ALBANY -- Even though Clear Channel news/talker WGY 810 is located well outside of the CNYRadio.com coverage area, the station's 50,000-watt signal easily reaches much of the Utica-Rome market -- where CNYRadio.com readers are reporting the station has added a new FM simulcast.
Those reports are confirmed with a quick visit to the WGY website, where an article and a new logo advertise the original signal at 810AM is now supplemented with coverage at 103.1FM. To make that happen, Clear Channel ended the alternative rock format on what it had branded as "Channel 103.1" since 1999.
The FM station is also changing its call letters from WHRL to WGY-FM. According to Wikipedia, WHRL was "one of the few commercial FM radio stations in the Capital Region to have never changed its call letters" since its inception. That was back in 1966.
But listeners in the Mohawk Valley who can hear WGY (or, when conditions are just right, as far west as Syracuse) may find it more difficult to tune in WGY-FM. At just 6,000 watts transmitting from 103 meters above average terrain, FCC records show WGY-FM's 60 dBu service contour covers its home market's primary cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy, along with certain surrounding areas within an oval-like pattern that stretches north-south more than it does east-west. (Of course, areas beyond the contour may receive the signal; just not as reliably.)
The new simulcast -- and WHRL's call sign change to WGY-FM -- took effect just after midnight today. In a statement on the WGY website, GM Kristen Delaney says, "despite the huge audience we currently enjoy, the fact is a significant portion of the Capital Region audience never thinks to visit the AM dial." She says the new FM simulcast is expected to result in a "significant" ratings boost to the news-talker, which already consistently ranks in the top 3 among listeners ages 12+ in the Arbitron ratings for the Albany/Schenectady/Troy market.