|City||Olean, New York|
|Branding||95.7 The Big Pig|
|First air date||1949|
|Callsign meaning||W PIG|
|Owner||Community Broadcasters, LLC|
WPIG is an FM radio station located in Olean, New York. Branded as “95.7 The Big Pig,” the station operates at 95.7 MHz on the FM dial and operates a mainstream country music format. It is owned by Community Broadcasters, LLC.
The station originally signed on as WHDL-FM in 1949 and in its early years was affiliated, like most upstate New York FMs of the time, with WQXR-FM in New York City. James F. Hastings, later a U.S. Congressman, ran the station from 1952 to 1966. The call sign was changed from WHDL-FM to WEBF-FM in recognition of station owner E. Boyd Fitzpatrick. During the 1980s, the station aired what today's jockeys pejoratively referred to as an "elevator music" (likely something along the lines of middle-of-the-road, beautiful music or easy listening) format. In September 1988, under new ownership, the station was known as WOLN (not to be confused with FM 91.3, the public radio station that currently uses the callsign) with an adult contemporary format. A year later, on September 29, 1989, the call sign was changed to WPIG. Later, on November 6, mirroring the national trend, the station switched formats to the rapidly burgeoning country music format and became known as "The Big Pig 95.7, Today's Sizzlin' Country," which remains the station's motto.
WPIG operates under the corporate entity Arrow Communications of New York. The company has variously been held by Sabre Communications, then Backyard Broadcasting, and currently Community Broadcasters, LLC, who purchased the station in 2013.
During the first several years of the country format, WPIG disc jockeys used pseudonyms with pig-based puns, such as: "Smokey' Joe Bacon," "Michael Hamm," "Peggy Banks," "Sue EE Cinamon Frank "Adam Ribbs," and "Christopher Neggs" (the first incarnation of The Morning Pigpen's hosts were thus bacon, ham, 'n'eggs; see also the Froggy brand, which uses similar frog-based pun names). This idea was dropped in the late 1990s as the second generation of disc jockeys would join the station, all of whom used more conventional names. Neggs remains with the station as a weekend personality and fill-in, now using his real name, Nick Purcio.
The second generation of hosts remained in their positions for over a decade; from 1998 to 2006 and 2008 to 2009, the station's lineup featured the same lineup of disc jockeys. Mark Thompson, the program director and co-host of the morning show, is the last remaining on-air personality from this era; the other three hosts from this era (Casey Hill, Mike "Smitty" Smith and Jesse Garon, all three of whom have either retired from radio and/or left Western New York) went on to launch WGWE shortly after leaving The Pig. This cleared the way for the third, and later fourth, generation of hosts that currently air on the station. WPIG added the slogan "Today's Fun Country" in 2009, which rotates with the "Sizzlin' Country" format. Also added around this time was the Big Pig Jackpot, a contest in which the station announces the amount of money in a progressive jackpot over the course of the day cold-calls random people in the listening area to test if they listen to the station; a person who either knows the answer (or, by chance, guesses correctly) wins the jackpot. The jackpot was dropped in 2014.
The station tweaked its image in 2013 with its sale to Community Broadcasters, adding 30-minute blocks of "continuous country," dropping national news, auto racing coverage and its Saturday night classic country block, taking over the local chapter of the national Country Showdown competition (which had previously rested with WQRS), and changing its voiceover announcer for the first time since adopting the country format. The station began streaming its programming on the Internet for the first time in its history beginning in 2014.
Two programs have been on WPIG ever since its launch: the Morning Pigpen, the station's morning show (currently hosted by Mark Thompson and Katie McLean), and the Country Call-in Café (also hosted by McLean), an all-request lunch hour; both have changed hosts since their inception. Justin Case and Smokin' Joe are the afternoon and evening disc jockeys, respectively; all disc jockeys at the station are locally based. Blair Garner's syndicated overnight program also airs on the station.
WPIG also has a local news bureau run by Gary Nease, with Nick Purcio reporting. Weather is provided by WSTM-TV chief meteorologist Wayne Mahar, with fellow Syracuse-based weatherman Phil Spevak as his designated fill-in.
- WPIG has been the flagship station of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies men's basketball team since at least the 1990s.
