*After almost half a century as one of Buffalo’s biggest music stations, Audacy’s WTSS (Star 102.5) said farewell to its listeners Friday morning as the station gets ready to be sold to EMF Broadcasting.
For its last week on the air, Star’s hot AC format was filled with reminders to listeners that most of the music they’ve enjoyed there will still be available on sister station WKSE (Kiss 98.5), where longtime Star personality Sue O’Neil will move across the hall to do afternoons.
In its final moments leading up to the 10 AM signoff on Friday, Star’s other veteran personality, Rob Lucas, played a montage of airchecks of 102.5’s pop music history, going back to WBEN-FM’s 1974 flip from automated beautiful music to “Rock 102,” a top-40 station that was an important part of so many radio fans’ youths in western New York. (Where did those airchecks and station history come from? Where else but Buffalo radio historian Steve Cichon, who started his early career at WBEN and 102.5 in its WMJQ era.)
Lucas spoke of his attempts to string up an antenna at his home in Hornell to hear WBEN-FM, and your editor remembers doing the same over in Rochester in the 1980s, taking advantage of the huge 102.5 signal that reached well into Canada and all over the Niagara Frontier.
That enormous signal still matters – and now for EMF, which will use it to bring its K-Love format to a big chunk of Canada’s biggest market, starting later this week when Audacy ends a temporary WKSE simulcast on 102.5. EMF will move the K-Love format and WBKV calls from its current smaller Buffalo signal on 89.9, and that 89.9 signal will go to EMF’s Air 1 format with new calls WBWA.
Our colleague Lance Venta at RadioInsight had been picking up hints of new domain registrations and a format adjustment at WMSX (The Breeze 96.1) – and sure enough, right at 10 on Friday WMSX moved to a hotter AC as, what else, “The New Star 96.1,” promising the same hot AC music that WTSS played, as well as the all-Christmas format that brought WTSS huge ratings every holiday season.
Much more in Monday’s full NERW column!