Assemblywoman Buttenschon Presents Resolution Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of WOUR

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) presented a resolution to 96.9 WOUR in honor of its 50th anniversary. Their anniversary was celebrated with a concert at Utica Memorial Auditorium in the Adirondack Bank Center on October 20, 2019.

“Whether it’s the station we grew up listening to or the familiar voices that keep us company on our daily commute, WOUR has been a beloved companion to Mohawk Valley residents for the last 50 years,” said Buttenschon. “At a time when media companies are frequently forced to reorganize and change staff, WOUR has been able to maintain a staff with deep ties to the region, while consistently giving voice to new and rising artists in our own backyard. I’m proud to honor and celebrate this beloved community staple for its 50 years of airtime in the Mohawk Valley.”

Soon after the station launched in 1969, WOUR struggled under the threat of closure due to its old mix of jazz, Christian music and news. In 1973, WOUR was purchased by Rudy Bunkfeldt, its current owner, after a group of Syracuse University alumni fought to save it. Bunkfeldt changed the station’s music selection to exclusively rock music, while also hiring radio DJ Jerry Kraus, aka The Doctor. WOUR’s switch to rock music was revolutionary at the time, as there were only a handful of rock stations in the country. WOUR’s Four Acres in Utica became the home of several popular performances from the likes of Van Halen, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Allman Brothers, all of which only cost $0.96 per ticket in honor of the station’s address.

“Dave Coombs and everyone at this station have done a phenomenal job,” Buttenschon stated. “They’ve kept us entertained and brought listeners together. In times like we are currently experience, maintaining that community connection and having something to look forward to, and good music to hear, is an important asset for everyone. It’s a grounding factor that we all need, and WOUR has managed to deliver that again and again.”