|Broadcast area||Rochester, New York|
|Branding||The Station of the Cross|
|First air date||1925|
|Power||3,700 watts day
5,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||Holy and Immaculate Conception|
|Former callsigns||WHEC (1925-1972)
|Owner||Holy Family Communications|
WHIC is a Catholic radio station broadcasting from Rochester, New York. WHIC is located at 1460 on the AM dial. Referred to as The Station of the Cross, WHIC is owned and operated by Holy Family Communications. The station began broadcasting Catholic programming on July 1, 2003. Broadcasting at 3,700 watts in the daytime and 5,000 watts at night, WHIC's calls represent The Holy and Immaculate Conception, to whom this station is dedicated.
WHIC enjoys a legacy in Rochester's broadcast history. The station became Rochester's second radio operation in 1925 when the Hickson Electric Company launched the station as WHEC. It was the city's CBS Radio Network affiliate from the moment the network began operation in 1928, and was acquired by the Gannett Company, publishers of the Democrat and Chronicle, in 1932. Until 1941 the station used a number of broadcast frequencies, but had settled on 1430 kHz by 1928 operating first with 500 and later with 1000 watts from a transmitter on Mt. Read Boulevard in the northwest portion of Rochester. Following the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) in 1941, WHEC was reassigned to 1460 kHz, and after the war boosted power to 5,000 watts from new transmitting facilities south of the city in Brighton, New York. In the 1950s and 1960s WHEC broadcast popular music along with local and CBS news, sharing staff and some news content with sister television station WHEC-TV, which hit the airwaves in 1953. Gannett placed the station up for sale in the summer of 1971, and found a purchaser in Sande Broadcasting Company, a partnership of local investors and broadcast managers.
After the sale was finalized in 1972, the new owners rebranded the station WAXC ("Waxy"), and changed format to compete with the top station in the market WBBF by playing Top 40 hits. Through much of the decade of the 1970s WAXC was relatively successful both financially and in popularity (as measured by Arbitron ratings). But after 7 years of competition, toward the end of which FM stations started to cut into the audiences and revenues of both WAXC and WBBF, the callsign WAXC was retired and the station sold to American General Media, beginning the era of WWWG ("3WG"). At first the station operated with a full-service adult contemporary format reminiscent of the final years of Gannett ownership, competing directly with clear-channel WHAM. But the station's more limited AM signal proved to be a greater liability at a time when suburbanization was spreading out the market's population geographically beyond the station's reliable nighttime pattern, and FM competition was growing. So the days of secular contemporary-format programming came to an end early in the 1980s.
American General Media repositioned the station as a religious outlet and announced that the callsign WWWG (originally chosen simply as an easily remembered brand name) would stand for "Where We Worship God". While most Rochester commercial stations had broadcast various church and synagogue services and other religious programming at some point in their history, and Pat Robertson's CBN network had owned a chain of rural FM stations whose signals could be heard in portions of the market, WWWG's policy of religious programming around the clock earned it the distinction of being the city of Rochester's first full-time religious radio station. WWWG offered a mix of evangelical religious programming among other brokered shows.
In the summer of 2003 WWWG was purchased by Buffalo-based Holy Family Communications to become the network's fourth Catholic radio venture. Holy Family created The Station of the Cross as a network name and rebranded 1460 as WHIC. Officially, the calls stand for "Holy and Immaculate Conception". However, it is likely that Holy Family wanted to pay homage to the station's heritage calls, given their similarity. WHIC began carrying Catholic programming 24 hours a day, with much of the content provided by the EWTN Catholic Radio Network.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WHIC
- Radio-Locator Information on WHIC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WHIC