WFAS-FM
Simulcast with WFAS, White Plains
WFAS-FM 103.9 Talk FM logo.png
Broadcast areaHudson Valley and New York City
Frequency103.9 MHz
BrandingTalk FM 103.9 and AM Digital 1230
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatConservative talk radio
AffiliationsWestwood One
Ownership
Owner
WFAS
History
First air date
September 1, 1947; 75 years ago (1947-09-01)
Former call signs
  • WFAS-FM (1947–1971)
  • WWYD (1971–1982)
  • WFAS-FM (1982–2014)
  • WNBM (2014–2022)
Call sign meaning
Frank A. Seitz, Sr., the husband and father of WFAS' owners c. 1932
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID14380
ClassA
ERP980 watts
HAAT162.1 meters (532 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
40°52′48″N 73°52′39″W / 40.88000°N 73.87750°W / 40.88000; -73.87750
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen live
Websitewww.wfasny.com

WFAS-FM (103.9 FM, branded as "Talk FM 103.9") is a radio station licensed to Bronxville, New York. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and features a talk radio format in a simulcast with White Plains-licensed sister station WFAS (1230 AM). WFAS-FM's transmitter and tower is located on the campus of Montefiore Medical Center in the New York City borough of the Bronx.[1]

Station history

Early years

WFAS-FM first signed on the air September 1, 1947.[2] Licensed to White Plains, New York, the station's targeted listening area was Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley region. WFAS-FM initially simulcast sister station WFAS before adopting a separate full-service format; it later evolved into an easy listening station, and then an adult contemporary outlet by the mid-1980s. Its primary competitor through much of its history was another regional FM station, WHUD.

Move to New York City, switch to urban AC

WFAS-FM's radio tower, shared with WFUV, at Montefiore Medical Center.
WFAS-FM's radio tower, shared with WFUV, at Montefiore Medical Center.

In order to increase their reach of the New York metropolitan market, as well as increasing the value of the station, in 2012 Cumulus applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a construction permit to move the station's transmitter tower location to the Bronx and subsequently change the station's community of license to Bronxville, all in order to better target New York City itself. The permit was approved in mid-2013. Rumors on radio industry insider websites speculated that the station would change its programming format, and flip to either urban contemporary or modern rock (which would fill the format hole in the market after WRXP flipped to a simulcast of WFAN in November 2012).

On June 30, 2014, WFAS-FM's existing on-air staff departed. Five days later, at Midnight on July 4, WFAS-FM signed off its transmitter (located at 365 Secor Road in Hartsdale), after a set of "goodbye"-themed songs, which ended with "Graduation (Friends Forever)" by Vitamin C. Later that day at 9:00 a.m., the new Bronx transmitter signed on, and 103.9 FM began stunting with a ticking clock, and at 1:03 p.m., the station officially flipped to urban adult contemporary as "Radio 103.9" under the new callsign WNBM.[3][4]

The WFAS-FM callsign and its programming continued to exist via online streaming and as the HD2 sub-channel of sister FM station WPLJ (replacing the True Oldies Channel after Cumulus announced the end of that network, which came a few days earlier). Additionally, on August 29, 2014 at 2:00 p.m., WFAS returned to the analog airwaves, broadcasting on W232AL (a low-power translator station licensed to Pomona, New York) at 94.3 MHz.[5] Its local staff was gone by June 2015, going automated with the Westwood One "AC Network" until May 2019, when Cumulus sold the translator to a religious outlet and ceased its operations.[6]

WNBM's primary competition was WBLS, New York City's heritage urban adult contemporary outlet. The station served as the New York affiliate for the Tom Joyner Morning Show and D.L. Hughley's afternoon program, both of which were distributed by Urban One-owned Reach Media. The station was generally unsuccessful, and an afterthought entirely in the New York ratings overall.

Throughout 2019, Cumulus began to withdraw from the New York market in earnest to pay down debts from its 2018 bankruptcy, selling WPLJ to the Educational Media Foundation, WNSH to Entercom, and WABC to John Catsimatidis's Red Apple Media; after the WABC sale announcement, Cumulus stated that WNBM would be divested as well. WNBM's AM sister station, WFAS, ran automated as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate until converting to an HD Radio-only broadcast in May 2021, also carrying an all-automated format, this time of Cumulus conservative talk radio hosts which otherwise do not have a New York home, in addition to a delayed broadcast of The Rich Eisen Show featuring the NFL Network host.

On November 8, 2019, WNBM, in anticipation of a future sale, ceased live programming and became fully automated, terminating its remaining airstaff in the process.[7] With the COVID-19 pandemic effectively ensuring a sale will not occur in the near future, the station added the Westwood One-distributed, Atlanta-based Rick & Sasha program to mornings in late April 2020.[8] Rick & Sasha lasted a year on the station, as Cumulus canceled the program in April 2021. The Hughley program was eventually dropped as well, resulting in Westwood One's urban adult contemporary-formatted The Touch radio service, delivered via satellite, being heard in all time periods.

Switch to talk, return to WFAS-FM

On December 15, 2021, Cumulus announced that the station would flip to a simulcast of WFAS at the beginning of 2022 (restoring the AM HD Radio-only station to an analog band), and likewise have the WFAS-FM call sign restored.[9] The programming switch took effect on the evening of January 2, 2022; the WFAS-FM call sign returned the following day.[10]

References

  1. ^ "FCC ULS". FCC.
  2. ^ "WFAS-FM" (PDF). Directory of Radio.
  3. ^ "Radio 103.9 New York Debuts". RadioInsight. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  4. ^ "'Urban Adult' Station to Join New York Airwaves". The New York Times. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  5. ^ "WFAS-FM Returns To Westchester". RadioInsight. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  6. ^ Venta, Lance (2 May 2019). "94.3 WFAS Ceases Operations". RadioInsider. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Radio 103.9 New York Cuts Remaining Local Programming". RadioInsight. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  8. ^ Venta, Lance (23 April 2020). "Radio 103.9 New York Adds Rick & Sasha For Mornings". RadioInsight. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  9. ^ "WNBM To Bring Westwood One Talkers To New York". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2021-12-23.
  10. ^ "Call Sign History (WFAS-FM)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved January 3, 2022.