WGWE

WGWE is an FM radio station licensed to Little Valley, New York. The station, with a tower atop Fourth Street in the village of Little Valley, broadcasts a loosely defined classic hits format on 105.9 MHz and operates under the ownership of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

WGWE
CityLittle Valley, New York
Broadcast areaOlean, New York
BrandingClassic Hits 105.9 WGWE
Slogan"The Greatest Hits of All Time"
Frequency105.9 MHz
First air dateFebruary 1, 2010
FormatFull service/Classic Hits
ERP7,000 watts
HAAT191 meters
ClassB1
Facility ID166028
Callsign meaning"Gwe" translates to "What's up?" in the Seneca language
AffiliationsNBC News Radio
United Stations Radio Networks
Native Voice One
OwnerSeneca Nation of Indians
(Seneca Broadcasting LLC)
WebcastListen Live
WebsiteWGWEFM.com

History

The Seneca nation had been attempting to enter the radio business for several years prior to WGWE's founding. In the immediate years before acquiring the station, it was applying for noncommercial licenses to operate out of its capital of Irving; mutual exclusivity conflicts with out-of-town religious broadcasters prevented these proposals from reaching the air.

The Seneca nation purchased WGWE's construction permit from Randy Michaels's holding company Radioactive, LLC in early 2009 and signed on February 1, 2010. Originally a locally originated automated station for its first several months, the station began broadcasting what is now Cumulus Media Networks' Classic Hits Radio satellite format in late June 2010 in all shifts except weekday mornings and noon; the station disaffiliated from Classic Hits Radio in 2016. Mike "Smitty" Smith, former disc jockey at WPIG and later the Mayor of Salamanca, was the station's first manager, hosting the morning drive time show and noon call-in request hours from studios inside the former Uni-Mart in Salamanca; Smith retired from radio in June 2016. Additional local hosts were added several months later.

Casey Hill and Jesse Garon, both of whom had previously worked with Smitty at WPIG, also held shifts at WGWE for several years before leaving Western New York. (Hill still occasionally appears in guest gigs.) Former KFXM disc jockey "Double-D" Danny Dare also worked at the station for short stints in fall 2014 and in 2015.

Programming

As of 2018, the on-air lineup includes morning host Chris Russell (formerly of WQRS and WMXO), lunch-hour host Cindy Scott, afternoon drive host Brett Maybee, and evening host Miss B. The syndicated Undercurrents airs in late evenings. Various syndicated programs from M. G. Kelly, Gary Bryan, Dick Bartley and Scott Shannon, along with The Lost 45s and reruns of Wolfman Jack and Rock, Roll and Remember, air weekends.

Olean Oilers collegiate summer baseball (beginning 2017), St. Bonaventure Bonnies women's basketball and men's lacrosse, high school football and Buffalo Bandits lacrosse are carried on the station as well; the station also carried Southern Tier Diesel football during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, youth football games, and Salamanca Merchants recreational baseball from 2013 to 2015. National Native News is heard twice during the day. Since Russell's arrival, the station has been affiliated with NBC News Radio for national and local news, with Russell's show using Accuweather for local weather forecasts and the public domain National Weather Service forecasts (which were used as the sole weather output during Smith's management) being used as a supplement. A daily sermonette airs during the evening hours, provided by Red House Memorial Chapel, a local church.

The station's playlist is full-service and features a mix of oldies ranging from the 1960s through 1980s, some limited 1990s material, classic rock, native music, big band and easy listening instrumentals, soul music, blues and classic country. (Since Russell's arrival as manager, the core of the playlist has been 1970s and 1980s music, with a greater emphasis on adult contemporary music pieces and most music from the 1950s and earlier phased out.) WGWE's in-house music library includes an eclectic collection of traditional singles alongside album cuts, live performances, and extended mixes; its disc jockeys are generally given a larger amount of latitude in choosing their playlist compared to most commercial radio stations. One song that stands out on the station's playlist is "As Long as the Grass Shall Grow", a song performed by Johnny Cash and written by Peter La Farge and Bob Dylan about the construction of the Kinzua Dam; it was the first song played upon the station's sign-on and is played every Friday at noon. The station features two local programs devoted to native American music, Louis Snyder's "The Night Show" (a half-hour show aired on late Fridays featuring more contemporary and hip-hop pieces) and "Gae:no," currently an hourlong show aired weekend mornings with a more traditional music positioning and hosted by Brett Maybee. It is paired with "Weekend Chat," the station's public affairs program. In November 2010, the station added the weekly hourlong series "Soul to Soul," hosted by The Blues Hounds, an all-Seneca blues band from the Cattaraugus Reservation; the show ran until 2013. WGWE is the official broadcast partner for the Native American Music Awards.

The station is operated independently of the Seneca government; however, it does serve as a station of record, carrying Seneca Nation press conferences and advocating Seneca views through public service announcements, outlining the Senecas' position on items of interest such as the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act and New York's continuing taxation efforts on cigarettes, both of which the Seneca government opposes. The use of the station in this manner has been reduced as the station has reached critical mass. The station is owned by Seneca Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Seneca Holdings, which is wholly owned by the Seneca Nation. Dave Kimelberg, an enrolled citizen of the Seneca Nation, leads Seneca Holdings as its CEO to diversify the Seneca Nation's economy through various companies. He was instrumental in forming and implementing WGWE.

The station's mascot is "Rocky the Rockin' Raccoon", a play on the Beatles song of a similar name.

Syndication

Russell's and Scott's programs are voicetracked to numerous other stations across the United States via CloudCast.

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