|Broadcast area||Rochester, New York/Western New York|
|Branding||NewsRadio WHAM 1180|
|Slogan||Rochester's News, Weather, and Traffic Station|
|First air date||1922|
WHAM is a clear channel talk radio station in Rochester, New York, owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. Its 50,000-watt transmitter is located in Chili, New York, and the station broadcasts on 1180 kHz. Its studios are currently located at One HSBC Plaza in downtown Rochester.
The station first went on the air July 11, 1922. 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.
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.
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.
The station's 50,000-watt signal covers most of the eastern half of North America at night.
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 (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 working in behalf of the University of Rochester in 1922, WHAM has grown to become the dominant AM newstalk 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.
Like its iHeartMedia sister stations, WHAM carries some programs from the standardized iHeartMedia talker lineup including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Coast to Coast AM (Glenn Beck instead airs on WYSL). However, these programs do not necessarily air live or in their entirety. Savage's program is heard on a two-hour delay, Hannity's show is aired on a split schedule with two hours airing in the afternoons and the third in the late-night hours. For many years, WHAM also (in a rarity) aired Limbaugh on a two-hour delay, an arrangement that ended when rimshot signal WLKK began carrying Limbaugh live in 2011 (WLKK has since changed formats). Weekend programming includes a line of nationally syndicated shows such as Coast to Coast AM, Dr. Dean Edell and Kim Komando.
Its signal is easily heard in portions of southern Ontario, and WHAM is the de facto over-the-air home of the Premiere conservative talk lineup for Toronto and southern Ontario, which discusses political topics which are mainly non-applicable to Canadian listeners and are usually priced in syndication for costs too high for Canadian stations to shoulder (along with Canadian content regulations that effectively disallow them from airing in prime timeslots).
In addition to the syndicated programming, WHAM boasts a local morning news show, an afternoon news magazine, a mid-morning talk show hosted by Bob Lonsberry, and a sports talk show hosted by former Rochester Democrat and Chronicle columnist Bob Matthews along with a rotating co-host, among whom are Marv Levy, Chuck Dickerson and Fred Smerlas. An evening hour of Kimberly and Beck (whose main show is on WAIO) from 8pm to 9pm were added later.
In 2011, morning news host Beth Adams was released from the station, and took a position with WXXI, the local National Public Radio affiliate. News Director Randy Gorbman left WHAM for WXXI in 2013. On June 30, 2014, it was announced that remaining long-time morning host Chet Walker had been released from the station after his contract had expired.
- WHAM 1180 Home Page
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WHAM
- Radio-Locator Information on WHAM
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WHAM