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CityRochester, New York
Broadcast areaWestern New York
Frequency1180 kHz (HD Radio)
BrandingNewsRadio WHAM 1180
SloganRochester's News, Weather, and Traffic Station
AffiliationsPremiere Networks, Fox News Radio, Westwood One
(iHM Licenses, LLC)
First air date
Technical information
Facility ID37545
Power50,000 watts unlimited
Transmitter coordinates
43°4′55″N 77°43′30″W / 43.08194°N 77.72500°W / 43.08194; -77.72500
43°5′51″N 77°35′1″W / 43.09750°N 77.58361°W / 43.09750; -77.58361 (backup)
WebcastListen Live

WHAM (1180 AM) is a clear channel station in Rochester, New York. It is owned by iHeartMedia and airs a News/Talk format. Its studios are located at Five Star Bank Plaza in downtown Rochester. WHAM is an affiliate of the Fox News Radio Network.

Its 50,000-watt non-directional transmitter, located in Chili, New York, operates the maximum power for commercial AM stations in the United States and Canada. During the day, it provides at least secondary coverage to all of Western New York, including Buffalo. It can also be heard in much of southern Ontario, Canada, including Toronto, Peterborough, and Kingston. At night, it can be heard across much of the eastern half of North America with a good radio. It is the Emergency Alert System's primary entry point station for Western New York.


As with most iHeartMedia News/Talk stations, WHAM carries a mix of local shows and nationally syndicated programs from Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia. Local weekday programs include The WHAM Morning News (5 to 8 am) and The WHAM 5 O'Clock Hour News (5 to 6 pm), Bob Lonsberry (8 am to noon), Talking Back with Shannon Joy (9 to 10 pm) and Sports Talk with Bob Matthews (6 to 8 pm). Matthews is a former Democrat and Chronicle columnist. Matthews is usually joined every Wednesday by former NFL player Fred Smerlas. A partial re-airing of the Kimberly and Beck afternoon show from sister station WAIO airs during the 8 to 9 pm hour.

The Premiere Networks syndicated weekday lineup features Rush Limbaugh (noon to 3 pm), Sean Hannity (3 to 5 pm), Clyde Lewis (midnight to 1 am) and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory (1 to 5 am). Michael Savage from the Westwood One Network is heard weeknights from 9 am to midnight. Weekend programming includes shows on money, health, home repair, law, Bill Cunningham, computer expert Leo Laporte "The Tech Guy", and some brokered programming.

Some listeners in southern Ontario, who do not get popular American syndicated conservative talk shows such as Limbaugh and Hannity on their local Canadian radio stations, can often pick up WHAM's 50,000 watt ERP signal.


The station first went on the air on July 11, 1922.[1] While not the first station to be licensed to the Rochester market (that distinction belongs to the defunct WHQ), it is the oldest surviving station in the area. The selection of the "WHAM" call letters came from a suggestion from industrialist George Eastman (founder of the Eastman Kodak Co., based in Rochester). He helped the University of Rochester launch the station and thought the "WHAM" name would prove to be a clever marketing tool.

In 1927, WHAM was acquired by Stromberg-Carlson.[2]

WHAM increased its power to 25,000 watts March 4, 1933. A ceremony marking the event included a three-hour broadcast from the Eastman Theatre with "a galaxy of stars" participating.[3]

In February 1948, WHAM and its sister station, WHFM, moved into a new facility, Rochester Radio City. The building included 24 offices and six studios, the largest of which could accommodate 400 people in the audience.[2]

WHAM has ties to two of the city's television stations. It spawned the city's first station, WHAM-TV, in 1949; that station is now WROC-TV, the area's CBS affiliate. In 2005, the area's ABC affiliate, WOKR, changed its calls to WHAM-TV; Clear Channel Communications (now known as iHeartMedia) bought the station in 2002 and sold its entire television group to Newport Television (controlled by Providence Equity Partners) in 2007; the two stations still have a news partnership.

Founded by Jordan Barney while he was working on behalf of the University of Rochester in 1922, WHAM grew to become the dominant AM station serving Rochester and the Genesee Valley. The station was sold in the mid-1920s to Stromberg-Carlson, a maker of radio and telecommunications equipment then based in Rochester. Stromberg-Carlson expanded the station's operations and boosted its signal to 5,000 watts in 1927. It was relocated from 1080 to 1150 kHz in the overall national reorganization of the AM radio band by the Federal Radio Commission in 1928. Later, in 1933, WHAM was allowed to increase power first to 25,000 watts, then to its current 50,000 watt level. In the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement shuffling of the AM band in March 1941, WHAM changed frequency once more to its current 1180 kHz.


WHAM radio host Bob Lonsberry has been a continual source of controversy for the radio station due to racist remarks,[4] and was fired from the show in 2003. He was later brought back due to boycotts by aggrieved fans. Recently, news articles were circulated about him comparing a derogatory racial reference to the term "Boomers" - a colloquial reference for people born during the Baby Boom.[5]


  1. ^ "Widespread Circle Help To Mark WHAM Birthday" (PDF). Broadcasting4. July 14, 1947. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "(photo caption)" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 16, 1948. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  3. ^ "WHAM ad" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 1, 1933. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  4. ^ "It's (way past) time for Bob Lonsberry to go". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  5. ^ Herbert, Geoff (2019-11-04). "Radio host Bob Lonsberry says 'boomer' is like N-word, gets ridiculed online". syracuse. Retrieved 2019-11-05.

[1] {article regarding new facilities in Radio Mirror March 1948, page 16}

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