Staff

Jim Ernst
President and General Manager

Jim completed his purchase of WBTA in July 2023 and formed a new company, Majic Tones LLC.  Jim was born in Batavia, graduated from Batavia High School and attended Genesee Community College for Business Administration. Jim loves playing sports, especially hockey, hiking with his dog. and spending time with family, especially his kids and grandchildren.
Jim has been in Retail sales and held various Management positions since 1991,
including 18 years with the Schwan Food Company. After spending 6 years in Syracuse as General Manager for Schwan’s
Jim decided to move back to Batavia in 2010 so his kids could also Graduate from BHS.
He Joined WBTA in 2014 as an Account Executive and is proud to operate his hometown radio station.

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Lorne Way
General Sales Manager

Lorne was born and raised in Genesee County. He went to Elba Central School where he enjoyed playing sports. He attended Genesee Community College, SUNY Buffalo and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY Brockport. Lorne has been with WBTA since 1989. Lorne started out as a Sales Account Representative and has worked his way up to Sales Manager as well as General Manager. Lorne has a home in Elba and is proud to call Genesee County his home.

 

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John Vazquez
Announcer

John Vazquez has been with WBTA since 2004. He plays all the songs you know and love while you complete your workday from 2-6 p.m.

John is originally from Dunkirk, NY which is where he first started broadcasting in 1996. He’s an avid lover of technology, and usually has the latest phone or gadget. He’s also spends his spare time with his dogs, watching hockey, or playing board games on game nights.

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Nici Johnson
Announcer

Nicole “Nici” Johnson has grown up in Genesee County, graduated from Batavia High School, and attended GCC for an associate degree in communications. She has spent a year working in Buffalo for Citadel Broadcasting stations 97 Rock, and The Edge. She now works at WBTA as host of the morning show featuring lots of local information to start your day along with bits of pop culture and her mind teasing riddles and the popular Brain-Buster game. Nicole has also worked in the modeling industry for 5 years, and is currently the regional director for an agency based out of VA. When not modeling or on the radio, Nici works as the traffic manager for WBTA.


 

Tom Tharp

News Producer / Anchor

 

Tom comes to radio through doing plays and musicals in his hometown of Penn Yan. One director told him on the set of Brighton Beach Memoirs that with his voice he should go into radio. One pastor told him with his face that that would be a good idea. He went to St. John Fisher College for a Double BA in Communications/Television and English/Writing. He worked at My18 WGBT TV in Rochester with Chris Kalen and volunteered at Jazz 90.1 as a late-night DJ for several years. Tom went to Gardner Webb University in North Carolina for a master’s in divinity and worked as youth pastor for Mtn Grove Baptist Church for 3 years. In 2013 he moved with his wife Katie to Adams, NY to Pastor Adams Village Baptist Church. In 2016 he moved to Batavia and now Pastors Emmanuel Baptist Church on Oak Street in Batavia. Tom enjoys reading, video games, and music. He plays the drums and sings.

 

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Doug Thompson

News Producer / Anchor

 

Hmmm, let’s see: The last time I was on the air at WBTA was in the fall of 1980 when the studio was in a building at the corner of Harvester and East Main Street, with Pontillo’s conveniently located next door!  I was a student intern in the Communications program studying under Chuck Platt, at Genesee Community College. I grew up on the west side of Batavia and graduated from BHS in 1978. My ‘real’ last name is Schnackel. It’s a tough name for radio but I turned it into a positive: I referred to myself as “The Late Night Schnack” while on the air at the former WBTF in Attica. The name ‘Thompson’ was assigned to me in ’84 during another radio adventure and I’ve used it ever since. In addition to WBTA, WBTF, WBBF, WMJQ and WBEE, Rochester, I’ve worked at radio stations in Florida, New Hampshire and Maine. I lived in Maine for nearly 34 years. During the last 20 of my years in Maine, I was a school psychologist, and worked with great kids of all ages. Upon retirement from education, I returned to Batavia in August 2021 to be closer to family and friends. The best decision I’ve ever made, by far, was to move back to Western NY. So, let’s grab a pizza and some wings, a beef on weck and then play some euchre!

 

 

 

Dan Fischer
Consultant

Dan formed HPL Communications with his wife Debbie in November 2003, and completed their purchase of WBTA in February 2004. In July 2023 HPL sold WBTA to Majic Tones, LLC headed by Jim Ernst, a former Account executive with HPL. Dan has held various management positions in radio since 1971. He is a Buffalo native and spent the early years of his career in broadcast news winning several awards from The Associated Press, United Press International and the New York State Broadcasters Association. He was a frequent guest lecturer on radio broadcasting at SUNY Fredonia and for many years, was an adjunct faculty member at Jamestown Community College.
Dan was twice selected to serve as a consultant to the US State Department on private radio development projects in Africa and Eastern Europe. Dan is a member and past president of the Batavia Rotary Club and serves on the board of the Holland Land Office Museum and is President of the Batavia Concert Band. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. Dan is proud to serve as a consultant to Majic Tones and continue his association with WBTA.

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Debrah A. Fischer
Consultant

Debbie brings a wealth of broadcast experience to WBTA. During her career, Debbie has worked as Controller for a group of nine radio stations in Western New York and Pennsylvania. She is a native of Jamestown, NY, where she met her husband Dan while on the job at WKSN/WHUG. Debbie holds two associate degrees from Jamestown Community College and a B.S. in Business Administration from SUNY Fredonia. She had served for many years on the board of directors of the Arc of Genesee-Orleans and later Arc GLOW. Debbie has served on committees for the United Way, Genesee Community College, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the annual Encore scholarship concert at GCC. Debbie is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church and plays in the hand bell choir. With husband Dan, Debbie was co-chair of the 2010 United Way Campaign in Genesee County. Dan and Debbie have three daughters: Cynthia, Susan and Karen, and five grandchildren, Brianna, Christian, Matthew, Zachary and Tyler.

E-mail Debbie




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