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|City||Buffalo, New York|
|Broadcast area||Buffalo, New York|
|Branding||Classic Hits 104.1 WHTT|
|Slogan||"Buffalo's Classic Hits"|
|Frequency||104.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1954 (as WWOL)|
|Callsign meaning||W Classic HiTs T|
|Former callsigns||WNYS-FM (1982-1986)|
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
|Sister stations||WEDG, WGRF, WHLD|
WHTT originally signed on in 1947 as WWOL, a station targeting Lackawanna. Its transmitter is located behind the Abbott Road Plaza on Dorrance Avenue near Abbott Road on the border between West Seneca and Lackawanna. One of the station's early disc jockeys was Guy King, who later found fame under the name Tom Clay; another, country musician Ramblin' Lou Schriver, spent six years at the station (1964–70) before buying his own outlet, WXRL. Joey Reynolds also briefly worked at the station in the 1950s. The station also held the calls WWOR and WACJ. It would change call signs to WNYS in 1982 when it flipped to a Top 40/CHR format, later taking on the theme "The All New Hot 104 WNYS". During their Top 40/CHR years, the station employed the female comic, progressive talker, and future WQHT morning jock herself, Stephanie Miller. Another employee of this era was the late great Jay Thomas, who after his brief run at this station (and numerous others) found fame as a dj, comedian, and an actor.
The station changed formats and call letters in the autumn of 1986, switching to classic hits with the motto "Classic Hits 104, The All New WHTT". The station was one of the first to take the "classic hits" name in the United States, and did so due to the lack of a classic rock station in Buffalo after WRLT switched to adult contemporary music. In May 1989, after WRLT went back to classic rock as WGRF, WHTT became an oldies music outlet playing hits from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s with the on air branding "Oldies 104".
In the late 1980s, the call letters and format were also heard on sister AM station 1120 AM (now brokered Spanish language WBBF).
Transition: From "Oldies" to adult contemporary, back and forth
By September 2003, the station, like many other oldies stations in the United States, had evolved into a classic hits format, playing a mix of classic rock, soft rock, R&B and pop music hits from the mid-1960s through the 1970s. At this point, the station changed its slogan to "104.1 WHTT The Greatest Hits Of All Time". In the autumn of 2004, the slogan was modified to "104.1 WHTT Buffalo's Greatest Hits," and in November 2006, since its music library now progressed well into the 1980s, changed yet again to "104.1 WHTT, Buffalo's Best Mix." The move was carefully timed as the station imaged itself as more of an adult contemporary station as the two AC outlets in Buffalo, WJYE and WTSS, both changed to full-time Christmas music in November and WHTT historically has not (instead opting for one Christmas song per hour from the day after Thanksgiving up through a few days before Christmas, then increasing to all-Christmas music for the last week before the holiday; a similar "mixed" Christmas format is being used in 2007). In addition, WHTT added many artists who are staples of the Adult Contemporary format, such as Madonna, Wilson Phillips, Don Henley, and Sheryl Crow to its playlist while keeping a large amount of 1965–1985 music in rotation, thus shifting towards a gold-based AC.
In late February 2007, WHTT switched to adult contemporary/adult hits and changed its on-air branding to "Mix 104.1", adding current and recent hits from artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, The Goo Goo Dolls, Carrie Underwood and Avril Lavigne, while continuing to phase out 1960s and 1970s music. The station also introduced a brand-new logo. Some of the oldies music was displaced to WGRF. Most of the staff was retained, with Val Townsend coming from WEDG as the afternoon jock to eventually replace longtime jock Harv Moore being the only notable change in the transition.
However, by October 2007, since ratings for the new "Mix" format had fallen somewhat dramatically since its debut, late 1960s and 1970s music slowly returned to WHTT's playlist while current material was reduced back to one song per hour. As of April 2008, the top 8 songs in WHTT's top 100 playlist were all current hits, but rest of the top 100 songs were all songs from the 1970s through the 1990s. By July 2008, the current hits had mostly disappeared from the station's playlist and the station increased its focus on music from the 1970s and 1980s and returned to the playlist several songs from the 1960s, similar to the "Buffalo's Greatest Hits" time period, although it maintains the "Mix" branding. This left WJYE and CHRE-FM as the only adult contemporary radio stations in Buffalo, New York.
