|City of license||Belvidere, New Jersey |
|Broadcast area||Lehigh Valley|
|Branding||Spin Radio 107.1|
|Slogan||The Valley's Alternative|
|First air date||October 15, 1992 (as WRNJ-FM)|
|Callsign meaning||Former member of defunct "Y107" quadcast|
|Former callsigns||WRNJ-FM (1992-1998)|
(Connoisseur Media Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WEEX, WODE-FM, WSBG, WTKZ, WVPO|
WWYY is a United States class A radio station broadcasting on 107.1 FM. The station is located in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, but is licensed to Belvidere, New Jersey and serves the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley. The station is currently owned by Connoisseur Media, through licensee Connoisseur Media Licenses, LLC. The station now airs an alternative rock format and is known as "Spin Radio" Its tagline is: "The Valley's Alternative."
The Pre-Bone Era
WRNJ: The Valley's Country/Western Station (1992-98)
On October 15, 1992, WWYY ("The Bone") began operation as WRNJ-FM under the co-ownership of Norman Worth and Larry Tighe, who still retain the callsignal WRNJ (formerly on 1000 kHz/1 MHz, now on 1510 kHz). WRNJ-FM offered a country music format to the northwestern New Jersey and the Poconos region. Except for the Lehigh Valley (which had a Philadelphia-based country/western music station), most of this region was without its own country music station after WIXL (now WNNJ) dropped country music in May 1988. For a few months northwestern New Jersey/Poconos could get Country music on New York City based WYNY (then on 97.1). That changed in October 1988, when WYNY's unit moved to 103.5 FM, and as a result, the format listeners could not hear country/western music because of WNNJ-FM held (and still does) 103.7 FM frequency, blocking 103.5 FM out of the area. WQHT/WYNY switched to a Hip-hop/R&B format.
For next four years, the Northwestern New Jersey/Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania could not receive country music on the radio. WRNJ-FM finally filled that hole by broadcasting country and western music over 1510 AM. However, financially troubled WFMV out of Blairstown abruptly became "Hot Country 106.3 WHCY". The area went from receiving no country stations to two.
A Third Joins the Rating War and the Emergence of WWYY
Both WRNJ-FM and WHCY used large amounts of satellite programming. By the beginning of 1994, WHCY switched from satellite to live-broadcasting full-time. WRNJ-FM continued with satellite programming. As a result, WHCY clearly became the stronger Country music station. Both stations still held their own. WRNJ-FM tended to pull decent ratings in Warren County, New Jersey, while WHCY pulled good ratings in Sussex County. In the summer of 1997, Easton based 96.1 WLEV adopted a Country/Western music format and became "WCTO Cat Country 96.1". The intellectual WLEV Adult Contemporary unit moved to 100.7 FM, where it remains today.
WCTO had a good signal not only in the Lehigh Valley, but in much of the Poconos, and in Sussex and Warren County. As a result, WRNJ-FM and WHCY went down, with WRNJ-FM hurt more by the presence of "Cat Country" because of its proximity to Easton, Pennsylvania. WRNJ-FM was pulling very low ratings by the spring of 1998. WRNJ-FM was shut down at the end of April and began to simulcast the WYNY Y-107 Triplecast and a sale to Big City radio was immediately announced. That summer, Big City Radio acquired 107.1 WRNJ-FM outright. WRNJ-FM was renamed WWYY, so its addition formed a quadrocast.
The Early Years of WWYY: The Big City Radio takeover of 1998
The new Y-107 unit was born in December 1996. A broadcast group called Big City Radio bought three class A FM stations, each located about 45 miles from New York City. Big City Radio shut down local operations for two of the stations and began programming country music out of their Westchester County station, licensed to Briarcliff Manor, New York and located north of New York City, first under the call letters WWXY and soon after as WYNY. As WYNY barely reached New York City and had no signal to the south or east, Big City simulcast the programming on a station on the New Jersey Shore, licensed to Long Branch which was named WWZY and was also on the 107.1 frequency. The same scenario occurred at their Hampton Bays, New York-licensed 107.1, located on Long Island, which was named WWVY but became WWXY when the Briarcliff Manor signal became WYNY. The entire trimulcast was branded as "New Country Y-107".
The primary intent of this scheme was to reach the New York City market with a grade B signal and bring country music to a city without such a station. In addition, the communities surrounding New York City received a good signal, given three stations were located in suburban areas and one station was rural. This was not unique to New York; Big City Radio had a trimulcast in Los Angeles and multiple simulcasts in Chicago, and Phoenix. Luckily for Big City, the suburban coverage worked fairly well in New York City as country listeners were more apt to live in the suburbs, the area covered better by Y-107, than in New York City itself.
The country music format typically pulled low ratings in the New York City market. The real success of the format occurred in the suburbs and growing exurbs of NYC on Long Island, along the Jersey Shore, North-Central New Jersey, Hudson Valley of New York, and the Lehigh Valley/Pocono region. Surprisingly, Y-107 pulled fair to very good ratings, making the unit profitable by 1998. WWYY was added to the triplecast, making it a quadcast though was 70 miles away from New York City.
Later in 1998, Hispanic investors purchased a huge share of Big City Radio. These investors had flipped the company's low-rated trimulcast in Los Angeles, also called Y-107, from a rock to tropical Spanish-language format. This move sparked rumors that the Y-107 quadrocast in New York could change format. Denials were made in 2000, while simulcast networks in other markets went to Spanish-language formats; Phoenix, on KMYL in 2000, and Chicago, on WXXY-FM in 2001. Still, Y-107 held on to the country format.
