|City of license||Poughkeepsie, New York|
|Broadcast area||Hudson Valley, eastern Catskills, Western Connecticut|
|Slogan||Today's Hit Music|
|First air date||December 7, 1947 (as WHVA)|
|Callsign meaning||W Stereo PoughKeepsie|
WHVA (1952 briefly)
(6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WBNR, WBPM, WGHQ, WHUD, WLNA, WXPK|
WSPK (104.7 FM, "K-104.7") is a CHR radio station licensed to Poughkeepsie, New York and broadcasting from studios in Fishkill. It is owned by Pamal Broadcasting and broadcasts on 104.7 MHz at an ERP of 7.4 kilowatts from a tower at the top of Mount Beacon in Fishkill.
WSPK's main coverage area is centered on the Hudson Valley, with secondary targeting into the eastern Catskills, Northern Westchester County, the Danbury, Connecticut area, and Pike County, Pennsylvania. For many years, the station's top-of-hour ID mentioned its coverage of parts of five states (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts) and "an itty-bitty piece of Vermont." WSPK reaches the Bronx and, until the launch of stations at adjacent frequencies in the early 1990s, Albany as well. In recent years illegal pirate broadcasters have begun broadcasting on 104.7 in the Bronx and Brooklyn which interfere with K-104's signal in Southern Westchester and the Bronx where the station used to be listenable all the time.
Poughkeepsie Newspaper Incorporated, then owner of WKIP, signed on WHVA 104.7 MHz on December 7, 1947. It was the first FM station to sign on between New York City and the Albany area. The transmitter site was located on North Mount Beacon in an area that was mainly a bungalow colony above the Mount Beacon Incline Railway and casino. The building and tower had been previously used by WOKO in the late 1920s. While that site did not work well for AM radio because of the poor ground conductivity, it proved an excellent site for FM radio due to its height advantages.
In its early years, the station played classical music and for a time was a part of a regional network operated by station WQXR. In 1950, WHVA was sold to the Rural Radio Network, which later turned into Northeast Radio Corp. The call sign was changed to WRRH. In June 1953, WRRH was sold to Dutchess Broadcasting Corporation, owners of WKIP. This would make the second time the station was co-owned with WKIP. The call letters were changed to WKIP-FM and the station adopted a full-time simulcast of WKIP's full service format.
In 1970 WKIP-FM was sold to Beacon Broadcasting, owner of WBNR, and took on new call letters: WSPK (Stereo Poughkeepsie). With new owners came a 60% simulcast with WBNR that created a varied middle of the road/classical/beautiful music format which was commonplace on many FM stations at the time. The new owners also chose an unusual identifier for an FM frequency: 10-47 (said on-air as "ten-forty-seven").
By 1972, the station changed to a country music format to counter the newly relaunched WPDH. Country did not last long on the frequency and in the Fall of 1974, WSPK adopted a Top 40 format under the moniker "10-47, More Music!", which ran from the Fall of 1974 to early 1977. During this period, WSPK simulcasted the WBNR morning show hosted by Rick Liota. The station also simulcasted with WBNR on the weekends, breaking away for network newscasts on the half hour and when WBNR ran Yankees baseball, WSPK played pre-recorded oldies tapes voiced by Liota. The national radio show "American Top 40 with Casey Kasem" also debuted during this time and would stay on the air on the weekends until 1988, when WSPK opted to keep Casey Kasem on the air with "Casey's Top 40" until 1991.
In the spring of 1977, WSPK again went after WPDH which had flipped from country to automated album-oriented rock (AOR) a year earlier with instant ratings success. WSPK's AOR format concentrated on quieter tracks than PDH's approach and struggled as WPDH refined its rock format. In 1978, SPK went to an unusual CHR/Oldies hybrid called "Gold N' Stereo" combining music by Sugarhill Gang, Neil Diamond, The Who, Abba, Free, Prince, and the Monkees. The station itself evolved to a more pure CHR "hit music" format from 1980 through 1981.
In 1979, Stew Schantz (who also had worked stints at WPDH, later WSPK program director) re-worked the station's image, branding it "K-104". Schantz and the station's sales manager, Chuck Stewart, picked up the idea from a sales conference out west (there, station call signs usually begin with a "K" where east of the Mississippi River they usually begin with a "W"). The new name worked wonders for a station which had spent the previous decade adrift. Stew returned to mornings at WPDH, but he would later return again to K-104 in the late 1980s. Jim Simonetti was WSPK's first PD in its new incarnation as an Adult Top 40 calling itself K-104. He would later transfer to Beacon Broadcasting's WSCR in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Chris Leide would succeed him as PD until 1989, when afternoon host Sean Phillips would become PD until 1992. Mark Bolger, currently at WCZX (MIX 97FM), joined K104 as the evening DJ nicknamed as "The Bolge" from 1985 to 1988, when he handled the morning drive as "Mark Bolger in the Morning on K104" until 1996. Mark Bolger's "Record Crusher" segment, a test play on new hit records, was a notable trademark of his evening show. Stew Schantz re-joined K-104 in 1988 after leaving the "Stew and John Morning Show" at WPDH, handling the midday slot. The "All-Request Lunch at Noon with Stew Schantz" also debuted, with Scotty Mac as the current host as the "All-Request Lunch at Noon with Scotty Mac". Scotty joined the station in 1989 originally handling voiceover and commercial production work with weekend host (and later MD) Chris St. James. With the exception of one year being at KHITS Tulsa, OK in 1998, Scotty Mac is the longest tenured air personality at the station, and is currently midday host and PD.
