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WBER is a listener and school district supported community radio station in Rochester, New York, United States, owned and operated by the BOCES, Monroe #1. The station was founded in 1985. The call letters correspond to BOCES Educational Radio, with the pre-1985 call letters (WRHR) corresponding to Rush Henrietta Radio, the original licensee of the station (the Rush-Henrietta Central School District). The station's playlist is Alternative radio, with some new titles added to the regular rotation via a "test track," listener-reporting mechanism. WBER also presents local concerts by popular performers.
|Broadcast area||Rochester, New York|
|Slogan||The only station that matters|
|First air date||1985|
|Callsign meaning||BOCES Educational Radio|
As WRHR, the station was a student-run club operated out of the Rush Henrietta School District. The station was granted a low power license (10 Watts) in 1975. The radio format was at first Top-40, and eventually included "alternative" music by bands such as the B-52's and Talking Heads. School board meetings were also broadcast on a tape-delayed basis. The school district provided support for students who broadcast live play-by-play basketball from schools within the local Section V scholastic athletic conference. In the first year of operation the Station Manager was Brad Landon, a High School Senior afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy, and Landon had the first show that was broadcast.
Some of the more notable announcers from the WRHR days include:
- Doug Emblidge of WHAM-TV in Rochester.
- ESPN producer Patrick Sloan, who got his start broadcasting basketball and football games for WRHR.
- Paul Jason Kolacki, currently with WRMM-FM, who has worked as on-air talent in multiple radio markets around the country, in addition to hosting a satellite show heard on over 40 affiliate stations.
In the late 1990s, the now-defunct Red Social Lounge located in the St. Paul quarter of Rochester once hosted "WBER Night" on Friday nights. Proceeds from the door would go to help support the station. Inside, DJs would spin popular tracks from WBER's current playlist. When Red Social Lounge closed in 2002, WBER Night came to an end.
The station's playlist is largely listener decided. Periodically throughout the regular programming, a "test track" is played. Listeners are invited to phone in their opinion of the song or visit the website to vote. It is by this process that new titles are added to the regular rotation, which the Selector playlisting program is used. WBER also presents local concerts for popular artists played on the station. Due to the feedback and involvement of the listening audience, WBER has become a notable music outlet for not only the Rochester area, but the surrounding region as well. Broader exposure via the Internet has only expanded the scope of their influence.
Partnership with Monroe BOCESEdit
In 1985 WRHR was acquired by the Monroe BOCES #1 Technology Department, renamed WBER, and upgraded to 2500 watts. Since that time WBER has been serving the Rochester, NY and Western New York area as a training ground for students and other members of the community interested in learning about radio broadcasting. Through the BOCES partnership, WBER programming originates in part from area school districts, including Fairport, Webster, and Brighton.
New Wave Wednesday is hosted by Jennifer V (former program director at the now defunct WMAX-Rochester) and airs Wednesday mornings. It features New wave music, giveaways, and occasional guests. Jennifer V has won the City Paper's "Best Radio Personality" award, and has been highlighted in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Jennifer V's last show as host of New Wave Wednesday was June 19, 2019.
Elektrobank was an electronic music showcase that was launched in 2008, featuring a curated playlist of music with an open scope that focused on the best expressions of the format. The show came to an end in 2016.
The Local Show is a showcase of local bands and artists previously hosted by Sloan Kristy. The show is now hosted by Warbux.
- "BEST OF ROCHESTER '09: Readers' Choice". Rochester City Newspaper. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
- Wallace, Daniel (June 28, 2008). "'Jennifer V' thrives with people skills and passion". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.[dead link]