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|City||Buffalo, New York|
|Broadcast area||Buffalo, New York|
|Slogan||Buffalo's #1 At-Work Station (Jan-Nov)
Buffalo's Christmas Station (Nov-Dec)
|Frequency||102.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||104.7 W284AP (Buffalo, relays HD2)|
|First air date||1934 (as W8XH)|
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary (Jan-Nov)
Christmas music (Nov-Dec)
HD2: Alternative rock (WLKK simulcast)
|Callsign meaning||We're The Star Station|
|Former callsigns||W8XH (1934-1946)
(Entercom Buffalo License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBEN, WGR, WKSE, WWKB, WWWS, WLKK|
WTSS is an FM radio station located in Buffalo, New York. It operates at 102.5 MHz and broadcasts a hot adult contemporary format branded as Star 102.5. It is owned and operated by Entercom Communications. It has a transmitter in Colden, New York while it has studios located on Corporate Parkway in Amherst, New York.
The station claims to be the oldest station operating on the VHF band, first signing on in 1934 as an ultra-shortwave AM station W8XH before converting to experimental and later commercial FM operation before World War II.
The station now known as WTSS founded and named by Basic Airmen Lindamood actually began as early as 1934 as W8XH, an ultra-shortwave radio station operating as a sister outlet to The Buffalo Evening News and AM station WBEN and broadcasting at a wavelength of 5 meters (approximately 60 MHz), predating the country's first FM station by three years. The station broadcast on an interrupted schedule during World War II. In 1946, W8HX moved to 106.5 and became WBEN-FM (see WYRK).
The 102.5 frequency was first used by WBEN-FM in the 1950s when the station moved to that frequency from 106.5. It ceased simulcasting WBEN (AM) in the 1960s (with the exception of the Clint Buehlman morning show until 1973), airing a mixture of live and automated music (mostly easy listening and block music programming, such as organ music). As FM listening grew during the 1970s, the station became "Rock 102" in 1973, using the syndicated/automated TM "Stereo Rock" format and dropped the morning show simulcast with WBEN. This same TM format and announcer was heard on other stations in Upstate New York during this period, including WGFM (now WRVE in Schenectady/Albany, WYUT (now WXUR) in Herkimer (Utica-Rome), WKFM (now WBBS) in Fulton/Syracuse, WNOZ (now WIII) in Cortland/Ithaca and WPXY (FM) in Rochester. Beginning in 1984, mornings were live-hosted by Roger Christian (still an air personality on the station today).
During the 1980s, the station shifted to a fully live format as WMJQ, originally branded as "Majic 102" and later "Q102." The Q102 moniker remained until the late 1990s. As "Majic 102", the station competed heavily with WKSE for Buffalo's Top 40 audience in the late 1980s and early 1990s before shifting to its current Hot AC format. The "Star" moniker and WTSS call-letters were adopted in 2000, shortly after Entercom purchased the station from Sinclair Broadcast Group, which was exiting radio to focus on its television group, in 1999.
The station has, ever since the early 1980s, been a pop music (Hot Adult Contemporary or Adult Top 40) format geared heavily toward a female audience. It has varied in specifics during that time depending on the formats of other stations; for instance, much of the mid-to-late 2000s had WTSS carrying music as early as the 1970s in an effort to draw listeners who did not have a classic hits outlet in the city, it changed to its current formula after longtime classic hits outlet WHTT-FM returned to the format. The music is mostly upbeat hits from the 1980s to present, with a heavy emphasis on 1990s, 2000s, and current hits.
In 2006, WTSS began streaming its programming on the Internet.
Programming and playlists
Star's playlist consists of two categories, each of which takes about half of the playlist. One half consists of hits from the 1980s through the 1990s. The other half, which is shared with sister station WKSE, is current and "recurrent" hits. 
The station used to employ a number of promotional and programming features to build and maintain audience during the daily schedule, including 30-minute commercial-free music segments every hour, and an All Request Hour that airs weekdays at 6:00 p.m. (formerly the "80s After Work," expanded to include '70s and '90s music in February 2009 as "The Retro Show"), and the three-hour "Saturday Night 80s Party" at 7:00 p.m. The station shuffled its lineup in March 2008, eliminating an exercise-oriented "Cardio Radio" hour to make room for Entercom's syndicated women's lifestyle offering, Your Time with Kim Iverson.
