UTICA/ROME -- It's a busy week at Townsquare Media's WIBX. After 76 years as an affiliate of CBS News, the station is now running Fox News Radio at the top of the hour. There's also new imaging, a new station voice, and the staffers are gearing up for the station's 40th annual Heart Radiothon this coming weekend.
First up, the newscast changes. Fox News Radio is now heard at the top of every hour, ending an affiliation with CBS News that had lasted more than three-quarters of a century. According to a 1974 press release included within a webpage called "Some History of CBS," WIBX became an affiliate of CBS in 1934. (If you click the link, you'll have to scroll pretty far down or just have your browser find "WIBX" when the page loads.) No explanation for the change was provided.
Second, the rebranding. Instead of "Newsradio 950 WIBX," Program Director and SportsWatch host Gene Conte says the station is now branded as "Your News, Talk and Sports Leader, WIBX and wibx950.com."
Conte also tells CNYRadio.com that there's a new voice accompanying all the new liners and IDs which debuted today. "Peter [Rief] did a great job for many years, but the time was right for a new image," Conte said. The new station imaging is voiced by Pat Garrett, who some listeners may recognize as the existing voice talent for sister station Oldiez 96.1 (WODZ).
Second, the newscast changes. WIBX is now running Fox News Radio at the top of the hour. No explanation behind the sudden change, after more than 76 years of running CBS News at the top of the hour.
What's now known as "Heart Weekend" in Utica all started forty years ago, with the very first WIBX Heart Radiothon. It was held in memory of WIBX personality Ralph Allinger, who died of a heart attack. In 1974, the radiothon's efforts were supplemented by the first "Heart Run," as participants ran from Barneveld to the former WIBX studios in Clark Mills to help raise more money for the American Heart Association.
Today, the radiothon is joined by a walk and a run, along with telethons, all helping the American Heart Association.
This year's Heart Radiothon airs Friday from 7am to 7pm, and Saturday from 5am to 1pm, live from the Clark Athletic Center at Utica College. To mark the radiothon's 40th anniversary, WIBX has several giveaways lined up to help encourage donations. Details are listed on the WIBX website. If you'll be out of town this weekend -- or just don't want to wait -- donations are already being accepted online.
As WXUR works on becoming a clone of the old WOUR, WIBX is slowly becoming what you'd have for offspring were WSYR and WGY to have a child.
Which is odd, since both of those stations can be pulled in in Utica, you'd think they'd strive to be different.
Our family is pleased to see Dad remembered all these many years later. Thanks to all at WIBX who make this happen each year.
I would question the 40th year though. Dad died in October of 1971 and the marathon was the following year. I can't remember but may have been named for him in it's second year.
Either way, good luck
Chris Allinger and family