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|City||Rensselaer, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital District|
|Slogan||The Capital District's Talk Radio|
|Translator(s)||98.7 W254DA (Albany)|
|First air date||December 3, 1961|
|Power||10,000 watts day|
8,000 watts night
80 watts (translator)
|Callsign meaning||Some believe W Gerald D. Jennings (former mayor of Albany). In reality, the initials refer to the owner's children.|
|Former callsigns||WEEE (1963-72)|
|Affiliations||Westwood One Network|
Salem Radio Network
Fox News Radio
ABC News Radio
|Owner||Capital Broadcasting, Inc.|
WGDJ (1300 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Rensselaer, New York and serving the Capital District. The station is owned and operated by Capital Broadcasting, Inc., which airs a talk radio format. WGDJ's studios are on South Pearl Street in Albany. The transmitter is off River Road (Route 9J) in Rensselaer. Programming is also heard in Albany and Rensselaer on 80-watt FM translator W254DA at 98.7 MHz.
WGDJ has local talk hosts weekdays from morning till midday, including a late morning political discussion show hosted by Fred Dicker, a former New York Post columnist and authority on capital politics. After 1 p.m., the station carries nationally syndicated talk shows, including Dave Ramsey, Michael Savage, Larry Elder, John Batchelor, Red Eye Radio and First Light. Weekends feature shows on money, law, home and car repair. Weekend syndicated hosts include Larry Kudlow, Chris Plante, Brian Kilmeade, Bob Brinker and Jim Bohannon. Most syndicated shows come from the Westwood One Network, although a few shows are syndicated by the Salem Radio Network and Fox News Radio. Most hours begin with world and national news from ABC News Radio.
On December 3, 1961, WEEE first signed on as a 5,000-watt daytimer radio station. The 1300 kHz frequency allocation was created for another station that was forced off the air a year earlier, 1280 WRSA in nearby Saratoga Springs. WEEE played country music, but always had trouble competing against more powerful and popular WOKO (now WOPG), the leading country station in the market. In 1970, WEEE was bought by People Communication and became WQBK, initially switching to a Top 40 sound, then trying a middle of the road. On December 1, 1972, an FM sister station signed on, WQBK-FM at 103.9 MHz, which mostly simulcasted AM 1300, allowing listeners to hear WQBK day and night. But after several years, People Communication decided to give the FM station its own separate format, progressive rock.
Switch to Talk Radio
With the FM station doing its own format, People Communication moved WQBK to a full-time talk station, using news from United Press International. Then, in 1981, WQBK became a full-time station with 5,000 watts of nighttime power. Now able to stay on the air after sunset, WQBK became the New York Yankees radio network affiliate for the Capital District. With the exception of upstart 1WWCN from 1985-1987, WQBK was the only full-time talk radio station in the Albany area until WGY and WPTR (now WDCD) moved to that format in the late 1990s. WQBK was the first talk station for Tom Leykis early in his career before he left for Miami. Also, market veterans Paul Vandenburgh (later of WROW, and current morning host at WGDJ) and Tom Mailey (who went on to WRGB) began their careers at the station. The talk format did well even against the larger signaled WPTR and the evolution of WGY to talk.
In 1996, WQBK-AM-FM were sold to Radio Enterprises, Inc., leading to drastic changes for cost savings. All local programming was quickly canceled, many of the staff fired, and sports contracts were terminated including the Yankees, hours before the first pitch of opening day. The new WQBK ran mostly syndicated programming from ABC Talk Radio and NBC Talknet, using hourly newscasts from CBS Radio News.
Becoming a Sports Station
In 1997, Radio Enterprises was purchased by Clear Channel Communications (which had owned a minority share). Noticing a steady performance by New York City sports radio pioneer WFAN, even in the Albany ratings 150 miles to the north, management decided to flip WQBK to become the first all-sports station in the market. The station took the call sign WTMM (referring to "Team") and began to acquire a number of play-by-play rights for regional sports teams. In the first year of its new format, much of WTMM's programming came from One-on-One Sports. In early 1998, WTMM became an affiliate of ESPN Radio. With the station's launch came the addition of play-by-play of Buffalo Bills football, Albany Firebirds arena football, College of Saint Rose athletics, and Union College men's hockey.
The station's biggest acquisition came in 2000 when the station returned to broadcasting New York Yankees baseball games, a fixture on the station during its time as WQBK. Later that year, Regent Communications purchased the station after Clear Channel divested several stations in the market and decided to launch its own sports talk station, WOFX. Regent made budget cuts, eliminating most of WTMM's non-ESPN programming including the "Albany Times Union Sports Minute" and all locally based play-by play. The station also lost its own sales staff, leading to commercial breaks being filled with public service announcements and ads sold on group deals. Some exceptions came when WTMM and sister station WABT aired Albany Conquest arena football games in 2004 and when the American Hockey League's Albany River Rats began airing their games on WTMM in 2006.
Female Talk as WEEV
Regent's moved a new FM station on 105.7 MHz into the Albany market, sparking a realignment of its stations. With the new signal taking WABT's format, WTMM's all-sports format was moved to WABT's former home at 104.5 MHz. Prior to this move, Regent entered a deal with Greenstone Media to air that company's female-targeted talk radio programs, and in January 2007 the station became WEEV, Eve 1300 AM. However, Greenstone Media went out of business that August, and the station reverted to the WTMM call letters as an AM simulcast of WTMM-FM.
Change to WGDJ Talk Radio
During 2007, Regent Communications began selling many of their smaller market and lower priority stations. Having lost its audience due to the Eve experiment, Regent decided to sell WTMM to locally based startup company Capital Broadcasting, Inc., with former WQBK host Paul Vandenburgh serving as its president and general manager. The price was $850,000.00. On November 26, 2007, 1300's Capital Broadcasting took control of the station from Regent and rolled out a talk radio format similar to the old WQBK, emphasizing local shows over nationally syndicated hosts.
Capital Broadcasting initially announced the new call letters for the station would be WCBI. However, Capital Broadcasting was unable to secure permission from Morris Multimedia, owner of WCBI-TV in Columbus, Mississippi, to share the WCBI call sign, and on February 14, 2008, the station instead changed its call letters to WGDJ. The call sign's origins are disputed. Claims have been made to it being the initials of former Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings, who had a regularly scheduled program on the station. However, sources at the station say it is actually the initials of the owner's children.
In November 2009, WGDJ boosted its power to 10,000 watts in the daytime and 8,000 watts at night. Also in 2009, Siena College began broadcasting its men's basketball games on WGDJ. On February 7, 2013, WGDJ announced that former House of Representatives member John E. Sweeney would host a show on the station. Sweeney would quit the show two weeks later, citing schedule conflicts.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1964 page B-106
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1974 B-146
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1997 page B-312
- "New AM radio station targets women". Albany Business Review. January 2, 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- "Trustco's McCormick part of group buying WTMM, 1300 AM". Albany Business Review. October 23, 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Karlin, Rick. Sweeney’s short-lived radio show. Times Union. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WGDJ
- Radio-Locator Information on WGDJ
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WGDJ