|City of license||Mechanicville, New York|
|Broadcast area||Albany area|
|Slogan||The best music is on the moon|
|First air date||1979|
|Audience share||0.8, #20 (Fa'07, R&R)|
|Power||5,000 watts daytime
570 watts nightime
|Owner||Empire Broadcasting Corporation|
|Sister stations||WUAM, WPTR, WJKE|
WABY (1160 AM) is a radio station broadcasting an Adult Standards/MOR format. Licensed to Mechanicville, New York, USA, the station serves the Albany area. The station is currently owned by Empire Broadcasting Corporation and features programing from ABC Radio.
WMVI, Mechanicville, NY, signed on the air in 1973 at 1170 kHz with 250 watts, daytime only operation. It was originally owned by John Farrina and had a middle-of-the-road (MOR) format focusing on standards and big bands. Early disc jockeys included Don Kirby, John Butler, and Rene' Tetro. WMVI had a race wire installed and broadcast thoroughbred and harness racing results three times per hour from 1PM until sign off, a unique feature in the Albany region. This helped the station gain an audience above what would normally be expected for a small radio station competing directly with larger Albany stations.
WPTR legend "Boom Boom Branigan" (Joe Motto), who also owned other small AM stations around the Northeast US, purchased WMVI in 1979. Following the change in ownership, the station had a hybrid format of oldies, standards and big-band music, which underwent very little change until the early 1990s. During the late 1980s, WMVI had secured a construction permit to switch to 1160 kHz with 50,000 watts daytime power and modest nighttime power. However, ownership could not afford the upgrades the station needed for high-power, directional operation and the permit was left to expire. Later, WMVI did secure another permit to switch to 1160 kHz with 5 kW days / 570w nights, non-directional. Coming under Branigan's ownership once again in late 1995, WMVI would return after a brief period being off the air with an oldies/variety format which featured Branigan himself as the centerpiece of the station. Though the format proved popular with local listeners, the station had an extremely difficult time retaining advertising accounts due to repeated transmitter & 'telco' STL failures, forcing the station off the air repeatedly, sometimes for days at a time. As station employees moved to more secure jobs and operating funds became scarce, Branigan leased the station in 1998 to a group which aired Black Gospel music. Again, money shortages and aging, unreliable equipment forced Branigan to sell the station outright.
In August 2000, Anastos Media bought WMVI and brought it back on the air as a testing format of 1960s-1970s music as Sunny 1160 before entering a simulcast with co-owned pop-standards station WUAM in Saratoga Springs. Two years later, WMVI would take the abandoned WABY calls as a tribute to its former rival and the station whose death led to its rebirth.
The WUAM portion of the simulcast ended in April 2008, with the format change of WUAM to an audio simulcast of local cable TV news outlet Capital News 9.
Ernie Anastos sold his Albany-area stations—WABY, WQAR, WUAM and its translator W291BY, and WVKZ—to Empire Broadcasting Corporation in June 2012 at a purchase price of $1.2 million. The transaction was consummated on September 7, 2012.
- "Albany Market Ratings". Radio and Records.
- "WABY Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Pickney, Barbara (June 14, 2012). "Joe Reilly purchases 4 Albany area radio stations". The Business Review. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WABY
- Radio-Locator Information on WABY
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WABY