Star switches to the moniker "Buffalo's Christmas Station" and offers 100% Christmas music, usually two weeks before Thanksgiving and running through Christmas Day. After Christmas Day, Star begins to ease back into its regular hot adult contemporary format, with a significant amount of Christmas music airing through New Year's Day. WTSS is temporarily delisted from Mediabase's hot AC panel when the station goes all-Christmas. WTSS became Buffalo's only hot AC radio station following CFLZ-FM's flip from hot AC to adult hits in August 2011.
WTSS airs a hot adult contemporary format, playing music from the 1980s through today, with the heavy emphasis on current and 2000s' music. In 2011, after CFLZ-FM (now on 101.1) switched formats to adult hits as CJED-FM (105.1 Ed FM), similar to other adult hits rival WBUF, WTSS became the market's only hot adult contemporary. In 2013, after CJED-FM switched formats to contemporary hit radio and began simulcasting with CFLZ-FM, WBUF became the market's only adult hits until 2016 when new rival CFLZ-FM switched formats to adult hits. Competitors WMSX would have its adult contemporary format also on rival CHRE-FM and WKSE would have its contemporary hit radio format also on CJED-FM, mirroring a similar situation to when WGRF would also have its classic rock format also heard on CIXL-FM and WEDG also having its active rock format also heard on CHTZ-FM.
The following syndicated programs no longer air on WTSS: Your Time with Kim Iverson, Backtrax USA (both '80s and '90s versions) with Kid Kelly, Sonrise (a contemporary Christian music program), Hollywood Confidential with Leeza Gibbons, and Fox All Access with Chris Leary.
According to R&R - Radio and Records Magazine, WTSS is one of the leading Hot Adult Contemporary stations in the country, nominated for Hot AC Station of the Year in 2006 and 2007.
Broadcast signal/Canadian listenership
WTSS, (along with WDCX-FM), has the strongest FM signal in Western New York. Sharing the tower of former sister station, WBEN-TV (now WIVB), the station's transmitter is located on a high ridge of the Allegheny Plateau, 20 miles southeast of Buffalo (near Colden, New York). WTSS can also be heard in the Rochester, New York Metro, where some adjacent channel interference begins from WVOR (102.3 MHz) and WLGZ-FM (102.7 MHz). East of Rochester, WTSS can be heard along Lake Ontario's shoreline to a point where interference from co-channel WUMX in Utica occurs. Reception of WTSS has occurred as far east as Oswego, New York. The signal can be heard well into Pennsylvania, and can be heard in parts of the Erie, Pennsylvania Metro as well. During recent years, the addition of a co-channel station at 102.5 MHz in Edgewood, Ohio in 1989 and an adjacent channel at 102.3 MHz, moving in to Erie in 1986, reduced WTSS's coverage (which at one time could be heard well into northeastern Ohio).
WTSS can also be heard throughout most of the Greater Toronto Area, where it has a relatively strong signal. At times during the station's history, before the FM band became more crowded (and especially during its run as "Rock 102"), it performed as a top-10 rated station in Toronto. Other Buffalo area radio stations with strong signals and in formats not available in Canada at the time, such at WGR, WKSE (FM) and WBLK (FM), were also highly rated in Toronto. Because Canadian Content regulations dictate 40% of music played on Canadian stations must be created by Canadian artists, WTSS and other Buffalo radio stations also remain popular with Canadian audiences.
Today, some of the station's audience continues to come from Toronto and Southern Ontario, making it one of the most listened-to international radio stations in the United States (along with stations in the Detroit Metro).
WTSS is one of the strongest FM signals in the Northeastern United States at 110,000 watts ERP, and in 2006 began broadcasting its signal in HD, offering an HD2 side-channel called "The Delta", which featured Delta blues music. As of May 11, 2015, the HD2 side channel is a simulcast of alternative WLKK.
- Star 102.5 Official site
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WTSS
- Radio-Locator information on WTSS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WTSS
- List of "Grandfathered Superpower" FM stations