* Page 4 *
This page will attempt to showcase the histories of New Jersey FM Radio stations,
past and present.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any information you would like to contribute to this page and
you will be credited.
Some information provided by:
Bruce Elving's FMedia! newsletters, 1986-present
Dave Hughes' NYRTV website (no longer online)
Do you, or anyone you know, work in NJ radio, either now or in the past?
is looking for you!
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8
Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11
WJLK - 94.3 FM, Asbury Park
By the mid-1940's, leaders of the Asbury Park Press realized that the days of the newspaper "extra" were coming to a close.
In the years to come, newsboys would still spill out of the Press' headquarters on Mattison Ave. in Asbury Park hawking special, hot-off-the-presses editions, but when big news broke, the public would likely hear about it first on radio or television.
And so, during World War II, the Press resolved to get into the radio business.
In early correspondence between the Press and the Federal Communications Commission, the new "frequency modulation" or FM station the company proposed to build is referred to as WDJT.
By the time construction of the station began in November 1946, however, the call letters had changed to WJLK, a tribute to the Press' pioneering publisher, the late J. Lyle Kinmouth, who had died the previous year.
Before the station was ready, the FCC made one more change, switching WJLK's location on the FM radio dial from 104.7 to 94.3 megacycles.
The station's primary studio was located on the fifth floor of the Press' headquarters, occupying space that was originally intended to be Kinmouth's penthouse apartment.
It also had a bureau in the Press newsroom on the second floor.
The new leaders of the Press, Wayne D. McMurray and Ernest W. Lass, joined Kinmouth's widow, Mabel, in WJLK's studios to celebrate the station's first broadcast on November 20, 1947.
November 20 was also J. Lyle Kinmouth's birthday.
You can hear this broadcast here.
Frequency modulation represented the wave of the future.
Promising static-free reception, it was the radio equivalent of color TV.
But it wasn't until World War II that military engineers perfected the technology, and by 1947, there were only an estimated 75 FM stations nationwide, according to Press accounts.
WJLK was the first FM station the FCC had licensed in New Jersey, and the initial audience was small because standard radios couldn't pick up the signals.
A Press survey in 1947 estimated that only 1440 families in Ocean and Monmouth counties had FM sets.
But the Press, which spun off a new company to run the station - Press Broadcasting Co. - was thinking long-term.
WJLK was advertised as the "Radio Voice Of The Asbury Park Press," and it didn't take long before the station demonstrated how well it could complement the newspaper's role in the community.
The station kept listeners informed during a blizzard that struck the Shore in December 1947.
And two months after WJLK went on the air, the station broadcast an appeal from Hazard Hospital (now Monmouth Medical Center) in Long Branch for a particular type of blood that a child from Union Beach needed.
"Within an hour after your broadcast, we had about 40 donors and are very pleased to state that our patient is doing splendidly," B.F. Hazard, the hospital's superintendent, wrote in a letter to the station.
But it was the deadly derailment of a Shore-bound commuter train in Woodbridge on February 6, 1951, that solidified WJLK's credentials as a vital news source.
It was through the station's live bulletins from the scene of the disaster that Shore residents first learned of the accident, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds.
At the time, the station didn't broadcast 24 hours a day.
Its hours were 6:30am to midnight Monday through Saturday, and 8am to midnight on Sunday.
But that day the station broke from its regular schedule to keep its anxious listeners informed.
"The station stayed on the air that night until everyone was accounted for," says Robert E. McAllen, 57, of Wall.
He was an on-air personality at the station in the early 1970's and later became president of Press Broadcasting.
Although the number of FM listeners rose steadily, WJLK wasn't commercially successful in its first years, which prompted the Press in 1950 to purchase WCAP, an AM station based in Asbury Park.
The station, which was renamed WJLK-AM, previously was owned by the Charms candy company.
Located at 1310 on the AM dial, it became the Press' primary station, with its programming rebroadcast by the FM station.
WJLK was primarily a news and talk radio station for the first 30 or so years of its existance.
There were 15-minute newscasts at the top of the hour, with a briefer news update on the half-hour.
