|WENI, WENI-FM, WPHD|
First air date
|1939 (at 1200)|
Former call signs
|1200 kHz (1939–1941)|
Call sign meaning
WMAJ (1230 kHz) is an AM radio station in the Elmira-Corning market of New York state. It broadcasts at 1,000 watts at day and 910 watts at night from studios in Corning, New York. It airs an adult contemporary format branded as "Magic 106.7/106.9".
WMAJ's first license was granted on December 7, 1939, as a new station operated by the Elmira Star-Gazette with the call sign WENY. It was initially assigned to 1200 kHz, with studios in the Mark Twain Hotel on Market Street in Elmira.
WENY was the third Star-Gazette affiliated radio station. In the spring of 1932, the newspaper had briefly assumed control of WBGF in Glen Falls, and changed that station's call letters to WESG, with plans to move the station to Elmira. However, a short time later the newspaper instead entered into a long-term lease with Cornell University to operate its station in Ithaca from the newspaper's studios in Elmira. At this time, the Cornell station changed its call letters from WEAI to WESG (now WHCU).
The newspaper's leasing of WESG was terminated in mid-1940, and WENY became the Star-Gazette's sole radio outlet. In 1941, WENY moved to 1230 kHz, as part of the reassignments made under the provisions of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), where it remains today.
Former sister station WENY-FM was launched in the 1960s.
In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, WENY was a full-service operation with an extensive air staff and local news department and by far the dominant radio station in the Elmira market.
In the 1970s, as a Top 40 music station, WENY adopted the slogan "We're the One," a play on the Orleans song "Still The One," which was popular at the time and was used in promotions for ABC television, of which then-sister station WENY-TV 36 was an affiliate. The members of Orleans also were natives of the Elmira and Ithaca areas.
The station kept playing music until the early 1990s, when it switched to talk radio. That was when it dropped Voice of the People, a long-running local talk show that ran weeknights at 6 p.m. Ted Hodge was the host of Voice of the People in the late 1970s.
Longtime owner Howard Green sold the station cluster to Lilly Broadcasting in 1999. As Lilly (and its predecessor, SJL Broadcast Management) was primarily a television company at the time (it would eventually reenter radio in 2019), Lilly sold off the radio stations to White Broadcasting in 2000, which switched the AM side to an oldies format. Under a limited marketing agreement, the station was managed by Eolin Broadcasting Inc., which also owned talk radio station WCLI, WCBA-FM (adult contemporary), WCBA (adult standards) and WGMM (oldies). White sold the station to EBI in 2001, at which time the television station was separated from the radio stations.
EBI moved the station to its headquarters in South Corning and switched WENY back to talk radio, simulcasting with WCLI.
In 2003, EBI sold all of the stations to Route 81 Radio, based in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. When Route 81 Radio went defunct, WS Media, a shell company for William and Paige Christian (owners of TV station WYDC), bought the stations. To circumvent ownership caps, the Christians each operate some of the stations under each individual owner's name. In November 2019, Standard Media struck an agreement to buy all of the Christians' broadcast assets, including WENY.
WENY carried a mostly syndicated lineup. Frankly Speaking with Frank Acomb, a local program, was heard during morning drive time. The station simulcast local high school sports with WGMM, with Denis Sweeney on play-by-play.
Though WENY shared the same "Patriot" brand as other Waypoint conservative talk stations WGGO and WSHY, it did not share the same lineup of hosts, because WWLZ, a competing station owned by Seven Mountains Media, held the rights to almost all the shows on those stations in the Elmira market for over a decade. The lineup became available to WENY in 2020 when WWLZ changed formats.
In June 2021, WENY changed their format from talk (which continued on WENI) to adult contemporary, branded as "Magic 106.7/106.9" (the format and "Magic" branding moved from WENI-FM 92.7 and WENY-FM 97.7). This returned WENY to its earlier years as a music station.
On February 13, 2023, the station changed its call sign to WMAJ.
Notable former staff
- ^ WENY (advertisement), Broadcasting, May 15, 1940, page 89.
- ^ "AM Query Results: WMAJ" (FCC.gov)
- ^ "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, April 30, 1932, page 11. (WBGF had been initially licensed in 1930 to W. Neal Parker and Herbert M. Metcalfe in Glen Falls, New York ("New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, April 30, 1930, page 3.) and is now WAMC in Albany.)
- ^ "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, September 30, 1932, page 14.
- ^ "WESG Quits Elmira", Broadcasting, May 15, 1940, page 93.
- ^ "List of Radio Broadcast Stations, Alphabetically by Call Letters as of March 29, 1941", page 56.
- ^ Slack, Dean (May 14, 1995). "Elmira's Hodge is 'an announcer's announcer'". Corning Leader.
- ^ "WWLZ Drops Talk For WMTT Simulcast" by Lance Venta, January 14, 2020 (RadioInsight.com)
- ^ Seven Mountains Media Makes Multiple Frequency Shifts In Elmira/Corning Radioinsight - June 7, 2021
§Online posts of letter signed by Dale L. Taylor, Manager, on WENY letterhead on March 4, 1940; Press and Sun Bulletin article, September 18, 1997, p. 13, some names and dates mentioned in reporting on Taylor's passing away.
- Official website
- Denis Sweeney's WENY sports page
- Frankly Speaking with Frank Acomb
- WMAJ in the FCC AM station database
- WMAJ on Radio-Locator
- WMAJ in Nielsen Audio's AM station database
- W294BU in the FCC FM station database
- W294BU on Radio-Locator
- W295BY in the FCC FM station database
- W295BY on Radio-Locator
- FCC History Cards for WMAJ (covering 1938-1981 as WENY)
Coordinates: 42°04′29″N 76°46′47″W / 42.07472°N 76.77972°W