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December 14, 2018 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, news, toy drive, Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac, batavia, notify.

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Clients of Arc of Genesee Orleans dropped off bags full of gifts today for annual WBTA toy drive at Ken Barrett's Chevrolet and Cadillac, which benefits local children through the Salvation Army.

Among the other large donations to come in this morning was seven bags of toys from the employees of Oatka Milk Products in Batavia.

WBTA co-owner Dan Fischer said that by 11 a.m. it looked like as many toys had come in so far as had been received by the end of the day last year.

The toy drive runs until 4 p.m., so plenty of time as of this posting (at 1 p.m.) for you to run down to Adam Miller and load up on toys to donate to the Salvation Army for local children who might otherwise receive little or nothing for Christmas.

Note about the videos below: The audio quality is not great. We have hardware coming by next week that will fix this for future videos.

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December 10, 2018 - 5:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in The Salvation Army, toy drive, wbta, Ken Barrett Chevrolet.

Press release:

Come join The Salvation Army for the 35th annual WBTA and Ken Barrett Chevrolet Toy Drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14th.

This toy drive, held at the car dealership on West Main Street in Batavia, will enable us to help those less fortunate in our community.

Throughout the years, Ken Barrett and WBTA have partnered with us to make our Christmas efforts a success.

What a privilege it is to work side by side with these businesses to make Christmas dreams come true for the less fortunate in Genesee County. To date we have 375 youth registered in our program. Please donate the gift of hope for a child in need this season.

90 FOR 90 CHALLENGE -- The Salvation Army reaches midway point in Christmas Drive

The spirit of giving is alive and well in Genesee County. As people hurry to check items off their shopping list, decorate the tree and plan Christmas dinner menus, many may have overlooked the fact that today marks the halfway point of the Christmas shopping season.

Today also marks the midway point for The Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraiser. The proceeds raised each year fund assistance programs for impoverished local residents.

“We rely on this funding to carry us through the year in order to help those who are in need. All of the money raised stays in our area, so when you make a donation this Christmas, you are really creating change for your neighbors,” say Lt. Brad and Capt. Rachel Moore, commanding officers of the The Salvation Army locally.

“We are very grateful for the four local residents who took on the 90 for 90 challenge who have given us donations and we thank them for their kindness. We are still in need of $60,000 to reach our goal this year."

In Upstate New York, the majority of The Salvation Army’s funds are raised in November and December.

To learn how to help with The Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraising drive, please call (585) 343-6284.

To become a bell ringer, call us at 585-343-6284.

November 6, 2018 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, Jerry Warner, news.

warner_jerry.jpgOver his 30 years on WBTA, in hosting "Main and Center," broadcaster Jerry Warner talked to hundreds of members of the Genesee County community and a few of them recalled Warner yesterday after learning of his passing Sunday night.

"It was always a joy to go over there and do the show with him because he was so easy to talk to," said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. "Even on air, it felt like you're sitting around and talking in your living room with somebody. He always had this kind and gentle and calming influence when you were talking to them. It made it easy to be on his show."

Warner was born Feb. 9, 1943, in Batavia and was a lifelong resident of Oakfield. He started his radio career in 1971 with WBTA. He left the hometown station for a short time to work at WEZO in Rochester, where he created the city's number one morning show.

When he returned to WBTA he became the station's morning personality and host of "Main and Center," a talk show that featured a local guest talking about local events and issues.

"I really enjoyed speaking with Jerry and doing his interviews," said Jason Molino, Batavia's former city manager. "You know he was always extraordinarily professional. He was very classy. He was kind of part of an old guard. (We had) many laughs many times. I think the legacy of a memory of Jerry as just being kind and sweet but also asking good questions, and I think he was genuinely interested in the topics we discussed, so it's something I'll always miss about Jerry."

Another frequent guest was Jay Gsell, county manager, who said Warner was always ready to talk about the issues of the day.

"Coming in on Thursday, the way we have been, and how warm and accommodating Jerry was, but also the fact that he really took the time to know what we were doing, to understand that and be able to conduct an effective and cogent interview was always what impressed me about him," Gsell said.

For Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster of the Sheriff's Office and also an Oakfield native, Warner was always the voice of his hometown. He remembers being out and about, perhaps at the dentist office and hearing Warner's voice and feeling like he was hearing home.

"I was very saddened to learn that he had become ill and in particular distressed when I read this weekend that he had gone down to hospice," Brewster said. "He was a great man. He had a wonderful voice. He had an infectious laugh and he didn't take himself seriously. He's going to be sadly missed."

