WXXI completes acquisition of WJZR-FM radio frequency

WXXI completes acquisition of WJZR-FM radio frequency

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 10:00am - 11:00am

L-R: Lee Rust and and WXXI President Norm Silverstein sign documents that complete WXXI's acquisition. 

Credit: Kevin Indovino

Creating a pathway to a larger radio audience for its news content, WXXI Public Broadcasting on Tuesday completed its acquisition of Lee Rust’s now-dormant WJZR signal.

WXXI News | By Jeff Spevak
Published January 24, 2023 at 5:57 PM EST

About 20 people gathered in a conference room at WXXI’s State Street offices to watch Rust and WXXI President Norm Silverstein sign the papers closing the deal. A sight that WXXI Executive Vice President & General Manager Susan Rogers compared to watching a bride and groom at the altar. Hurry up and sign, she said, “before someone says, ‘I object.’”

And with no objections, the champagne corks were popped.

WJZR-FM (105.9), which aired jazz and blues for nearly three decades, went silent on July 10 after station owner and operator Rust played Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way.”

“Things change, there’s so many ways to hear music today that, one less radio station…” Rust said, his voice trailing off.

He’s looking forward now to focusing on his photography hobby and tending to the handful of acres he owns in Webster.

“Radio has been supplanted by the Internet,” Rust said. “And I don’t like to see the technology put in the back seat, or out the window, but, you know, that’s the way technology always goes.”

Yet Silverstein sees opportunity.

“We’ve got an opportunity now to really spread out our signal, to make sure that people get it at night, and in the winter months,” Silverstein said. “And we couldn’t have done it without the support and cooperation of Lee Rust. He’s been just terrific.”