WFBL Flipping to Talk; WSEN Drops Bombardo

October 11, 2009 by

SYRACUSE -- The new week begins with a new--but old--additional choice for talk radio in the Salt City.  Leatherstocking Media Group is launching "CNY Talk Radio" on WFBL 1390, effective tomorrow (Monday) morning at 5:00am.  In other news from the Smokey Hollow Road studios in Baldwinsville, WSEN is no longer airing traffic reports from Tony Bombardo.

Talk Returning to WFBL

Leatherstocking GM Judy Kelly tells the lineup on WFBL will be anchored by Laura Ingraham, who will air from 9am to noon.   "We will ... bring several other top notch talk radio hosts with her," Kelly added, but said she could not provide the full lineup until after the launch.  We'll also learn tomorrow how the station will be filling the top-of-hour news window.

Update 10/12/09 at 1:10pm -- The rest of the lineup has been announced, details in a separate article.

Kelly says, "under our new ownership, Leatherstocking Media Group, Inc, we intend to bring Central New York some excellent new talk radio programming."

Those of you keeping score at home may remember it was just over six months ago when WFBL abandoned news/talk in favor of Oldies 1390.  At the same time, sister station Oldies 92.1 rebranded as Classic Hits 92.1, shifting its focus to music from the late 60s through the mid 80s.

No official confirmation, but it's a safe bet the new format's website will be -- based on a WHOIS listing which says the domain was registered by Leatherstocking Media Group owner James V. Johnson on August 31.

Golden Oldies Stays Put on WSEN(AM) 1050

Fans of the "Golden Oldies" format on WFBL need not worry -- Kelly acknowledges "there's a large and loyal audience that loves the format of the '50s and 60's' music that we play; we
want to make sure they still have the opportunity to enjoy that music."

You may recall back in September, WSEN(AM) started simulcasting "Oldies 1390" and the format will remain intact on WSEN, after WFBL makes the switch to talk.  Kelly tells the new ownership is confident in the format.  "In fact, we've got a couple of great concerts coming up in tne next couple of months that I know those listeners will love!  The Vogues will return to LeMoyne Manor on Friday November 20th, and we'll have a 'Doo Wop Show' at the Landmark this spring!"

No More Command Traffic on Classic Hits 92.1

Thanks to an observant reader who e-mailed when he noticed Tony Bombardo's daily traffic reports were missing from the morning show at Leatherstocking's Classic Hits 92.1 (WSEN-FM).

Judy Kelly confirms that the station's contract with Command Traffic expired on September 25th and station ownership simply chose not to renew -- chalk this one up to new and improved technologies.  The GM says, "He's done an excellent job reporting for us for many years, but we're looking to simplify things as we move forward. Department of Transportation cameras allow us to check the major highways on a continuous basis and allow us to give up to the minute traffic reports on all the major highways quickly and easily."

It's hard to argue that point -- a relatively new website called TrafficLand gives anyone the ability to view nearly two dozen traffic cameras located along the area's Interstate highways.

According to Bombardo's website, that leaves him with just two clients: ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV) and Cram Communications' Hot AC MOViN 100.3/96.5 (WOLF-FM/WWLF-FM).  We've reached out to Bombardo for comment; we'll update the story if/when we receive a response.

7 comments on “WFBL Flipping to Talk; WSEN Drops Bombardo”

  1. Would be nice if they bring back Steve Malzberg in the afternoon, but really any alternative to Jim Grief would be nice. (that's an intentional mis-spelling). It should be interesting to see just what lineup they come up with, given they're not tied to Buckley and can go outside a clone of the WOR 710 lineup.

  2. Just as an additional note, going to gets you this message: CNY Talk Radio is currently under construction. I'd say that confirms the above comment about the new format's website.

