WOPG (AM)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WOPG
City of license Albany, New York
Broadcast area Capital District
Frequency 1460 (kHz)
First air date June 14, 1924 as WOKO at 1290 kHz
(in New York City)
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Callsign meaning Words Of Peace and Goodness
Former callsigns WOKO (1924–1983)
WWCN (1983–1987)
WOKO (1987–1988)
WGNA (1988–2002)
WDDY (2002–2014)
Affiliations EWTN Radio
Owner Pax et Bonum, Inc.
Sister stations WOPG-FM
Website pax-et-bonum-radio.org

WOPG is an AM radio station licensed to Albany, New York. It broadcasts from facilities located in Delmar, New York, operating with 5000 watts of power on 1460 kHz. The station is owned by Pax et Bonum, Inc.

History[edit]

What today is WOPG began its life in 1924 [1] as WOKO, at 1290 kHz [2] in New York City, moving in 1928 to Mount Beacon, New York in southern Dutchess County and serving Newburgh and Poughkeepsie at 1430 kHz. Billed "The Voice of the Clouds" [3] for its transmitter site on its namesake mountain, WOKO's signal into the areas it wanted to target was poorer than anticipated and in 1930 the station was sold and moved to Albany, New York becoming the first radio station licensed to that city.

With the move to Albany came an affiliation with CBS whose programming had been previously cleared partially on WGY. The early 1940s saw some key changes as the CBS affiliation went from WOKO to upstart WTRY and the station's frequency changed from 1430 to 1460 in the NARBA frequency shift of 1941. In light of these differences, WOKO evolved into a locally-based format consisting largely of music independent of any network, a rarity in a medium market in that era. Notably, WOKO was a radio affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s before their move to Los Angeles.[1]

The decline of variety formats on radio in the 1950s led WOKO to find a set format for its programming, settling on MOR during most of the 1960s, before flipping to Country. Charles Murn was the Station Manager. Charlie Heisler was the Chief Engineer. In the early 1960s, WOKO's lineup was led by Geoff Davis (formerly of WROW and WINS in NYC), who did an early morning and afternoon show of Big Band and 1950-60s music, Including leading vocalists and orchestras. From 1949 to 1957 Geoff Davis was the "Voice of the NY Yankees on the Crosley Broadcasting and Atlantic Richfield Radio Networks. After WOKO, Davis moved on to WEEE (Now WQBK), when the format turned to Country in the late 60s. Davis was eventually to become a restauranteur and government official in the Town of Colonie. Bob Cathcart, from Hoosick Falls, was the News Anchor. The station's country format lasted until 1978 after competition from FM rival WGNA led WOKO to change formats to disco music. Coming into the format right after the peak of the disco fad and having to battle two decades of country heritage, the new format failed and in early 1980 WOKO returned to country. Though initially regaining some audience, the flip of the more powerful WPTR to country later that year wiped away any gains the station had made.

On August 23, 1982, WOKO ended its second attempt at country by flipping to an all-news radio format simulcasting CNN Headline News (then CNN2) most of the day with sports from the Enterprise Radio Network at night. With this flip came new call letters: WWCN. Though low overhead, the new station also retained the low ratings of the previous format and soon added more talk programming. WWCN continued to struggle and folded in early 1987.

The demise of WWCN led to the return of the WOKO calls, this time running an oldies format and converting to C-QUAM AM stereo (only the second station in the market, behind WPTR, to do so). This format was short lived as the next year WOKO was purchased by Barnstable Broadcasting, then owners of WGNA, with the sale closing in late 1988. Barnstable then took WOKO to a WGNA simulcast (minus some special programming and Albany-Colonie Yankees games) under the WGNA calls with the FM becoming WGNA-FM. This arrangement would last for over a decade through several owners.

By the start of the 21st Century, the AM simulcast had become superfluous and after Regent Communications acquired the WGNA stations in 2000, the 1460 frequency was put up for sale. In March 2002, Regent sold the station to ABC Radio which converted it to their Radio Disney format, the only such Disney-owned outlet in Upstate New York; the call letters were then changed to WDDY. The station operated under the ABC Radio umbrella until the division's sale to Citadel Broadcasting in 2007. The Walt Disney Company retained total ownership of Radio Disney and its stations. In June 2013, Disney put WDDY and six other Radio Disney stations in medium markets up for sale, in order to refocus the network's broadcast distribution on top-25 markets.[2]

On September 29, 2013, WDDY dropped the Radio Disney affiliation and went silent.[3] In October, Disney filed to sell WDDY to Pax et Bonum, owner of WOPG in Esperance; Pax et Bonum changed the station's call letters to WOPG and converted it to nomcommercial operation as a simulcast of WOPG-FM's Catholic radio programming, from studios at 1460's Delmar transmitter site. The acquisition will improve WOPG's coverage in the Capital District.[4][5] The sale was "consummated" on January 17, 2014.[6]

WDDY resumed operations on January 29, 2014.[7] The call sign change to WOPG took place on February 27, 2014.[8]

Trivia[edit]

  • The Mount Beacon tower site used by WOKO prior to its move is today used by FM station WSPK. Though unforgiving to AM due to the lack of a ground system, Mount Beacon would prove to be ideal for FM as its terrain allows WSPK to be heard in parts of six states.
  • Ian Fleming had the main character listening to WOKO in his novel The Spy Who Loved Me
  • In 1990, the WOKO call letters resurfaced in Burlington, Vermont at a newly launched country station at the behest of an employee who wished to honor the prior WOKO. Those calls remain there to this day and the station usually is tops in the Burlington ratings.
  • The WDDY call letters originally belonged to a small AM-radio station broadcasting from Gloucester, Virginia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baseball Games". Radio Gold Index, 06/13/09. 
  2. ^ Graser, Marc (June 4, 2013). "Radio Disney Stations Up for Sale (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ Radio Disney Places Stations On The Market (September 30) - RadioInsight.com
  4. ^ "APPLICATION FOR CONSENT TO ASSIGNMENT OF BROADCAST STATION CONSTRUCTION PERMIT OR LICENSE". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 25, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ Bushner, Brian (October 31, 2013). "Disney finds religion in Albany". Albany Business Review. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Consummation Notice - WDDY". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. January 24, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Application for Renewal of Broadcast Station License - WDDY". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°37′21″N 73°48′09″W / 42.62250°N 73.80250°W / 42.62250; -73.80250