|City of license||Cheektowaga, New York|
|Broadcast area||Buffalo, New York|
|Translator(s)||102.9 W275BB (Cheektowaga)|
|First air date||1956 (as WNIA)|
|Power||1,000 watts AM
220 watts FM
|Former callsigns||WNIA (1956-1979)|
(Culver Communications II, Inc.)
|Webcast||Live streaming player|
WECK (1230 AM) is a radio station located in the Buffalo, New York, area (Cheektowaga). Founded in 1956 as WNIA, the station currently is owned by Culver Communications. WECK airs an adult standards music format branded as "Timeless WECK". WECK also carries Fox News Radio updates followed by local news and weather updates supplied by Buffalo television station WGRZ.
WECK had previously aired the adult standards format to significant success from 1981 to 2006. From early 2006 until March 11, 2008, WECK aired the Jones Radio Network's classic country format. Talk radio was heard on WECK from March 12, 2008 until July 12, 2011. From that point to May 16, 2013, WECK aired a middle-of-the-road (MOR) format which it branded "The Breeze", at which point it returned to adult standards.
The 1230 AM frequency was known as WNIA under the ownership of Gordon P. Brown, who also owned WSAY (now WXXI) in Rochester, NY. After his death, WNIA was sold to Quid Me Broadcasting, a group headed by local broadcast account executive Chet Musialowski. Musialowski was also General Manager of the station during the Quid Me years (1980–88).
In 1979, the station switched from Urban/R&B to a Current Top 40/Oldies hybrid format (a format that in modern times would be known as adult hits). Original air personalities included Chuck McCoy, Jeff Reinhardt (P.D.), Mark Phillips, J.R. Russ, Barbra Lynne and Partitimers Art Zelasko, Mike Brown, Ricky Banks, David J. Miller, Jon Park, Dr. Jim Rose and newsperson Pam Kloc. To tie in with the local call letters named after the popular local sandwich of roast beef on a kimmelweck roll or "beef on weck", WECK branded itself as "The roll that rocks".
Just over a year later, in the spring of 1981 following dismal ratings (resulting from "churn" of the previous Urban audience and the era of rapidly declining AM listenership), the station switched formats, to the Adult Standards/Nostalgia based "Music of Your Life" format.
J.R. Russ was elevated to Program Director and the station maintained a live on-air staff including Jim Nowicki in mornings (and earlier, Guy Michaels), Joe Kozma, Aaron Christopher (Russ' alter ego) Tim White, Dave Prescott (radio name of the late Joseph Skurzewski), Lynn Dixon, Ray Rogers, News Director Bruce Allen, Dave Teresa and Sports Director Walt Hankin.
Previous owner Gordon Brown saved everything and a knee-deep basement of albums yielded a 2,000 plus library of hit titles. While licensing the "Music of your Life" name, the station rapidly shifted from the tight-rotation "MOYL" tapes to a much larger playlist produced entirely in-house.
The lack of repetition proved worth the effort and the format was a big hit with of Buffalo's large adult population. WECK grew from a "no show" in the ratings at the time of the format change (on 4/4/81) to an all-time high of #4 in the market in late 1983. The trade publication "Inside Radio" touted the headlines: "WECK..takes town by storm" and "WECK skyrockets into contention". Radio and Records designated WECK as a "Fastest Mover" up the ratings ladder.
The 1,000 watt station garnered a 7.2 share of 12+ all listeners, beating most FM, and every area AM station (including 50,000 watt WWKB) except #1 WBEN. The Radio and Records Directory also listed WECK as #4 in the entire U.S. in Average Quarter Hour listening (AQH) among stations with similar formats.
After the station was sold by Quid Me in 1988, it continued with a nostalgia music format, but became satellite automated, maintaining only a live, local DJ show in morning drive. Portions of the station's programming came from the Music of Your Life network, although the station switched to Westwood One's Adult Standards satellite feed for a time.
The station was sold to Regent Communications along with the rest of the CBS cluster in 2006. In February 2006, WECK abruptly pulled the plug on the standards format and in an attempt to hedge the CBS cluster's most dominant station, Country WYRK, switched over to a satellite classic country format.
On Monday, November 5, 2007, local resident Dick Greene, owner of WLVL in nearby Lockport, NY, announced that he had purchased WECK for $1.3 million through his company, Culver Communications. Greene launched a new talk radio format, mixed with local and syndicated programming, in the middle of the night on March 12, 2008. WECK immediately made headlines with the hiring of Buffalo radio veterans Harv Moore and Tom Donahue to helm its morning show; however, just six months after the switch, Moore was released and replaced by local actress Loraine O'Donnell, who was subsequently fired in June 2011. Brad Riter and Nick Mendola, former personalities at WGR, were also added to the staff, as was former politician Bill O'Loughlin.
WECK acquired the broadcast radio rights to the University of Buffalo Bulls football and men's basketball games prior to the 2008 season. In 2009 the station acquired the Buffalo rights to New York Yankees baseball through the 2011 season. WECK lost the rights to the UB Bulls athletics teams to WHLD in the spring of 2013.
Early programming during the talk era included a show by WLVL host Scott Leffler, a tradio service, a news block hosted by Tom Schuh, and a one-hour midday block of local brokered programming. All of these had been canceled as of May 2011. WGRZ news was simulcast during WECK's talk radio era. Syndicated programming on WECK toward the end of its talk run included The Laura Ingraham Show, Dennis Miller, First Light and Fox Sports Radio; some of these affiliations continue on WLVL.
On July 12, 2011, Greene flipped the format from talk with former news director Tom Schuh rehired as a consultant to return WECK to a music format. O'Loughlin, who had quit WECK on May 24 six weeks prior to a mass firing, moved his show to WGRZ. Just prior to the almost complete elimination of the news/talk format, the station was the only news/talk station in Buffalo with all local talk from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm.
"The Edge of the Unknown", hosted by former WGR/WBEN talk show host and reporter Joshua Gregory, AKA Mark Henry, a paranormal show featuring local, regional and national guests, and one of the few survivors from the talk era, was discontinued a few weeks after the return to adult standards in 2013 which occurred after Western New York's lone adult standards station, WHLD, flipped to sports talk.
"The Edge of the Unknown" is now on the Internet radio station All1Broadcast.com.
Morning host Tom Donahue and Sunday polka host Ron Dombrowski continue to air on WECK, with most other dayparts covered by America's Best Music.
- Fybush, Scott (2008-03-03). "This Week's Bloodbath: Citadel". NorthEast Radio Watch.
- WECK-AM sold for $1.3M, by James FinkBuffalo Business First 2007 November 5
- WECK officials assess on-air upheaval. Buffalo News. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
- Kwiatkowski, Jane (July 12, 2011). Two more on-air hosts lose jobs as WECK shifts from talk format The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- All1Broadcast.com Retrieved 2014 March 27.
- Official web site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WECK
- Radio-Locator Information on WECK
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WECK
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W275BB
- Radio-Locator information on W275BB