Infobox Radio station
name = WLTW
New York City
area = New York City area
branding = "106.7 Lite FM"
slogan = "The Best Variety of Yesterday and Today"
airdate = 1961
frequency = 106.7 FM (MHz) HD Radio
Oldies/ Soft AC"Classic Lite" ( HD Radio)
format = Commercial;
erp = 6,000
haat = 415
class = B
facility_id = 56571
callsign_meaning = LiTe FM NeW York
former_callsigns = WKHK, WRVR
Clear Channel Communications
webcast = [http://www.1067litefm.com/cc-common/streaming_new/index.html?refreshed=yes Listen Live]
WAXQ, WHTZ, WKTU, WWPR
website = http://www.1067litefm.com
coordinates = coord|40|44|54.00|N| 73|59|10.00|W|region:US_type:city
The station is often number one or close to it in
Arbitronratings for New York City. From 2002 to 2004, the station generated more revenue than any other radio station in the New York market. One reason for its unusual success in a city that heavily identifies with rap, hip hop, and dance music (formats whose stations make up many of the other top rated FM stations in New York) is that its playlist variety (where just about any popular song from the late 1960s to today that is not rap/hip hop, hard rock, or non-crossover country is played) has attracted an unusually broad demographic range of listeners. Some radio industry analysts have likened the station's format to "a Jack FMwith reporters giving weather/traffic news and financial reports." Fact|date=February 2007
For many years actress
Teri Garrwas seen in television commercials promoting the station.
The station first went on the air in 1961 as WRVR, a religious station owned by
Riverside Churchthat also played some jazz. A remnant of this period comes from the fact that at 5 A.M. on Sunday mornings, a sermon from the church airs on the station. As time went on, WRVR was a full-time jazz station with a strong following, but low ratings.
In 1976 WRVR was purchased by
Sonderling Broadcasting, owner of WWRL, with the hope that it could move to an urban format and compete against WBLS, which had cut into WWRL's ratings. However, community opposition prevented the format change and WRVR remained a jazz station under Sonderling ownership. At that time it developed the precursor to what would later become known as the " smooth jazz" format.
Viacombought the Sonderling chain, and the station adopted a country music format as "Kick" WKHK.The change brought many protests from New York Jazz fans, and a petition to the FCC to deny the station's license renewal, which was denied. (The WRVR calls were moved to a radio station in Memphis, Tenn., that had once been owned by Viacom, but is now owned by Entercom.) However, ratings were low, as they were unable to compete with WHN, which also had a country music format at the time.
Then, in January of
1984, Viacom dropped country and changed the calls to WLTW. The station became an MOR station known as "Lite FM 106.7 WLTW". Initially they were an easy listeningstation without anything that would be classified as " elevator music". At this point, the station played music from such artists as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, the Carpenters, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, Barry Manilow, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and the Stylistics. The station also played softer songs from such artists as Elton John, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Everly Brothers, the Righteous Brothersand Billy Joel. At this point, the station wouldn't play any new music except for new songs by artists that were familiar to listeners of the station. With this format change, ratings did increase from its previously low levels. (Almost immediately after the call letter switch, the WKHK calls were picked up by an FM station at 95.3 in Colonial Heights Va that was also doing a country format. That station still has the WKHK calls and is now Heritage Richmond Virginia Country station " K95 " )
By the late
1980s, WLTW started to play songs from such artists as Whitney Houston, Chicago, Foreigner, the Doobie Brothersand Bruce Springsteen. As other competing New York City stations changed their focus, the station stayed with their soft adult contemporary format, even though they were phasing out songs from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, and the Carpenters. At this point, the station's ratings were at or near the top compared with other New York City radio stations.
1996, with WPAT-FMadapting a Spanish adult contemporary format, WPLJadapting a hot adult contemporaryformat, and WMXV(now WWPR-FM) switching to a modern adult contemporaryformat, WLTW segued to a mainstream adult contemporary format. The station added more uptempo songs from such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Careyand Billy Joel, as music from artists such as Neil Diamond and Kenny Rogers were phased out, and new songs were now being played on the station. Despite the fact that the station had now changed its approach musically, they still refused to play any jingles or have their airstaff talk over the music (the latter would change in due course). The station had been number one more often than not in the ratings, and since 2002, they have continuously been the number one radio station in New York City.
Chancellor bought Viacom Radio in 1997 making WLTW a Chancellor Station. In 1999 Chancellor and Capstar merged, as the station would then be owned by AM/FM. After a 2000 merger between
Clear Channel Communicationsand AM/FM, the station would be owned by its current owners, Clear Channel Communications. (Of note, Viacom would not be out of the radio business for long, for when they bought CBS, they also bought their radio properties, which were owned by the radio subsidiary Infinity Broadcasting-which interestingly owned WLTW's future competitor, WNEW-FM.)