- Buffalo Bills Radio Network
- WPIG rebrands as "95 Poinsettia" and airs A WPIG Country Christmas, an automated selection of country-themed Christmas music, throughout Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. Between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, the station generally plays one Christmas song each hour. (Beginning in 2013, the Christmas selections were broadened to include more traditional Christmas songs from the adult standards format in addition to country Christmas covers.)
Discontinued programming and hosts
- WPIG carried Westwood One's Country Gold Saturday Night live classic country request show from 1992 to 2013. (The show is now carried on 99.1.)
- Earl Pitts Uhmerikun was dropped by WPIG in 1999.
- ABC FM News aired on the station at the top of each hour until 2013.
- WPIG was "The Twin Tiers' Racin' Station" and carried NASCAR's Winston Cup, Nextel Cup and Sprint Cup circuits through 2013, along with Motor Racing Network's NASCAR USA and Performance Racing Network's Racing Country. All auto racing programming moved to another station in the market for 2014.
- Southern Fried Friday, a local program dedicated to Southern rock, was discontinued sometime after 2000 and replaced by the Foxworthy Countdown.
- "Smokey' Joe Bacon" - Mornings, left ca. 1998
- "Peggy Banks" - Middays, including "Classic Country Café," left ca. 1998
- "Tommy Spurrs" Mid Day Original Southern Fried Friday Host Left ca. 1993
- "Sue EE" Weekend Late Night Left ca. 1991
- Michael Hamm - Morning host in the 1990s, left, then rejoined ca. 2009 as evening host, and left again in 2016.
- Kerry Monroe(aka Adam Ribbs, 1992-1997, evening host, and host of Southern Fried Friday) - fill-in and weekend host upon returning after leaving the station for a short time.
- Casey Hill, sporadic co-host of the Morning Pigpen (c.1999-2006, 2008–2009). Currently semi-retired.
- Mindy Cunningham, former co-host of the Morning Pigpen and later host of Midday Mayhem show (2006–2008). Currently broadcasting under another name at another station.
- Mike "Smitty" Smith, midday and afternoon drive host (ca. 2000–2009). Retired from broadcasting in 2016; currently Mayor of Salamanca, New York.
- Jesse Garon, evening radio personality (1998–2010). Currently the Mid-day Personality & Assistant Music Director on "Triple M" WMMM-FM and Evening Personality and Music Director on Classic Hits 94.9 WOLX, both in Madison WI.
- Tim McKeever, afternoon drive host. Is now a pastor at the Gowanda Free Methodist Church.
- Marian Carter, fill-in and weekend host.
- Bethany, co-host of the Morning Pigpen and mid-day host. Currently the morning show co-host at WGNA-FM in Albany
- Jasmine Clark, host of the mid-day show. Currently out of the radio industry
- Brad Majors, afternoon drive host. currently at another station
WPIG's 43,000 watts of power allows the station to boom its signal through Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Wyoming Counties in New York, as well as McKean and Potter Counties in Pennsylvania.
The station regularly registers by far the top Arbitron ratings in the Olean market. Prior to 2009, the station ranked over a 20 share; the most recent ratings, from fall 2014, show the station having dropped to a 17 share due to increased competition.
- An entirely fictional "WPIG" radio station made several appearances on the CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, where it was the hated cross-town rival of the eponymous station. The punchline was that the air staff at WPIG Cincinnati was "a bunch of swine." This usage predates the current WPIG's usage of the call sign.
- A different fictional "WPIG" − WPIG Aurora − appeared in the 1993 motion picture Wayne's World 2. The station featured two memorable characters in the form of "Handsome Dan" and "Mr. Scream," portrayed by Harry Shearer and Ted McGinley respectively. (Incidentally, the real WPIG, which had begun broadcasting its current format by this time, and the fictional WPIG Aurora both broadcast on 95.7 MHz, a departure from the usual practice of using nonstandard frequencies for fiction.)
- Sister station WPGI (100.9) in Elmira is modeled after WPIG.
- See also KPIG.
- I worked there in the early 90's
- WPIG Official Web site
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WPIG
- Radio-Locator information on WPIG
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WPIG