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WJFF logo.jpg
CityJeffersonville, New York
Broadcast areaCatskill Mountains
Frequency90.5 MHz
BrandingRadio Catskill
FormatCommunity Radio
AffiliationsAmerican Public Media, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Pacifica Radio
OwnerRadio Catskill, Inc.
First air date
February 12, 1990
Call sign meaning
Technical information
Facility ID54516
ERP3,700 watts
HAAT192.0 meters
Transmitter coordinates
41°48′04.2″N 74°47′03.5″W / 41.801167°N 74.784306°W / 41.801167; -74.784306Coordinates: 41°48′04.2″N 74°47′03.5″W / 41.801167°N 74.784306°W / 41.801167; -74.784306
Translator(s)94.5 MHz, W233AH Monticello, New York
Webcastlisten live

WJFF (90.5 WJFF) is a public radio station broadcasting at 90.5 MHz, licensed to Jeffersonville, New York and transmits from a tower approximately two miles west of Liberty, New York[1] It is perhaps the nation's only hydropowered radio station. The power for the station's studios and offices are drawn from a dam 50 feet away adjacent to Lake Jefferson.[2]


In 1984, Malcolm Brown purchased the Lake Jefferson dam (41°46′40.19″N 74°55′30.6294″W / 41.7778306°N 74.925174833°W / 41.7778306; -74.925174833) and power house and began to repair the hydro plant which was originally constructed in 1927. In 1986, the hydro plant was placed in service, generating enough power to supply 20-25 area homes.

In January 1988, Catskill Radio, Inc., also owned by Malcolm Brown, received a Construction Permit for WJFF. The radio station's studio building was built on the north side of the Jefferson Lake dam, about 50 feet away from the generator house. The station was completed by mostly volunteer labor, signing on for the first time on January 20, 1990. Initially the station transmitted with a power of 830 watts, this was increased to 3,700 watts in early 1996.[3]

1996 was also the year that Catskill Radio Inc. applied for and received authorization to build its Monticello, NY translator, W233AH.[4]

Since 2000, the Lake Jefferson Dam has survived numerous severe floods and still provides all of the power to run WJFF with the excess being sold to NYSEG, the local power company. In 2005, the dam and generating equipment were sold to Kevin and Barbra Gref, who continue to operate it.

The transmitter site is located on a hill approximately six miles east of the studios and is powered conventionally by commercial electrical service.


The station features a variety of classical music, jazz, public affairs and news programming during the day, with locally produced programs in the early afternoons and evenings. Its schedule maintains a balance between eclectic community radio and NPR affiliate programming, with a smattering of shows from Pacifica Radio, the BBC and the CBC. BBC programming is now broadcast in the early morning hours, if there is no local programming on air at the time.

The "Spring Gathering" is a three day event with live in-studio performances of musicians and bands, poets and authors, featuring local talent. The broadcast is part of the three annual pledge drives held by the station. Podcasts of the 2019 performances are available on Soundcloud [1].


In addition to the main station, WJFF is relayed by an additional translator to widen its broadcast area.

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
W233AH 94.5 Monticello, New York 9 D FCC

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "WJFF Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  2. ^ "Hydropowered Radio Story". Krane, Jim, Associated Press, 2002.
  3. ^ "WJFF Application Search Results". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  4. ^ "W233AH Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.

External links[edit]