|City of license||Elmira, New York|
|Broadcast area||Elmira, New York|
|Slogan||"The Sports Giant," "All Sports, all the time"|
|First air date||1947|
|Power||5,000 watts (daytime)
1,000 watts (nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||W ELMira|
|Affiliations||NBC Sports Radio|
|Owner||Pembrook Pines Media Group|
WELM signed on in 1947 as Chemung County's second radio station and the Elmira-Corning, New York market's third. It broadcasts on 1410 kHz. The station uses a three-tower array, broadcasting at 5,000 watts from a single tower until sundown, when the power is lowered to 1,000 watts and the pattern becomes directional from all three towers.
In its early years, it produced several local programs, including the 6:00 News, with newscaster Gordon M. Ridenour, from 1947-1948. In the sixties, the station was home to a popular morning program "Stan and Russ on the Bus" hosted by Stan Douglas and Bill Russell. After that program left the air, Douglas continued to be involved with the station by hosting a well-received Sunday morning polka music program. For a time in the sixties and early seventies there was also a Saturday evening jazz program, "Twentieth Century Jazz" hosted by John "Cappy" Caparulo. For most of its history the station was affiliated with CBS Radio, and ran many network based shows including News on the Hour, CBS Mystery Theatre and Music and the Spoken Word.
It was the market's dominant Top 40 station in the early 1970s, but in 1975 the station was purchased by New England broadcaster Robert Condit, who controversially changed the format to easy listening and middle-of-the-road standards, angering listeners and driving away the station's on-air staff. The move was a failure, and the format gradually shifted to adult contemporary in the later part of the decade. By 1990, it had become an oldies station. Later the station would switch to an all sports format.
WELM is owned by Pembrook Pines Media Group.
Jeff Whitaker and Pat Salois
Jeff Whitaker and Pat Salois were popular personalities on the station, voicing several original characters on Salois' evening show in the early 1980s and later hosting the morning drive and afternoon drive shows.
One of their characters—the Lake Welmer Swamp Monster—developed a following throughout the community. The mythic creature allegedly lived in "Lake Welmer," their nickname (which has stuck) for a swampy area between Lake Street and Grand Central Avenue near the station's three towers. They referred to the creature often in bits, and sometimes produced "news reports" in which an intrepid reporter would try to interview the monster. The responses typically were clips of lyrics from popular songs (clearly influenced by Buchanan and Goodman's "Flying Saucer")
Whitaker and Salois later hosted the morning show until late 1995, when they were released and the station format was changed to sports. Both were in poor health at the time—about which they often joked on the air—and died within a few years. At Whitaker's viewing, Salois came in—oxygen tank in tow—and said, "I win," in reference to a bet over who would die first.
WELM is currently affiliated with NBC Sports Radio.
Bob Michaels, a well-known sports broadcaster in the market, was a personality on the station from the switch to sports until he started his own sports broadcasting company in 2010.
- Sies, Luther F. Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960. Jefferson, NC:McFarland, 2000. ISBN 0-7864-0452-3
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WELM
- Radio-Locator Information on WELM
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WELM