By the early 1990s, K-104 evolved to a more adult-leaning approach as the CHR format went into a short-term decline. The decline was mainly due to Country Music's resurgence immediately following the Persian Gulf War. With this, the numbers weakened even though there was no real competition for its target audience. In 1996, owner Beacon Broadcasting sold their remaining stations Enterprise Media of Binghamton. Under this new ownership, Mark Bolger left the station, and Stew Schantz handled the K-104 morning drive. Their ownership was short lived, as they in turn sold WBNR and WSPK to Pamal Broadcasting in 1998. Upon Pamal's take over, Schantz resigned from the station. He later went on to do behind-the-scenes work in Utica, Albany and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Schantz died in June, 2010. The sale to Pamal ended K-104's running of weekend shows such as Open House Party with John Garabedian, Classic Dance Tracks with Stevie T, as well as the K-104 Hometown Countdown.
After Schantz's departure, Brian Krysz took on the program director's responsibilities until May 1999, when Scotty Mac (formerly nights in 1991) took over. The changes led to a re-imaged CHR approach which leaned towards dance music. The station's ratings improved, regaining top position in many key demographics, as well as the 12+ bragging rights. Though in recent years weak competition has come in the form of WPKF and the station is a perennial #1, K-104 is still a dominant force in the Hudson Valley radio markets. K-104 also claims the distinction as being the oldest FM 24/7 top 40 station in continuous operation in the United States, as this station pioneered such format on the FM radio dial. Other radio stations in the country including WPLJ, WHTZ (Z-100), KISS 108 (WXKS-FM) Boston and KIIS-FM Los Angeles, would later evolve and emulate into similar 24/7 radio formats. The late Stew Schantz is considered a pioneer in establishing this type of radio format, as he is currently considered for nomination for the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some of Schantz and K-104 memorabilia is in the process of being donated on loan to the Rock Hall in Cleveland, in a future exhibit on the role of local and national radio in rock (the same display would also include Alan Freed, Dick Clark and Casey Kasem).
K-104 is known for its use of voice-over veteran Mark Driscoll as the station's voice from 1994 to the end of 1997 and from 1999 through today. Before Driscoll the legendary Mitch Craig was the voice guy.
In early 2003, Pamal Broadcasting purchased WYNY (107.1 MHz), the Westchester County portion of the "Y-107/Rhumba 107.1" "quadcast" from Nassau Broadcasting (which itself had bought all four stations from Big City Radio). On April 9 of that year, WYNY took on the WXPK calls and the stations relaunched as "K-104 and K-107". Due to various problems keeping the station on the air and generating revenue with the Westchester signal, the simulcast ended one year later when the 107.1 frequency changed to adult album alternative as "107.1 The Peak".
K-104 is one of the few Hudson Valley radio stations (along with co-owned WHUD) that is live 24/7. This allows much better audience interaction than can be found on its voice tracked competitors. Many other Hudson Valley stations, notably Clear Channel stations, are voice-tracked virtually all day long, with almost nobody inside a building that's home to 14 stations.
WSPK holds a yearly event known as K*Fest; for more information see K Fest (Radio). In 2007, rapper Akon threw a boy off the stage into the crowd, an event which attracted media attention. As of November 29, 2007 charges have been filed against Akon regarding this incident. Charges include, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, a misdemeanor and second-degree harassment.
The K104 Christmas Wish
Every Holiday Season K104 conducts an event, The 12 Days Of Christmas wish. Where Listeners have the chance to write about someone they know who has had a rough time through the year and they are given the chance to write a letter and are able to earn the family they are writing about a chance to have a magical holiday season with the 12 days of Christmas wish giving that family a $500 gift certificate to one of the area malls.
- "WSPK Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WSPK 54 dBu contour map". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "1949 Broadcasting Yearbook page 310". Broadcasting Publications, Inc.
- Murphy, Robert J.; Van Buren, Denise, D. (2003). Images of American: Beacon Revisited. Arcadia Press. ISBN 978-0-7385-3450-3.
- "1954 Broadcasting Yearbook, Page 228". Broadcasting Publications, Inc.
- "Fishkill Police file charges against Akon for KFEST stage toss". Gannett Company, Inc Poughkeepsie Journal.
- Station homepage
- WSPK @ Facebook
- WSPK @ twitter
- WSPK topic @ Youtube
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WSPK
- Radio-Locator information on WSPK
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WSPK