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AuSable Forks woman one of the new owners of WNBZ-FM

December 15, 2017
By GLYNIS HART - For the News (news@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - Business partners Amanda Dagley and Bill Dickerson have announced they are purchasing WNBZ 106.3 FM, a radio station that was for many years a hometown frequency for Saranac Lake.

"The FCC license is in the process of being transferred," said Dickerson. They hope to start broadcasting mid-January.

Both partners worked at WIRY in Plattsburgh. Dagley worked there for 19 years and was most recently the station manager. "I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle," she said, quoting the Marx Brothers.

"I can remember buying my first 45 when I was 4 years old, at Record Town in Plattsburgh. I could barely see over the counter to put my money up there." (That disc was "Da Doo Doo Doo" by the Police.)

Dickerson's lifelong passion for radio first manifested in 1967, when he was one of a handful of students at SUNY Cortland to start the campus radio station. He's stayed involved in radio throughout his life, and when he retired from business in 2011, he started a weekly radio show on the internet. In the past year, he has been on the air on the weekends and filling in for others at WIRY.

"I'm living a longtime dream," said Dickerson.

Thirty years ago, he and his wife almost bought a radio station in Amsterdam, New York. The desire to be part of a station he could have some influence on has never left his mind, so this summer he and Dagley began talking about buying a station. The one they looked at was too expensive, but then they heard about WNBZ-FM.

Dagley is from AuSable Forks and considers herself "an Essex County girl."

"The North Country music scene is something I've spent a lot of time in and I'm passionate about," said Dagley.

She and Dickerson plan to open the station at 36 City Hall Place in Plattsburgh, but the transmitter on Lyon Mountain will extend the station's reach past Saranac Lake. Their business name will be NBZ, LLC.

"We will make it a regional station," Dagley said. "Along with our business manager, Chris Rosenquest, our goal is to create local radio that is both entertaining and engaging for the entire Champlain Valley, Adirondack region, and beyond."

Patrick Communications, the broker for seller Ted Morgan and his Saranac Lake Radio LLC, put a price of $300,000 cash at closing on the station. Licensed to Saranac Lake, the station broadcasts to a wide area that includes Plattsburgh, Malone, Lake Placid, and Burlington, Vermont.

The radio station will stream on the internet, so listeners will be able to tune in from anywhere.

"A lot of people stream on their phones," said Dagley. "We're taking that into consideration. With the advent of streaming, if they're anywhere on the planet and they want to know what's on their hometown radio, I want us to be able to provide that.

"I want to be number one in your pre-sets," said Dagley. "We're going to have a mix of entertainment and information."

Dickerson said the station will have five minutes of network news at the top of the hour during the day, followed by 2 to 3 minutes of local news. "It won't just be Plattsburgh news," he said.

The music will be late 1960s to early 2000s, the partners said.

"I want us to be more on the nostalgic side of things," said Dagley. "You know when you're driving in your car and the best song ever comes on, and you're just going with it? It makes you happy. I want to create that atmosphere."

Dickerson said he hasn't kept up with pop music since the '90s.

"I do know a great song when I hear it," he said. "Darius Rucker's 'Wagon Wheel' - that's a great song.

"The thing I want to see is great songs from the '60s through the '90s, but not the ones that are being played repetitively by other stations," said Dickerson.

Dagley urges people with playlist ideas and songs they want to hear to email her at amandadagley@gmail.com.

The street-level studio in Plattsburgh, with glass windows in the front, will be set up so passersby can look in and see them broadcasting. In the beginning, they're going to split the drive times, with Dagley working mornings and Dickerson on in the afternoon.

In the future they're hoping to have local bands come play live in the studio. They're in the process of buying the studio equipment and setting it up.

"We want to get everybody there," said Dagley. "If, for some reason, you can't get out to see live music, I can bring it to you."

Both partners are thrilled to get going on the project, having waited all their lives for this moment.

"As long as people are patient while we go through the transition," said Dagley, "I promise them it will be worth it."

Until the owners take over the frequency, automated music is still playing on it. Dagley said she can't wait to get rid of that and replace it with new programming.

Back when the FM station was broadcast from Saranac Lake's Radio Park, it went by the call letters WYZY and was branded as Y106.3. WNBZ was reserved for Saranac Lake's AM station, found at 1240 on the dial, but in recent years Morgan simulcast the AM signal onto the FM frequency and renamed it.

 
 

 

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