WLTW used to broadcast nationwide on
XM Satellite Radiofrom 2001 to the end of 2003, under the channel name "Lite." In 2004, all XM music channels went commercial free, and WLTW was replaced with a unique-to-XM channel called Sunny, which had an easy listeningformat. Since then, Clear Channel has regained the right to air commercials on their XM music channels. Sunny now carries commercials, but is still exclusive to XM. After a few format tweaks, Sunny now plays soft oldies.
During the holiday season (
Thanksgivingthrough Christmas), WLTW has played Christmas musicinterspersed with its regular playlist. Only on Christmas Day and a few days leading up to it would the station devote all its airtime to holiday music. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Christmas music was seen as a comforting "feel-good" format for radio listeners. Already established as a popular station for Christmas music, WLTW began to switch to an all-Christmas format earlier in 2002. After retaining its leadership in market share, and as part of a national trend, the station continued to make the switch earlier in the following years. [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/08/nyregion/08carols.html?ex=1260248400&en=ba1d0e04e68b51a1&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt] [http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/ent_radio/story/246292p-210826c.html] By 2004, the all-Christmas format ran from Thanksgiving through Christmas, and in 2005, it began on November 18, the week before Thanksgiving ( November 24). On November 18, 2006(the Saturday before Thanksgiving 2006) the station switched to all Christmas music for the holiday season. This is the 2nd year in a row they made such a move. They were the first NYC Station to do so. They did so the same day as WALK, which shares a good portion of their listening audience.By all accounts, the gamble paid off; WLTW captured 7.4% of the New York radio audience during the fall of 2005—the biggest market share in WLTW's history and the highest share for all New York stations since the winter of 1995. [http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/381692p-324102c.html]
At the beginning of 2006, WLTW, along with other Clear Channel Communications stations in New York City, launched an
HD Radiostation. Their HD station, known as "Classic Lite", features music that was prominent at the station back when it started in 1984.
As part of Clear Channel's nationwide cost-cutting efforts WLTW fired station veterans Bill Buchner (mornings) and J.J. Kennedy (evenings) on November 6, 2006. Buchner was replaced with Karen Carson, who is co-hosting mornings with fellow WLTW staffer
Christine Nagy. WLTW Program Director Jim Ryan has denied these firings were part of the company's cost cutting that were going on at all the other Clear Channel stations in preparation for their conversion the leveraged buyout that took the company from public to private ownership in 2006, but rather from their desire to improve ratings. [cite web |url=http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/469681p-395299c.html | last=Hinckley |first=David | title=Exec: Lite's critics aren't on the money |work= New York Daily News|date=2006-11-09 | accessdate=2006-12-03 ]
The syndicated Delilah show, distributed by sister company
Premiere Radio Networks, replaced Kennedy's local evening lovesongs show on November 20, 2006, bringing the syndicated show to the full New York market for the first time. [cite web | url=http://www.nj.com/entertainment/ledger/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/116443302395380.xml&coll=1 |title=Radio notes |accessdate=2006-12-03 |work= The Star Ledger|date=2006-11-25 ] Prior to WLTW picking her show up, Delilah was only heard in outer portions of the New York market from stations in neighboring areas, such as WEZN-FM. In a departure from her normal format, Delilah and her syndicator, are allowing Ryan to program the music on the WLTW's version of Delilah, instead of the selections that are sent to her other affliliates.
April 2, 2007, WLTW removed the "Lite" branding and was simply known as "New York's 106.7." This probably in reaction to the "Lite" brand being associated with an older demographicFact|date=January 2008, turning away the younger listeners, as well as increased competition from the new Fresh 102.7.
In September 2007, the Lite-FM branding returned on the station.
Further cost-cutting efforts by Clear Channel caused the departure of longtime station favorites Al "Bernie" Berstein" and Valerie Smaldone in early 2008. It was also announced that Program Director Jim Ryan would exit as of May 2008. Clear Channel being taken private undoubtedly caused some of these on-air and programming legends to cash in on their stock options.
In 2007, the station won the top 25 markets
Adult Contemporarystation of the year award by Radio & Recordsmagazine. Other nominees included WMJXin Boston, KOSTin Los Angeles, WALK-FMin Nassau, New York, WBEB, in Philadelphia, and KEZK-FMin St. Louis. cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=2007 Industry Achievement Awards | date=Sept 28, 2008 | publisher= | url =http://www.radioandrecords.com/Conventions/con2007/awards/indexFinal.asp | work =Radio and Records]
* [http://www.1067litefm.com/ WLTW official website]
* [http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2008/05/22/2008-05-22_wltls_jim_ryan_recalls_his_years_in_the_.html/ WLTW's Jim Ryan recalls his years in the spot "Lite"]
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