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‘Amigos’ buy WIRY, keep AM radio signal alive in Plattsburgh

The new owners of local radio station WIRY 1340 pose for a photo at the AM station’s hub on U.S. Route 9 in the town of Plattsburgh. The four-member group includes WIRY News Director and General Manager Dave Andrews (front) as well as (from left) Clinton County Sheriff David Favro, Joey Trombley of Kavanaugh Realty and Clinton County Legislator Mark Henry (R-Chazy). (Provided photo — McKenzie Delisle, Press-Republican)

PLATTSBURGH — It’s a done deal.

Local AM radio station WIRY 1340 was sold to its News Director and General Manager Dave Andrews, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro, Joey Trombley of Kavanaugh Realty, and Clinton County Legislator and Chairman Mark Henry (R-Area 3, Chazy).

The group of locals, who call themselves the Four Amigos, bought the AM radio station from previous owner William “Bill” Santa.

The deal, about a year in the works, was made official in late December 2019 after licensing agreements were secured from the Federal Communications Commission.

Andrews said Santa, who had owned the station since the 1990s, lived out of town.

“The station was really without local management,” he said. “We wanted to change that; we wanted to make sure that it stayed viable and stayed on the air.”

Iconic and legendary

Even before Santa got his hands on it, the hometown radio station had been on the air for more than 40 years, dating back to 1950.

It has changed location since then, now situated in a 32,000-square-foot space on Route 9 in the town of Plattsburgh.

The North Country became accustomed to its nostalgic tunes, live and local sports coverage, as well as daily morning shows like the “Birthday Club.”

Trombley said WIRY was nothing short of iconic and legendary.

“When you think about our station in the 1950s — it’s hard to imagine,” Favro added. “Families were huddled around a round-tube television and the radios were ginormous, taking up half of the living room.

“That was family entertainment.”

21st-century radio

But with the station entering its 70th year, the Four Amigos say they aren’t in the business of clinging to the past.

“While we respect the history of WIRY and recognize its importance,” Henry said, “we’re also looking ahead.”

That means getting the hometown radio in line with the digital world via advancements like a mobile app which, they said, would become available in the next month or so.

“It’s interesting to be able to marry the two together and keep all of your great childhood and family memories alive, but propel us into the 21st century,” Favro said.

Other changes to the station would include adding to its existing list of talk shows, upping its coverage of local businesses and reintroducing longtime radio personality Bob Pooler.

“You grew up with”

Operating under its new mantra, “the station and the music you grew up with,” WIRY ownership hoped to appeal to a younger generation, too.

That’s why the hometown radio station tightened up its music offerings, featuring songs solely from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

Trombley thought those tracks would appeal to most generations, including those now in their 20s.

“It’s what their parents listened to when they were growing up,” he said. “They still enjoy that kind of music.”

The morning show once played songs from all genres, ranging from oldies to today, but, since making its recent change, each co-owner has received positive feedback.

“People say all of the time, ‘Man, I like what you’re doing over there at WIRY. The music is much better,'” Trombley said.

Local sportsmanship

By popular demand, the new owners have plans to increase coverage of local sports.

The radio station has historically aired games from national teams like the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, as well as local teams like the Plattsburgh State Cardinals.

Now, Andrews said, WIRY will expand on that to get the names of area high school athletes on the air, too.

“There are a lot of listeners that have children or grandchildren that participate,” Favro said. “Some of them live in Florida, or are homebound and can’t make it to a game.

“That listening perspective is one piece, but the other piece is that student athletes take a lot of pride in what they do,” the sheriff continued.

“If we can revive that enthusiasm in the younger group and provide a service for the older group — it’ll be a two for one.”

Keep it alive

Favro thought the radio medium had something to offer that other media outlets didn’t.

“During those awkward times in your own personal life, like when you’re in the shower or driving a car, and you can’t read the paper and you can’t watch TV — you can listen to the radio,” Favro said.

“It’s a service that we can provide no matter what people are doing.”

The Four Amigos hoped their changes would be enough to keep the station relevant now and in the future.

“At one time, there were three live local radio stations in Plattsburgh,” Andrews said. “Now, there is only one. We want to keep it alive.”

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