||This article reads more like a story than an encyclopedia entry. (January 2009)|
|City of license||Trumansburg, New York|
|Broadcast area||Ithaca, New York|
|Slogan||"Ithaca's Sports Radio"|
|First air date||1989|
|Power||5,000 watts (daytime)
310 watts (nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||W PIE co-founder's wife was a baker|
|Owner||Taughannock Media LLC|
The Federal Communications Commission licensed the station on April 16, 1986 as WJCU to Elmira, New York-area radio personality Joel Clawson and local engineer William Sitzman. Two Trumansburg businessmen also were silent partners in the venture.
About three months later, the FCC approved a call-letter change to WPIE, which was chosen in honor of Clawson's wife, a baker.
The station signed on in 1989, airing an easy listening format that featured music from abroad obtained by Sitzman's programming company. Some of the music was not available commercially in the United States, and gave an alternative to common pop music heard in the US. Some of the music was also from custom recording sessions.
The studio was in a former gasoline station in the hamlet of Jacksonville, New York, about midway between Trumansburg and Ithaca on Route 96. One of the gas station's tanks had leaked several years earlier, rendering the water at the studio unpotable.
The station began airing Trumansburg High School football and basketball games, as well as South Seneca High School football, in 1992. Sports coverage was expanded the next year, when the Elmira-based Pembrook Pines Media Group bought the station.
The station's sports coverage also attracted listeners. The high-school sports coverage, which featured Lansing instead of South Seneca after 1993, was complemented by New York Yankees baseball, Buffalo Bills football, Motor Racing Network, and Syracuse University football and basketball. The Yankees were an immediate hit as they had not been on the air in the Ithaca market since the 1980s despite their popularity in the community.
Within a couple of years, the station moved into a new studio at its tower site, off Seneca Road in Trumansburg.
In the late 1990s, Pembrook Pines switched WPIE to an all-sports format, featuring ESPN Radio, and moved its main studio into its Elmira headquarters, which includes the studios of all-sports WELM, easy-listening WEHH, urban contemporary WLVY and country WOKN, all of which serve the Elmira-Corning market rather than Ithaca.
Originally, WPIE and WELM aired different satellite-delivered programming with the exception of major sports broadcasts. Eventually, the stations began simulcasting, splitting only for WPIE's Ithaca-area local sports broadcasts.
In 2007, the station resumed its affiliation with Syracuse University. WPIE has also aired some Ithaca College sports and Ithaca High School sports.
In August 2010, WPIE entered a joint sales agreement with Taughannock Media, owned by former WIII/WKRT manager Todd Mallinson and his wife, in anticipation of selling the station. The station dropped the Buffalo Bills in favor of the New York Jets in the fall of 2010.
In November 2010, WPIE was purchased by Taughannock Media and moved its studio and offices to a brand new facility in Lansing, NY, though the towers and transmitter remain in Trumansburg. Many improvements have been made since, including brand new state-of-the-art studio and remote broadcasting equipment and transmitter upgrades that have vastly improved the station's quality. Shortly after relocating, the station added a local sports talk show - "Between the Lines" - to its programming lineup.
In January, 2011 WPIE become the flagship home of Cornell Wrestling broadcasts. The station also broadcast the Ithaca High School Lacrosse team's run to the NY State Championship game and plans to greatly expand its Live High School Sports Coverage in 2011-12.
- WPIE's website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WPIE
- Radio-Locator Information on WPIE
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WPIE