|City||Utica, New York|
|Broadcast area||Mohawk Valley|
|Branding||WIBX and wibx950.com|
|Slogan||Your News, Talk, and Sports Leader|
|First air date||December 5, 1925|
|Former frequencies||1460 kHz (1925-1926)
1280 kHz (1926-1927)
1260 kHz (1927-1928)
1200 kHz (1928-1941)
1230 kHz (1941-1948)
|Affiliations||Premiere Radio Networks
Westwood One Network
Salem Radio Network
Fox News Radio
(Townsquare Media Licensee of Utica/Rome, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WLZW, WFRG-FM, WODZ-FM|
WIBX (950 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Utica, New York. The station airs a talk radio format and is owned by Townsquare Media as part of a cluster with adult contemporary WLZW, country music WFRG-FM, and classic hits WODZ.
WIBX is one of Central New York's oldest radio stations. Its studios and offices are on River Road in Marcy, New York. Its transmitter towers are off Clark Mills Road in Whitesboro, New York. WIBX broadcasts at 5000 watts around the clock but uses a directional antenna system to avoid interfering with other stations on AM 950.
Weekday mornings begin with a local news and talk program hosted by longtime Central New York media personality Bill Keeler. The rest of the day, WIBX primarily broadcasts nationally syndicated conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, Westwood One and other syndicators. The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, Brian Kilmeade, Larry Elder, Jim Bohannon, and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory all air weekdays on WIBX. On weekends the station carries Hugh Hewitt, Clark Howard, The Kim Komando Show, Joe Pags, Bob Brinker and Handel on the Law.
WIBX first went on the air December 5, 1925. The station was originally owned by Grid Leak, Inc., a local radio dealer. The company put the station on the air to provide programming for customers who bought radios. WIBX's facilities were housed at the store. The following April, Grid Leak transferred the station to a subsidiary, WIBX, Inc., and a month later a new studios were opened at the Hotel Utica. Initially operating at 1460 kHz, WIBX moved to 1280 kHz in late 1926, and then to 1260 kHz in April 1927.
The Boston Store acquired the station in early 1928, a move intended to keep WIBX in Utica. That April, the station was taken over by John C. Drummond. The Federal Radio Commission moved WIBX to 1200 kHz on November 11. On December 1, the station moved its studios to the First National Bank Building. The Buffalo Broadcasting Corporation, which operated several stations in Buffalo (including WGR, WKBW, and WMAK), acquired WIBX in August 1929. In March 1931, the station was sold to a partnership of Percy B. Brown and Scott Howe Bowen. Bowen soon acquired Brown's stake; his family would maintain ownership for nearly five decades.
On October 14, 1934, WIBX became a network affiliate of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Through the Golden Age of Radio, the station carried the CBS network's line up of dramas, comedies, soap operas, game shows, sports and big band remotes, as well as newscasts. WIBX would remain a CBS Radio Network affiliate for 76 years.
The North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) moved WIBX to 1230 kHz on March 29, 1941. However, on this frequency, the station remained at low-power, 250 watts, as had been the case at 1200 kHz). That meant it could not be easily heard in nearby Rome at night, leading the Rome Sentinel to apply for a 5,000-watt station serving both cities in 1946. Afraid that the new station, which eventually became WRUN, would prove more attractive for CBS, WIBX sought to upgrade to its own 5,000-watt facility.
On May 2, 1947 the Federal Communications Commission granted WIBX a move to 950 kHz from a transmitter site in Whitesboro, New York, with the new facility going on the air in early 1948. The WIBX studios would relocate to Whitesboro as well in the early 1960s. An FM sister station at 98.7, WIBQ (now WLZW), was added January 1, 1974. An earlier WIBX-FM at 96.9 FM first signed on in October 1946, but left the air during the early 1950s, when few people owned FM radios.
WIBX included in its line up the sports program Sportswatch, which debuted in the 1950s and included among its numerous hosts Bill O'Donnell, Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, Tim Roye, Bob Papa, Jim Jackson, and Mike Haynes. Sportswatch ended its run in January 2013.
The Bowen family sold WIBX to Marathon Communications in 1979. Soon afterward, the station's longstanding full service middle of the road format began evolving away from music in favor of increased news, talk, and sports programming. After REBS, Inc. acquired WIBX in 1985, music programming was dropped entirely, outside of the station's Sunday morning Polish language program, Polonaise. Maritime Broadcasting bought the station in 1988. The station was then sold to 950 Communications Corporation in 1992, to Forever Broadcasting in 1996, and to Regent Communications (the predecessor to Townsquare Media) in 1999. Regent moved its Utica-area stations to studios in Marcy, New York, in 2003. WIBX ended its long affiliation with CBS on February 28, 2011, when it joined Fox News Radio. Prior to the affiliation change, WIBX was the only station, radio or television, to carry CBS content in the Mohawk Valley, since the Utica area had no CBS television affiliate at the time, and had to pick up CBS programming from either Syracuse or Schenectady. CBS returned to the Utica area November 22, 2015 when NBC affiliate WKTV affiliated its second digital subchannel with CBS television.
In 2015, WIBX reached an agreement with Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Mission Broadcasting, whose stations are managed by Nexstar under shared services and local marketing agreements, to share programming, allowing Nexstar-owned Channel 33 WFXV to simulcast WIBX's morning show starring Bill Keeler, while WIBX began simulcasting Mission-owned WUTR Channel 20's 6 p.m. newscast. Citing closed-captioning expenses, WFXV dropped the simulcast of Keeler's show on January 4, 2016, but reinstated it May 9, 2016.
The station conducts a radiothon for the American Heart Association every March. It was first held in 1971 in memory of Ralph Allinger, a WIBX staffer who had died of a heart attack. In subsequent years, the American Heart Association has also held additional fundraisers in the Mohawk Valley, including a run and walk, to supplement the radiothon.
- WIBX website
- Reed, Jerry; Naughton, Peter (December 3, 2010). "POTW: Early Days of WIBX (c.1926)". CNYRadio.com. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- "Some History of CBS". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
- "Switch from CBS to Fox Part of WIBX Rebranding". CNYRadio.com. February 28, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- "Sentinel Company Files Applications For 2 Radio Stations" (PDF). Rome Sentinel. April 25, 1946. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- "Alan Cole". Utica AM Radio. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1975 (PDF). 1975. p. C-133. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Broadcasting & Cable Market Place (PDF). 1992. p. A-245. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Former WIBX hosts offer Sportswatch postmortems. CNYRadio.com. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- "Application Search Details (1)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- "Application Search Details (2)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Fybush, Scott (August 6, 1999). "Sales Galore!". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- "WKTV bringing CBS affiliation to Utica". WKTV. October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
- "Keeeler radio show to be simulcast on WFXV-TV". WIBX. June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2015.