It’s really hard to believe that All WNY Radio is going to turn 11 in just over a month. But since it is, we should probably have a party.

What started as a means of getting airplay for local musicians way back in 2006 has evolved, grown, changed hands, changed hands again, and grown some more — a lot more, actually — over the course of the past 11 years.

Ever wonder about the history of All WNY Radio?

Back when All WNY Radio started, I was a talk show host at WLVL AM 1340 in Lockport. A couple bands had given me CDs and asked if I could get them air time. We were a talk radio station. We didn’t play music. But I offered to use it as “bumper music.” That’s the music you hear on talk radio going into and out of commercials. That, of course, led to me getting more music. So I actually started bringing bands in and interviewing them … and letting them play some tunes live — or off a CD if they couldn’t get all their members together for a 12:30 p.m. Friday gig. That, of course, led to me getting more music. Too much music. More music than I could use.

So in March of 2006, I approached my boss, Dick Greene, and asked if he minded if I set up an online radio station to play local music. Being the genuinely good guy that he is, he said, “sure.” With the help of my friends Tom Christy and Joe Speer, I got All WNY Radio off the ground.

Myspace was king of social media at the time and their focus on bands — and ability to search for bands by genre or location — made it easy to get music in the early days. Most musicians at the time asked how much it would cost them; We thought that an odd question. Some asked how much we’d pay them; An equally odd question. We wanted to promote the scene.

Over time, we added a talk show. And another. There have been several over the years. We sponsored shows at local watering holes. And we held parties. The best parties — believe me. We got ourselves a studio in Buffalo thanks to our friend Ted Powell and had way too much fun there.

In 2009, I transferred ownership of All WNY Radio to Corey Hagstrom — aka Noah Gokey. He built his own partnerships and added Greg Burt to the mix as program director. Greg brought with him the All WNY Music Awards.

In 2015, Corey handed the reigns back to me. I got “ThinkSoJoe” Kent involved again and he started the ThinkSoJoe Show in early 2016. On April 1, 2016 — 10 years to the date of All WNY Radio’s official launch in the UAW Hall in Lockport — we added All WNY News.

So actually, April 1 is the 11th anniversary of All WNY Radio and the first anniversary of All WNY News. We definitely need to have a party.

Our last shindig was at Stamps. I thought it went over well.

So did Joe: “It feels like a really friendly place, the stage area was set up really well, and the sound was great.”

So let’s go back on Saturday, March 25. We’ll get four bands — and all our old friends — add in some cake and maybe some banter from Joe. We’ll remember old times and look to the future. It’ll be awesome.

We’re still working on the lineup but we’ve confirmed Exham Priory already — with three more bands to be announced shortly. We’ll charge $7 at the door, but offer advance tickets for just $5 through All WNY Deals or through myself, Joe or Greg.

Eleven years. Still hard to believe.

+Scott Leffler is the founder of All WNY Radio and publisher of All WNY News. He’s proud of what he’s created and excited about what’s next.

This column was originally published on All WNY News.

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