WFCR Switches AM Frequencies

Scott Fybush
Thu Mar 15 17:23:29 EST 2007

Matthew Osborne wrote:

> That was one *powerful* TIS station.  After it moved
> to 105.1 it must've increased power, because it is
> audible all the way to Batavia NY, at least 40 miles
> away.  A point of clarification from the email above:
> travelers information was broadcast on 105.1 for a few
> years in the early part of this decade before moving
> to AM 710 where it resides today; it was not a
> simultaneous FM frequency move and change to the AM
> frequency.  I still remember how surprised I was at
> how well 105.1 got out for a TIS, and thought it was a
> total waste of a good FM signal.  In my opinion,
> moving a music format to 105.1 and the TIS to AM 710
> was a very wise move for the people that owned these
> signals.

It's probably appropriate here to distinguish between an actual TIS 
station, which is licensed under Part 90 of the FCC rules with limited 
power and strict limits on what it can program, and a broadcast station 
(licensed in the US under Part 73), with no restrictions on programming, 
that just happens to be broadcasting a "travelers information" format.

While the rules are somewhat different in Canada, the travel information 
that's been heard in Niagara Falls at 91.9, then at 105.1 and now on 710 
falls (no pun intended!) into the second category.

I'm not sure that was the case when CFL-Zed was first licensed on 91.9 
back in the late 80s/early 90s. It was then a rather low-power service, 
transmitting from the Skylon tower in the tourist district, with a 
fairly short repeating loop of noncommercial recorded information.

91.9 eventually ceased to be available (a combination, IIRC, of the move 
of CHIN-1-FM in Toronto to that frequency and the FCC allotment of 92.1A 
to Amherst NY), and CFLZ became a higher-powered station on 105.1. By 
then, it was being operated by Keith Dancy, the owner of CJRN 710 and, 
eventually, of CKEY 101.1 as well (which was itself the descendant of 
CJFT 530 Fort Erie, which is a completely separate story.)

101.1 was doing a AAA format as "The River" around the turn of the 
century, while 105.1 had become semi-commercial, carrying ads for 
Niagara Falls businesses (primarily Casino Niagara) along with traffic 
information for the border crossings. As such, it was a phenomenally 
valuable service for those of us who crossed the border relatively 
often, since we could tune in from a distance, hear which crossing was 
moving fastest, and head in the appropriate direction.

In September 2002, the Dancy family (Keith Dancy had died the previous 
spring) won CRTC permission to shuffle the formats around. "The River" 
moved from 101.1 to 105.1, the travel information replaced CJRN's AC 
format on 710, and 101.1 relaunched as "Wild 101," with a rhythmic top 
40 format that was clearly (perhaps too clearly?) targeting listeners 
across the border in Buffalo.

101.1 eventually got in some CRTC hot water, and had to pull back on the 
management deal that had much of its programming and sales force at the 
Buffalo Citadel Broadcasting studios instead of in Canada. 105.1 
eventually increased power and moved off the Skylon, still as "The 
River." 710 was sort of the odd station out in all of this; the updated 
border crossing info disappeared, and for a while in 2002 and 2003, they 
were broadcasting promos that were months out of date. It's since gotten 
marginally better, but the station's not as useful as it used to be. 
(Its signal isn't what it once was, either, and I've heard that its 
12-tower DA is in bad shape.)


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