|City of license||Albany, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital District|
|Branding||Magic 590 AM|
|First air date||1947|
|Power||5,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
(6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WAJZ, WFLY, WKLI, WYJB, WZMR|
WROW (590 AM, "Magic 590 AM") is a radio station broadcasting to Albany, New York, with its towers in Glenmont, New York. The station is owned by Pamal Broadcasting (dba Albany Broadcasting) and runs an oldies format under the branding Magic 590. The station serves as the CBS Radio News affiliate for the Albany market.
WROW is historically notable for being the station which launched Capital Cities Communications which in 1985 purchased the American Broadcasting Company and became one of the largest media companies in existence at the time of that purchase.
WROW signed on in 1947 when a startup company, the Hudson Valley Broadcasting Company, acquired the rights to the frequency. At the outset, the station had the Mutual affiliation, switching to ABC in 1950. The relationship with ABC was short lived as in 1954 WROW took WTRY's CBS affiliation in order to get the rights to the CBS television affiliation for its new start-up TV sister station WROW-TV (today's WTEN). In 1957, Hudson Valley Broadcasting became Capital Cities Television Corporation (later, Capital Cities Broadcasting in 1960, to reflect its increasing radio holdings including, WROW). The CBS affiliation has remained on WROW ever since, and was shared with sister station WKLI-FM (100.9), the original home of the Magic format, beginning in 2001.
With the golden age of radio soon ending, WROW decided to flip to a Top 40 format (the first such attempt in the Capital District) in the late 1950s. Though initially successful, internal changes at Capital Cities led to WROW to be pushed to take on an easy listening format which it did around 1963. At this point, WROW signed on sister station WROW-FM (today's WYJB) which simulcasted the station, then began to "shadowcast" (delayed simulcast) WROW after the FCC forced such simulcasts to be broken up to stimulate FM. The combined signal of WROW and WROW-FM led to the station(s) being one of the more popular stations in the Capital District for most of the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1983, Capital Cities sold the WROW stations to Dot Broadcasting, a group of local broadcasters. Soon thereafter, WROW would be sold once again to another local ownership group. Through this, not much changed though the aging of the easy listening format led to a split of WROW and WROW-FM in 1991 with WROW keeping the easy listening format. In late 1993, the WROW stations were bought by current owner Albany Broadcasting which put changes in both stations soon thereafter. In February 1994, WROW flipped to an all-news format by day with talk programming nights and weekends. Though a good idea on paper, the news format had low ratings and was a high expense format and in 1996 the station flipped to a full-time talk format. A slow starter at first, the arrival for former WQBK host and program director Paul Vandenburgh to identical positions in 1997 helped matters and made the station a formidable second talk station next to WGY.
In 2007, WROW began overhauling its programming. Vandenburgh left WROW in October 2007 to become part-owner of WGDJ, a station on WQBK's former frequency. Leaving along with Vandenburgh to WGDJ were the Live from the Capitol report with Fred Dicker and the weekly interview show with Albany mayor Jerry Jennings. Mike and the Mad Dog, which had aired as WROW's afternoon show as a simulcast with WFAN, was dropped at this time as well.
WROW discontinued the news/talk format on February 8, 2010, citing the difficulty of competing with WGDJ and WGY. The station then adopted its current format, which was moved from WKLI-FM, and simulcast on both stations for a time.
In terms of music and execution, WROW is a rarity of sorts in modern day radio. The station is also locally programmed.
As a talk station, WROW programmed local programming in morning drive. The station's morning show was co-hosted by Steve van Zandt and Jackie Donovan. Various other local shows air on the weekends, and were for the most part retained following the format change.
Syndicated talk shows on the station included:
- The Glenn Beck Program
- The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly
- John Gibson
- Dave Ramsey
- Alan Colmes
- Joey Reynolds
Weekend syndicated programs included Brian and the Judge, Lars Larson, and Bill Cunningham; the first two of which previously aired on weekdays. The audio feed of NBC's Meet The Press also aired one hour after the program is broadcast on Albany NBC affiliate WNYT (WROW aired the Westwood One broadcast). WROW also holds a sports play-by-play contract with the Albany River Rats ice hockey team, and continues to do so even after the format change. Siena College men's basketball was once carried on the station, but moved to WGDJ in 2009.
In the past, WROW has aired other daily syndicated shows including Brian and the Judge (and its predecessor hosted by Tony Snow), Laura Ingraham, and a simulcast of the WFAN-based Mike and the Mad Dog. Past local programming has included "Afternoon Drive with Sherman Baldwin," "Live from the State Capitol," now heard on WGDJ, "The Mark Williams Show," and "The Scotto Show," hosted by Scott Allen Miller.
- Kim, Michelle (February 8, 2010). "Albany Broadcasting to ditch WROW news talk program". WRGB CBS 6 Albany. Retrieved February 8, 2010.
- Churchill, Chris (February 8, 2010). "WROW abandons talk radio programming". Albany Times Union. Retrieved February 8, 2010.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WROW
- Radio-Locator Information on WROW
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WROW