Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sing-A-Long to WEBR

In the 1960s 970 WEBR-AM attempted an experimental sing-a-long format. Well not really, it was a marketing ploy, but a decent one. They had been pioneering some new outreach programs along with novel branding. They'd already created a set of jingles so popular locally they were also sold on a 45rpm record "The Sound of the City." This new format encouraged listeners to Sing along with distributed song books. Today it seems cheesy but in radio that never seems to stop anyone.

WEBR-AM signed on the air in 1924 founded by the Howell Electric Company. they broadcast live from their own offices in Buffalo. While they used the slogan We Extend Buffalo’s Regards, the calls were actually assigned sequentially. In 1936, the station was sold to The Buffalo Evening News, then joining the NBC Blue Network. Six years later The Evening News sold the station to their competitor the Buffalo Courier-Express. The new management dropped NBC Blue for the Mutual Broadcasting System. Then two years later they changed dial position from 1340 to 970 AM. This quick succession of changes makes their history hard to follow.

The big change was in the mid 1970s. The Western New York Public Broadcasting Associating purchased WEBR. This in 1976 it became the country’s first public all-news station. More here.

So we've skipped cleanly over their sing-a-long moment in history. So take a moment and rewind a decade. In 1957 WEBR was broadcasting a popular rock n' roll program called the Teen Hop. It actually aired live from the Rendezvous Room at the Statler Hotel. the instudio audience was made up of local high school kids. It was nationally renowned and massively popular.
Now to get more confusing Statler Hotel has no relation to Sattler's Department Store, a sponsor of the Sing-a-long. The store was located at 998 Broadway in downtown Buffalo. The store closed and was town down in 1987.