Capital Region alt radio station goes country


ALTAMONT, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The new local “Big Country” station signed onto 104.9 at 5 pm on September 18. The first song broadcast on WINU after the genre shift was “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, followed by other classic country artists like Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, and Trisha Yearwood.

Pamal Broadcasting’s Albany and Adirondack clusters began to simulcast its classic country station from the North Country to the Capital Region market. Known as “Big Country” on 97.9, it’s been on the air since summer 2020.

The radio channel boasts exclusive interviews, live performances, and behind-the-scenes stories. On-air talents include local personalities familiar with this form of country music, including Sean McMaster, Jake Thomas, and Kevin Richards. Richards and McMaster can also be heard on Pamal’s sister station The Cat, playing country music on 100.9 and 107.1.

The shift from Alt 104.9 to Big Country leaves WEQX—broadcasting from Bennington County on 102.7—and listener-supported WEXT at 106.1 to represent alternative music. A sea of classic rock and country channels already compete on Capital Region frequencies like 97.1 99.5, 100.3, 105.7, 106.5, and 107.7.

In July 2003, 104.9 was WZMR, going by “Love-FM” and playing soul music and rhythm and blues. From January 2006 to February 2010, the station switched to rock music under “The Edge.” Next, it became “the Cat,” playing country music. The Cat relocated to 100.9 in October 2013, and 104.9 because “the Peak,” that December, offering genre-blending adult album alternative.

In January 2015, the call letters became WINU as Peak flipped to a sports talk station affiliated with CBS Sports Radio Network. This lasted until March of 2018, when the station became ALT 104.9 for five years.

WINU rocked alternative hits from March 2018 until this week. Mainstays on the channel were musicians like Paramore, Foster The People, The Black Keys, and Blink-182. Personalities on the channel included Pete Kelly and Libby, who also are part of Pamal’s sister station FLY 92.3, and Flounder, the cluster’s traffic reporter.

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