Molino recalled a laugh he got listening to Warner's program one morning about eight years ago. It was the Monday after Summer in the City and Molino had volunteered a session in the dunk tank as part of a fundraiser. The City Council president at the time, Charlie Mallow, came along determined to dunk Molino. He spent about $20 on softballs and missed every toss.

"Sure enough, the next morning, I was listening to WBTA and I heard Jerry on the air talking about Summer in the City and trying to generate revenue and some funds for charity," Molino said. "And sure enough he goes on to say 'and the council president was trying to sink the city manager in the dunk tank and he just couldn't do it. He needed some bigger balls in order to do that.' And that's one of the fondest memories I have of Jerry."

Warner and his wife, Darlene, celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary in August. He was a former member of the Oakfield Presbyterian Church and served with the United States National Guard.

Calling hours are Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home, 11 Maple Ave., Oakfield, where services will be held Friday at 10 a.m.  Jerry will be lain to rest in Cary Cemetery, Oakfield.

For Jerry Warner's full obituary, click here.

November 2, 2018 - 6:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, news, batavia, Oakfield.

Jerry Warner, whose velvet voice kept listeners of WBTA informed and entertained for more than 30 years, is in hospice care, the radio station reported today.

More than a year ago, Warner, a resident of Oakfield, retired from the station due to ill health.

Warner, who hosted the morning show "Main and Center," is being cared for at Crossroads House.

Those who wish to send Warner a card of support can mail it, in care of Crossroads House, to the Crossroads House mailing address: P.O. Box 403, ​Batavia, NY 14020.

September 5, 2018 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, sports, news, batavia, Le Roy.

Press release:

WBTA Radio has expanded its coverage of local high school football with the addition of a secondary streaming channel WBTAi2.

“This new streaming service allows us to provide live, play-by-play coverage of two games at the same time,” said WBTA President Dan Fischer.

The station plans to use the new service to cover all Le Roy Knights home and away games for the entire regular season. Scott Ripley will call the games.

The secondary stream can be accessed from the WBTA website (WBTAi.com) or the station’s mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.

The station has also announced it will broadcast all Batavia High School Blue Devils varsity football games in the Livingston County League, home and away. WBTA veteran sports announcers Bob Brown, Jay Moran and John Vazquez will call the Blue Devils games along with selected Saturday afternoon contests featuring other area schools.

The Blue Devils games will be broadcast over WBTA AM & FM and streamed on the stations’ main online channel, WBTAi.com

A complete schedule of game broadcasts is available at WBTAi.com

August 3, 2018 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, thebatavian, wbta, news, arts, entertainment.

Tomorrow starting at 6 p.m. the place to be is GO ART!, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, where the night's guest bartenders will be Howard Owens of The Batavian and Chris Kalin of WBTA.

Billed as a competition, our goal is to raise as much money as possible for local arts, so come, be merry, enjoy a few drinks, leave tips on the bar.

June 20, 2018 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, wbta, batavia, The Visual Truth Theatre Ensemble.

First Presbyterian Church of Batavia along with The Visual Truth Theatre Ensemble presents a special literary event called "Good Bread in the Darkness" on Thursday, June 28.

It will be hosted by Lucine Kauffman from the WBTA Radio Show Genesee Life (FM 100.1 and AM 1490) and will feature local and regional writers with a focus on nature, spirituality and community.

The event will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Batavia. It is free and open to the public.

Readers include: Terry Abrams, Sue Briggs, Byron Hoot, Bill Kauffman and Eric Zwieg.

"You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water," ~ Rabindranath Tagore.

Good Bread in the Darkness

Thursday, June 28

7- 9 p.m.

The First Presbyterian Church

300 E. Main St., Batavia

May 31, 2018 - 5:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, muckdogs, baseball, sports.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs today announced an agreement with WBTA to bring Muckdogs baseball back to the radio waves. Home games will air on 1490 WBTA after a one-year hiatus. Road games will be broadcast online, as well as the TuneIn Radio App. 

“We have received a lot of feedback from fans wanting the games back on WBTA, are very excited to be able to deliver that to them.” Muckdogs General Manager Dave Chase said Thursday. 

WBTA President and General Manager Dan Fischer added: “We are extremely excited for professional baseball to be back on our air, and to continue the tradition of Muckdogs baseball on WBTA.” 

The new “Voice of the Muckdogs,” Andy Helwig, will be on the call for all 76 Muckdogs games this season. Helwig comes to the Muckdogs from Canisius College, where he broadcasts volleyball, soccer, lacrosse and basketball on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.

