Definitions

WEHH

WEHH

WEHH signed on the air in 1956, the third AM radio station to sign on in Chemung County and the fifth to sign on in the Elmira-Corning market in New York state. Testing on the frequency may have begun as early as 1952, according to documents at the former transmitter site found by former station engineer Jim Appleton.

It originally broadcast at 500 watts, with a nondirectional pattern, on 1590 kHz during daylight hours from studios over Oldroyd's Grocery Store on Hanover Square in Horseheads, NY. Later, a new studio facility was constructed on Latta Brook Road east of Route 17 in the town of Horseheads. When an overpass was built on Latta Brook Road at Route 17, the new studio was in the construction area and had to go. Another facility was built just east of the Route 17 overpass (Latta Brook Road has no interchange with the highway). For years, the studio location was identified on-air as Latta Brook Park and during weather reports the forecast was always ended with "the current temperature is ... in beautiful Latta Brook Park." The single tower non directional antenna was fed by a trusty Collins 550A transmitter and was located in a field across the highway from the station. It stood until a storm in the early 2000s blew it down across Latta Brook Road, according to Appleton.

The station, founded by Frank P. Saia was owned by the Elmira Heights-Horseheads Broadcasting Company (family owned) for many years and was the first rock'n'roll station in the market. In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s area teenagers held their transistor radios close, listening to RadioActive WEHH, Superhit Radio WEHH, and finally Rainbow Radio WEHH. Ed "Knucklehead" Knowles was the stations leading personality in the late 50's and early 60's. He did many Record Hops in the area with his engineer Rod Denson. Other DJs during that time were, Bob Welch, and Lou Coughlin. Rod Denson got his start in radio while a student at Thomas A. Edison High School in Elmira Heights. Station owner Frank Saia donated a half hour of air time Saturday morning to both local High Schools. Known as "The Heights High School Show" and "The Horseheads High School Show". During each school's respective half hour, a student from that school would play music from the Fabulous Fifty Chart, read announcements about upcoming school events, report sports scores etc.. One Saturday morning Denson substitued for the school's regular host and his work so impressed owner Frank Saia,that he hired him part time immediately after the show. Denson began working after that for one hour a week, the last hour before Sunday evening sign off. Denson eventually worked up to 20 hours a week part time from October 1959 to 1961. He was then hired full time for two years, and could be heard mornings from 6 to 10 on the morning show called "The Town Crier". He was back on the air from noon until 2 PM with the "Rod Denson Show". His last day on the job was in early November of 1963. In August of 1962 Denson interviewed Les Paul and Mary Ford at the original Latta Brook Studios. Originally the live interview was expected to run 10 minutes but lasted for more than one hour. Rod remembers Les and Mary picking on his wife Midge who was 4 months away from giving birth to Rod Jr.. Rod left his tape recorder in the trunk of his car at Les and Mary's Motel while he and his wife Midge rode to the studio with them. Because of that Denson does not have a recording the interview, something he regrets to this day. Denson interviewed Chubby Checker at his Motel in Elmira when both were 21 years old, this time he had his recorder and still has the tape of the interview. When singer Conway Twitty was in Elmira to perform, Station owner Frank Saia came up with the idea of giving away pieces of Twitty's tee shirt as a promotion. Twitty supplied a tee shirt and dozens of pieces were given away and some probably survive to this day in area scrapbooks.

After school, students rushed to the nearest drugstore for their free copy of the WEHH Fabulous 50, which detailed the 50 top hit songs of the day. Those drugstores were pretty smart because after the kids checked out the first 5 or 10 songs, they were buying them on 45 rpm vinyl from the same stores. A stack of the Fabulous 50s was found in the basement of the Latta Brook Road studio when the station moved out in the early 2000s.

The station's signature "echo" was created by an old reverb unit fastened to a floor joist in the basement below the main studio. If someone would walk on the floor of the studio while the microphone was on, the resulting twang would go on the air, according to Appleton

Many radio and television personalities known throughout the country got their break in broadcasting by working for Frank in beautiful Latta Brook Park.

By the early 1970s, the format had changed to easy listening with Frank at the helm. In the 1980s, Ray Ross bought the station and switched the format to oldies. The station also was noted for broadcasting Elmira Pioneers' minor league and local Little League baseball games, as well as high school football and Elmira College hockey games. Under Ross' ownership, the station's broadcast day expanded to midnight, then to 24 hours a day, at very low power. Among personalities on-air during this time were Norm Stull, Chris Sando, Scott Iddings, Jane MacNett, James Wilson, Pam Kauffman, Russ Ross, Ray Smith, Mike Owens, as well as owner Ray Ross. Nationally syndicated programs hosted by Cousin' Brucie and Kasey Kasem were also highlighted on WEHH during the 80's.

Seeking to fill a niche in the market in the early 1990s, Ross switched the format to adult standards. By the end of the decade, the station was being operated at the WELM and WLVY studios by the Pembrook Pines Media Group under a limited marketing agreement.

While WEHH was a standalone AM station for much of its existence it decided to place an FM station on the air in the mid 1960s. Frank Saia was a visionary individual who believed in the future of FM broadcasting and was responsible for WEHH-FM which signed on at 94.3 MHz in 1964 with Elmira, NY as its city of license. Its studios were colocated with WEHH-AM in Latta Brook Park. Its transmitter was located at a private site on East Hill in Elmira, NY. The station broadcast mainly beautiful and classical music along with a bit of country in the mornings, "The Ralph Emery Show". In the 70's WEHH-FM broadcast Elmira City Council meetings live with Tony Volino handling the remote duties from the Council Chambers. Frank Saia, before the founding of WENY-TV also had the first crack at UHF TV channel 36 and at one time considered a WEHH Television on channel 36. If that had happened, the WEHH callsign would have been prominent as an AM-FM-TV entity.

The FM station later was sold to crosstown rival WELM and changed to the current call letters, WLVY. In 1990, Ross also was instrumental in getting a new station on the air on 96.9 MHz. That station -- then known as WMKB -- was never owned by Ross, but later was signed on as contemporary Christian station WREQ. For a brief time, WMKB-FM simulcast the WEHH-AM signal. Ross formally sold WEHH to Pembrook Pines in 1999, after which it went dark for several months. It returned to the air in 2000 at five kilowatts, directional on 1600 kHz, with a satellite-delivered adult standards format. It now uses the three towers off Lake Street in the City of Elmira instead of the tower in Horseheads, which was taken down to make room for an industrial park.

Throughout its existence, the station's city of license has been Elmira Heights, but it always has included Horseheads in its legal ID. Frank chose the double ID because of the studio's location in the Town of Horseheads near the borders with the villages of Elmira Heights to the south and Horseheads to the north.

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