||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (April 2008)|
|City of license||Kingston, New York|
|Broadcast area||Mid-Hudson Valley|
|Branding||94.3/97.3 The Wolf|
|Slogan||"This is Hudson Valley Country"|
|First air date||1965 (as WGHQ-FM)|
|Callsign meaning||W KiX (Kicks) Poughkeepsie (old slogan) or a variation on Kingston-Poughkeepsie|
|Former callsigns||WGHQ-FM (1965-75)
|Sister stations||WALL, WCZX, WEOK, WKNY, WPDA, WPDH, WRRV, WZAD|
|Webcast||Listen Live or
WKXP (94.3 FM, "The Wolf") is a country music station licensed to Kingston, New York and serving the Hudson Valley of New York state. The station is owned by Townsquare Media and broadcasts at 2.25 kilowatts ERP from a tower in Kingston.
The Thayer/Maxwell years
The frequency signed on in 1965 as WGHQ-FM, sister to the Thayer family-owned WGHQ. For its first decade, it simulcasted the AM's programming by day and aired automated easy listening during hours when the AM was not on the air. In 1975, WGHQ-FM split off from the AM, changed to an automated Top 40 format, and changed its calls to WBPM (for World's Best Popular Music) . Several years after this switch, family patriarch Harry Thayer transferred the station to his stepson Walter Maxwell and wife Jean.
By 1985, the station moved to totally local programming under the name B-94 and became a Kingston-centric alternative to the market-dominant WSPK. This arrangement worked for much of the next decade, however around 1995 the station began to target Poughkeepsie more and more and leaned its format to a Rhythmic Top 40 approach. Unlike most stations with such an approach, the rotation was peppered with obscure dance tracks and odd 80s gold; this rotation (mixed with the same jingles the station had used for the decade prior) led it to become a cult station among dance music fans. As the 1990s came to a close, the Maxwells were looking to get out of the radio business (as evidenced by how B-94 had few music adds and was not replacing air staff among other things). In early 1999, the Maxwells sold WBPM and WGHQ to Roberts Radio (owners of WRWD and WBWZ) and that May it was announced that WBPM would flip to the "Jammin' Oldies" format that was the rage at the time as Rhythm 94-3 with the flip taking place on June 10 of that year.
WPKF can be seen as a semi-descendant of B-94 of sorts, the station possesses B-94's record library and morning DJ CJ Macintyre was the last DJ heard on B-94 before it left the format.
Unlike many other "Jammin' Oldies" stations, WBPM saw little increase to a small decrease in its ratings versus what B-94 had prior (meanwhile, WSPK became #1 by a considerable margin). In 2000, Roberts Radio sold its stations to Clear Channel Communications and the fallout from this deal had an interesting effect on WBPM. Clear Channel was also purchasing the Straus Media stations in the market and legally was one station over the limit in the market; however, ownership regulations at the time did allow them to control additional stations. As Clear Channel was known for doing at the time, WBPM (and WCKL in Catskill) was sold to Concord Media, a "shell" company that owned stations Clear Channel controlled via local marketing agreements.
"Rhythm"'s ratings struggled further and by late 2001 the format was declared unsalvageable. On Thanksgiving weekend of that year, WBPM flipped to a satellite-fed oldies format as Cool 94.3. Existing in a glutted market for the format, this had no effect on their numbers even after established oldies outlet WCZX evolved out of the format to an 70s/80's approach (and later to full-out adult contemporary).
In late 2002, the FCC ordered that Clear Channel divest itself of associations to all "shell" companies, at which point Concord Media was disbanded. On February 28, 2003, Concord sold WBPM to Cumulus Media who took over the station the next day. With the takeover, the oldies format was relaunched as an all-local format with several former WCZX jocks on the air. This format, combined with New York Yankees baseball, propelled the station to its highest numbers since the B-94 days, however this success was short lived as an "anti-oldies" directive fired by group GM Chuck Benfer in the wake of aging demographics of the format. On October 3, the station went into a weekend of Christmas music stunting (minus Yankee games and a New York Giants football game) and relaunched at 9:43 AM on October 6 as Kicks 94.3, the WKXP calls having come a week prior.
Unfortunately for Cumulus, country has not been a success to date on the 94.3 frequency to date as the numbers plummeted from the one full book as oldies under Cumulus (not just overall, but in key demographics). The reasons for this can be debated; everything from poor management to signal and promotions versus WRWD to the probability that the Hudson Valley can truly support only one country station. One theory even cites the potential of a "top of the dial" bias for country music in the Hudson Valley given that WRWD, WGNA-FM in Albany, and the former Y-107 in Westchester County were all next to each other in the 107 MHz range and that any country not near that range has not succeeded.
After the Spring 2005 Arbitron ratings showed the station having nearly no measurable audience outside of Yankee games, the station went to a harder-edged approach as The Wolf in Fall of 2005, adding WZAD to cover Orange County and the Catskills in March 2006. Late in the Summer of 2006, "The Wolf" added some country sounding songs by non country artists such as The Allman Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Jewel, The Eagles, and other pop artists.
On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Cumulus would swap its stations in Dubuque, Iowa and Poughkeepsie, New York (including WKXP) to Townsquare Media in exchange for Peak Broadcasting's Fresno, California stations. The deal is part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global; Townsquare, Peak, and Dial Global are all controlled by Oaktree Capital Management. The sale to Townsquare was completed on November 14, 2013.
Mornings - Jack Hammer (5:30-10am)
Middays - Brandi Hunter(10am-2pm)
Afternoons - Beth Christy(2pm-7pm)
Nighttime - CMT Radio Live Cody Alan (7pm-12am)
- "Official: Cumulus Buys Dial Global, Spins Some Stations To Townsquare; Peak Stations Sold To Townsquare, Fresno Spun To Cumulus". All Access. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Cumulus Makes Dial Global And Townsquare Deals Official". RadioInsight. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Cumulus-Townsquare-Peak Deal Closes". All Access. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- 94.3 The Wolf website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WKXP
- Radio-Locator information on WKXP
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WKXP