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|City||Buffalo, New York|
|Broadcast area||Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area|
|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 WLKK)|
|First air date||1934 (as W8XH)|
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary (Jan-Nov)
Christmas music (Nov-Dec)
HD2: Alternative rock (WLKK simulcast)
|HAAT||355 meters (1165 ft)|
|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 a commercial FM radio station in Buffalo, New York. It operates at 102.5 MHz and airs a hot adult contemporary radio format branded as Star 102.5. It is owned and operated by Entercom Communications. WTSS's transmitter is in Colden, New York, while its studios and offices are located on Corporate Parkway in Amherst, New York.
Some historians credit WTSS as being the oldest station operating on the VHF band. It first signed on in 1934 as an ultra-shortwave AM station in the Apex radio band before converting to experimental and later commercial FM operation, before World War II.
The history of the station, now known as WTSS, can be traced back to 1934 as W8XH, an ultra-shortwave radio station, operated by The Buffalo Evening News as a sister station to AM broadcaster WBEN. W8XH, founded by Basic Airmen Lindamood, broadcast at a wavelength of 5 meters (approximately 60 MHz), predating the country's first FM station by three years. The station operated on an interrupted schedule during World War II. In 1946, W8HX moved to 106.5 and became WBEN-FM, mostly simulcasting its AM counterpart. (For the history of the 106.5 frequency in Buffalo, see WYRK).
WBEN-FM moved to 102.5 MHz in 1959. It ceased simulcasting WBEN (AM) a few years later, with the exception of the Clint Buehlman morning show, which it carried until 1973. WBEN-FM aired a mixture of live and automated music, mostly easy listening and block music programming, such as organ music. As FM listening grew, the station became "Rock 102" in 1973, using the syndicated TM "Stereo Rock" automated contemporary hits format and dropping the morning show simulcast with WBEN. This same TM format and its prerecorded announcer were 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. In 1978, WBEN-AM-FM were sold to Algonquin Broadcasting. Beginning in 1984, Rock 102's mornings were hosted live by Roger Christian (still an air personality on the station today).
In 1987, the station shifted to a fully live format as WMJQ. WMJQ was originally branded as "Majic 102" and later "Q102." The Q102 moniker remained until the late 1990s. As "Majic 102", the station competed heavily with 98.5 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 sign were adopted in 2000, shortly after Entercom purchased the station in 1999 from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which was exiting radio to focus on its television holdings.
The station has, since 1973, been a pop music (Hot Adult Contemporary or Adult Top 40) outlet geared toward a female audience. It has varied in its presentation during that time depending on the formats of other stations. For instance, much of the mid-to-late 2000s, WTSS' playlist included music as early as the 1970s in an effort to serve listeners when Buffalo did not have an oldies station. It changed to its current formula after longtime oldies/classic hits outlet WHTT-FM returned to the format. The music on WTSS today is mostly upbeat hits from 2000 to the present, minus any hard rock or rap.
In 2006, WTSS began streaming its programming on the Internet. WTSS was nominated for Hot AC Station of the Year by Radio & Records Magazine in 2006 and 2007. WTSS became Buffalo's only hot AC radio station following CFLZ-FM's flip from hot AC to adult hits in August 2011.
Programming and Playlists
The station once employed a number of promotional and programming features to build and maintain audience during the day, including 30-minute commercial-free music segments every hour, and an All Request Hour that aired 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.
Every holiday season, Star switches to the moniker "Buffalo's Christmas Station" and offers 100% Christmas music. The change usually occurs two weeks before Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas Day. After December 25th, Star goes back to its regular hot adult contemporary format, with a some Christmas music airing through New Year's Day. WTSS is temporarily delisted from Mediabase's hot AC panel when the station goes all-Christmas.
News and traffic are provided from sister station 930 WBEN and weather is provided by television station WGRZ-TV 2. These information elements are heard near the bottom of each hour during the morning show.
The following syndicated programs had once been heard 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.
Broadcast Signal/Canadian Listenership
WTSS and 99.5 WDCX-FM have the strongest FM signals in Western New York, both broadcasting at 110,000 watts, although WTSS has a much taller tower. Sharing the tower of former sister station, WBEN-TV (now WIVB), the station's transmitter is located on a high ridge in the Allegheny Plateau, 20 miles southeast of Buffalo, near Colden, New York. WTSS can be heard in the Rochester metropolitan area, although some adjacent channel interference is picked up from WVOR (102.3 MHz) and WLGZ-FM (102.7 MHz). WTSS's signal also extends across the Pennsylvania state line, around Allegheny State Park, as well as parts of Erie County, Pennsylvania, although adjacent channel interference exists at 102.3 MHz from classic rock station WQHZ in and west of the city of Erie.
WTSS can also be heard in parts of the Greater Toronto Area, where the signal crosses Lake Ontario. 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 as 550 WGR, 98.5 WKSE (FM) and 93.7 WBLK (FM), were also highly rated in Toronto.
WTSS is one of the strongest FM signals in the Northeastern United States at 110,000 watts effective radiated power (ERP), at a height above average terrain (HAAT) of 1165 feet (355 meters). Most FM stations in the Northeast are limited to 50,000 watts but WTSS is grandfathered at more than double the power due to its long history, going on the air before the FCC set down the current restrictions.
In 2006, WTSS began offering an HD2 channel called "The Delta", which featured Delta blues music. As of May 11, 2015, the HD2 channel is a simulcast of co-owned alternative rock station WLKK.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1960 page A-190
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1988 page B-189
- Mediabase Hot AC Add Board
- HD Radio station guide
- http://www.freqseek.com/NY/Buffalo/hd-radio-stations.aspx Freqseek HD Radio Guide
- 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