The station often tried to draft Press reporters for on-air news reports, with mixed results.
"WJLK tried to get most reporters who went out on major stories to take a tape recorder with them and/or phone in (from the scene)," recalls former Senior Managing Editor Raymond F. Tuers, who was a reporter in the 60's and early 70's.
"I got pretty good at it because I was sort of a ham," he says, "but most reporters hated it and tried to duck it."
In between newscasts, WJLK offered a dizzying array of programming.
There was a bird-watching show, a gardening show, jazz, folk, pop and classical musical programs, old-time dramas including "Flash Gordon," and birth and death announcements, among other diverse, homespun offerings.
"It was all over the place," says McAllen, who grew up listening to WJLK on a crystal radio set.
By far the most popular program was Dick Lewis' morning show, "The Alarm Clock Club."
Lewis joined the station shortly after it went on the air, and he continued as a personality there until 1986.
"Probably there was no more beloved person at the Jersey Shore than Dick Lewis," McAllen says.
At the height of its popularity, "The Alarm Clock Club" had a 30 percent share of the radio audience in the Monmouth and Ocean market, McAllen says.
Lewis, now 80, is happily retired and lives in Laurel Park NC.
In 1954, Jim Williams worked under Dick Lewis and station manager Everett Rudloff, along with announcer Art Finger.
Jim went on to California and has continued his radio career to this day.
By the mid 1970's, specialized FM stations were dominating the radio market, and it became apparent to McAllen and others that WJLK needed an overhaul.
"They were trying to be all things to all people and ended up being nothing to anybody," he recalls.
McAllen devised a new strategy, emphasizing adult contempoary music, and he was put in charge of the station.
Lewis remained a morning fixture, although his show was renamed, "NewsMorning".
The new format, which debuted in 1975, proved commercially successful.
But the limited range of the stations - WJLK-AM operated at 2500 watts and WJLK-FM at 3000 watts - did not fit with Press Broadcasting's long-term expansion plans.
The format evolved into a mix of MOR and adult contemporary, with some block programming at night featuring talk, Top 40 or oldies music.
In 1976, WJLK became a full-blown CHR.
Also in 1976, WJLK received national recognition for participating in the concert that gained Asbury Park and The Stone Pony nightclub national prominence.
WJLK was part of a national radio network that broadcast a live performance by Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes celebrating the release of their first album on Epic-CBS Records.
The concert also featured Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, Steve Van Zandt, Ronnie Spector, and soul singer Lee Dorsey.
Skipping ahead to 1986, WJLK was still doing CHR using the slogan "94.3 JLK-FM," and by August 1987 had become "K-94".
Some DJ's during this time included Tim Downs (mornings), Pat Gillen (mid-days), Mike Abrams (afternoons), Amy Wright (evenings) and Dave Ullman (overnights); weekends featured Ed Healy and Gary Guida (who eventually became PD in the early 1990's).
In 1989, the company sold WJLK-AM/FM to the Devlin and Ferrari Broadcasting Co. of New York for $12.5 million.
The FCC ordered the sale in exchange for allowing Press Broadcasting to purchase two more powerful stations, WKXW-FM and WBUD-AM, both based in Ewing, for $12.1 million.
In August 1989, "K-94" was dropped and returned to the adult contemporary format by November 1989.
In March 1993, WJLK began a simulcast with 98.5 in Ocean Acres and began using the slogan "Soft Rock WJLK."
An article about WJLK's sale to Nassau Broadcasting in 1996 can be seen here, as well as a feature on DJ Lou Russo.
In May 1997, the simulcast was dropped at which point, WJLK went in a Modern AC/Hot AC direction and became "94.3 The Point."
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher for digging up some old WJLK logos and for providing some info for the profile)
(A majority of this profile is courtesy of Shannon Mullen, Press staff writer, from an article written for the Asbury Park Press' 125th anniversary)
(Thanks to Lee Mrowicki for the 1976 concert information)
(Thanks to Ed Healy & Jim Williams for some of this information)
(Thanks to Mike Abrams for the 1947 aircheck)
WIBG - 94.3 FM, Avalon
94.3 went on the air on March 29, 1976 with calls of WWOC ("Wildwood/Ocean City") with an easy listening format.
