Howard Stern may be on the way out, but a new format is arriving at WBUF-FM 92.9.
The classic rock station is switching to an FM talk format. Part of the reason is that two other classic rockers, longtime powerhouse WGRF-FM 97 Rock and newcomer the Lake, WLKK-FM 107.7, are posting big ratings.
Stern is still the franchise for WBUF in the morning, but has announced he will be leaving Infinity Radio, which owns the station, for Sirius Satellite Radio in January 2006.
A host of new talk personalities will be coming to WBUF. The best known in Western New York is Brother Wease, veteran morning man in Rochester. Wease will follow Stern's show. Afternoon talkers Don and Mike will remain. Tom Leykis is a nationally known talker who will be on nightly from 7 to 10.
Most of these personalities follow Stern's example of mixing shock, sex and social commentary.
WBUF is no stranger to controversy. Last year the station earned what is believed to be the largest FCC fine in Buffalo radio history, $27,500, for broadcasting a sex act in St. Patrick's Cathedral during the nationally syndicated "Opie and Anthony" program.
There could be more problems for WBUF with Michael Savage, who will be heard on Saturdays. Savage was fired last year by cable network CNBC for anti-gay remarks.
WBUF has burned through a series of formats over the past decade, and the format change is another attempt to find an audience. "Moving to an all-talk format is the natural way to go," said John Paul, WBUF program director.
Translation: 97 Rock was beating WBUF in the ratings and The Lake was taking a big chunk of the listening audience. Without Stern, it would only get worse.
One of the joys of the radio holiday season is the annual "Ramblin' Lou Family Band Christmas Show."
This year the country music special will be broadcast live for the 44th time on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on WXRL-AM 1300. Performers include Lou Schriver along with his wife, Joanie Marshall and their children: Linda Lou, Lou Jr., Lynn Carol and Lori Ann. A host of Schriver grand-children will also join in the singing.
The show is presented to a live audience at the Hearthstone Manor on Dick Road in Depew. Tickets are $20, and for information call 681-1313.