WGRF

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WGRF
WGRF.png
City of license Buffalo, New York
Broadcast area Buffalo, New York
Branding 97 Rock
Slogan Classic Rock, Classic Jocks; The Voice of the Bills; 96.9--The Mighty 97 Rock; Local Radio Made in Buffalo
Frequency 96.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
Format Classic rock
ERP 24,000 watts
HAAT 217 meters
Class B
Facility ID 56102
Callsign meaning W George Rand FM (former owner's initials; F added to distinguish it from former sister station WGR-AM)
Owner Cumulus Media
Sister stations WEDG, WHTT, WHLD
Webcast Listen Live
Website 97rock.com

WGRF is a radio station in Buffalo, New York, USA. The station's on air branding is "97 Rock". The station mostly plays Classic rock from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Since 2006, the station has also aired numerous rock-leaning oldies, such as songs from The Beatles, that were displaced by the format change at sister station WHTT. WGRF broadcasts at 96.9 MHz from a transmitter north of downtown Buffalo, and studios are located in the city's eastside.

The WGRF morning show consists of Larry Norton, Rob Lederman, Chris Klein and their Producer Russ. Other local disc jockeys include John "J.P." Piccollo, Carl Russo, John Hager, Slick Tom Tiberi, Anita West, Jeff Gordon, Cindy Chan, Megan Davis, Jim McGee, and Rick Walters. WGRF's significant local presence and history in the area has made the station nearly as much of the Buffalo culture as chicken wings.

WGRF is owned by Cumulus Media. Previous owners included the Taft Television and Radio Company, Rich Communications, Mercury Radio Communications (who separated the longtime combination with WGR in 1995 when it bought WGRF from Rich Communications, who in turn retained WGR until selling it to the Sinclair Broadcast Group two years later), and Citadel Broadcasting (which merged with Cumulus on September 14, 2011[1]). Its transmitter is located in Buffalo.

WGRF streamed its programming on the Internet up until 2002, when it became economically unfeasible for some stations to continue their streams given changes in licensing and royalty agreements. In March 2006, Citadel launched an initiative that provided for the streaming of many of Citadel's stations. WGRF was one of them, and was among the first commercial stations in Buffalo to resume streaming after the earlier changes.

WGRF stopped being the only classic rock station in Buffalo when it began having rivalry with CIXL-FM, which changed formats from adult hits to classic rock in 2008.

Other programming[edit]

WGRF is one of many stations that carries Arlo Guthrie's 1967 diatribe Alice's Restaurant every Thanksgiving. WGRF was also affiliated with The Source and occasionally still uses taped announcements from the network, which were voiced by Don Pardo.

History[edit]

WGRF started as the FM sister station to WGR. It signed on September 14, 1959 as WGR-FM. Like most of the other FM stations in Western New York, WGR-FM carried a MOR or easy listening format, along with a partial simulcast of the AM station. In 1973, the station became WGRQ with a top 40 format known as "Super Q," which was rare at the time for an FM station. In 1975, the station began its best-known run as an album-oriented rock station, rebranding as Q-FM-97. On air staff during the Q-FM-97 era included Program Director and afternoon jock John McGhan, John Rivers, Jim Santella, Hank Ball, Bob Macrae, Steve Mitchell, Mark Henning, Matt Riedy, Jeff Jensen, Skip Edmunds and Irv Goldfarb. On January 5, 1985, however, WGRQ dumped its rock format and shifted to adult contemporary music as "Lite" WRLT, firing all but two of the WGRQ airstaff, which included the "Morning Zoo" morning show featuring Larry Norton, Lauri Githens and Marc Stout; Anita West; Carl Russo; "Slick" Tom Tiberi; and Production Director Jim Patrick, who with Githens was retained to work on the new FM and at WGR-AM. The loss of rock music in Buffalo led to stations WHTT adopting the format in 1987, as well as the brief success of distant station WBYR in 1986. In 1988, however, WRLT changed its call letters back to WGRQ-FM, switched back to classic rock and rehired virtually all its former air staff under the familiar name "97 Rock." (By the end of the year, WHTT would change to oldies; WBYR to beautiful music.) Three years later, its call letters were changed to the current WGRF. The station staff and format have largely been unchanged ever since.

From 1999 to 2011, WGRF was the flagship station of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°57′14″N 78°52′34″W / 42.954°N 78.876°W / 42.954; -78.876