Buckley Radio

by Ben Aaron

Contact Buckley Radio:

166 West Putnam Ave.
Greenwich, CT 06830
Phone: (203) 661-4307

 

Buckley Broadcast Group (or Buckley Radio) is a privately-owned company that operates about 18 radio stations in New York, Connecticut and California. The company also owns the WOR Radio Network, which independently produces and distributes syndicated radio programming to about 390 affiliated stations through WOR 710, its historically successful flagship news/talk station. [1]

Station List:

New York

  • WOR and the WOR Radio Network (Based in NYC, both are in the process of being sold to Clear Channel)
  • WFBL and WSEN – Syracuse (sale pending to Leatherstocking Media Group)

Connecticut

California

  • KLLY
  • KKBB
  • KNZR
  • KSMJ
  • KWAV
  • KIDD
  • KYZZ
  • KUBB
  • KHTN
  • KSEQ

History: 

Buckley Broadcasting was founded in 1956 by Richard Dimes Buckley. The company operated modestly, acquiring a few properties for its first few years, until Buckley’s son took over as President in 1972. His father had a strong influence on him both in business strategy and in the commitment to keep the business family-owned and operated. Stations in small and medium-sized markets like Hartford, CT and Fresno, CA (Q97 and WDRC) have remained the company’s focus. Buckley owns several of some of the United States’ oldest radio stations, including WDRC 102.9 and WOR 710.

WFBL Syracuse was the first station to receive an FCC license, and WOR 710 has remained one of New York’s most succesful talk radio stations since it became the first NYC-based station in 1922. Buckley purchased WOR in 1989, keeping almost its entire format the same while changing a few personalities. Then-president Richard Buckley refused offers to sell multiple stations including WOR and its nearly one million listeners.

After Buckley’s passing, current CEO Joe Bilotta sold WOR 710, and the WOR Radio Network with it, to Clear Channel Communications. It marks the sale of Buckley’s most popular and profitable station, which is reportedly causing people to anticipate the total dissolution of the company. [2]

WOR 710 Personalities:

Joan Hamburg                                                     Gov. David Paterson


                   Joe Bartlett                                                               Dr. Joy Browne

                                  

              Mike Gallagher                                                           The Frommers

               Dave Ramsey                                                         Dottie Herman

Properties:

The stations owned by Buckley Radio cover seven markets ranging from relatively small (those in Connecticut and parts of Fresno) to the large NYC market reached by WOR. Programming distributed by the WOR Radio Network includes The Frommers, Top 40 charts, and Warren Eckstein.
The sale of WOR to Clear Channel is ongoing and expected to end by Jan. 2013. Buckley and Clear Channel have long been competitors in the California, Connecticut and New York markets, and WOR 710 will be Clear Channel’s sixth station in New York, and one of the nearly 900 properties owned by Clear Channel. The station is expected to see a dramatic ratings increase with the implementation of Clear Channel-owned programming like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, causing investors to worry that Buckley will not be able to come back after losing its biggest property.

People:

As president of Buckley Broadcasting for nearly 40 years, Richard Buckley worked extensively in the broadcast industry and received numerous accolades. He served as President of several Buckley-owned California stations for a number of years, and temporarily served as the music director for WNEW-AM. He was named one of Radio Ink’s 40 Most Powerful to being inducted into the New York State Broadcaster’s Associate in June 2011. Buckley unfortunately passed from a brain embolism a month later. Joe Bilotta was immediately promoted from Chief Operating Officer to President and Chief Executive Officer, and issued a statement.

Said Bilotta, “It is with a deep and profound sadness that I must inform you that early Sunday morning, Rick Buckley passed away… He led the company that bears his name for over 4 decades and did so in a style and manner that reflected the family nature of his business. He loved Radio, loved his company and cared deeply for all of his employees.” [3] 

Bilotta has extensive experience in the broadcast industry. He’s on the National Broadcasters Association’s Board of Directors, and serves on the Executive Committee for the Radio Advertising Bureau. Other key executives include Kathy Baker, the Executive Vice President of West Coast operations, and General Managers Eric Fahnoe and Steve Darnell.

Kathy Baker, Executive Vice President of Buckley Radio-West Coast

Richard Buckley, former President (1972-2011)

Joe Bilotta, current President & CEO 

 

 

 


Relevance:

Radio continues to be relevant as new platforms emerge. 93% of U.S. citizens claim to regularly use radio, and 56% of people use online radio. Several Buckley stations are listened to via TuneIn’s streaming service in countries outside the U.S. Commercial radio use is increasing by over 300% in countries such as Africa and India, 30% of men in Pakistan listen to the radio on their phones, and 75% of people in multiple countries including Peru listen to the radio daily. While new platforms continue to emerge and the internet’s popularity booms, radio is certainly still being used. [5] , [11]

Multimedia:

Buckley has seen limited integration into platforms outside of radio. Every Buckley-owned station has a corresponding website with diverse features including event calendars, merchandise stores and memberships for communicating with other fans. The company partnered with online radio-streaming service TuneIn in late March 2012 to provide streaming for 12 of the more popular Buckley-owned stations including WOR 710 and KUBB 96.3. The streaming platform reaches tens of millions of listeners in over 100 countries, including Buckley stations. [6]

The company operates a YouTube channel focused on Monterey, CA events, specifically those attended by the Monterey-based Z97.9. Videos include KWAV 96.9 FM at the Monterey County Fair, and the following clip of KWAV at Central Coast’s Got Talent.

Recent News and Looking Ahead:

The continuing sale of WOR 710 and the WOR Radio Network is likely to have a moderate impact on Buckley Radio’s future growth and business model. The revenue from distributing WOR-produced programming is substantial, leading some to think President Bilotta is looking to sell the company after 50 decades of family ownership. Bilotta said of the sale, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio. By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company.” [7]

The new presence of Bilotta has come with several promotions and layoffs. John Sterling was promoted to General Manager of KSEQ and KIOO radios in Fresno, CA. Stuart P. Gorlick was hired as Buckley’s Director of Sales in October. He has extensive sales experience and has worked as an on-air radio personality. [8]

Sources:

1. WOR Radio Network
2. Clear Channel Purchases WOR
3. Buckley Press Releases
4. Richard Buckley Passes Away
5. International Radio Use Increasing
6. http://rbr.com/tunein-adds-buckley-radio/
7. Clear Channel To Purchase WOR
8. Gorlick Hired as Director of Sales
9. WOR Sold to Clear Channel
10. Properties Owned by Buckley
11. Radio Listenership in U.S. 

 

 

 

 

 

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