The change to Christian programming that signals new ownership for WNED-AM 970 becomes official at midnight Friday, according to Donald Boswell, WNED’s president and chief executive officer.

Crawford Broadcasting Co., the new owner, will use AM-970 to simulcast the Christian format of its WDCX-FM sister station in Buffalo. The station will operate under the call letters WDCZ, according to Brett Larson, general manager of WDCX-FM.

Crawford Broadcasting, headquartered in Denver, owns 23 AM and FM stations in 10 U.S. markets, on the air with WDCX-FM in Buffalo since Feb. 18, 1963.

Adding the AM signal will expand WDCX’s coverage area farther into southern Ontario, Larson said.

“Our plans are to use the strong southern Ontario signal of WNED as a complimentary supplement to our WDCX-FM 99.5 signal,” Larson said.

Listeners will continue to hear news programming and National Public Radio shows on 88.7 WBFO-FM.

The transfer ends decades of news and jazz broadcasting at the station formerly known as WEBR.

“AM 970 is one of the oldest frequencies in Buffalo,” said Ranney. “It started in 1924. At the time, most of the population lived in Buffalo and north of Buffalo in Niagara Falls. The signal pattern for the station serves metro Buffalo northward very well. It does not serve the Southtowns or the eastern suburbs where the population shifted.”

The license transfer process began in August when the $875,000 sale was announced. Under FCC regulations, the sale could not become final until the completion of a 30-day period for public comment. An additional 40-day review period expired this week.