  3. How disappointing! WFBL playing oldies created so much excitement around the Syracuse area, especially at the start when they had live local disc-jockies. The signal gets into the Utica area, and even people East of Utica as far away as Ilion were tuned in. The Doo-Wop programs were excellent. The dial is loaded with talk already, why plug in yet another AM talk station. At least WSEN still has the good olides, maybe the owner should hire some local talent again and bring it back to speed. Don't model anything after WMCR ! Thats another big disappointment too. If local radio can't provide some decent programming, its no wonder people are going elsewhere for entertainment. Young people don't listen to AM radio. The Canadian stations are still doing real AM radio, listen to AM 740. Lots of people in Western and Central New York State do, believe me ! It sure beats all this talk and sports garbage.

  4. WFBL is too low wattage to carry that far, especially at night power you can forget about picking it up much east of Canastota. Trust me, I tried plenty of times when WFBL was in it's previous talk incarnation - WGY comes in better in Onieda than WFBL. I got scanning the dial and got big-watter signal skips out of Wheeling WV (in downtown Utica no less) and New York City, but only WSYR and WHEN have the power to carry long distances to Utica and Ilion and be listenable. As for the Canada stations, they're all slowly going over to FM as close as I can gather from Northeast Radio Watch.

    The problem with music radio is chatter, commercials, and they play the same group of songs over and over and over (especially if it's a syndicated feed), when I want music I play a CD, tape or even a record album. Now that you can buy an Ipod and load it with thousands of songs kids have no use for music radio at all.

    It's good to have an alternative to WSYR in Syracuse who is continually dumping sports that belongs on WHEN over the talk shows I tune in for, has nothing but Grief on from 3-7, and while I like Beck I need a break from him now and then.

  5. I have been getting WFBL here in Utica on a small portable radio for the past 20-years, and my friend in Ilion has been hearing the Doo Wop shows on the weekends for all the time they have been oldies. Pretty weak in Ilion, but listenable.Must be in just the right location! You can get 1390 during the day until about 4 o'clock then the signal is just too weak to receive. Forget trying anytime after 4 PM or early in the morning. On a car radio, its in & out even in Utica. The dial in Utica is loaded with talk, from WIBX, WGY and WHCU out of Ithaca. Theres four sports stations available in Utica, counting WHEN, five.. The only AM music we get is 1480/1550, 900 Boonville, 1050 on a good day, 1600 Oneida, and AM 740 comes in decent most days. Not much of a choice on AM. I agree, forget WSYR from 3 to 7. Yes, the talk shows are good, but like music rotation controlled by consultants, the talk shows have a tendency to be repetitious as well. Instead of twisting the dial for something different, its most generally turned off. If there was more choice, it would be on all day in my house.

  6. WSEN AM 1050 is a total joke. The power is gone - I live in Chittenango and can't even get the station at all before almost 8 AM in the morning and lose it before 6 PM - this just plain sucks. There was finally a station that I totally enjoyed -and had written many letters of praise to the station - now I can't even get the station in my car. We also lost a great DJ and program when they dumped "The Doo Wop Vault" on Sunday nights from 9 to 11 PM with "Big D" - great music and not the usual "oldies" that can become overplayed. The station lost their identity - even playing 70's music during the day on occasion - so sad to have been sold down the river. You blew it big time with me and my friends - and we are the "oldies but Goodies"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. In Syracuse, WSYR was pretty much it for talk until WFBL came on, unless you count like NPR stuff (and I don't). WGY can sometimes be pulled in, but I could only get it in the car and not in the house. Nothing else comes in very strong or reliably, you can get wild signal skips at night, but you can get those all over, I once had a Wheeling WV station coming in loud in downtown Utica.

    Utica just happens to be a small market that fits between others enough to have a wider selection. WROW, WGY, WIBX, WSYR - I was surprised WIBX moved Laura Ingraham given both WROW and WSYR's signal carrying Glenn Beck could be heard there easily. WFBL I don't think even considers Utica as part of their market, especially now that they're co-owned with the Onieda stations.

    WSEN-1050AM has always had a very low night signal, like 25 watts, it doesn't even come in in Liverpool along Onondaga Lake - and normally a lake helps a weak signal reach further because there's no obstructions. Why they've never made an attempt to increase the power, who knows, maybe they can't, maybe they figure they won't sell any more ad time with it.


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