WALK-FM (97.5 FM, "WALK 97.5") is a radio station on Long Island with a hot adult contemporary format. The station is licensed to Patchogue, New York. Its transmitter is located on Telescope Hill in Farmingville, New York.[2] The station's signal reaches most of Long Island as well as much of Connecticut, reaching into the greater Hartford area.

History

Beginnings

The station, initially owned by the Suffolk Broadcasting Corporation, went on the air in December 1952 as a sister station to co-owned WALK. For years WALK played nothing but classical, big-band, and jazz. Originally at 15kw, it was purchased in 1963 by the Island Broadcasting System along with its sister stations, WALK Patchogue & WRIV Riverhead. Island Broadcasting was owned in part by NBC News anchorman Chet Huntley. [3] WALK-FM was one of the first stations on Long Island to run a full schedule of Christmas music during the holiday season. The Holiday format began in 1995 on sister station WALK (1370 AM). In later years it was run on both WALK AM & FM. It continues to run on WALK-FM annually from around Thanksgiving through Christmas.

One of WALK-FM's longest running shows was "Klein til 9 and again til 10" hosted by Bob Klein.[4]

WALK-FM on Good Morning America

The WALK Breakfast Club, the weekday morning show hosted by Mark Daniels and Cindy, was featured on ABC's Good Morning America in December 2005. It was a live report from the WALK-FM studios as the host of GMA asked Mark and Cindy about Holiday music on radio stations. After the report, Cindy accused Mark of paying off the cameraman since the camera was only focusing on Mark.[5]

WALK-FM today

In mid-2006, WALK-FM began broadcasting in HD Radio. Weeks after, WALK-FM released a second channel on the HD signal (HD-2), a country station, which Clear Channel stated that WALK-FM HD-2 was the first country station on Long Island in years. The station could be heard through an HD Radio device.[6] Programming on HD2 was discontinued after the sale of the station to Connoisseur Media.

Long-time WALK-FM veteran Dave Shnayer, known as JD Howard on-air, died after a four-year battle with lymphoma. The death was announced the following afternoon by Holly Levis.[8][10]

WALK-FM dropped "yesterday and today" of its slogan "Long Island's Best Variety" in May 2010. Around that time, the station began decreasing the amount of music from the 1970s to one-to-two songs per hour, basically making the station a borderline Hot AC station.

On May 16, 2011, Longtime veteran KT Mills was replaced by Nick Parker. Parker was weekend Air Talent at WALK-FM, as well as an On-Air Personality on Z100, New York.

By July 2012, the station dropped its longtime adult contemporary format for a hot adult contemporary format as Mediabase moved it to the hot AC panel. Even after the July 2012 format change, WALK-FM is still on the Nielsen BDS AC panel.

On May 15, 2014, Qantum Communications announced that it would acquire WALK-FM and WALK from the Aloha Station Trust in exchange for transferring its existing 29 stations to Clear Channel. Qantum would then immediately resell the WALK stations to Connoisseur Media, making them sister stations to competing station WKJY.[11] The transaction was consummated on September 9, 2014.

Awards

In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Adult Contemporary station of the year award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WMJX in Boston, KOST in Los Angeles, WLTW in New York, WBEB, in Philadelphia, and KEZK-FM in St. Louis.[13]