|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2008)|
|City of license||Rensselaer, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital District|
|First air date||1963|
|Power||10,000 watts day
8,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||Some believe W Gerald D Jennings (mayor of Albany, New York)however in reality it is the initials of some of the investors in the station.|
|Former callsigns||WEEE (1963-72)
|Owner||Capital Broadcasting, Inc.|
WGDJ (Talk 1300) is an AM radio station broadcasting on 1300 kHz licensed to Rensselaer, New York. The station is owned and operated by Capital Broadcasting, Inc., which bought the station from Regent Communications and runs a talk radio format.
WGDJ started out in 1963 as WEEE, a 5,000-watt daytime-only radio station. The 1300 kHz frequency allocation was created for another station that was forced off the air a year earlier (1280 WRSA Saratoga Springs). The station played country music, but always had trouble competing against more powerful and popular WOKO, the leading country music station in the market. In 1970, the station changed hands and adopted the WQBK calls, initially doing an MOR format that eventually evolved to full-time talk, by the late 1970s. In 1981, WQBK became a full-time station with 5,000 watts of nighttime power and also became the New York Yankees radio affiliate for the market.
With the exception of upstart WWCN from 1985-1987 (now WOPG), WQBK was the only full-time talk radio station in the Albany area until WPTR and WGY moved to that format in 1994 and was the first Albany stop for a young Tom Leykis early in his career before he left for Miami's WNWS. Locally, market veterans Paul Vandenburgh (later of WROW, and future minority owner of the station as 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, however the sale of WQBK AM/FM to Radio Enterprises, Inc. in 1996 led to drastic changes. At literally a moment's notice, all local programming was canceled, most of the staff fired, and sports contracts were terminated (including the Yankees mere hours before first pitch of opening day).
In 1997, Radio Enterprises was purchased by Clear Channel Communications (which had owned a minority share) and, noticing a steady performance by sports radio pioneer WFAN in New York City in the Albany ratings, decided to flip WQBK to become the first sports radio station in the market. The station took the WTMM calls with the flip and began to sign on a variety of time buy play-by-play rights . For the first year of its new format, WTMM's programming came from One-on-One Sports with the switch of programming to ESPN Radio coming in early 1998. With the station's launch came the addition of play-by-play of the Buffalo Bills, Albany Firebirds, College of Saint Rose athletics, and Union College men's hockey. The station's biggest acquisition came in 2000 when the station began to broadcast New York Yankees 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 their own sports talk station (WOFX). Under Regent's ownership, WTMM had most of its non-ESPN programming eliminated including the "Times Union Sports Minute" and all locally based play-by play and 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 games of the Albany Conquest in 2004 and when the AHL's Albany River Rats began airing their games on WTMM in 2006.
The realignment of Regent's Albany stations in the wake of the move-in on a new signal on 105.7 MHz led to a realignment of their stations. With the new signal taking WABT's format, WTMM was moved to WABT's former home at 104.5 MHz, a signal more stable day and night but (contrary to popular belief) weaker than the 1300 signal in the Albany/Troy area. 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 it began to simulcast WTMM-FM.
Change to WGDJ
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., headed in part by former WQBK host Paul Vandenburgh, in October 2007 for $850,000.00. Vandenburgh is well known for his amusing malapropisms, his disdain for those who are not middle-aged white men and his penchant for calling women "girls."
On November 26, 2007, 1300's new ownership took control of the station from Regent and rolled out a talk radio format similar to the old WQBK with the transfer of control of the station to Capital Broadcasting.
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 letters, and on February 14, 2008, WTMM instead changed its call letters to WGDJ. The call sign's origins are disputed—claims have been made to it being the initials of perennial Albany mayor Gerald D. Jennings, who has a regularly scheduled program on the station, however sources at the station say it is actually the initials of the owner's children.
Vandenburgh expresses disdain for public sector entities and their wasteful spending, yet several of his key sponsors are quasi-governmental agencies like the Capital District Transportation Authority and Capital Off Track Betting. He also leases space in Albany's Times Union Center, a facility that receives public funding.
In November 2009, WGDJ boosted its power to 10,000 watts in the daytime and 8,000 watts at night. On November 4, 2009, Siena College announced that all men's basketball games will move to Talk-1300 AM (WGDJ). The "Voice of the Saints" Robert Lee will anchor all men's basketball broadcasts on Talk-1300 AM (WGDJ) alongside longtime color commentator Tom Huerter. Siena College also announced that pregame coverage will begin one hour prior to tipoff with team features, while an expanded one-hour postgame show will include a fan call-in portion. Lastly, a studio host will be added to each broadcast to assist with the expanded pre and postgame shows.
Hosts on the station, known primarily on-air as "Talk 1300," include Vandenburgh, New York Post columnist Fred Dicker, and Albany Mayor Gerald D. "Jerry" Jennings. In 2012, Melody Burns joined the station, the first woman to host a show on the station; to make room, longtime Albany radio host Al Roney was dismissed and Vandenburgh shortened his show by an hour. Syndicated programs heard on WGDJ include Jim Bohannon, Red Eye Radio, Hollywood 360 with Carl Amari, Dennis Miller, John Batchelor, Roger Hedgecock and Mike Huckabee. Weekends feature Swap Shop, local brokered programming and programming from Salem Radio Network.
On February 7, 2013 WGDJ announced that former House of Representatives member John E. Sweeney would host a show on the station. Sweeney quit the show two weeks later, because his show was terrible.
- "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