The station was originally owned by Fred Wood, who also started up 97.3 in Millville in 1962.
An aircheck from 1986 can be heard here.
In the early 1990's, WWOC evolved into an Adult Contemporary format as "Mix 94."
Starting in March 1992, though, 94.3 went through quite a number of changes.
They changed calls to WXNJ on March 27, 1992 and became "Extra 94.3" with an oldies format.
However, in just 5 short months, they changed format again to country as "Super Country 94.3."
On February 3, 1993, calls were changed back to WWOC and by May, they were simulcasting the MOR/easy listening format of WRDR, 104.9 in Egg Harbor City.
In October 1993, WWOC tried classical music and then in June 1994, became "94.3 The Coast" with an adult contemporary format.
Calls were changed to WCZT in July 1994.
In February 2001, a frequency switch took place between 94.3 and 98.7 in Villas.
The calls and programming from 94.3 moved over to 98.7 and 94.3 became oldies as "94 Slammin' Gold" with calls of WWZK (taken from 98.7), which became effective on March 2, 2001.
On February 17, 2005, 94.3 changed calls to WILW.
In April 2009, 94.3 became "Wibbage 94.3", paying homage to the "famous" WIBG from Philadelphia.
On August 19, 2009, 94.3 changed calls to WIBG-FM (AM is 1020 in Ocean City/Somers Point).
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher for some of this information)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up an old WWOC logo)
WPST - 94.5 FM, Trenton
94.5 in Trenton began on August 7, 1965 as WCHR with a religious format.
But after 33 years, that all changed when Nassau Broadcasting bought the station.
November 10, 1997 saw the beginning of things to come when WCHR began to simulcast on 920 AM in Trenton in preparation for a format change.
On February 27, 1998, WCHR started stunting with construction sound effects and on March 2, 1998 94.5 became "New Jersey's Oldies Station."
The WNJO calls were assigned on March 26, 1998.
On November 1, 2001, WNJO switched to a classic hits format as "94.5 The Hawk."
Calls changed to WTHK on August 1, 2002 - and slowly evolved into a classic rock station.
On February 14, 2005, at 5pm, 94.5 "switched" frequencies and formats with 97.5 WPST.
(WCHR bumper sticker - courtesy of Scott Lowe)
WNSH - 94.7 FM, Newark
94.7 started broadcasting in 1947 as WAAT, co-owned with 970 AM.
In 1958, 94.7 changed calls (along with the AM, and Channel 13) to WNTA.
WNTA-FM had diversified programming such as jazz, classical and easy listening music.
When the owners at the time, Bergen Broadcasting Corp., sold 970 AM and Channel 13, 94.7 became WJRZ-FM in the spring of 1962.
Jack French was the station manager at this time.
Bergen started selling time to Family Radio in 1963, at which point, the call letters changed to WFME.
On Easter Sunday, April 14, 1963, Family Radio went on the air with its first broadcast.
The call letters stood for "FM-Emmanuel", named after Lazarus Emmanuel who was one of the senior managers of WJRZ.
The calls are also known to stand for "Where Faith Means Everything."
The station was eventually sold to Family Radio in 1966 and began airing religious programming 24/7.
At that time, operations were moved to the transmitter site in West Orange NJ.
Carl Auel was the first station manager of WFME in 1966.
Walt Santner started as a volunteer working in production of remotes of Sunday services for local churches; he eventually became Public Affairs Director from 1971 to 1978.
Craig Hulsebos was the PD, until he left for California to work at the main Family Radio Network in the early 1970's.
Omar Andeel was the main announcer on the station, until, he too, left to join Family Radio in California.
Other people on the staff of WFME in the 1960's & 1970's included Tom Gabrielson, John Hailey, John Fuchs, Harry Barr and Bill Sadlier, who later became the first station manager of WKDN in Camden, WFSI in Annapolis MD, and then later as a regional manager.
When Carl Auel departed the station, James Galbarith became the station manager and served until the early 1970's, replaced by Rev. Clyde Casto; Rev. Casto was later replaced by Thad McKiney, who later became a regional manager.
