Updated 9/21 at 7:30pm - UTICA/ROME — The endless stream of music on WUTI 1150 is coming to an end. Owner Bud Williamson told CNYRadio.com late this evening that “1150 will be programmed by Leatherstocking [Media Group] starting tomorrow.” We presume WUTI will carry the same “CNY Talk Radio” lineup as Leatherstocking stations WFBL/Syracuse and WMCR(AM)/Oneida.
That presumption is based on Williamson telling us the change is “due to some of the programming coming off of WIBX.”
Earlier this month, Newsradio 950 WIBX announced it would be dropping Laura Ingraham as part of a series of programming changes that resulted in Sean Hannity’s show being added to the Townsquare Media station’s weekday lineup.
WIBX had previously carried only two of the three hours of Ingraham’s show — on delay, at 8pm. By contrast, the Leatherstocking stations carry Ingraham’s full 3 hours live starting at 9am, and they’ve followed it with an extra “encore” hour since Jon Alvarez ended his show back in March.
With Ingraham off the WIBX lineup, there are no “overlaps” between WIBX and the CNY Talk Radio stations — during the week. If WUTI does join the other two CNY Talk Radio stations, we’ve yet to hear what WUTI will air during the Saturday timeslots where CNYTR carries Jim Bohannon and Kim Komando — both of whom are carried on WIBX. (Of course, we’ll provide an update if/when we learn more.)
Since Williamson had received WUTI as part of a station swap with Albany-based WAMC in December 2009, the station had been playing a rather unique blend of music, interrupted not by commercials, but only by occasional pre-recorded ID liners. The lack of commercials, jocks or other elements had many people guessing what the station’s long-term future would hold… and now we know.
Ironically, WUTI used to be a sister station of WIBX, back when it was known as WRUN. Both stations were owned by Regent Broadcasting for several years, until Regent sold WRUN to WAMC in January 2005. The two stations were originally competitors decades ago, when WRUN was operated by the Rome Sentinel Company (the call letters originally stood for “Rome-Utica News”), and now it appears they’ll once again compete in the talk format.
We’re told this format flip is the first step towards a pending sale of WUTI to Leatherstocking, but no further details are available at this time.
Added 9/21: Official Press Release from Leatherstocking Media Group
LEATHERSTOCKING MEDIA GROUP, INC. SIGNS AGREEMENT TO PURCHASE
WUTI (1150-AM), UTICA/ROME, NY
James V. Johnson, President of Leatherstocking Media Group, Inc. (LMGI) announced today the filing of an application with the FCC for transfer of license of WUTI 1150 AM – Utica, NY. The station recently changed call letters from WRUN AM as part of an effort to differentiate the station in its new News/Talk programming lineup.
This is an exciting step for LMGI. It adds to our presence in the Utica/Rome market and allows us to greatly expand the reach of our news/talk programming as currently found on WFBL (1390 AM) – Syracuse, and WMCR-AM (1600 AM) – Oneida. Branded as CNY Talk Radio, the trimulcast (3-station network) will broaden its offering of informative and influential talk programming as it continues to expand into additional central New York markets. “We were looking to strengthen our reach into the Utica/Rome area, and this powerful AM signal is a perfect fit,” says Johnson.
The format is anchored by personalities such as Laura Ingraham, Dennis Miller and Jason Lewis, and features the area’s best news-specific morning program in America’s Morning News. “We will continue to evaluate and address the needs of central New York’s residents and radio listeners as we introduce local talk programming and other features,” continued Johnson.
During the application process the station will be operated by LMGI under a Local Marketing Agreement. “This allows us to get the new format up and running immediately,” says Johnson.
The station will join other LMGI stations WSEN-AM/FM, WMCR-AM/FM and WFBL in providing local businesses and residents with a locally owned and operated radio option.