Broadcast areaSouthern Tier
Frequency1290 kHz
BrandingNews Radio 1290 AM & 92.1 FM
AffiliationsABC News Radio
CBS News Radio
Premiere Networks
Salem Radio Network
Westwood One
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
First air date
1927 (1927)
Technical information
Facility ID72372
Power9,300 watts day
5,000 watts night
Translator(s)92.1 W221EJ (Binghamton)
WebcastListen Live

WNBF (1290 AM) is a commercial radio station in Binghamton, New York. It airs a talk radio format and is owned by Townsquare Media. The studios and offices are on Court Street in Binghamton.[1]

By day, WNBF is powered at 9,300 watts using a non-directional antenna. But at night, to protect other stations on AM 1290, it reduces power to 5,000 watts and switches to a three-tower array directional antenna. The transmitter is off Ingraham Hill Road in Binghamton, among the towers for other broadcast stations in the Binghamton area.[2]


Weekdays begin with two local shows, First News with Kathy Whyte and James Kelly followed by Binghamton Now with Bob Joseph. The rest of the weekday schedule is made up of nationally syndicated conservative talk shows: Brian Kilmeade, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and Red Eye Radio. [3]

Weekend programming includes shows on health, money, car repair, home improvement, a Saturday oldies show and a Sunday morning polka music show.[4] Syndicated weekend hosts include Kim Komando, Gary Sullivan, Mike Gallagher and Bill Cunningham. Most hours begin with world and national news from ABC News Radio.


WNBF is one of the Southern Tier's oldest radio stations. Although the station has traditionally traced its founding to 1928,[5] the year it moved to Binghamton, it was first licensed on February 7, 1927, to the Howitt-Wood Radio Company (Lyle E. Howitt and H. L. Wood) at 117 West Main Street in Endicott, New York, with 50 watts on 1460 kHz,[6] operating from the Elvin Theater.[7] The WNBF call letters were randomly assigned from a sequential roster of available call signs.

The station was moved to 1450 kHz on June 15, 1927.[8] On November 11, 1928, it was reassigned to 1500 kHz as a low-powered "local" station,[9] as part of a major reallocation implemented by the Federal Radio Commission's General Order 40. Later that month the studios moved to the Arlington Hotel in Binghamton.[10][11]

In 1942 WNBF moved to 1290 kHz with 5,000 watts.[12]
In 1942 WNBF moved to 1290 kHz with 5,000 watts.[12]

In 1940, the Federal Communications Commission awarded the Howitt-Wood Radio Company one of first construction permits for a commercial FM station. Originally on 44.9 MHz[13] as W49BN,[14] it later became WNBF-FM on 100.5 MHz.[15] The license for this original WNBF-FM was cancelled on August 11, 1952.[16]

In early 1941 station ownership was transferred to the Wylie B. Jones Advertising Agency. On March 29, 1941, most of the stations on 1500 kHz, including WNBF, moved to 1490 kHz, with the implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement.[17] In 1942, WNBF moved to 1290 kHz, with a power increase from 250 to 5,000 watts. In 1946, the station owners became Clark Associates, Inc. In 1949 a 384-foot (117 m) transmission tower was constructed for use by both the AM and FM radio stations, plus a newly authorized television station, WNBF-TV channel 12 (now WBNG-TV).[18]

In 1955, Triangle Publications purchased WNBF-AM-TV and the construction permit for a new WNBF-FM (now WHWK) on 98.1 MHz, which began broadcasting in 1956. Triangle also owned TV Guide magazine. In 1972, Stoner Broadcasting, based in Des Moines, bought WNBF-AM-FM, and Gateway Communications, publishers of The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, bought WNBF-TV. Citadel Broadcasting acquired WNBF and its FM counterpart, WHWK, in 1999.[5]

Former logo before 92.1 translator sign on
Former logo before 92.1 translator sign on

Over its long history, WNBF has been home to some of the biggest names in area broadcasting. Bill Parker, John Leslie, Roger Neel and Bernard Fionte.


  1. ^ "Contact information" (WNBF.com)
  2. ^ "WNBF-AM 1290 kHz Binghamton, New York" (radio-Locator.com)
  3. ^ "WNBF News Radio 1290".
  4. ^ "WNBF shows" (Sunday)
  5. ^ a b "Stations in the United States: New York: Binghamton", Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook (2010 edition), page D-375.
  6. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 28, 1927, page 3.
  7. ^ "Endicott Gets Radio License", Binghamton Press, February 14, 1927, page 23.
  8. ^ "Broadcasting Stations by Wavelengths" (effective June 15, 1927), Radio Service Bulletin, May 31, 1927, page 14.
  9. ^ "Revised list of broadcasting stations, by frequencies, effective 3 a. m., November 11, 1928, eastern standard time", Second Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission (June 30, 1928), page 213.
  10. ^ "Claim Broadcasting from WNBF Successful First Night; Announce Program", Binghamton Press, December 1, 1928, page 10.
  11. ^ "Alterations and corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, January 31, 1929, page 8.
  12. ^ Westinghouse transmitter advertisement (featuring WNBF), Broadcasting, September 28, 1942, pages 32-33.
  13. ^ "New FM Call Letters Proposed", Broadcasting, November 15, 1940, page 77.
  14. ^ The initial call sign policy for FM stations included an initial "W" for stations east of the Mississippi River, followed by the last two digits of a station's assigned frequency, "49" in the case of 44.9 MHz, and closing with a one or two letter city identifier, which for Binghamton was "BN".
  15. ^ "Standard Broadcast Station Call Letters for All Outlets Starting Nov. 1, FCC Rule", The Billboard, September 4, 1943, page 7.
  16. ^ "FCC Actions: August 11 Decisions", Broadcasting, August 18, 1952, page 98.
  17. ^ "List of Radio Broadcast Stations, Alphabetically by Call Letters as of March 29, 1941", Federal Communications Commission, page 86.
  18. ^ Ideco Transmission Towers (advertisement), Broadcasting, February 20, 1950.

Coordinates: 42°03′29″N 75°57′15″W / 42.05806°N 75.95417°W / 42.05806; -75.95417