UTICA/ROME -- The three-station simulcast (two AMs and an FM translator) known as B95.5 will be rebranding itself come Monday as "95.5FM WUTQ, your FM local news and talk headquarters." The station, which has combined local talk with "beautiful music," will be focusing more on news and talk programming. As a result, longtime morning host Hank Brown has exited the station.
Operations Manager Dave Silvers tells CNYRadio.com, "Hank was offered another time slot but declined." According to Brown's profile on b955.fm, which was still available as of Friday evening, "your host for coffee and toast" had been on-air for more than 50 years. He most recently had the 6-8am slot on WUTQ. [Google Cache link, as the previous link likely won't be active much longer.]
Starting Monday, 95.5FM (translator W238CA, a simulcast of 1550 WUTQ and 1480 WADR) will begin morning drive by simulcasting the audio of local NBC television affiliate WKTV's "NewsChannel 2 at Sunrise" from 6-7am.
Talk of the Town with Mark Piersma will follow, running until 10am, marking a one-hour expansion of the locally-produced talk show, which focuses on giving a voice to local politicians, constituents and non-profit organizations.
The station will continue to simulcast the audio from WKTV's noon and 5pm newscast, with the balance of the schedule featuring "soft favorites from the 50s through the 90s," according to a press release issued by RCN today.
"We feel that delivering a quality FM news/talk format, in addition to the soft favorites in the Utica-Rome market is long overdue," said RCN General Sales Manager Grant Roser.
In the press release, we noticed RCN did no longer refer to the station as "B95.5" as it had previously; and thanks to the "net gnomes" at RadioInsight.com for alerting us to recent domain registrations for wutq955.com and 955wutq.com. Although both domains only lead to a generic "parked domain" page as of Friday evening, we can't help but wonder if a new logo will accompany the activation of these new domains shortly. We also wonder whether WUTQ will install CBS News at the top of the hour, after 950 WIBX switched to Fox News Radio in February.