|City of license||Malta, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital District, southern Adirondacks|
|Frequency||105.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||99.1 W256BU (Albany, relaying HD2)|
|First air date||November 1996 (as WNYQ from Queensbury)
November 28, 2006 (as WBZZ in Malta)
|Format||Adult Top 40
HD2: Urban Contemporary
|Callsign meaning||W Q CruSH|
|Former callsigns||WNYQ (1996-2006, Queensbury)
(Townsquare Media of Albany, Inc.)
WQSH (105.7 FM, "PopCrush 105.7") are the call letters of a radio station licensed to Malta, New York and playing an adult top 40 format. The station is owned by Townsquare Media and broadcasts with 7.1 kilowatts ERP from the Bald Mountain tower formerly used by the now-defunct analog signal of WNYT, in the Town of Brunswick, Rensselaer County, New York. WQSH is the newest radio station in the Albany/Schenectady/Troy market, having signed on the air on November 28, 2006 as WBZZ when it began simulcasting (and became the new home of) the Buzz Hot Adult Contemporary format of sister station WABT (now WTMM-FM).
WQSH's signal can be heard throughout the entirety of the Capital District, and reaches as far north as Warrensburg and Ticonderoga, and can be heard as far south as Poughkeepsie and Kingston. However, WQSH's signal is impeded significantly to the west due to WBNW-FM on 105.7 in Binghamton as well as to the east by WWEI in Easthampton, Massachusetts, on 105.5.
After the passage of FCC Docket 80-90 in 1983 deregulated FM station classes, the idea of putting a high-watt FM station in the Glens Falls-Lake George area was approached by several people. Around 1990, WENU owner Donald Heckman successfully petitioned the FCC to grant a 25,000 watt radio station to his hometown of Queensbury. After several years of delays, the Heckman-owned Bradmark Communications won the allocation in 1993, originally holding the WWAZ calls until 1995, then the WSRQ calls until June 1996 when it took the WNYQ calls.
Bradmark put WNYQ on the air in November 1996 as the centerpiece of what would become a local radio empire that would soon acquire several other stations in the market. WNYQ assumed the adult contemporary format of WENU, branded under the Wink 105.7 name. From its launch, it aired local programming from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. weekdays with satellite programming fed via Westwood One at all other hours as had its predecessor.
In 2000, Bradmark Communications was sold to Vox Media, then a growing owner of radio stations in small markets throughout New York and New England. Vox dumped all satellite programming and decided to take WNYQ to a Hot AC approach, initially keeping the Wink name. In early 2002, WNYQ rebranded as Q105.7 to fully signify the new format which had begun to lean towards CHR. Though successful, the station eventually began to decline due to heavy competition from new rival WKBE and several out-of-market CHR stations (including WFLY and WZRT) with usable signals in WNYQ's signal area.
2004 saw two major developments as Vox began to sell their properties to other companies and the initial application to move the signal into the Albany market was filed making it the second Bradmark/Vox station to do so (WYAI, the former WHTR Corinth, was the first). In December, 2004, WNYQ flipped to a satellite-fed Classic Hits format while keeping the Q105.7 name. The flip was also done to have a no-risk format in place for when a move could proceed. The Classic Hits format remained on the 105.7 frequency until it signed off to move in May 2006. That format would be revived in September 2006 at 101.7 MHz (the former WENU, then WQYQ) in Hudson Falls with the WNYQ calls following the next month.
Move to Malta
The move of 105.7 into the Capital District, originally applied for in 2004, has gone through several complications. Originally, the station had a construction permit with lease to broadcast from the Clifton Park tower used by WDCD-FM, WKKF, and WTMM-FM) which is owned by Fitch Communications of New York (FCNY) as a class A station. When finally built, the present Bald Mountain site was selected with an upgrade to a class B1, even amid concerns that Bald Mountain may provide less-than-optimal coverage of some growing suburbs to the north of the market's core.
When Vox sold their remaining Glens Falls stations to Pamal Broadcasting in mid-2004, initially there was a clause that would allow Pamal to get the first rights to buy the station as a move-in. This plan was slowed down by regulatory concerns with Pamal's revenue share in the adjacent Capital District and the potential that the signal that would have been sold if purchased (104.9 WZMR) would not able to find new ownership in the required amount of time.
Acquisition by Regent Communications
In June 2006, Regent Communications (now Townsquare Media) purchased the licence of WNYQ to put it on the air. Early speculation of future formats had included moving WABT's Hot AC format to the stronger 105.7 signal, a classic country format to complement market leader WGNA-FM, or adult contemporary to go against WYJB and WQAR. The first possibility became reality in the wake of Regent entering a deal with former WYJB morning show Chuck & Kelly. Their show began on September 12, 2006 as a prelude to the move.