May 3, 2018 - 10:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ARC Genesee Orleans, wbta, business.

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Peggy Schreck was awarded Volunteer of the Year at the annual dinner of the Arc of Genesee Orleans. The award was presented by Shelly Kurdish, director of Rainbow Preschool, where Schreck volunteers.

Debrah Fischer, co-owner of WBTA, assumed the office of president of the board of directors for Arc (next photo, and bottom photo, with board of directors).

More than 400 people attended the dinner and awards program at Genesee Community College's new field house.

Photos and info courtesy our news partner, WBTA.

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UPDATE: Added additional photos submitted by Arc Genesee Orleans and added the press release below.

Also, besides Debrah Fischer, president, this year's officers are: Jane Scott, VP, John Huber, treasurer, and Marlene Hill, secretary.

Press release:

“Each year the Arc of Genesee Orleans honors an individual for their commitment to outstanding volunteerism for making a difference in the lives of others. Volunteers are the cornerstone of our agency and are vital to raising awareness of the great work the Arc provides in the communities in which we live and work. This year the Arc of Genesee Orleans has selected Peggy Schreck as the Volunteer of the Year.

Peggy Schreck began volunteering at Rainbow Preschool in Albion in 2012, and before that Peggy participated on various Arc committees. Peggy actually began her career in the very same building that Rainbow Preschool is now, when it was the Arnold Gregory Memorial Hospital and she was a lab technician.

Peggy and her husband moved to this area so her husband could complete college at GCC and Brockport where he then went on to become an elementary teacher. Peggy also enjoyed the educational setting and was a teacher aide for several years at Medina schools. Peggy later moved in to a position at Medina Savings and Loan where she retired 2010. She wanted to still be a part of the classroom and that is when Peggy began volunteering at Rainbow Preschool.

It is very obvious to the staff, students and families that Peggy thoroughly enjoys her time in the Rainbow Preschool classrooms and the time spent with the children. Peggy states she most enjoys watching the children’s growth and success during the school year, such as hearing a child’s speech develop or their gross motor skills expand. She also enjoys all the children’s smiles and hugs when she gets to the classroom. Peggy notes she enjoys the structure of the classrooms and this is a good fit for her with her prior classroom experience. Peggy says she has also developed many friendships with the staff and families from her volunteer role and she enjoys these new relationships within the community.

Peggy feels she is utilized in the classroom and enjoys the hands on activities and responsibilities she is provided. The teachers and aides all comment what an incredible addition Peggy is to the classroom and she brings such compassion and care to her work. She does special projects with the children and brings fresh ideas to the classroom. Peggy treats all the children as she would her own grandchildren, and she enjoys this because she does not get to see her own grandchildren because they live far away in Georgia where her son is located for his profession. The children call her Miss Peggy or Grandmom and this warms Peggy’s heart with happiness and brings her joy.

I am so pleased to present this year’s award for Volunteer of the Year to Peggy Schreck and to give her on the behalf of everyone at Rainbow Preschool and the Arc of Genesee Orleans our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for her years of dedicated volunteerism at Rainbow Preschool."

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Seated: Brandi Kinnicutt, day habilitation specialist; Carolyn Dawson, chief administrative officer; Dylan DeSmit, direct support professional; Jim Henning, trash collection/recycling driver. Standing: Jennifer Conklin, Special Education teacher; Kim Austin, Culinary Arts manager; Kaelie Grazioplene, supported work assistant manager; Carl Jones, trash/recycling/transfer station manager.

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Mary Anne Graney Scholarship Recipients with Scholarship Committee Chair Molly George: Riley Seielstad -- Albion Central; Abigail Klos -- Oakfield – Alabama; Hannah Duhow -- Medina Central; Kathleen Dessert -- Le Roy Central.

February 13, 2018 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia, news.

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Legendary local broadcaster Wayne H. Fuller, 70, was lain to rest today.

He died Friday.

Following a service at H.E. Turner Funeral Home, Fuller was loaded by his pallbearers into the cargo hold of a Trailways bus for transport to a cemetery in Bethany.

Fuller worked for 50 years as a dispatcher at Trailways. It was one of his final wishes that a Trailways bus carry him and people attending his funeral to the cemetery.

A graduate of Batavia High School in 1965, Fuller is best remembered for his work at WBTA both spinning records and broadcasting sporting events, as well as his decades-long work as a public address announcer at Batavia sporting events, including Batavia HS basketball and Batavia Muckdogs games.

