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June 25, 2015 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, business.

Press release:

WBTA Radio will temporarily suspend AM and FM transmissions on Friday morning, June 26 in order to repair antenna damage caused by severe thunderstorms earlier.

The station expects the signals will be turned off at about 10:15 a.m. as engineers reposition the station's FM antenna that was rotated 90-degrees due to strong winds.

The AM signal on 1490 was unaffected by the storm but in order for someone to safely climb the 200-foot tower on Creek Road to reach the FM antenna both signals must be shut down, explained WBTA President Dan Fischer.

“We hope the outage will last no more than 90 minutes but we will not know the extent of damage until we can inspect it close up,” Fischer said.

While the stations are off the air, programming will continue to be heard online and via mobile devices at

April 9, 2015 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, radio, wbta, business, elba.

WBTA has expanded its programming from one local entertaining talk show to two.

Hiram Kasten is now co-hosting "Batavia After Breakfast" with is wife Diana at 9 a.m., Wednesday mornings and his former partner, Lucine Kauffman, now has her own show, "Genesee Life," at 8:30 a.m., Saturdays.

Hiram and Diana, pictured above, will feature their witty repartee as they share their experiences in Batavia, what's happening in Batavia, and Hiram -- with decades experience as a comedian, actor and performer in New York, Hollywood and Las Vegas, as well as around the globe -- hosts guests from his entertainment world.

Lucine, bottom photo, will celebrate and explore Genesee County rich cultural life, featuring local residents who might be artists, musicians, authors, historians, hobbyists, farmers, athletes, local business owners and local characters. The show will also promote local shows and showings.

WBTA is at 1490 AM, 100.1 FM and streaming at as well as through apps available for your mobile devices.

December 29, 2014 - 1:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, business.

Out on Creek Road is a long, tall structure the folks at WBTA affectionally call "the stick." It's where the over-the-air signal for the 73-year-old AM radio station is transmitted. Today, in our 28-degree weather, a crew installed a new FM antenna that will enable you to hear "one of America's two great radio stations" at 100.1 FM. WBTA (1490-AM) will start simulcasting on both frequencies Feb. 6. The station first went on the air Feb. 6, 1941.

December 5, 2014 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, Red Cross, toy drive.

WBTA, Ken Barrett's and the Salvation Army teamed up once again this year for our community's annual toy drive today.

It's the 20th year the toy drive has been hosted at Ken Barrett's with WBTA providing the promotional push to help generate more than two truck loads worth of donations.

Firefighters from the City of Batavia were on hand to help accept donations.

The toys will be delivered by Santa to boys and girls throughout our community, making it a happier Christmas for many.

Firefighter Mike Dorgan and WBTA radio personality Nici Johnson.

WBTA's ad manager Lorne Way and Joan Stevens from the Salvation Army.

December 1, 2014 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta.

A local legend in news media and stalwart contributor to Batavia community groups, William F. Brown Jr., 91, passed away Saturday at Rochester General Hospital after a brief illness.

Brown's lengthy career included owning and managing WBTA, writing for various area publications, authoring books as well as being the first chairman of the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame High School and serving as president of the Board of Directors for  St. Jerome's Hospital.

“The community has lost a talented broadcaster and WBTA has lost a dear friend," said Dan Fischer, current owner of WBTA. "Bill’s wit was razor sharp and his knowledge of Genesee County history was encyclopedic. During his stewardship of WBTA, Bill set a standard for public service and broadcast news. We honor his legacy by trying to continue that standard as best we can.”

Brown was born Oct. 25, 1923 in Batavia, the son of the late William F. Brown Sr. and Monica Sellinger Brown.  

He was a 1941 graduate of Batavia High School and a graduate of Canisius College. He also studied at Yale and Fordham universities and was an Army veteran of World War II where he worked for the Armed Forces Radio Service in Kokura, Japan.

After his military service, he was public relations director for Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway for several years before becoming co-owner and manager of WBTA Radio in 1968.  

At WBTA, he distinguished himself with daily outspoken editorials dealing with local issues and humorous vignettes about family life. He won 16 statewide “Best Editorial Awards” in his career from the New York State Broadcasters Association.  

He remained a member of the United States Harness Writers Association for more than 55 years. He served as secretary for several years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Besides his community work with Notre Dame and St. Jerome's, he was a trustee emeritus of the Jerome Foundation, a member of the Board of Catholic Education of the Diocese of Buffalo and lay chairman of the Bishop’s Lay Advisory Council. He was a lector and eucharistic minister at Resurrection Parish and a Knight of St. Gregory and a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

He was active in many local civic organizations throughout his life, including the Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus and the Elks. He was a lifelong member of Stafford Country Club.

His books on local history include a popular publication on the Linden Murders. He also wrote columns for the Batavia Daily News and was Genesee County correspondent for the Buffalo News at the time of his death.

