Monday, July 12, 2010


I had a 350 mile drive to complete and a lot of radio to browse. While leaving Scranton I caught WCLH (home of metal monday) on the way out and 99.5 WUSR who was playing a old standard called "Shake down the Stars." It was probably the Sinatra version. Down on 91.7 WVMW was playing christian pop punk, a genre I didn't know was big enough to make a radio playlist. 590 WARM-AM was deep into some oldies and 800 WPEL-AM was playing some really stiff southern white gospel. (They're also on 96.5 FM) An actual live announcer announced that they were supported wholly by donations which is always a surprise to see local programming on a religious station. More here.

I also caught "the gem" WGMF briefly on 1460 which also simulcasts on 730 WZMF-AM. it's also running oldies. WSQX on 81 North. WSQX has an interesting collaborative arrangement with WSKG, and two repeaters of it's own: W201CD 88.1 FM and W214AA 90.7 FM in Lansing and Corning respectively. There I caught the program "Alternative Radio" hosted by David Barsamian. It was truly excellent radio.

In Binghamton I caught 90.5 WHRW which I've wondered about for years. I actually caught them on the return trip as well. Both times I heard the slogan "In the Middle." which I initially mistook for a program name.  It was fully automated with a mix of completely unrelated music: polka, glam, J-pop, show tunes, klezmer, exotica, The clash was gruesomely unlistenable. 680 WINR was audible playing nostalgia most of the way to Syracuse. In Cortland I caught not only 88.2 3 in Syracuse but also WICB out of Ithaca. On the way up I thought that  WICB was the most professional station I've ever heard with student DJs. But on the way back some schlub was playing Hank Williams tunes and reading the liner notes. They cant all be winners. 

Around Syracuse I had trouble distinguishing 89.1 WJPZ and 89.1 WDWN. In theory WJPZ should have the metro coverage and WDWN should be only to the west around Auburn but what I heard was seamless, throughout. Whoever it was never ran an ID and only played commercial rap.  I have high hopes for 90.5 WXXE expanding into that metro. More here.

the first Rochester station I began to hear was 90.5 WBER. 88.5 WRUR was clear by the time I made to to I-490. WRUR was running their WXXI simulcast which replaced decades of student-run programming. I kind of miss the kids since WBER is less eclectic than it once was. thankfully WITR fills that void nicely. Try as I might I never was able to receive WBSU, or WIRQ. WIRQ has a CP to move to 90.9 hopefully that will break them out of Irondequoit into downtown Rochester. I did catch 90.1 WGMC on the way out of town, they were in the middle of their weekly all-Sinatra program. If you're ever in downtown Rochester I must recommend the Bop Shop for a fine selection of jazz LPs.  I spent hours there crate digging.