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Broadcast area Rochester, New York/Western New York
Branding WHAM 1180
Slogan Rochester's News, Weather, and Traffic Station
Frequency 1180 (KHz)
First air date 1922
Format News Talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Transmitter coordinates 43°4′51″N 77°43′30″W / 43.08083°N 77.72500°W / 43.08083; -77.72500
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
Webcast Listen Live
Website http://www.wham1180.com/

WHAM is a clear-channel talk radio station in Rochester, New York, owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. Its 50,000-watt transmitter is located in Chili, New York, and the station broadcasts on 1180 kHz. Its studios are currently located at One HSBC Plaza in downtown Rochester.

The station first went on the air July 11, 1922.[1] While not the first station to be licensed to the Rochester market (that distinction belongs to the defunct WHQ), it is the oldest surviving station in the area. The selection of the "WHAM" call letters came from a suggestion from industrialist George Eastman (founder of the Eastman Kodak Co., based in Rochester). He helped the University of Rochester launch the station and thought the "WHAM" name would prove to be a clever marketing tool.

In 1927, WHAM was acquired by Stromberg-Carlson.[2]

WHAM increased its power to 25,000 watts March 4, 1933. A ceremony marking the event included a three-hour broadcast from the Eastman Theatre with "a galaxy of stars" participating.[3]

In February 1948, WHAM and its sister station, WHFM, moved into a new facility, Rochester Radio City. The building included 24 offices and six studios, the largest of which could accommodate 400 people in the audience.[2]

The station's 50,000-watt signal covers most of the eastern half of North America at night.

WHAM has ties to two of the city's television stations. It spawned the city's first station, WHAM-TV, in 1949; that station is now WROC-TV, the area's CBS affiliate. In 2005, the area's ABC affiliate, WOKR-TV, changed its calls to WHAM-TV; Clear Channel (now known as iHeartMedia) bought the station in 2002 and sold its entire television group to Newport Television (controlled by Providence Equity Partners) in 2007; the two stations still have a news partnership.


Founded by Jordan Barney working in behalf of the University of Rochester in 1922, WHAM has grown to become the dominant AM newstalk station serving Rochester and the Genesee Valley. The station was sold in the mid-1920s to Stromberg-Carlson, a maker of radio and telecommunications equipment then based in Rochester. Stromberg-Carlson expanded the station's operations and boosted its signal to 5,000 watts in 1927. It was relocated from 1080 to 1150 kHz in the overall national reorganization of the AM radio band by the Federal Radio Commission in 1928. Later, in 1933, WHAM was allowed to increase power first to 25,000 watts, then to its current 50,000 watt level. In the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement shuffling of the AM band in March 1941, WHAM changed frequency once more to its current 1180 kHz.

Like its iHeartMedia sister stations, WHAM carries some programs from the standardized iHeartMedia talker lineup including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Coast to Coast AM. However, these programs do not necessarily air live or in their entirety. Savage's program is heard on a two-hour delay, Hannity's show is aired on a split schedule with two hours airing in the afternoons and the third in the late-night hours. Weekend programming includes a line of nationally syndicated shows such as Coast to Coast AM, The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold, Dr. Dean Edell and Kim Komando.

Its radio signals can be picked up quite strongly in portions of southern Ontario. This gives some Canadian listeners the ability to hear programs such as Limbaugh and Savage which Canadian stations cannot legally carry due to that country's laws and regulations against broadcast of what the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (Canada's official broadcast regulator) regard as racist, sexist or prejudicial "hate speech".

In addition to the syndicated programming, WHAM boasts a local morning news show, an afternoon news magazine, a mid-morning talk show hosted by Bob Lonsberry, and a sports talk show hosted by former Rochester Democrat and Chronicle columnist Bob Matthews along with a rotating co-host, among whom are Marv Levy, Chuck Dickerson and Fred Smerlas. An evening hour of Kimberly and Beck (whose main show is on WAIO) from 8pm to 9pm were added later.

With Clear Channel launching simulcasts of news-talk radio stations in other New York markets (WGY-FM in Albany and WSYR-FM in Syracuse), it is rumored WHAM will simulcast its programming on one of Clear Channel's weaker-performing FMs in the region, dropping its music format and changing calls to WHAM-FM. However, no announcement of such plans has been made, and Clear Channel has begun backing off that trend due to the failure of the strategy. (Sister station WHTK was indeed simulcast on FM, on what is now WNBL, from 2009 to 2012.)

In 2011, morning news host Beth Adams was released from the station, and took a position with WXXI-FM, joining former WHAM News Director Randy Gorbman. On June 30, 2014, it was announced that remaining long-time morning host Chet Walker had been released from the station due to cost cutting measures by Clear Channel however others believe it was because Walker was seen as too liberal.


  1. ^ "Widespread Circle Help To Mark WHAM Birthday". Broadcasting4. July 14, 1947. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "(photo caption)". Broadcasting. February 16, 1948. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "WHAM ad". Broadcasting. April 1, 1933. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 

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