Calling hours are 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, at H.E. Turner, 403 E. Main St., Batavia. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, 9:30 a.m. at Resurrection Parish, St. Joseph Church, 303 E. Main St.. Batavia. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery. The Knights of Columbus will hold a prayer service on Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

For the full obituary, click here.

Photo: From a Rotary lunch in 2012

October 8, 2014 - 7:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, thebatavian.

Tune in at 9 a.m. to WBTA-1490 for "Talk of the Town" staring Hiram Kasten and Lucine Kauffman.

I'll be their guest this morning.

The show can also be heard live streamed on and WBTA's smartphone app.

September 19, 2014 - 3:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, business, elba.

The way Hiram Kasten and Lucine Kauffman see it, Genesee County is a great place to live.

It's beautiful, there's a lot going on, and you'll meet some of the nicest and most interesting people if you just get out on the town a bit.

It's these qualities that they want to highlight in their new weekly, one-hour radio show on WBTA, which debuts Oct. 1.

"Talk of the Town" will feature talk about what's going on and some of the region's interesting people.

It's a cultural show -- arts and entertainment -- but it's more than that.

"There's a national trend toward localism," Kauffman said. "It's not just shopping local. It's living local. We want to capture that idea."

Kasten and Kauffman like interesting people, but they are, of course, interesting people themselves.

Kasten has been a professional entertainer for decades with a long resume in New York and Hollywood that included recurring roles on "Seinfeld" (Hiram and Jerry came up through the New York comedy club circuit together) and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Diana Kisiel Kasten, Hiram’s wife, is from Batavia and operates Pinnacle Manufacturing on Harvester Avenue. She convinced Hiram to move here a year ago. The couple has a grown daughter who attends Cornell University.

Kauffman is the former town supervisor for Elba and has been active in local theater for years. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from USC. She moved to Genesee County with her Batavia-born-and-bred husband, Bill, 25 years ago. Their daughter attends Notre Dame University. Bill Kauffman is the author of nine books and the screenplay "Copperhead," which had its theatrical release last year.

"We're going to talk about the cultural aspects of Genesee County and the region," Lucine said. "It's more than just arts and entertainment. There are farm co-ops and local artisans and people who enrich life in Genesee County. It's all about quality of life and the quality of life here is very good."

Hiram said he often knows the comedians passing through Rochester and Buffalo, so that will be an opportunity to hear from nationally recognized talent, but they'll also feature the volunteers who make community theater so vital to Batavia.

"There's a lot to celebrate in Genesee County," Lucine said.

"Celebrate. That's a good word," Hiram added. "There is a lot to celebrate here."

The show will air Wednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. on WBTA-1490.

May 8, 2014 - 3:00pm
posted by Lisa Ace in wbta, sponsored posts, advertisements, Text Alerts..


New! Sign up for TEXT ALERTS. Get only the news you choose! Be the first to know about Severe Weather, Breaking Local News, Traffic Advisories and School Closings. Sign up today for WBTA Text Alerts.

You need to only supply your cell phone number and select the services you want to receive. It's that easy. We will never sell your information to anyone.

Log in HERE and follow the simple instructions.

April 14, 2014 - 10:26am
posted by Lisa Ace in wbta, sponsored posts, advertisements, Text Alerts..


New! Sign up for TEXT ALERTS. Get only the news you choose! Be the first to now about Severe Weather, Breaking Local News, Traffic Advisories and School Closings. Sign up today for WBTA Text Alerts.


You need to only supply your cell phone number and select the services you want to receive. It's that easy. We will never sell your information to anyone.

Log in HERE and follow the simple instructions.


February 6, 2014 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, wbta.

From WBTA:

WBTA is experiencing a transmission failure and has lost the over-the-air signal.

WBTA can still be heard on the stream on the homepage at or on our iPhone app which is available free at the iTunes store.

Repairs are under way and we hope to have service restored as soon as possible.

Thank you for your understanding.

UPDATE 6:51 p.m.: As of at least an hour ago, WBTA is back on the air. Problems fixed.

September 22, 2013 - 8:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, sports, Batavia HS.

Batavia High School hosted its annual Athletic Hall of Fame dinner Saturday night at Terry Hills.

Pictured above are: Brett Wormley, Julie Redband Varland, Mike Rogers, Wayne Fuller, Lance Cayea, Todd Cayea, Katie Barnard (John Barnard's daughter, representing him at the dinner) and Jim Barnard.

Local broadcasting and announcing legend Wayne Fuller with his guests, Jim Owen, Dan and Debbie Fischer (owners of WBTA), Fuller, Martha Bailey and Anita Strollo (both with WBTA).

June 10, 2013 - 12:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, wbta, sports, Jerry Warner.

If you happen to be in Miami for the NBA finals, and happen the Largo Bar & Grill, across the street from the American Airlines Arena, you'll hear a familiar voice -- WBTA's Jerry Warner.

