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City Syracuse, New York
Broadcast area Syracuse, New York
Frequency 1390 kHz
First air date 1922
Format Silent
Power 5,000 watts day
5,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 34821
Transmitter coordinates 43°9′10.00″N 76°11′35.00″W / 43.1527778°N 76.1930556°W / 43.1527778; -76.1930556
Callsign meaning (W) First Broadcast License Note: now[1]
Former callsigns WLLF (1989-1989)
WDCW (1993-1989)
Owner Leatherstocking Media Group
Sister stations WMCR, WSEN

WFBL (1390 kHz AM) is a radio station owned by the "Leatherstocking Media Group." It is licensed to Syracuse, New York and serves Syracuse and its suburbs. Its studios and offices are located on Smokey Hollow Road in Baldwinsville.

WFBL's call letters stand for "First Broadcast License" because the station was the first FCC-licensed radio station to sign on in Central New York, going on the air in 1922. (WSYR signed on a short time later in 1922.) WFBL changed call letters to WLLF on October 17, 1989. On November 1, 1989, the station returned to its original call sign, WFBL. On September 21, 1993, it switched call letters to WDCW. And on December 1, 2003 it again went back to its original WFBL.[2]

"Leatherstocking Media Group", also owns Central New York radio stations WMCR and WSEN.[citation needed] WFBL programming is simulcast on 1600 WMCR in Oneida, New York.


As of October 11, 2009, WFBL became known as "CNY Talk Radio" (CNY standing for Central New York). WFBL airs syndicated talk shows from Westwood One and Salem Radio Network. Programming includes First Light, America's Morning News, The Laura Ingraham Show, Jonathon Brandmeier, Michael Medved, Mark Levin, Jason Lewis, Herman Cain and America Overnight with Jon Grayson. Saturdays feature Jim Slinsky's Outdoor Talk Network, The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, Larry Kudlow, Cigar Dave and a local show known as The Car Guys. Meet the Press, The Other Side With Steve Godfrey, Motor Trend Radio, The Tech Guy and Science Fantastic with Michio Kaku air on Sundays.

WFBL's chief competitor in the Talk Radio format is 570 WSYR, owned by iHeartMedia.

Historical notes[edit]

WFBL was a charter member of the CBS Radio Network, being one of the 16 stations that aired the first CBS network program on September 18, 1927.[3]

In late 1932, controlling interest in the station was bought by Oscar and Robert Soule and Samuel H. Cook.[4]

From May 1979 to October 1980, WFBL, then known as "Fire 14," used consultant Mike Joseph's Hot Hits format as a Top 40 competitor to 1490 WOLF.

WFBL dropped "Hot Hits" in October 1980 in favor of the then-emerging adult standards format called Music of Your Life. The WFBL calls (and standards format) later moved to 1050 AM in Baldwinsville, New York (now WSEN) before returning to their original home at 1390.

For a few years, when it was owned by Buckley Broadcasting, WFBL featured a line-up that closely mirrored its sister talk station, 710 WOR in New York City. This continued until April 7, 2008 at 6:00AM, when WFBL switched formats from "Talk Radio 1390" to "Oldies 1390." The station features music from the 1950s and 1960s. On October 12, 2009, the Oldies format moved to WSEN 1050 and WFBL returned to the talk radio format.

In late 2015, Leatherstocking Media Group reached an agreement to sell some of its assets to the Family Life Network, a regional Christian music network. The sale did not include WFBL but it did give the network rights to share WFBL's transmitter and gave FLN right of first refusal to purchase WFBL and match any bid for the station; as FLN owns no AM stations and promptly traded away the other Syracuse station in the deal to Craig Fox, such a sale is unlikely.

On September 3, 2016 WFBL went silent due to insufficient funds to correct equipment problems. Craig Fox reached an agreement with Leatherstocking to purchase the station's license for $275,000; there remain questions whether Fox, who is at the maximum number of allowable license holdings in the Syracuse market and has run into complications with the FLN trades, will be allowed to consummate the sale.[5]


WFBL logo.jpg


  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web. 
  2. ^ "WFBL Call Sign History". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. 
  3. ^ Radio Digest, September 1927, quoted in: McLeod, Elizabeth (September 20, 2002). CBS—In the Beginning, History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved on 2007-01-01. The other stations were WOR in Newark; WADC in Akron, Ohio; WAIU in Columbus, Ohio; WCAO in Baltimore; WCAU in Philadelphia; WEAN in Providence; WGHP in Detroit; WJAS in Pittsburgh; WKRC in Cincinnati; WMAK in Buffalo-Lockport; WMAQ in Chicago; WNAC in Boston; WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana; KMOX in St. Louis; and KOIL in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  4. ^ "(untitled brief)" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 15, 1932. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  5. ^

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