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July 3, 2020 12:05 pm  #31


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

In this video, the new owner of WEBR talks about the big call letter and format change, which start Monday. Among other things, Bill Yuhnke reveals that the owner of WJJL was getting old and sick and could no longer run the place - and was prepared to let it go silent if he couldn't find a buyer. So Yuhnke, an ex-broadcaster and owner of a Buffalo cab company, stepped in. 

He also talks about the history of WEBR, the origins of The Lone Ranger at the original station, a hint about a "new game show" and that the format will feature something called "Radio Free America," guaranteeing a listener an uninterrupted two minutes of airtime to say whatever they want and not be cut off, with other listeners being able to comment on his or her statement throughout the day.

The video, which originally aired on WBBZ-TV, also contains some vintage photos from Buffalo radio's past. And there's even a brief snapshot (below) of what the playlist might look like. 

https://i.ibb.co/60DhD8Y/playlist.jpg




 

 

July 6, 2020 1:09 pm  #32


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

The station is officially on the air and its new website is up. (So is the WJJL one, which is a bit of an oversight.) They're affiliated with USA Radio News, which I think is a Trump-supporting right wing outlet. But most of the content is Music of Your Life. You can tune them in on the Internet if you're interested in hearing what they sound like. 

WEBR website 

Listen live

 

July 6, 2020 4:21 pm  #33


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

The weather guy/afternoon drive guy sounds so classic that he sounds like he's going to pass away on the air one of these days. https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/shocked.png

 

July 6, 2020 4:29 pm  #34


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

paterson1 wrote:

This sort of strikes me as more of a hobby radio station rather than a real commercial enterprise.

Think you're right. Part of what they're selling is 'EBR's history, all of the old jocks that most people don't know 'cause they weren't alive yet.
If they want this to be commercially viable, they've got to get it right, right now. If the listeners don't like what they hear, they won't give it a second chance.
 

 

July 6, 2020 7:30 pm  #35


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

I agree Mike.  In honour of the death of the great Italian composer here's The Good, Bad and Ugly...I listened to a lot of WEBR in the years when it had some great music and great announcers...like Ken Ruoff.  It also had late night jazz.  The only real similarity for WEBR -  today is the use of the (classic) old jingles and imaging "the sound of the city".    The Bad-...is the on-air sound of the announcers.   I never was a fan of Barry Lillis when he was a weather man on WGR.  He's really obnoxious...sorry Barry.
Having a 3 or 4 hour strand of talk shows also cripples the format.
The ugly is the fact that I listened for more than 90 minutes and every artist - except one  (Johnny Mathis) was dead - long dead.   And here's the rub.  Talented people in the U.S. have programmed "Great American Songbook" stations/formats with a good balance of living and dead artists.  MODFM Palm Springs has a remarkable number of current-day artists singing great songs from the Great American Songbook.  Rod Stewart, John Pizzarelli, Streisand, Stacey Kent, Tierney Sutton, and many more.  I like Steve and Edie, but they rode off into the sunset a while ago.   Michael Buble has some remakes of Sinatra songs, that sound as if he had the nelson riddle arrangements...fantastic recordings...that aren't over the hill.   If you are familiar with Jonathan Schwartz - in the days before he was "me too'd" off of WNYC (and formerly at WNEW) you will know that he played a high percentage of contemporary artists performing the great american songbook.   There are lots of great big band arrangements - by contemporary artists as well that are played on (good) US stations in the format.  I could provide dozens of examples of artists recording in the genre today, or at least recently, who have brought life to these timeless classics.  In my view, it's a format, that if done well attracts advertisers other than vitamin supplements, old age care facilities etc.

Sadly, WEBR isn't even Music of Your Mother's Life.  I think it's kind of irrelevant.   I also wonder whether all of these jocks are at home, the audio levels are horrible...lillis was yelling at me....no kidding.   