In preparation of the move, Vox applied for the call letters WBZZ (which were formerly used by what is now KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh) for the 105.7 frequency. They took effect on September 21, 2006. After some delays, the station finally returned to the air from the Bald Mountain tower site on November 28, 2006, initially simulcasting WABT. It was during this time that the station began to refer to itself as Buzz 105.7. For the following week, DJ's were constantly heard informing listeners to "make the switch," explaining that the old 104.5 frequency would no longer broadcast the format as of the coming week. The station relaunched exclusively on 105.7 on December 4, 2006, with WABT flipping to ESPN Radio two weeks later as WTMM-FM.
Tweak to adult contemporary
On December 6, 2007, WBZZ changed its Hot Adult Contemporary format (which violated Regent-Clear Channel's non-compete agreement; WRVE also had a Hot AC format) to Adult Contemporary. The call letters and the name Buzz 105.7 remained. The Clear Channel-Regent non-compete agreement would continue in Albany once again, as Clear Channel's WHRL shifted from modern rock to active rock in 2009, competing up against Regent's new active rocker WQBK-FM and the other active rock station, WZMR, owned by Pamal. However, Pamal's WZMR switched to country as 104.9 The Cat and Clear Channel's WHRL switched to a simulcast of WGY 810, leaving WQBK as the only active rock in the market as of 2010.
While most of the jingles and imaging initially stayed from the previous format, WBZZ began airing new jingles in January 2008, better suited for an Adult Contemporary station.
Until January 2, 2011, the air staff included: Mark Vanness host of the Morning Buzz (5:30-10am), Meredith McNeil (10-3pm), Julie Fiener (3-7pm) and Darcy "Buzz Nights On Demand", a request show weeknights from 7pm to midnight.
In August 2008, two long time jocks left the station. Former Program Director Glen Stacey, along with 25 other employees throughout the company, was let go due to budget cutbacks. Jake Thomas, added PD duties to his list of tasks that already include OM of the Regent Albany cluster, as well as PD/MD of sister station, WGNA-FM (Country 107.7). Trudy, who held the midday position (and morning show co-host prior to that), in essence switched positions with sister station WLZW Lite 98.7 FM in Utica (also owned by Regent), where from she originally came from. In return, Meredith McNeil came to Buzz.
In addition, the station changed its slogan from "Bright, Fresh, and Upbeat" under the Hot AC format, to "The Best Variety from Yesterday and Today" under the new Adult Contemporary format. By the end of 2009, the station began to lean a little bit more Hot AC than competitor WYJB (similar to CBS's Fresh branding, used on some of its AC stations), but still was mostly an Adult Contemporary station.
Stunting as Santa 105.7 and relaunch as 105.7 Crush FM
On November 1, 2010, the station began a stunt by starting Christmas music at midnight, forcing WTRY-FM to switch earlier than their planned date. WBZZ had been a Christmas music station in years past, and it is not unheard of for stations to change to Christmas music as early as November 1, so it was not initially obvious that WBZZ was stunting. Early speculation of format changes began when the station did not mention its normal moniker, format or call letters during this time, and included classic rock to compliment sister WQBK-FM, a CHR format to compete against WFLY or oldies to compete against WTRY-FM.
This was eventually confirmed, as the radio station announced a format change about a week before the launch of 105.7 Crush FM at midnight on January 3, 2011, with a 1990s Hits format (similar to Clear Channel's Gen X Radio format) and the WQSH calls under new program director Mike Morgan, who left WFFG-FM in Corinth, New York for WQSH. Most of the staff on the new Crush FM are imports from other area stations, including Sugar Bear in the evenings (formerly of WAJZ), Ellen Rockwell in the afternoons (formerly of WFLY), Mike Morgan in middays (formerly of WFLY and WFFG-FM); out of all former Buzz staff, only Mark Vanness and Meredith McNeil (in Crush FM morning drive) made the transition to the new format.
On October 28, 2011, almost exactly a year after the end of the station's previous format, all of WQSH's staff was dismissed.
Since early October 2011, a translator on 99.1, W256BU, went on the air. The translator is operating an urban contemporary format, branded as "Hot 99.1".
On September 7, 2012, at 5:00 PM, the station flipped to an Adult CHR format, branded as "PopCrush 105-7." The final song under the "Crush FM" branding was End Of The Road by Boyz II Men, while the first song on "PopCrush" was "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry. This is the first time since 2007 the station has had a hot AC format, and now puts the station in competition up against WRVE.
HD radio operations
Upon WQSH's move into the Albany market in 2006, the station was licensed for HD Radio operations. WQSH currently operates one HD sub-channel, WQSH-HD2, which is also carried on translator W256BU, located at 99.1 FM. The translator signed on March 6, 2012, first with construction sounds, then with protest songs as "Occupy 99.1". On March 9, at Midnight, the translator debuted a Soft rock format, branded as "Sunny 99.1" (the launch was promoted with a Facebook page). However, that turned out to be false; later that day, at 3 PM, the station adopted its present urban contemporary format as "Hot 99.1."
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WQSH
- Radio-Locator information on WQSH
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WQSH
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W256BU
- Radio-Locator information on W256BU