|City||South Bristol, New York|
|Broadcast area||Rochester metropolitan area|
|Branding||107.3 The Bull|
|Slogan||Rochester's New Hit Country|
|Frequency||107.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)
107.3-2 FM: Classic Country ("Country Road")
|First air date||January 22, 1996 (as WRCD Honeoye Falls)|
|HAAT||303 meters (994 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W estern N ew York B u L l (station branding)|
|Former callsigns||WFUD (1991–1996, CP)
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WAIO, WDVI, WHAM, WHTK, WKGS, WVOR|
WNBL (107.3 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station licensed to South Bristol, New York, and serving the Rochester metropolitan area. It is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and airs a country music radio format, known as 107.3 The Bull. WNBL is a Class A station, operating at 650 watts, compared to its country rival, 92.5 WBEE-FM, which is powered at 50,000 watts. WNBL's transmitter is in Canandaigua, New York, near the Bristol Mountain Ski Resort. The studios and offices are on Chestnut Street in Rochester, at Five Star Bank Plaza.
Monday through Saturday mornings, WNBL runs The Bobby Bones Show, based in Nashville, from Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia. The station also carries disc jockeys from other iHeart country stations around the U.S., using voice-tracking to sound local to WNBL.
- This article describes the history of the 107.3 frequency in the Rochester area. For the history of radio stations broadcasting from the Bristol Mountain site prior to 2004, see WAIO.
Early Years as Smooth Jazz
The station now known as WNBL was granted a construction permit in 1991 as WFUD. On January 26, 1996, it signed on as WRCD, licensed to Honeoye Falls. WRCD was a sister station to 106.7 WMAX-FM (now WKGS), operating from the WMAX studios at 412 State Street in downtown Rochester and using a transmitter site in Bloomfield, on the southeastern edge of the Rochester market. Under original owner Auburn Cablevision, WRCD used a satellite-delivered smooth jazz format from Sony's SW programming service.
In 1997, Auburn Cablevision sold WMAX-FM and WRCD to Jacor Communications. On February 19, 1998, at midnight, Jacor rearranged the formats on its new acquisitions. WRCD's smooth jazz was replaced by a rhythmic contemporary format called "Jam'n 107.3." On March 1, 1998, WRCD changed its call sign to WMAX-FM, as the former WMAX-FM on 106.7 became WYSY.
The "Jam'n" nickname gave way to a more mainstream Top 40 format as "Kiss 107" in December 1998. In 1999, Clear Channel Communications, a forerunner of iHeartMedia, bought the station. On April 30, 1999, Clear Channel moved "Kiss" down the dial to 106.7, which changed its call sign from WYSY to WKGS. 107.3 briefly stunted as "Big Cow Country," then flipped to rhythmic oldies on May 7, 1999 as "Jammin' Oldies," later modified to "Cool 107" under the new call sign WLCL, which took effect July 9, 1999.
In February 2000, WLCL changed format to 80s Hits as "Channel 107.3." On September 3, 2001, WLCL began stunting with an all-ABBA format, returning the following week to rhythmic oldies. At the same time, station owner Clear Channel Communications (which would become iHeartMedia in September 2014) was preparing to relocate the 107.3 facility to South Bristol as part of an upgrade to sister station WNVE on 95.1, which was changing city of license from South Bristol to Honeoye Falls in order to move its transmitter to Baker Hill, closer to Rochester. In January 2002, WLCL relocated its transmitter to the Bristol Mountain site built in 1948 for the Rural Radio Network and formerly used by WNVE. As a class A station from Bristol Mountain, WLCL's new signal in the Rochester market was relatively weak, though the station was well heard in most of the western Finger Lakes region.
Classic Rock The Fox
In December 2002, WLCL dropped the rhythmic oldies format and began stunting with Christmas music as "Rudolph Radio," then with two days of country music. On December 26, 2002, WLCL changed format to classic rock as "107.3 the Fox," taking new call letters WFXF on March 28, 2003.
On July 4, 2004, Clear Channel swapped formats and call letters between 95.1 and 107.3, sending classic rock WFXF to the stronger 95.1 signal and moving the WNVE call sign and "Nerve" modern rock format to the weaker 107.3 facility. The move followed Clear Channel's corporate decision to remove Howard Stern from its airwaves, which left WNVE without its main ratings draw.
Snap 107.3 and Whoopi Goldberg
On August 30, 2006, the Nerve was replaced with a "Wheel Of Formats" under the moniker "Huge 107.3," sponsored by local automobile dealership Fuccillo Hyundai. After six days of stunting, the station flipped to a Rhythmic Adult Contemporary format known as "SNAP! 107.3." The station also picked up the nationally syndicated "Wake Up With Whoopi" for mornings, featuring comic-actress Whoopi Goldberg. The call letters were changed to WSNP on September 15, 2006.
On May 18, 2007, Clear Channel pulled the plug on the format and went to country music as "Country 107.3." On June 14, 2007, the call letters were changed to WCRR. On March 3, 2009, the call letters switched again to WROO, without any change in format or branding.
On September 9, 2009, at Midnight, the call letters were changed to WHTK-FM, as an FM simulcast of sports radio WHTK 1280 AM. The move gave listeners who preferred FM radio a sports station and help cover areas in the Rochester market that WHTK-AM's signal could not, especially at night.
On May 5, 2012, WHTK-FM began stunting with a looped message directing listeners back to 1280 AM. On May 7, at 9 AM, WHTK-FM launched an oldies format, branded as "Oldies 107.3". The call letters were changed to WODX. The first song as "Oldies 107.3" was Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. The flip gave the Rochester market an oldies format for the first time since the demise of WBBF in 2005.
107.3 The Bull
On September 11, 2014, at Noon, WODX changed its format back to country, branded as "107.3 The Bull". The final song on "Oldies" was "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M, while the first song on "The Bull" was "Roller Coaster" by Luke Bryan. Several other Clear Channel stations in the Rochester market made changes the same day in branding and DJ staffing. FM 107.3's call letters were changed to WNBL on September 18.
WNBL launched with 10,000 songs commercial free, a standard practice for new stations (particularly ones owned by iHeartMedia) to acquire an audience. The nationally syndicated Bobby Bones Show from Nashville debuted on the station on October 13, 2014, and airs Monday through Saturday mornings. The HD2 signal of the station carries a Classic Country format, branded as "Country Road."
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1997 page B-303
- Oldies 107.3 Launches
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- Clear Channel Launches 107.3 The Bull
- WODX Becomes 107.3 The Bull
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WNBL
- Radio-Locator information on WNBL
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WNBL
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