|City||Cheektowaga, New York|
|Broadcast area||Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area|
|Translator(s)||102.9 W275BB (Cheektowaga)|
|First air date||August 1956 (as WNIA)|
|Power||1,000 watts AM
220 watts (FM translator)
|Callsign meaning||KummelWECK (a popular local sandwich bread)|
|Former callsigns||WNIA (1956-1979)|
Fox News Radio
|Owner||Dick Greene (sale to Buddy Shula pending)
WECK (1230 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Cheektowaga, New York and serving the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area. The station airs an adult standards music format branded as "Timeless WECK." WECK carries the nationally syndicated music service from Westwood One known as America's Best Music, although some hours are locally-hosted. In the evening, it carries syndicated personality Delilah. Fox News Radio updates are heard on WECK followed by local news and weather.
The studios, offices and transmitter are on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga, although the station uses Buffalo as its mailing address. WECK programming is simulcast on FM translator station W275BB at 102.9 MHz. The station is currently owned by Dick Greene's Culver Communications; a sale to Radio One Buffalo LLC is pending.
In August of 1956, the station first signed on as WNIA. The call letters referred to the nearby Niagara Falls. The station was founded by Gordon P. Brown, who also owned WSAY (now WXXI) in Rochester, New York. After Brown's death, WNIA was sold to Quid Me Broadcasting, a group headed by local broadcast account executive Chet Musialowski. Musialowski was also General Manager of the station during the Quid Me years (1980–1988).
In 1979, the station switched from urban contemporary/R&B to a Top 40/oldies hybrid format that might today be described as adult hits. Original air personalities included Chuck McCoy, Jeff Reinhardt (P.D.), Mark Phillips, J.R. Russ, Barbra Lynne and part timers Art Zelasko, Mike Brown, Ricky Banks, David J. Miller, Jon Park, Dr. Jim Rose and newscaster Pam Kloc. To tie in with the popular local sandwich of roast beef on a kimmelweck roll or "beef on weck", the station switched its call letters to WECK, branding itself as "The roll that rocks."
Music of Your Life
On April 4, 1981, as listening to contemporary music on AM radio declined, the station again switched formats. WECK began airing Adult Standards using the syndicated "Music of Your Life" service. J.R. Russ was elevated to Program Director and the station maintained a live on-air staff including Jim Nowicki in mornings (and earlier, Guy Michaels), Joe Kozma, Aaron Christopher (Russ' air name), Tim White, Dave Prescott (radio name of the late Joseph Skurzewski), Lynn Dixon, Ray Rogers, News Director Bruce Allen, Dave Teresa and Sports Director Walt Hankin.
Previous owner Gordon Brown owned many pop music albums yielding a 2,000 plus library of hit titles. The station continued licensing the "Music of Your Life" name, but it shifted from the tight-rotation "MOYL" tapes to a much larger playlist produced in-house.
The lack of repetition proved worth the effort and the format was a big hit with of Buffalo's large adult population. WECK grew from a "no show" in the ratings at the time of the format change (on 4/4/81) to an all-time high of #4 in the market in late 1983. The trade publication "Inside Radio" touted the headlines: "WECK..takes town by storm" and "WECK skyrockets into contention". Radio and Records designated WECK as a "Fastest Mover" up the ratings ladder.
The 1,000 watt station garnered a 7.2 share of 12+ all listeners, beating most FM, and every area AM station (including 50,000 watt WWKB) except #1 WBEN. The Radio and Records Directory also listed WECK as #4 in the entire U.S. in Average Quarter Hour listening (AQH) among stations with similar formats.
The station was sold by Quid Me to CBS Radio in 1988. WECK continued with a nostalgia music format, but became satellite automated, maintaining only a live, local DJ show in morning drive. Portions of the station's programming came from the Music of Your Life network, although the station switched to Westwood One's Adult Standards satellite feed for a time.
The station was sold to Regent Communications along with the rest of the CBS Buffalo cluster in 2006. In February 2006, WECK abruptly pulled the plug on the standards format. In an attempt to capitalize on the success of sister station Country WYRK 106.5 FM, the group's most successful station, WECK switched to the Jones Radio Network classic country format, until March 11, 2008.
Talk Radio Era
On Monday, November 5, 2007, local resident Dick Greene, owner of WLVL in nearby Lockport, New York, announced that he had purchased WECK for $1.3 million through his company, Culver Communications. In the early morning, on March 12, 2008, Greene launched a new talk radio format, mixed with local and syndicated programming. WECK immediately made headlines with the hiring of Buffalo radio veterans Harv Moore and Tom Donahue to helm its morning show. However, just six months after the switch, Moore was released and replaced by local actress Loraine O'Donnell, who was subsequently fired in June 2011. Brad Riter and Nick Mendola, former personalities at 550 WGR, were also added to the staff, as was former politician Bill O'Loughlin.
WECK acquired the broadcast radio rights to the University of Buffalo Bulls football and men's basketball games for the 2008 season. In 2009 the station acquired the Buffalo-area rights to New York Yankees baseball through the 2011 season. WECK lost the rights to the UB Bulls athletics teams to 1270 WHLD Niagara Falls in the spring of 2013.
Early programming during the talk era included a show by WLVL host Scott Leffler, a tradio service, a news block hosted by Tom Schuh, and a one-hour midday block of local brokered programming. All of these had been canceled as of May 2011. Channel 2 WGRZ news was simulcast during WECK's talk radio era. Syndicated programming on WECK toward the end of its talk run included The Laura Ingraham Show, Dennis Miller, First Light and Fox Sports Radio. Some of these affiliations continue on WLVL. A paranormal show, "The Edge of the Unknown", hosted by former WGR/WBEN host and reporter Joshua Gregory, AKA Mark Henry, was cancelled shortly after the switch to Adult Standards.
Return to Adult Standards
On July 12, 2011, Greene ended the talk format. With former operations manager director Tom Schuh rehired as a consultant, WECK returned to the adult standards music format. For its first two years after returning to the music format, WECK's music blend leaned toward a MOR aproach, branded as "The Breeze;" among its personalities was WGRZ weather anchor Kevin O'Connell, who voice-tracked afternoon drive until 2012. In 2013, after WHLD (which was carrying a pure adult standards format at the time) shifted to sports talk, WECK rebranded to its current Timeless format and reformulated its playlist to reflect a traditional adult standards approach.
Morning host Tom Donahue and Sunday polka music host Ron Dombrowski (who also hosts shows for WXRL during the week and WBBZ-TV on television) continue to air on WECK, with most other dayparts covered by America's Best Music. In late January 2016, WECK acquired the local broadcast rights to Delilah, the nationally syndicated love-song host who spent the previous two decades on 96.1 WJYE (now WMSX). The station also broadcasts Canisius College men's basketball.
Sale to Buddy Shula
After several years on the market, William J. Ostrander (previously a disc jockey at rival station WTSS under the stage name Buddy Shula and a marketing representative at Entercom's other properties) filed with the FCC and announced his intent to purchase the station on March 10, 2017. Shula DOES NOT intend on changing the format when the sale closes.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-140
- name="nerw43">Fybush, Scott (2008-03-03). "This Week's Bloodbath: Citadel". NorthEast Radio Watch.
- WECK officials assess on-air upheaval. Buffalo News. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
- Kwiatkowski, Jane (July 12, 2011). Two more on-air hosts lose jobs as WECK shifts from talk format The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- Official web site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WECK
- Radio-Locator Information on WECK
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WECK
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W275BB
- Radio-Locator information on W275BB