One last thought.  When Buffalo was a top 25 market (look it up), it had one station that excelled as a "American Standards" station.  That was Dan Lesniak's WADV (advercasting) 106.5 (which has been WYRK for about 35 years).  WADV had some of the best Buffalo on-air talent, and was well programmed in the genre.   It had a lot of life to it.  The music was great and the DJs had a lot of latitude.  I used to listen to Fred Klestine late evening.as well as Bernie Sandler... It was a well programmed station and the announcers were allowed to talk, but not babble or yell.  I met Dan Lesniak who was founder, owner, and GSM in the early 1970's.  He summed up his success. and made me laugh...."Some stations sell ads "TFN" - till friday night".  WADV sells ads "TFN - till further notice".   I suspect, based on the sale price of the station, it was spinning cash and Dan and his wife Nancy rode the Brinks truck to the bank.  Sadly Dan passed away only months after he sold the station.   You might also recall that he hosted the Polka Ballroom show on weekends, which really blew out the format for a number of hours each saturday and sunday...but the station was so good, that people returned to the station after the Polka shows.

I would have thought that WADV  - or even MODFM would have been a model, to emulate...

Here's how some writers described WADV:
"It was a mixture of jazz, big band music and vocal standards hosted by knowledgeable and genuine personalities, including Pat Vincent, Fred Klestine, Rick Bennett, Jerry Glenn, Bernie Sandler, Jack Horohoe, Ken Ruof and Ralph Irene."


 

Last edited by tvguy (July 6, 2020 7:47 pm)

 

July 7, 2020 4:52 am  #36


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

tvguy wrote:

I agree Mike.  In honour of the death of the great Italian composer here's The Good, Bad and Ugly...I listened to a lot of WEBR in the years when it had some great music and great announcers...like Ken Ruoff.  It also had late night jazz.  The only real similarity for WEBR -  today is the use of the (classic) old jingles and imaging "the sound of the city".    The Bad-...is the on-air sound of the announcers.   I never was a fan of Barry Lillis when he was a weather man on WGR.  He's really obnoxious...sorry Barry.
Having a 3 or 4 hour strand of talk shows also cripples the format.
The ugly is the fact that I listened for more than 90 minutes and every artist - except one  (Johnny Mathis) was dead - long dead.   And here's the rub.  Talented people in the U.S. have programmed "Great American Songbook" stations/formats with a good balance of living and dead artists.  MODFM Palm Springs has a remarkable number of current-day artists singing great songs from the Great American Songbook.  Rod Stewart, John Pizzarelli, Streisand, Stacey Kent, Tierney Sutton, and many more.  I like Steve and Edie, but they rode off into the sunset a while ago.   Michael Buble has some remakes of Sinatra songs, that sound as if he had the nelson riddle arrangements...fantastic recordings...that aren't over the hill.   If you are familiar with Jonathan Schwartz - in the days before he was "me too'd" off of WNYC (and formerly at WNEW) you will know that he played a high percentage of contemporary artists performing the great american songbook.   There are lots of great big band arrangements - by contemporary artists as well that are played on (good) US stations in the format.  I could provide dozens of examples of artists recording in the genre today, or at least recently, who have brought life to these timeless classics.  In my view, it's a format, that if done well attracts advertisers other than vitamin supplements, old age care facilities etc.

Sadly, WEBR isn't even Music of Your Mother's Life.  I think it's kind of irrelevant.   I also wonder whether all of these jocks are at home, the audio levels are horrible...lillis was yelling at me....no kidding.   

One last thought.  When Buffalo was a top 25 market (look it up), it had one station that excelled as a "American Standards" station.  That was Dan Lesniak's WADV (advercasting) 106.5 (which has been WYRK for about 35 years).  WADV had some of the best Buffalo on-air talent, and was well programmed in the genre.   It had a lot of life to it.  The music was great and the DJs had a lot of latitude.  I used to listen to Fred Klestine late evening.as well as Bernie Sandler... It was a well programmed station and the announcers were allowed to talk, but not babble or yell.  I met Dan Lesniak who was founder, owner, and GSM in the early 1970's.  He summed up his success. and made me laugh...."Some stations sell ads "TFN" - till friday night".  WADV sells ads "TFN - till further notice".   I suspect, based on the sale price of the station, it was spinning cash and Dan and his wife Nancy rode the Brinks truck to the bank.  Sadly Dan passed away only months after he sold the station.   You might also recall that he hosted the Polka Ballroom show on weekends, which really blew out the format for a number of hours each saturday and sunday...but the station was so good, that people returned to the station after the Polka shows.

I would have thought that WADV  - or even MODFM would have been a model, to emulate...

Here's how some writers described WADV:
"It was a mixture of jazz, big band music and vocal standards hosted by knowledgeable and genuine personalities, including Pat Vincent, Fred Klestine, Rick Bennett, Jerry Glenn, Bernie Sandler, Jack Horohoe, Ken Ruof and Ralph Irene."