The station alternated back and forth; by October 2008, the current hits had regained some prominence. By early 2009, the playlist had evolved back into a programming format nearly identical to the first days as 'Mix.' Later in 2009, the station shifted back toward mostly 1980s music, with current hits getting played two times per hour.
Return to classic hits
On August 10, 2009, after much insistence from listeners, WHTT officially switched back to its classic hits format, changing its slogan to the late 1980s-era "Classic Hits 104.1 WHTT" and adopting its early-2000s format of 1960s, 1970s and early-mid-1980s music. The move created a marked improvement in the station's ratings.
Midday jock Val Townsend was removed (but later brought back for a weekend shift), but the rest of the staff was retained in the change. Rounding out the weekends are Brian J Walker, Tony Venteroli and Mike Jacobs. The current weekday staff consists of morning host Bill Lacy, midday jock Heather Perry (voicetracked from WWLI in Providence, Rhode Island), and music director/afternoon host Joe Siragusa. The station's syndicated lineup of John Tesh, Steve Goddard (eventually replaced with the returning Tom Kent) and Beatle Brunch remains intact as of 2017; Backtrax USA later moved from WTSS to WHTT in the early 2010s.
Starting in the 1990s, the station would hold an annual concert event known as "Oldiesfest" each summer featuring many musical acts from the 1950s and 1960s. The last "Oldiesfest" was held in 2004 and featured performers from the groups Badfinger, Gallery, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.
In November 2005, WHTT launched a "Holiday Music Channel" internet stream. The "Holiday Music Channel" played Christmas music and was meant to complement WHTTs regular lineup, which had largely continued its normal playlist throughout the holiday season. Said channel was revived in 2006.
In March 2006, Citadel launched an initiative that provided for the streaming of many of Citadel's stations. WHTT was one of them, and was among the first commercial stations in Buffalo to resume streaming. WHTT previously provided a popular internet stream from the mid-1990s through 2001. That stream was halted after continuing uncertainty over rights issues related to the streaming of radio broadcast programming over the Internet, including issues regarding demands for additional fees for the streaming of recorded music and radio commercials. After working out technicalities with various industry trade unions many stations, including WHTT, resumed their internet stream but without airing the commercials listeners hear on the FM broadcast.
WHTT: previous stations assigned WHTT call letters
- From March 9, 1983 till July 7, 1986 the call letters were assigned to a CBS owned and operated Top 40/Hot Hits formatted station known as "Hitradio WHTT" in the Boston, Massachusetts radio market. "Hitradio WHTT" finished number one in the Arbitron radio ratings in the Boston market for several seasonal based ratings books in 1983 and 1984.
- Starting on August 4, 1980 till 1982 the WHTT calls were used for Miami, Florida AM radio station "Radio Hit 1260". "Radio Hit 1260" was one of several stations influential in establishing Spanish language hit music as a viable format in the United States. The station mixed Latin Pop Music singles and some English language Top 40 music along with news and information aimed at the Miami areas growing Latin American and Caribbean Spanish speaking population. WHTT in Miami was the AM sister to popular FM Top 40 station WHYI "Y-100" and by late 1980 was becoming successful in the Arbitron ratings. In April 1981, the transmitter site for the station was firebombed. Local police suspected the individuals responsible were upset about both the switch from the previous format (AM 1260 from 1969 till 1980 was the once popular country music station WWOK) and the increasing Hispanic population and presence in Miami. The station was on less than 100 watts power for many months greatly weakening the signal and thereby decreasing both the ratings and revenue for "Radio Hit 1260". According to general manager Dave Gleason, the stations owners "Metroplex Communications" lost interest in the format after the firebomb incident.
- WHTT was a country music station located in Davenport, Iowa from 1975 till 1978. The station then become longtime AOR rock station WXLP.
- Official WHTT Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WHTT
- Radio-Locator information on WHTT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WHTT