|City||WSKS: Whitesboro, New York
WSKU: Little Falls, New York
|Branding||97.9 & 105.5 Kiss FM|
|Slogan||The #1 Hit Music Station|
|Frequency||WSKS: 97.9 MHz
WSKU: 105.5 MHz
|First air date||WSKS: 1994 (as WOWZ)
WSKU: 1990 (as WOWB)
|Format||Top 40 (CHR)|
|ERP||WSKS: 1,500 watts
WSKU: 2,250 watts
|HAAT||WSKS: 204 meters (669 ft)
WSKU: 161 meters (528 ft)
|Facility ID||WSKS: 53630
|Callsign meaning||KISS Utica|
|Owner||Roser Communications Network|
WSKS (97.9 FM) and WSKU (105.5 FM) are radio stations simulcasting a Rhythmic-leaning Top 40 (CHR) format. Licensed to Whitesboro, New York and Little Falls, New York, the stations serve the Utica-Rome area and are currently owned by Roser Communications Network.
WSKS signed on the air in 1990 as WOWB-FM, 105.5 (WOW 105), licensed to Little Falls. The station was licensed to Towpath Communications Limited as an adult-contemporary station.
The station was soon sold to the Professional Broadcasting Corporation (a joint venture of Frank DuRoss and Ken Roser), who added a simulcast on WOWZ at 97.9 FM in September 1994. Licensed to Whitesboro, it was the first allocation of 97.9 in the Utica market. The resulting simulcast was identified as Wow-FM.
WOWZ/WOWB became a Top 40 Rhythmic Station in December 1996. Now known as "The Beat of Central New York", "Wow-FM" went in a dance direction with Program Director J.P. Marks, the nighttime air personality under the adult contemporary format, at the helm. Marks had previously been the nighttime personality at Hot 107 (WRCK) before they changed format to Classic Rock Rock 107.
WOWZ and WOWB were sold to Clear Channel Communications in 2000. The Top 40 Rhythmic format was abandoned and in 2001, WOWB became WSKU and WOWZ became WSKS, while the top 40 programming and "KISS FM" branding previously heard under the WSKS call letters at 102.5 FM (now WUMX) moved to WSKS/WSKU.
Clear Channel closed its operations in Utica, New York in 2007, and the KISS FM stations on 97.9 WSKS and 105.5 WSKU were sold to former co-owner Ken Roser, through his company Roser Communications. The format and branding of the stations remained the same, under program director and air personality Shaun Andrews.
A notable stunt occurred on WSKS/WSKU on May 18, 2009. In a news release issued by Roser Communications on the Friday before, the company announced that effective 7:30 a.m. on Monday the station was going to switch formats due to "financial constraints". On Monday, WSKS/WSKU, still feigning their format change, stopped playing their regular format at 7:31 a.m. and played the "beautiful music" format similar to that presented by then-sister stations WADR/WUTQ. A few hours later, WSKS/WSKU returned to its normal programming by announcing that all of the "format changes" were actually a publicity stunt to promote their new program lineup and radio hosts.
2014 was an eventual year for WSKS/WSKU, and Roser Communications as a whole. The Kiss FM branding celebrated its 20th anniversary (since its debut on 102.5) in 2014, and WSKS/WSKU enjoyed their highest ratings to date, despite losing their live web stream (as did Roser's other stations) on December 6, 2014. The stations submitted for renewal the next day, and the renewal was approved in late February 2015.
On March 30, 2015, Roser Communications moved the studios of all their stations, including WSKS/WSKU, to new facilities located at the Canal Park off Leland Avenue. Prior to this, Roser Communications had been leasing space at the Adirondack Bank building on Genesee Street.
- FM-to-begin-playing-new-musical-format-on-Monday "Back Home .KISS FM to begin playing new musical format on Monday." Check
|url=value (help). Utica Observer Dispatch. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- FM-signs-off-replaced-by-Beautiful-Music "Kiss FM signs off, replaced by 'Beautiful Music'" Check
|url=value (help). Utica Observer Dispatch. 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- "Just a publicity stunt - KISS FM remains on air despite weekend claims". NBC-WKTV News Channel 2. 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2009-05-18.