 

Good post! WADV was an excellent station.


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
     Thread Starter
 

July 7, 2020 9:45 am  #37


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

It's not often that we hear of a "unique format that defies description," like WADV or something similar, such as this new WEBR.
One of the first things I thought of were the current artists that can supplement the great standards of the past. And there are Canadians, Buble, as mentioned, Matt Dusk & Florence K, and a bunch of others who are a geological fit, too.
tvguy, I've been a Steve Lawrence fan going back to There'll Be Some Changes Made and his poppier Pretty Blue Eyes. He did a family-produced album in 2003, Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra, using arrangements Sinatra gave him when he retired. Hell of a piece that would fit like a glove. I even wondered about Frank & Nancy's Something Stupid.
I also listened to Barry L, but not for long. Why is this guy yelling? The sell didn't match the music.

 

July 7, 2020 10:17 am  #38


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

mike marshall wrote:

I also listened to Barry L, but not for long. Why is this guy yelling? The sell didn't match the music.

Lillis was the longtime and very popular weatherman for WGRZ back in the day. He left after declining into alcoholism which almost ruined his life and cost him his career. Fortunately for him, he got help, got sober, found religion and climbed out of that hole. He also survived Stage 4 throat cancer, which may explain why his voice sounds a little rough. 

The station did a story on him way back in 2011.(Don't let the "file not found" warning at the top of the page deter you. Scroll down and the story is there.) What strikes me is that he mentions in the copy that he'd "just turned 75." That means nine years later, he's at least 84, a hell of an age to begin a new gig! He hasn't been on the air anywhere as far as I know for decades.

Which may explain the yelling. I've seen people unused to being on air begin by doing that, thinking they have to project energy through loudness. Perhaps that's what's afflicting him.

I once produced a talk show for a veteran newspaper guy who went into radio. His first week on the air, he was so manic, the PD had to tell him to tone it down - a lot. He did, got better and eventually became great. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever worked with anyone quite so talented. So perhaps once Lillis gets used to it, he'll stop with the yelling. 

But imagine starting your big comeback in your mid-80s. I'm willing to bet there aren't many in this business who've ever done that. 

 

July 7, 2020 3:35 pm  #39


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

Another original WEBR alumnus is also back on the new incarnation. And talk about a long absence. Jack Horohoe hasn't done radio in half a century.

He's back on the radio after a 49-year hiatus 

 

July 7, 2020 6:21 pm  #40


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

No way this station will pay the bills, especially with several local hosts (unless they work for free).

 

July 7, 2020 8:22 pm  #41


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

The guy who programmed the great standards station WNEW N.Y., a former Buffalo native, weighed in on the new WEBR. His thoughts echo a lot of those here and make for some pretty interesting reading. 

Tom Langmyer Weighs In On WEBR Over Facebook

 

July 8, 2020 6:42 am  #42


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

They need to get rid of those deadly "Sound of the City" jingles. They sound like funeral dirges. The music is OK - definitely not the same-old same-old tunes you hear on your average nostalgia stations - but I'd rather hear a deep oldies format focusing on 1955-1975. That would be something. Well, there is one...

https://live365.com/station/Oh-Wow--The-Songs-Radio-Forgot-a68406http://rockradioscrapbook.ca/oh-wow8.gif


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
     Thread Starter
 

July 8, 2020 7:46 am  #43


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

Found this on the Channel 7 report on Jack Horohoe, linked above. (They've put up a video if you visited the page earlier and didn't see the story.)

It briefly shows an ad for WNIA (now WECK) at 1230 AM, and it's a perfect example of a terrible idea that was once a part of broadcasting. All the names listed on the promotional material were owned by the station - and everyone who worked there had to use them, depending on which time slot you were on. Mike Melody, for instance, was the afternoon drive jock. Forever. 

The reason for the name game? If you dared ask for more money because you were successful in upping the ratings, you could be fired and instantly replaced by someone using the exact same moniker. So it seemed like there was never any turnover. An odious practice and I'm sure WNIA wasn't the only one that did it. I wonder if it still goes on at some smaller outlets around the U.S., although I doubt many places would be allowed to get away with it today.

(And speaking of recycling call letters, it turns out WNIA still exists - it's now the calls for the Niagara University radio station in Western New York. I'm guessing the DJs listed in their on air staff are using their real names.)

