|City of license||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||Fox News Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
(Townsquare Media Licensee of Utica/Rome, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WLZW, WFRG-FM, WODZ-FM|
WIBX (950 AM) is a talk radio station based in Utica, New York. The station is owned by Townsquare Media as part of a cluster with Hot AC-formatted WLZW, country-formatted WFRG-FM, and classic hits-formatted WODZ.
WIBX went on the air December 5, 1925. The station was originally owned by Grid Leak, Inc., a local radio dealer, with WIBX's facilities being housed at the store; the following April, Grid Leak transferred the station to a subsidiary, WIBX, Inc., and a month later a new facility was 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. WIBX affiliated with the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) on October 14, 1934; it would remain a CBS Radio Network affiliate for 76 years.
The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement moved WIBX to 1230 kHz on March 29, 1941. However, the station was limited to 250 watts on this frequency (as had been the case at 1200 kHz), and was not able to serve 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, and on May 2, 1947 the Federal Communications Commission granted the station a move to 950 kHz from a transmitter site in Whitesboro, 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 was opened in October 1946, but had left the air during the early 1950s.
The Bowen family sold WIBX to Marathon Communications in 1979. Soon afterward, the station's longstanding full service 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 stations to studios in Marcy 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 Mohawk Valley had no CBS television affiliate at the time. 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 WFXV to simulcast WIBX's morning show starring Bill Keeler, while WIBX began simulcasting Mission-owned WUTR's 6 p.m. newscast. Citing closed-captioning expenses, WFXV dropped the simulcast of Keeler's show on January 4, 2016, but WIBX continues to simulcast WUTR's 6 p.m. newscast.
WIBX primarily broadcasts a syndicated conservative talk programming from the Premiere Networks lineup, with a local morning program hosted by longtime Central New York media personality Bill Keeler. The Glenn Beck Program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis, and Coast to Coast AM all air on WIBX. The station also carries Hugh Hewitt, Clark Howard, The Kim Komando Show, Bob Brinker and Handel on the Law.
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 that 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. Historically, WIBX included in its lineup 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- Former WIBX hosts offer Sportswatch postmortems. CNYRadio.com. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WIBX
- Radio-Locator Information on WIBX
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WIBX