|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2008)|
|City of license||Rochester, New York|
|Broadcast area||South Bristol/Rochester|
|Slogan||Rochester's Classic Rock|
|Frequency||96.5 MHz FM (HD Radio)|
|First air date||1969|
|Callsign meaning||W Community Music Federation|
WCMF-FM is a radio station located in the Rochester, New York area and broadcasts at 96.5 FM. Its transmitter is located on Pinnacle Hill in Brighton, Monroe County, New York, and its studios are located at High Falls Studios in downtown Rochester.
WCMF is the heritage classic rock station in the Rochester area. Its major claim to fame was its morning show, hosted by Alan Levin, better known as Brother Wease. As of February 7, 2008, "Brother Wease" is no longer employed at WCMF, but now hosts a competing morning show on Clear Channel's similarly formatted WAIO ("Radio 95.1").
The current WCMF morning show is now called "The Break Room" and features Tommy Mulé, 'Christian Dan' Borrello and Duffy, with traffic reporting done by a rotating cast. Long time co-host Sally Carpenter chose to leave the show in September 2009. She had been broadcasting remotely from Philadelphia, and did not renew her contract, due to the stipulation that she move back to Rochester.
Program Director/Midday host Dave Kane returned to the station in February 2008 after Wease's departure.
In 2009, Chris Crowley was hired to replace Dave Kane as Program Director. With the departure of 'Robinson' as host of the afternoon drive time slot, Crowley filled this position as well, calling his show the "Church of Crowley".
WCMF is an affiliate of the Sabres Hockey Network. It is one of two affiliates in Rochester (the other being sister station WROC) but is the only one that broadcasts Buffalo Sabres playoff games as well as regular season games.
WCMF was originally owned by Community Music Service, Inc., hence the "CM" in its call letters. In 1968, the station was owned by a handful of Rochester locals. Several were engineers at General Dynamics, including a lawyer from Harris Beech Wilcox, and several others. The station had a mish-mash of formats from "Candlelight & Wine" in the morning hosted by Bill Rund, to Hard underground rock hosted by Bob Drake (Francati). On Friday evening, a local attorney hosted a very popular Jazz show. The owners were not broadcasters and the station was searching for identity. In 1968, everything changed when the 6am to 10am morning personality left. Drake then program director hired a young black DJ, Herb Hamlett, who had briefly worked at R&B giant WUFO in Buffalo, but was tired of the commute. Hamlett took the morning slot to supposedly play light classics with a show called Sunup in Stereo. Hamlett, realizing that the owners were not hands-on, soon turned up the heat and started mixing in R&B flavor, which was fine with then GM Bill Bennett. Hamlett soon began going out and selling the time himself and soon was also promoted to sales manager. Hamlett and Drake soon realized the emergence of a major coup, and split the format into basically R&B from 6am to 3pm and Underground rock from 3pm to sign off at midnight.
Even with this success, Drake continued to lock horns with the owners, and eventually quit in 1970 to take a position with Marine Midland Bank. He was replaced by a handful of personalities, including jazz powerhouse Bill Ardis from WHAM-AM, the 24 hour giant. Ardis picked up where Drake left off, and along with Hamlett, turned the station into a basic two-format power "Soul and Underground" In 1971. Herb Hamlett made a major mistake and tried to make a backdoor purchase of the station. Hamlett took what he thought were sufficient proxies to swing a majority of the stockholders, but was defeated when one of his proxies switched at the stockholders meeting.
The Herb Hamlett Show was the biggest thing Rochester's black community ever had, but the young Hamlett misread the true feeling of the handful of owners. Hamlett left in 1971 and a new GM, Jim Trayhearn. was brought in and was successful in putting together a buyout of the old Community Music Service stockholders to create a marketable 24-hour underground rock format. But anyone around Rochester in 1968 through 1972 will tell you of Herb Hamlett the predecessor to all R&B WDKX FM which was formed in 1974. Hamlett teamed up with his two former WUFO colleagues, Frankie Crocker and Eddie O'Jay, and began managing and promoting R&B groups. In 1974, Hamlett joined telcom giant AT&T.
- WCMF Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WCMF
- Radio-Locator information on WCMF
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WCMF