UTICA-ROME — Longtime residents of the Mohawk Valley might remember that the country format on Big Frog 104 (WFRG) has been around since 1988… but it wasn’t called “Big Frog 104,” nor was it located at 104.3FM until 1993. This week, a lucky find at a garage sale takes us back to the earliest years of mascot “Jeremiah B. Frog.”
Townsquare Media’s Dave Wheeler tells CNYRadio.com he happened to spot these coffee mugs at a garage sale last weekend. They feature the station’s original branding, “96 Frog,” with the slogan “Jumpin’ Country.” Also notable is the fact that the mug displays separate request line numbers for Rome (where the studios were located at the time) and Utica. Multiple request line numbers were typical for many stations in the market at the time… back when phone companies still forced listeners to be mindful about whether that request or contest call would wind up being local or long distance.
Wheeler says he also found this hat, sporting the same vintage 96 Frog logo. Everything looks to be in very good condition, especially considering these items have been around since the late 80s or early 90s. And it comes full circle… when 96 Frog leaped up the dial and became Big Frog 104, it made way for the birth of Oldiez 96.1, the station where Wheeler, as Davey Jones, is now the morning host and PD. Wheeler says he convinced the seller to let him snap up the trio for a mere five dollars.
Some say 96 Frog was the very first station to carry the “Frog” theme branding created by Kirby Confer, and now used by dozens of stations across the country. However, we can’t find any evidence online to confirm or dispute that claim.
Thanks again to Dave Wheeler for sending along these shots! Our streak is now up to five consecutive weeks of reader-submitted photos. That’s an all-time record, and as long as we’ve made it this far, why not keep going? As long as it involves local radio or TV, past or present, we love to see those photos arrive in our mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our Contact Form. There’s a new Picture of the Week every Friday.