For his full obituary, click here.

For our prior story about his passing, click here.

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February 9, 2018 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Wayne Fuller, wbta, news, batavia, notify.

hotstove2013-6waynefuller.jpg

waynecrop.jpgWayne Fuller, the voice of Batavia sports, passed away this morning at Strong Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness.

Fuller was 70 years old.

With a perfect baritone broadcast voice, Fuller became a local legend over the decades, serving as a public address announcer for the Batavia Muckdogs as well as Batavia High School sports. He worked for WBTA at various times since 1967.

Fuller was well known for not only his talent as an announcer but also his encyclopedic knowledge of sports and pop music and his photographic memory.

"Wayne Fuller was blessed with a marvelous voice and a considerable talent, and we were blessed with Wayne Fuller," said Bill Kauffman. "For somewhere between three and four decades, he was the voice of Batavia baseball — of the Trojans, the Clippers, the Muckdogs.

"His voice perfectly fit Dwyer Stadium; Batavia baseball sounds like Wayne Fuller. I think of Wayne as the voice of Batavia, a voice that will never stop echoing."

Batavia gave Fuller a place to excel -- plenty of local sports, but also a locally owned AM radio station that gave him an outlet for sharing the pop music of the recent past that he loved and knew as well as he did baseball history.

Dan Fischer, co-owner of WBTA, said Fuller was a perfect match for the station throughout so much of the station's history.

“Wayne was a unique on-air personality," Fischer said. "He had a perfect voice for AM radio, clear and distinctive. That voice served him well for his public address work as the stadium announcer for the Muckdogs and in the gymnasium for BHS basketball.

"Wayne could weave a story in such great detail. He knew what the weather was on the day his story was set; he could tell you what song was popular on that day. He had a passion for trains and memorized schedules and could describe railroad stations along most any route.

"He was a great friend and a wonderful and talented employee who will be missed by his colleagues and fans alike.”

Fuller was dedicated to the youth of the community and loved being the voice of so many Batavia sports. Both Buddy Brasky, head coach of Batavia HS basketball, and Michael Bromley, the school's athletic director, said he will be missed.

"Wayne was a very important part of Batavia Athletics for many years," Brasky said. "As the PA announcer for the varsity boys' basketball games, he added a sense of professionalism to the games. His enthusiasm, the way he played the music, the way he introduced the players in the starting lineups, always added to the atmosphere at the games."

Fuller was a 1965 graduate of Batavia HS. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2013. Bromley also noted the press box at Dwyer Stadium is named after Fuller.

"More than that, Wayne was a friend to everyone," Bromley said. "He was a friend to many of our coaches, many of our athletes. He's going to be deeply missed. We tried to replace him for the season but there's still a big absence without him on the sidelines for basketball."

The impact Fuller had on the region goes beyond sports and broadcasting, however. He was also passionate about his longtime job with Empire Trailways.

Fuller was fascinated by bus schedules and fairs and he was instrumental in pushing bus companies across the Northeast in adopting computerized ticketing, according to his former boss Jack Barker.

"He was promoted to traffic manager in 1974 for Empire Trailways and he held that position for many years, taking care of bus schedules and fares," Barker said. "His contribution to the bus industry was exemplary. He was a friend of mine for probably over well over 50 years and he will definitely be missed."

Ironically, Fuller's broadcast career almost got derailed before it started. He had been hanging around WBTA as a teenager and the station manager one night blamed him for an announcer's on-air mistake. He thought that was the end of his connection with the station.

"I got thrown out of the station by the then-program manager," Fuller told Lucine Kauffman last year during an interview for her WBTA show, Genesee Life. "His name was Bob Folkler. He thought that I had broken up the announcer one night on the radio and it was somebody else. But I got thrown out. So I thought I was done hanging around BTA.

"This was in '67. About a week later, he called me up and said, 'Wayne, could you work tonight?' So here I went into this with no training because I was already pretty well trained because I'd been hanging around so much. I knew exactly what to do. So I just sat down did it."

December 8, 2017 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac, wbta, Salvation Army, news.

toydrive2017.jpg

Folks from Arc of Genesee Orleans were among the first to show up this morning with gifts for the annual Salvation Army toy drive at Ken Barrett's Chevrolet and supported by WBTA.

To donate new, unwrapped toys, head over to Ken Barrett's on West Main Street, Batavia, by 4 p.m.

