is owned by Pamal Broadcasting, and broadcasts at 6 kilowatts ERP from the Helderberg Mountains antenna farm in New Scotland. WZMR is one of several signals to have moved into the Albany market in recent years, prior to its move in March 1999 it was licensed to Johnstown, New York as the sister to WIZR.

Contents

Station history

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The Johnstown years

WIZR-FM, forerunner to today's WZMR, signed on in 1968 largely simulcasting the "Middle of the road" programming of its parent station WIZR-AM. Between 1973 and 1979, both stations flipped to a Top 40 simulcast. Eventually, WIZR-FM would flip to Oldies in 1980. WIZR-FM left the air in 1982, returning to the air as a simulcast of WMYL (formerly WIZR-AM) in 1983. In early 1984, WIZR-FM and WMYL were sold. WIZR-FM flipped formats to Album Oriented Rock as WSRD, "The Wizard", with live DJs. However the format only lasted through late 1984, when it was flipped to satellite delivered Adult Contemporary. In mid-1987, the format was flipped to satellite delivered Oldies, still known as "The Wizard". This format would actually last until March, 1999, when the station was moved into the Albany market.

Moving in

In early 1998, longtime WIZR/WSRD owner Joe Caruso obtained a construction permit to move WZMR to the Albany suburb of Altamont, in turn making the station a full Albany signal. That October, Caruso sold the stations to Albany Broadcasting (today's Pamal Broadcasting) for $2.2 million [1]. Albany Broadcasting closed on the stations in March 1999 and near immediately moved WSRD into the Albany market and gave it the new calls WAAP. The transmitter site was initially on the Channel 23 tower with sister station WAJZ, but was moved to the WYJB tower in November 2000.

The format was changed to Modern adult contemporary as "The Point", an attempt to capitalize on the then-recent flips of WXLE-104.5 to rhythmic oldies, WRVE to a more mainstream format, and the then-stunting WKLI. It was WKLI which spoiled these plans as Albany Broadcasting was sued by CBS Radio, then-owners of the "Point" name, on the behalf of WKLI-owner-in-waiting Tele-Media. In response, the station relaunched as WZMR "Z104.9" with a more rock-based playlist and the "Point" name surfaced on WKLI that May.

Since 1999

Though WZMR was a musically balanced station and won in listener polls, in terms of promotion and personalities it was beaten by the relaunched WCPT. The newness of the 104.9 signal played a role in the struggles as was presence of New York Yankees baseball, a remnant from the original plans for the frequency which were a partial simulcast of sister talk radio station WROW. Even though the Yankee games did give the station some additional audience, research showed that those listeners were not listening to the music and many music listeners were turned off by the games. Sensing a losing battle, WZMR's format changed to smooth jazz on October 18 of that year though the station did air the last game of the 1999 American League Championship Series and the 1999 World Series before Yankee rights moved to WTMM.

WZMR's smooth jazz format did initially well, though flagging numbers by 2002 led to a relaunch of the station as "Love FM", a format fusing smooth jazz with R&B, in June 2003. The relaunched format did not improve in the ratings, so, facing the potential of selling WZMR to acquire a pending move-in station on 105.7 FM (which Regent Communications, not Pamal Broadcasting, eventually bought), they flipped the station to a simulcast of country music WFFG in the Glens Falls market in February 2005; the simulcast never acknowledged 104.9 and 104.9 only broke for Albany Conquest af2 arena football games.

WZMR today

The latest format, "104.9 The New Edge", was launched February 13, 2006. The launching of the Edge was a direct result of Regent Communications-owned WQBK-FM flipping formats from 103.5/103.9 The Edge to Q103 following the departure of Howard Stern for satellite radio. Two months after running the station as a ghost town (without deejays), the station announced it had hired the team of Darwin and Cat away from Vermont-based WEQX. The Darwin and Cat Radio Show debuted during morning drive on April 24, 2006. Shortly thereafter, the station added more live day parts, including shifts from Shaun "Pi" Bolts and The General James from WBOE, Don Chopps and others. Overnight sessions were held down by Chris Lynch and Vans.

In April 2007, The Edge hired former WPBZ Music Director and Afternoon Host Nik Rivers to serve as the station's Program Director. The trio of Pi, General James and Don Chopps were dismissed from the station shortly thereafter. In their places were onetime FLY 92.3 afternoon host and music director Christy Taylor on middays (Taylor later departed in February 2008 for 91X in San Diego, to be replaced by weekend swing shifter Gazer), and for a brief period Ralph Renna handling nights. The weekend staff currently includes Mark David and Vans.

In August 2008 Program Director Nik Rivers was relieved of his duties with Vice President of Programing Kevin Callahan taking over the station. At the same time, Morning host Darwin resumed his former position as Music Director, with former FLY92 DJ Boomer taking over the night shift.

Industry trade magazines show the hiring of Rivers led the stations highest ratings to date, and the station has been in decline since his departure. Rivers is now Program Director at WZNE in Rochester NY.

The station received national attention for the first time in February 2007 when a topic discussed on The Darwin & Cat Radio Show was quoted in the 12 February 2007 edition of the National Enquirer. The incident led to the morning show being "suspended" for a week at the end of March 2007 into the beginning of April 2007, but it turned out the duo was on vacation. [1]

The station once again received national notoriety on March 5, 2008, when morning show co-host Cat Noel was a participant in the ABC reality series Wife Swap including the "swap mom" hosting in place of Cat for the week on the air..[2]

Toward the end of October morning host Darwin departed the station.[3] and resurfaced two weeks later on crosstown WEQX as morning host and production director for a short period before being relived of his duties at WEQX. [3] Cat Noel remained on board at WZMR until she left the show in December 2008, leaving a hole in morning drive.

The current WZMR line up as follows. Mulrooney in the Morning Featuring: John Mulrooney with Bubbles from 6am -10am, Middays with Gazer 10am to 2pm, Afternoons with Boomer from 2pm to 7pm and Nights with Focker from 7pm to midnight. The weekend shift includes Ralph Renna hosting Capital Underground Live (a local music show) and MetalStorm (a metal show) along with Mark David, Vans, and Trapper John Harmon.

WZMR's active rock format was later cloned on two radio stations. By 2008, WQBK-FM reverted to active rock, and by the following year, active-leaning WHRL shifted from alternative rock to active rock. Albany, NY is now the biggest active rock market in the United States.

References

  • Times Union
  • Albany Biz Journal
  • Arbitron Survey Results
  1. ^ Hitchen, Alexandar (2007-02-12). "Rachael Racist". National Enquirer. http://www.darwincat.com/enq021207rayawl8.jpg.  
  2. ^ Fybush, Scott (2008-03-03). "Thie Week's Bloodbath: Citadel". NorthEast Radio Watch. http://www.fybush.com/NERW/2008/080303/nerw.html.  
  3. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (2008-10-27). "Northeast Radio Watch". NorthEast Radio Watch. http://www.fybush.com/NERW/2008/081027/nerw.html.  

External links



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