In 1970, the power output was increased from 13.5 kW to the present 37 kW, which gives WFME a more effective signal in the metropolitan area.
WFME pictures are available by clicking here.
On January 6, 2012, 94.7 applied to the FCC to go from non-commercial to commercial, in anticipation of selling the station.
On October 16, 2012, Cumulus Media (owners of WABC & WPLJ) announced it was buying WFME for $40 million.
On January 9, 2013, Cumulus closed on the sale of 94.7, and at 3:39pm on January 11, Cumulus officially took over the station, initially simulcasting WPLJ 95.5.
New call letters are planned to be WRXP, in recent years associated with rock on 101.9 in New York.
94.7 became WRXP on January 14, 2013.
At 5pm on January 18, 2013, 94.7 became "The Wheel Of Formats" and announced that the "new" format will debut at 9:47am on January 21.
After nearly 17 years, the New York City area finally got a country station as "Nash FM" debuted on January 21, 2013.
First song played was Randy Houser's, "How Country Feels".
On January 29, 2013, 94.7 changed calls to WNSH.
(Thanks to Doug Douglass, Ed Montgomery, Walt Santner & the WFME website for providing some of this information)
WAYV - 95.1 FM, Atlantic City
95.1 started broadcasting in April 1961, with calls of WRNJ.
On July 1, 1974, calls were changed to WAYV and the station featured a "Beautiful Music" format that lasted until 1977.
1978 saw the format evolve into "The Music People," a soft-rock format similar to "Magic" stations, such as WMGK in Philadelphia.
In 1979 and 1980, the format again evolved into more contemporary music and became full-time disco as "The Rhythm Of South Jersey."
By 1981, they started to evolve into their current incarnation of CHR/Hot AC.
Nancy Polimenti (later known as "Charlie Maxx") did afternoon drive on WAYV between 1989 and 1990.
In April 1990, they started calling themselves "Hot 95", which lasted for a short period of time.
Before moving to the Bayport One building, WAYV's studios were located on the Atlantic City boardwalk at Chelsea Ave., and before that, were located in a penthouse studio on top of the Ritz Apartments (formerly the Ritz Carlton Hotel.)
(Thanks to Mike Ferriola, Mark Fletcher, Jeff Gross & "Charlie Maxx" for some of this information)
WGET - 95.9 FM, Elizabeth
This was an unbuilt CP.
The station was never built and the CP was eventually forfeited.
WRAT - 95.9 FM, Pt. Pleasant
95.9 went on the air October 4, 1968 as WADB with an MOR/easy listening format.
The WADB calls stood for Adament & Dorothy Brown, the owners of the station.
WADB pictures are available here.
Between 1976 and 1978, Pete Tauriello (now at Shadow Traffic) was host of WADB's morning show.
In the mid-1990's, Shawn Michaels (now at WOBM) was the morning show host.
The easy listening/soft AC format would last until Labor Day weekend 1996 when New Jersey Broadcast Partners bought 95.9 and it became WRAT with a rock format.
Stunting before the format change featured the song "Rat In The Kitchen" by reggae group UB40.
95.9 was officially granted the WRAT calls on September 13, 1996.
Some newspaper articles on WRAT can be seen here.
In 2001, WRAT (along with WDHA/WMTR/WWTR) was sold to Greater Media (owners of WMGQ/WCTC).
It should be noted that as of this writing (May 2007), WRAT has kept its core air staff intact since it's debut in 1996 - Carl Craft (mornings; also WRAT's PD), "Rockin'" Robyn Lane (mid-days), Jimmy Steal (afternoons), Steve Hook (nights) and "Uncle Leo" Greenwood (overnights; who is actually the only hold-out DJ still with the station from the WADB days).
(Thanks to Steve Biro for an old WADB sticker/logo)
(WADB "air pollution" sticker, courtesy of John Croft)
(WRAT "green" logo & 10 year logo - from my own personal collection)
(Thanks to Pete Tauriello for some of this information)
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8
Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11
Radio-History.com Home Page
Also visit our "sister" sites: PirateJim.com | LPFMDatabase.com