Stephen Warner, manager of the Largo, streams WBTA every morning to keep up with the news from back home and listen to his father.

A graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School, Genesee Community College and SUNY Brockport, Warner has been managing the bar and grill since it opened in 2010.

The place is popular with Miami Heat fans -- players might even stop in -- and it's been hopping with the Heat making the finals again this year, Warner said.

Western New Yorkers pass through the Largo regularly, Warner said. Notre Dame alum Paul Merrill (bottom photo) is the bar manager at the Largo.

April 18, 2013 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, pembroke, media.

Pembroke native Rich Funke, who started his broadcast career at WBTA, will receive a lifetime achievement award from St. John Fisher College.

The award is named after Jack Palvino, a member of the university's first graduating class who became well known in Rochester media.

The award ceremony is this evening.

Funke's broadcast career in Rochester and Batavia spans 40 years.

His first big assignment in broadcast news was covering the Attica prison riot for WBTA.

(via WHEC)

February 22, 2013 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, garbage collection.

Dan Fischer, owner and editorial director of WBTA, is broadcasting an editorial today that calls on the Batavia City Council to vote down a proposed ordinance to change how garbage is collected in the city.

The proposal has been contaminated by secrecy and heavy-handed tactics, Fischer says, so the process of deciding how garbage collection should be paid for and handled should start over.

Read the editorial by clicking here or listen to WBTA-AM today.

December 12, 2012 - 1:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, GCC, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

WBTA's Debbie and Dan Fischer chaired this year's major fundraiser for the GCC Foundation, Encore 2012, the annual appearance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at the college. Besides the symphony, the event featured a dinner and art show and was attended by more than 300 people.

December 7, 2012 - 10:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta, Red Cross, Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac.

Donors drove up to Ken Barrett Chevrolet and Cadillac today by the dozens to deliver presents for Genesee County youngsters who might not otherwise get a visit from Santa and filled up two pickup trucks with new toys.

It was one of the biggest hauls for the toy drives in recent years.

Besides a big donation from Genesee ARC, the folks at Lawley Genesee (above) turned up in a Mancuso limo on the way to a Christmas party and dropped off several toys.

Pictured above are Lt. Marty Hinz and Chuck Harmon, of the City of Batavia Fire Department, Beth George, Nancy Hale, Patricia Kurtz, Tom Ditzel, Marissa Weaver, Susie Boyce, Wendy MacKay, Kim Morello.

Dan Fischer of WBTA with Kurtz.

Firefighter Green and Mary Blevins, manager of the Batavia branch of Key Bank.

Blevins with WBTA's Sloan Martin.

May 19, 2012 - 8:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, Genesee ARC.

Genesee ARC’s Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony was held Friday night at the Clarion Hotel, Batavia. Community members, volunteers, clients and staff were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the local agency that serves people with disabilities and their families.

WBTA owners Dan and Deb Fischer received the Spirit of ARC Award. Their friend Jennifer helped present the award. Jennifer is the daughter of Dan and Deb’s dear friends, Mike and Laura. When Jennifer was born, it sparked Dan and Deb’s journey on the path of advocacy on behalf of all people with disabilities.

Community volunteer Jane Scott was the recipient of Genesee ARC’s Volunteer of the Year Award. A branch manager of Five Star Bank, Scott is an active a volunteer for many community organizations. At Genesee ARC, she is a member of the Finance and Personnel committees and was a cabinet member for ARC’s People Realizing Potential Capital Campaign. She will begin serving on the Genesee ARC Board of Directors in June.

Boy Scout Andrew Fischer, of Batavia, was presented with the Youth Spotlight Award. For his Eagle Scout project, Andrew and his team constructed seven wooden benches, weeded the bike path and planted small trees and shrubs along the path at Genesee ARC’s Hartshorn Road, Batavia residence.

Friend of ARC Awards were presented to:

Mike Sputore, for the many kindnesses he shows to ARC individuals at Mancuso Bowling Center, where he is the manager, and for his for his behind-the-scenes support of the Challenger sports program;

Loretta Stratton, in recognition of her advocacy and support of Genesee ARC programs, services and events;

Mike Strobel, a Rochester area folk singer and guitar player who has been entertaining individuals at the Genesee ARC Day Habilitation Center for nearly 15 years!

Individuals served by Genesee ARC and saff were also recognized for achievement and longevity. The Business Partner of the Year was Yancey’s Fancy, New York artisan cheese makers.

Geoff Redick, YNN reporter, was master of ceremonies.

Dan and Debbie Fischer, owners of WBTA, received the Spirit of ARC Award on Friday night at Genesee ARC's annual awards banquet.

Fischer and Felice families

Jane Scott

Mike Sputore, Loretta Stratton, Mike Strobel

Andrew Fischer




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