WLER-FM is a Hot AC radio station
that officially can be heard in Butler County,
Pennsylvania, but can also be heard in parts of northern
County, including Pittsburgh. The station, which is owned by the Butler
County Radio Network, operates at 97.7 MHz with
an ERP of 4.6 kw and is licensed to Butler, Pennsylvania.
WLER-FM's beginnings, like most FM's, were rather humble. The
station began as WISR-FM, when the AM license had been issued for
those same call letters when the license was first granted in 1941.
The ownership at that time, Butler Broadcasting Company, chose to
turn the license back to the FCC after having the FM license failed
to make any kind of an impact financially.
However, the license was recovered years later by WISR
's AM crosstown competitor, WBUT
, returning to the air in 1959. The station
operated as WBUT-FM for many years until the late 1970s, when the
call letters were changed to WLER-FM, and the station began to
originate more of its own separate programming, though much of it
was done through voice-tracked automation on a 10-inch reel
tape-based automation system constructed by owners Bob and Ron
Brandon. The station was an adult contemporary formatted station
for much of its existence, using music and personalities provided
by Concept Productions, based in Roseville, California. The
procedure of voice-tracking was a relatively new concept at the
time, before becoming standard practice in the late 90's. The
presentation of the voice-tracked announcers led many to believe
that Steve Tyler, Dave Ware, and Terry Nelson were all on-site. The
station simulcast from 6 to 8am during morning drive and during the
last three hours of the day before signing off at 10pm.
WLER saw its biggest change in the spring of 2006, when the WBUT
simulcast ended and the station began to take on a more Adult CHR
-oriented approach. Where its two AM affiliate stations tend to
serve Butler County, WLER gravitates more towards the suburbs north
of Pittsburgh, as well as surrounding communities such as Grove
City, Franklin, Mercer, Kittanning, and New Kensington.