|City of license||Altamont, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital District|
|Branding||100.9 The Cat|
|Slogan||Today's Best Country|
|First air date||1968|
|Format||Country (stunting with simulcast of WKLI)|
|Callsign meaning||W Z (original name) Modern Rock (original format)|
|Former callsigns||WIZR-FM (1968-1984)
(6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WAJZ, WFLY, WKLI, WROW, WYJB|
WZMR (104.9 FM, "104.9 The Cat") is a country music formatted radio station licensed to Altamont and serving New York's Capital District and surrounding areas. The station is owned by Pamal Broadcasting, and broadcasts at 530 watts ERP from the Helderberg Mountain antenna farm in New Scotland. WZMR is one of several signals to have moved into the Albany market in recent years; prior to its move in March 1999, it was licensed to Johnstown, New York as the sister to WIZR.
WIZR-FM, forerunner to today's WZMR, signed on in 1968 largely simulcasting the middle of the road programming of its parent station WIZR. Between 1973 and 1979, both stations flipped to a top 40 simulcast. Eventually, WIZR-FM would flip to oldies in 1980. WIZR-FM left the air in 1982, returning to the air as a simulcast of WMYL (formerly WIZR) in 1983. In early 1984, WIZR-FM and WMYL were sold. WIZR-FM flipped formats to album oriented rock as WSRD, "The Wizard", with live DJs. However the format only lasted through late 1984, when it was flipped to satellite-delivered adult contemporary. In mid-1987, the format was flipped to satellite delivered oldies, still known as "The Wizard". This format would last until March 1999, when the station was moved into the Albany market.
In early 1998, longtime WIZR/WSRD owner Joe Caruso obtained a construction permit to move WZMR to the Albany suburb of Altamont, in turn making the station a full Albany signal. That October, Caruso sold the stations to Albany Broadcasting (today's Pamal Broadcasting) for $2.2 million . Albany Broadcasting closed on the stations in March 1999 and near immediately moved WSRD into the Albany market and gave it the new calls WAAP. The transmitter site was initially on the Channel 23 tower with sister station WAJZ, but was moved to the WYJB tower in November 2000.
The format was changed to modern adult contemporary as The Point among its signon from Altamont on March 10, 1999, an attempt to capitalize on the then-recent flips of WXLE (now WTMM-FM) to rhythmic oldies, WRVE to a more mainstream format, and the then-stunting WKLI. It was WKLI which spoiled these plans, as Albany Broadcasting was sued by CBS Radio, then-owners of the Point name, on the behalf of WKLI-owner-in-waiting Tele-Media. In response, the station relaunched as WZMR with the Z104.9 branding and a modern rock format and the Point name surfaced on WKLI (which changed to WCPT) that May. However, poor ratings on WZMR resulted due to the dominance of competitor WQBK-FM/WQBJ and WCPT's stronger signal.
After WHRL flipped from smooth jazz to modern rock, the stations swapped formats within the course of two weeks, with WZMR flipping to smooth jazz at 6:00 AM on October 18, 1999 as Smooth Jazz 104.9 after WHRL dumped it for modern rock at midnight on October 2, 1999. The final song played under WZMR's short-lived modern rock format was "You Get What You Give" by The New Radicals, also the first song played under the format. Though the return of smooth jazz was initially a success, ratings had declined at the station by early 2003, leading to a tweak towards an urban AC format.
In June 2003, the format was tweaked to urban adult contemporary (as a complement to then-urban WAJZ) by adding R&B and soul music to the then-current smooth jazz playlist, with the branding 104.9 Love FM. However, the new format failed to attract listeners as well as advertising revenue, and the station was up for sale in 2004 to prepare WNYQ (105.7 FM) for a move-in; however, Regent Communications would eventually buy that station after the sale to Pamal fell through, and Pamal instead retained WZMR. After a Christmas music stunt in December 2004, the format was again changed on January 6, 2005 to a simulcast of country music station WFFG-FM in Corinth, New York (however, the simulcast only acknowledged 104.9 in the top-hour legal IDs).
After a weekend of stunting, WZMR flipped formats to active rock on February 13, 2006 as 104.9 The Edge, picking up the format abandoned by the former Edge, WQBK-FM/WQBJ in December 2005. WZMR saw the most success during this time, with their Edgefest concerts, and even attracted John Mulrooney for its morning show. However, with WQBK-FM/WQBJ reverting to its previous active rock format in 2008, and WHRL tweaking from modern rock to active rock one year later, the future of WZMR's active rock format was cloudy as there were three stations in the format by that time (however, by the end of 2010, only WQBK-FM/WQBJ would remain with the active rock format in the Albany market). Pamal would later return to the active rock format in 2011, with the flip of WKLI-FM from variety hits to active rock.
At 10:49 AM on February 26, 2010, the final song under the Edge format, "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent, was anticlimactically interrupted, as WZMR returned to a country music format under the 104.9 The Cat branding, taking on a similar playlist and imaging to sister WJEN in Vermont. The first song played under the new country format was "Building Bridges" by Brooks & Dunn. Unlike the former Edge, the only two live jocks when the station started under the Cat format were Mike Thomas in the mornings, and Ally Reid in the afternoon. Today, the air-staff consists of Dylan & Dayna in the Morning from 5:30-10am, Dayna remaining on air until 3pm, John Riley on air until 7pm, and Sky Walker until midnight.
At Noon on October 10, 2013, WZMR began simulcasting on sister station WKLI-FM (the former Rock 100.9). The simulcast will last for a short time to redirect listeners to the new frequency, with a new format to launch on WZMR in the near future. A website registered by Pamal shows it could be flipping to some type of Alternative format as 104.9 The Peak, with the name also being used by WXPK in northern New York City.
- Fybush, Scott (April 2, 1999). "The Eagle has Crash-Landed". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Fybush, Scott (October 22, 1999). "The WMEX Follies". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Fybush, Scott (June 30, 2003). "92.9 Signs On in the Hamptons". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Fybush, Scott (January 10, 2005). "No "Love" for Albany". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Fybush, Scott (February 13, 2006). "AM Oldies: Buffalo Loses, Scranton Gains". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Churchill, Chris (February 26, 2010). "Albany Broadcasting launches new country station". Albany Times Union. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WZMR
- Radio-Locator information on WZMR
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WZMR