This is the 23rd year WBTA has sponsored and supported the toy drive.

toydrive2017-2.jpg

November 13, 2017 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, business, batavia, news.

feig_alex_0.jpgWBTA is promoting multimedia producer and afternoon news anchor Alex Feig to operations manager for the radio station, co-owner Dan Fischer announced today.

Feig assumes his new duties Nov. 27, which include becoming the morning news producer and anchor for all news breaks through 12:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. He will also produce and anchor the Saturday morning newscasts.

The change means Fischer can "retire" from anchoring early morning news.

As Feig settles into his new role, additional duties will include weekly preparation of the "talking points" memo for other station announcers to inform them of information to be shared with listeners during their broadcasts. He will also oversee production standards for commercial and promotional items.

"Deb (Fischer, co-owner) and I have great confidence in Alex," Fischer said. "Please join us in congratulating him on this promotion."

Fischer will anchor afternoon newscasts starting Nov. 27 and continue to supervisor a relaunch of WBTA's website into a more mobile-friendly format.

December 9, 2016 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Salvation Army, wbta, Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac, batavia, news.

toydrivedec92016.jpg

The Salvation Army Toy Drive is underway today at Ken Barrett Chevrolet on West Main Street, Batavia.

The event is hosted by Ken Barrett and WBTA and sponsored by several local businesses.

Top photo: Lt. Rachel Moore, Colton Moore, Joan Stevens and firefighters Jerry Yoder and Adam Palumbo.

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Pete Zeliff dropped off a barrel of toys.

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Ken Barrett and Dan Fischer.

October 4, 2016 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, news, batavia, business.

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With clowns in the news recently, it's perhaps ironic that these old posters would reappear in the offices of WBTA about this time.

Dan Fischer, owner of the 75-year-old station, said a listener delivered the two posters to the station years ago and they were stored behind a bookshelf. They reappeared again during remodeling. 

The listener who brought them in knew nothing about them and Dan doesn't know anything about them either.

If anybody knows anything about the history or what they were promoting, leave a comment.

September 6, 2016 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, business, batavia, news.

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Rummaging around in the radio station's transmitter site on Creek Road a couple of years ago, WBTA's owner Dan Fischer found the old stainless steel call letters that once adorned the second-floor exterior of 90 Main Street, the radio station's first home 75 years ago.

When the radio station moved to Cedar Place some years later, so did the letters, but whenever the station's studios moved again, the letters were shuffled off to storage at the transmitter building and forgotten until Fischer uncovered them.

As part of a remodeling project at the station's current location at Main and Center, Fischer had the letters polished up and Jeff Gillard designed and built a mounting system that off-set the letters two inches from the wall and back lit them with LED lights.

The long hallway like area at the front of the office has always been a hard area to decorate, Fischer said. It was just a long blank wall and a few small pictures really did not do the space justice. The call letters are a perfect fit.

"They’re obviously a showpiece, a conversation piece, they bring back the history of the station, they’re 75 years old, and when you think of that, and most those years, they were outside, I think they held up pretty well," Fischer said.

June 6, 2016 - 12:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, wbta, Goodwill Industries.

Press release:

Goodwill of Western New York announced that it will hold a “Donate and Shop” event including a live remote with WBTA radio from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 11th. The event will be held at Goodwill’s Batavia retail store and donation center located in the Valu Plaza at 4152 W. Main St..

The event will feature a sidewalk sale and most items in the store will be 50-percent off. The community is asked to bring donations of clothing, household goods, books, toys and furniture to help “stuff the truck” that day. Shoppers and donors will have the opportunity to spin the wheel for prizes.

“We have so many great finds in our stores as well as specials every day. We wanted to hold an event to reintroduce our Batavia store, and partnering with WBTA is a great way to do that,” said Linda Maraszek, Marketing and Community Relations Manager at Goodwill. “When you shop and/or donate at Goodwill, you get a great deal, and you help fund job training programs for individuals with barriers to employment.”

About Goodwill Industries of WNY

Since 1920 Goodwill Industries of WNY, Inc., has provided individualized job training and employment programs and services to persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. Visit www.goodwillwny.org for more information.

February 17, 2016 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia, news.

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Appropriate to the recent celebration of WBTA's 75th Anniversary, C.M. Barons sends us this photo of the old WBTA building off of Alva Place, Batavia.

February 10, 2016 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia.

danwbtaccat75b.jpg

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Kathy Briggs presented Dan Fischer, co-owner with Debbie Fischer of WBTA AM/FM, with a resolution Tuesday night from the Batavia City Council in recognition of the radio station's 75th anniversary.

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