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|Broadcast area||Butler, Pennsylvania / Pittsburgh|
|Branding||BUT Kickin' Country!|
|First air date||March 14, 1949|
|Format||Country, news, talk, sports|
|ERP||500 watts (day)
65 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||BUTler County|
|Owner||Butler County Radio Network|
WBUT is a commercial AM radio station, licensed to Butler, Pennsylvania. The station first went on the air in 1949, about seven years following the debut of its competitor and present affiliate station, WISR.
WBUT operates at the federally assigned frequency of 1050 kilohertz, with a maximum power output of 500 watts. Like other small AM's of its day, it was licensed to operate only during daylight hours. That changed when WBUT was granted a license to operate at 65 watts during nighttime hours beginning in the mid-1980s.
WBUT-AM can be heard via internet streaming on www.radiop1.com as well as on the mobile app TuneIn.
The station was founded in 1949 and first owned by the Wise family, which also published The Butler Eagle, Butler's daily newspaper, doing business as Eagle Printing Company. J. Leonard Taylor served as the station's first general manager.
WBUT originally was issued a construction permit to operate at the frequency of 1580 kHz, upon which it operated at a power of 500 watts for a period of several years after going on the air. The station first operated from the Nixon Hotel in downtown Butler, where Morgan Center stands today.
WRYO, a radio station that debuted at 1050 kHz in 1948 in Rochester, Pennsylvania in adjacent Beaver County, Pennsylvania failed by 1955, leaving its channel available for WBUT, which uses this channel today. Like WRYO, WBUT operated at 250 watts once assuming this channel until its current tower in Center Township was built in 1979. WBUT began broadcasting from this new tower in 1980, and was subsequently allowed to double its power to the current value of 500 watts, but still retained its daytime-only operational status.
With the frequency swap, came its first change in ownership. The new WBUT, along with its sister FM operating at 103.9 mHz, were sold to Beacom Broadcasting Enterprises in 1955.
WBUT operated as an AM/FM combo, and then as an AM standalone until 1955, when it successfully applied for another FM broadcasting license, which coincidentally, once belonged to its competitor, WISR-AM, which had returned it citing an unnecessary expense. WBUT earlier had given up its 103.9 mHz frequency, which was later located to Mercer County. The call letters were immediately changed to WBUT-FM, with the two stations simulcasting one another until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted new rules in 1965 which called for combination license holders to offer unduplicated programming at least half of the broadcast day. The stations continued to simulcast part-time throughout the early 21st century.
The stations were purchased by Larry Berg in 1964, who did business as WBUT, Inc. This remained the licensee almost through the end of the 20th Century, though the owner principals would change less than 15 years later.
WBUT AM/FM was sold on July 14, 1978 from Larry Berg to Brandon Communications Systems, Incorporated, a company headed by Robert C. "Bob" Brandon and his brother Ronald (Berg would later join the staff of then-competitor WISR as a sales rep and talk show host), but the licensee remained under the name WBUT Inc. Not long after acquiring the two stations, Brandon moved both from their downtown Butler location at the Nixon Hotel to a Center Township office and then across the street to a former Citizens' Bank branch north of Butler at the intersection of Route 8 (aka North Main Street Extension) and Mercer Road in Center Township.
When the decision was made to separate the AM and FM stations, Brandon used his knowledge in broadcast engineering to construct an automation system capable of providing live-sounding programming on his FM station, now assigned the call letters WLER-FM. WBUT and WLER would both sign on at 6 am, simulcast its morning show for two hours, break away at 8 am, and then rejoin at 7 pm before signing off at 10 pm.
Music and voice-tracked personalities [a practice that still had yet to gain momentum] were provided by Concept Productions, based in Roseville, California. Personalities like Steven Tyler, Dave Ware and Terry Nelson were all thought to be on-site announcers. While these announcers aired on WLER, WBUT aired more local news and information intensive programming, with popular shows like "The Super Store", a buy-sell-trade program allowing listeners to sell unwanted items or find others for sale, and "Speak Up", a locally produced talk show that ran after the noon news.