Later in 2001, rumors heated up again of a format change. In May 2002, Big City Radio announced that the group was switching out of a country/western to a Spanish-language format. As with any major change, the air personalities all were given the opportunity to say goodbye, but they did this less melodramatically than in 1996. In its last week as a country format, Y-107 was automated except for mornings; finally, on May 7, Garth Brooks' "The Dance" closed out the country format.
The end of Big City Spanish broadcasting of 2001-03
Big City Radio flipped the quadrocast to Spanish contemporary hits under the branding "Rumba 107.1". The format did horribly. A major reason for this, and many of Big City Radio's other Spanish conversions, was that the signal combinations worked together to serve metropolitan areas, but failed to hit the urban areas which typically have Hispanic populations. Regardless of programming, while suburban residents (and rural farmers in the case of one 107.1) were able to pick up the 107.1 signals, urban-dwelling Hispanics were unable to pick up the signals. In not only New York but also Chicago, former-Big City Radio stations adopted English-language formats once they were resold.
At about the same time, Big City Radio was in debt and filed for bankruptcy. They sold their stations as units in many cases to Hispanic-based companies including Spanish Broadcast System, Hispanic Broadcasting Company, and Entravision. The New York area quadrocast, however, was sold to Nassau Broadcasting. Nassau initially considered returning the country format to the quadrocast, but instead opted to break up the quadrocast, selling three of the four stations.
In April 2003, Nassau broke up the quadrocast, selling three of the four stations. WWZY was sold to Press Broadcasting, which retained the call letters and began broadcasting a soft AC leaning 60's to 80's oldies format under the moniker "The Breeze"; later, two equally-small New Jersey stations began simulcasting WWZY to form a new trimulcast. WWXY on Long Island was sold to The Morey Organization/Jarad Broadcasting, which initially simulcasted WLIR; by early 2004 it was superseded by a relocated WLIR-FM, and then adopted a "NeoBreeze" format in late 2005. In Westchester County, WYNY was sold to Pamal Broadcasting and initially simulcast WSPK "K104", a CHR station in Poughkeepsie, New York, as WXPK, but adopted an AAA format as "The Peak", retaining the same call letters.
The Birth of the 'The Bone'
The current era of WWYY: Nassau Broadcasting Ownership
Nassau retained the WWYY call letters, launching an adult contemporary format as "Lite 107". The station moved from its Hackettstown, New Jersey home to Nassau's Stroudsburg facilities that also houses WVPO and WSBG. In a strange twist of irony, Worth and Tighe retained the transmitter site in Belvidere, which Nassau uses to broadcast "The Bone". Steve Gallagher (WOBM), as Program Director/PM Drive, created the "Lite 107" brand, and with a collaborative effort by Paul Fuhr (WOBM) as Mornings/Imaging Director, who designed and implemented the Lite 107 marketing campaign. Following Gallagher's departure in late 2003, Rod Bauman, who also served as WVPO's Program director, took over the station and instituted an automated PM Drive programing: 'Lite Love Songs' (7:00pm -Midnight) (Imaging Paul Fuhr using Jim Merkel). In 2006, Nassau arranged the sale of its Poconos/Lehigh Valley cluster to an African American owned company called Access.1 Communications, including WWYY, but the deal fell through. The failed sale served as an opportunity to change the Nassau Broadcasting unit.
On May 3, 2007, WSBG (93.5 FM) switched from a classic rock to an adult contemporary format, which WWYY (107.1) previously broadcast. WWYY began to broadcast its current format of Hard and Classic rock, which serves as a rival to WZZO/95.1, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Thus, the "The Bone" was born, serving the listeners of the Lehigh Valley/Poconos/Northwest New Jersey region.
On October 31, 2014 at 12:00pm, WWYY flipped to alternative rock as "Spin Radio 107.1". The last song on 107 The Bone was The End by The Doors, while the first song on Spin Radio 107.1 was The Mother We Share by CHVRCHES.
In 2009, the station became the broadcast affiliate for the New York Yankees Radio Network, replacing sister stations WEEX and WTKZ in the Lehigh Valley/Poconos region. The affiliation ended after the 2013 season when the Yankees' flagship moved to WFAN.
The station, along with nine other Nassau stations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, was purchased at bankruptcy auction by NB Broadcasting in May 2012. NB Broadcasting is controlled by Nassau's creditors — Goldman Sachs, Pluss Enterprises, and P.E. Capital. In November, NB Broadcasting filed a motion to assign its rights to the stations to Connoisseur Media. The sale, at a price of $38.7 million, was consummated on May 29, 2013.
- The studio is located in nearby Easton, Pennsylvania
- Although the transmitter is located in Warren County, New Jersey and the studio is located in the Pocono Mountains, the station has branded itself as a Lehigh Valley radio station.
- "10 Nassau Stations Go To NB Broadcasting LLC". All Access. May 30, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- Pierce, David (June 12, 2012). "Pocono radio stations now in the hands of creditors". Pocono Record. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- "Connoisseur Moves To Assume Debtor's Bid To Buy 10 Nassau Stations, Including WPST". All Access. November 21, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WWYY
- Radio-Locator information on WWYY
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WWYY