WNIA Radio 

https://i.ibb.co/ykwz9mR/wnia.jpg

 

July 10, 2020 8:15 pm  #44


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

WJJL never subscibed to the Neilsen or Arbitron services, so their ratings were never published. I wonder if the owners of the all new WEBR will subscribe.

 

July 11, 2020 12:05 am  #45


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

RadioActive wrote:

Found this on the Channel 7 report on Jack Horohoe, linked above. (They've put up a video if you visited the page earlier and didn't see the story.)

It briefly shows an ad for WNIA (now WECK) at 1230 AM, and it's a perfect example of a terrible idea that was once a part of broadcasting. All the names listed on the promotional material were owned by the station - and everyone who worked there had to use them, depending on which time slot you were on. Mike Melody, for instance, was the afternoon drive jock. Forever. 

The reason for the name game? If you dared ask for more money because you were successful in upping the ratings, you could be fired and instantly replaced by someone using the exact same moniker. So it seemed like there was never any turnover. An odious practice and I'm sure WNIA wasn't the only one that did it. I wonder if it still goes on at some smaller outlets around the U.S., although I doubt many places would be allowed to get away with it today.

(And speaking of recycling call letters, it turns out WNIA still exists - it's now the calls for the Niagara University radio station in Western New York. I'm guessing the DJs listed in their on air staff are using their real names.)

WNIA Radio 

https://i.ibb.co/ykwz9mR/wnia.jpg

WMEX Boston used to do this. One of their jocks was - quite naturally - named Fenway.

WXYZ Detroit had a string of different "Jack the Bellboys" over the years.


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
     Thread Starter
 

July 14, 2020 4:38 pm  #46


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

Dale Patterson wrote:

]Found this on the Channel 7 report on Jack Horohoe, linked above. (They've put up a video if you visited the page earlier and didn't see the story.)

It briefly shows an ad for WNIA (now WECK) at 1230 AM, and it's a perfect example of a terrible idea that was once a part of broadcasting. All the names listed on the promotional material were owned by the station - and everyone who worked there had to use them, depending on which time slot you were on. Mike Melody, for instance, was the afternoon drive jock. Forever.

As the afternoon guy at the moment on 1370 in Rochester, WNIA's erstwhile sister station WSAY (which predated WNIA in Gordon Brown's ownership by 20 years)... I've been tempted now and again to introduce myself as "Mike Melody" just to continue the tradition!
 

 

July 14, 2020 6:16 pm  #47


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

fybush wrote:

Dale Patterson wrote:

]Found this on the Channel 7 report on Jack Horohoe, linked above. (They've put up a video if you visited the page earlier and didn't see the story.)

It briefly shows an ad for WNIA (now WECK) at 1230 AM, and it's a perfect example of a terrible idea that was once a part of broadcasting. All the names listed on the promotional material were owned by the station - and everyone who worked there had to use them, depending on which time slot you were on. Mike Melody, for instance, was the afternoon drive jock. Forever.

As the afternoon guy at the moment on 1370 in Rochester, WNIA's erstwhile sister station WSAY (which predated WNIA in Gordon Brown's ownership by 20 years)... I've been tempted now and again to introduce myself as "Mike Melody" just to continue the tradition!
 

Go for it, "Mike!" Mr. Fybush recently did a Canada Day podcast featuring Boston radio great Donna Halper, who is also animated in Rush's "Spirit of Radio" video, along with our own David Marsden. The half hour show also talks about the passing of the legendary Arnie  "Woo Woo" Ginsburg and "The Famous" Jim Sands from Boston. You can hear it here.    

 

July 14, 2020 6:28 pm  #48


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

WEBR sounds like a cottage burger joint on highway 11.
 

 

July 15, 2020 12:11 pm  #49


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

Charlie wrote:

WEBR sounds like a cottage burger joint on highway 11.
 

https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/grin.png

 

 

July 22, 2020 8:32 am  #50


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

Someone really, really really likes this station's music mix.

From the Buffalo News. 

Jeff Simon: Music on WEBR is sensational

 

July 26, 2020 8:43 am  #51


Re: WJJL to become WEBR

Some voices from the original station's past recall the WEBR they knew, including Pete Weber, now the voice of the Nashville Predators. He recalls people accused him of changing his name so it would look like the call letters of the station!

WEBR alums recall good old days