WBUT and WLER welcomed a third station into the fold, longtime crosstown competitor WISR, in 1997, following its sale by Butler Broadcasting, Inc. The Brandon brothers then changed the name of their company to the Butler County Radio Network. Within a few years, the Brandons would sell their interests, along with their partners, to its present group of four owners, who continue to do business as the Butler County Radio Network today.
WBUT in the news
A near-tragedy took place in the summer of 1990 when then-program director Shirley A. "Sam" Minehart was changing an automation tape for WLER. The automation system was separated by a large plate-glass window from outside, that would allow Route 8 commuters to see programming at work. A vehicle traveling on Route 8 went out of control and crashed through the window and into the automation system. Minehart had just walked away from the system as the car crashed through the window, scattering shards of glass everywhere.
WBUT news reporter Dave Cubbison was on the air delivering a live newscast when he looked up and saw the car coming towards the building, yelling to Minehart "Oh no, there's a car coming... run!" into an open microphone. Knowing the car was going to hit, Cubbison then ran and dove under a desk. Cubbison and Minehart were not hurt, but the driver did sustain minor injuries.
WBUT plays country music when it's not broadcasting news, various sporting events and talk shows.
WBUT has always been a locally owned radio station since its beginnings, never having ownership outside of Butler County, and has only had three owners during its history of more than half a century. The station switched from oldies to country music early in 2006. Morning show host Bob Cupp has been with the station for more than 25 years. In 2003, WBUT and WLER moved from their studio building in Center Township and joined WISR in a new facility at the Pullman Commerce Center, on the city's south side, near the village of Lyndora.
WBUT for many years had been an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System. Upon the acquisition of Mutual by Westwood One, WBUT affiliated with co-owned CNN Radio. This relationship continued until 2009, when WBUT changed its affiliation to CBS Radio.
"The Breakfast Club" with Bob Cupp and Tracey Morgan (Weekday mornings 5:30 am to 9 am.)
"The Super Store" Tradio Program with Pat Parker (Monday through Thursday from 9:10 am to 10 am, Friday from 9:10-9:30)
"The News at Noon Magazine" with Bob Cupp. Local news, weather and Obituaries. (Monday through Friday at 12 pm)
CBS Radio News updates at the top of every hour. Local news updates with Ken Hawk all afternoon.
Saturday: 7a-9a "Saturday Morning Sports Journal" - (local sports talk)
10a-12p "Z-max Racing Country" (music and NASCAR talk)
12p-12:15p - Local News at Noon
12:15p-2p "Country Hitmakers"
7p-9p "The Road" ("live" country concerts)
9p-11p "Nascar USA" - (music and NASCAR talk)
Sunday: 7:30-8:30a - (local church programming)
8:30a-10:30a "Powersource Country" - music program
10:30a-12p - (local church programming)
12p-12:15p - Local News at Noon
5p-9p- "Crook and Chase Countdown" (country music)
7p-9pm- "Classic Country Today" (country music)
The Saturday Morning Sports Journal
On Saturday mornings, Jim Lockhaiser, "Bucky" Parise and Dan Cunningham talk about local and national sports between 7AM - 9AM. The program is formally known as "The Saturday Morning Sports Journal" and has been a long-running specialty program on the station for over 23 years. The program features local and national sports scores in addition to opinion, guests and trivia questions.
The Saturday Morning Sports Journal show is also notable for having hosted the first live broadcast from WBUT-AM's new studio on Pillow Street in Butler on June 30, 2012.
“Sweet Old Bud” Daum was an original member of the crew until December 29, 2012 when he announced his retirement from the program. The show’s opening theme song was changed the next week and it was announced that Dan Cunningham would be sitting in the “Bud” chair as the show carried on.
- 1949 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1955 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1959 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1973 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1979 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1980 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1981 Broadcasting Yearbook
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WBUT
- Radio-Locator Information on WBUT
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WBUT