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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)
Jeff Miller's History Of American Broadcasting website
Do you, or anyone you know, work in NJ radio, either now or in the past?
is looking for you!
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WMGQ - 98.3 FM, New Brunswick
98.3 went on the air in 1947 as WCTC, changing calls to WQMR "Quality Music Radio" and then WMGQ around 1977.
98.3 started as easy listening and evolved to it's current adult contemporary format.
Evening personality David "Stockton" Cranmer (who was with the station from 1982 to 1994), experimented in the mid-1980's with a show called "Night Magic", featuring Soft AC mixed with jazz instrumentals (basically, what would be considered "Smooth Jazz" by today's standards).
WMGQ was Greater Media's trademark station for "Magic Music," a mix of adult contemporary and folk music, which evolved into the AC format WMGQ has today.
Some personalities that have been at "Magic 98.3" in recent years include Andy Gury, Lou Russo and Joel Katz - who all currently work in various capacities for Millennium Radio Group.
(Thanks to David Cranmer & Andy Gury for some of this information)
WTKU - 98.3 FM, Petersburg
98.3 was originally allocated to Ocean City on August 8, 1979, granted the WDVR calls on September 27, 1982 and went on the air in April 1983 with a rock format.
The original owners of 98.3 were Chuck Kramer and Bob Spain, d/b/a Ocean City Radio Inc.
On November 12, 1987, calls were changed to WKTU and in January 1988 became "Classic Hits KTU."
In 1989, the station changed hands to Atlantic-Morris Broadcasting, who also owned WRAN, 1510, in Dover (Morris County).
In 1990, WKTU changed to oldies, calling themselves "Kool 98.3, Good Times & Great Oldies".
98.3 changed calls to WTKU on February 13, 1996, in order for 103.5 FM in Lake Success NY to use the WKTU calls for the resurrection of the legendary station in the NYC area.
On September 17, 2001, WTKU re-imaged itself and focused on 70's, 80's and 90's music, essentially an "Oldies-based Adult Contemporary" format, using the slogan, "Kool 98.3, Always A Better Song."
On February 28, 2003, WTKU went back to an oldies-based format as, "Oldies 98.3"
On February 20, 2006, calls changed to WUSS (previously on their co-owned AM station).
On March 8, 2006, due to an FCC error, 98.3 regained its WTKU calls.
In March 2010, WTKU's city of license changed from Ocean City to Petersburg.
(Thanks to Bill Cain, Bob Spain & Dick Taylor - former GM of WOND/WGYM/WUSS/WTKU - for some of this information)
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher for digging up an old WTKU logo)
WZFI-LP - 98.5 FM, Bridgeton
WZFI-LP, owned by Joseph Burke d/b/a Azariah Communications, went on the air in September 2004.
The station features a Contemporary Christian format.
98.5 was originally allocated to Bridgeton on June 15, 2001.
WBBO - 98.5 FM, Ocean Acres
98.5 was granted the WQNJ calls on February 7, 1990; it was originally allocated to Ocean Acres on April 30, 1987.
Even before this station hit the air, it had extensive coverage in the local newspapers, because it was to be the first commercial station to hit the air in Ocean County since WJRZ signed on in 1976.
98.5 was originally owned by Seaira, Inc., a local company that was headed by Pat Parson, a former WCBS-AM news anchor from 1970 to 1990 and a former alumnus of WERA in Plainfield.
Pat originally planned 98.5 to be a live and local Smooth Jazz station, using the slogan "Cloud Nine," with an original sign-on date of Spring 1991.
However, that sign-on date changed many times, due mostly because of antenna clearances that had to be taken care of prior to signing on.
In late 1992, with Seaira not having enough financial backing to sign on themselves with a local format, 98.5 entered into an agreement with D&K Broadcasting (the owners of WJLK at the time.)
On February 11, 1993, WQNJ began on-air testing and on March 10, 1993, officially signed on with a simulcast of WJLK.
It was pretty much a 100% simulcast, with the exception of local commercial cut-ins and on weekday mornings at 6, 7, 8 and 9am, Pat Parson would do a 5 minute newscast.
This basic format lasted until 1996 when it was announced that Nassau Broadcasting had purchased the station (and others in the Jersey Shore area.)
Pat Parson's newscasts were soon dropped - but the simulcast continued on until Memorial Day weekend in 1997 when 98.5 broke away from WJLK and branched out on its own as "B-98.5 - The Jersey Shore's Hit Music Station."
The first song played on "B-98.5" was the Spice Girls "Wannabe".
On July 11, 1997, the calls were changed to WBBO.
Some WBBO newspaper articles can be seen here.
In 2002, Nassau sold WBBO (along with WOBM and WJLK) to Millennium Radio Group.
In April 2003, it was announced that Millennium was selling WBBO to Press Communications, who ironically enough, was the original applicant for 98.5 in the late 1980's.
In August 2004, Press officially took over WBBO.
On February 18, 2005, 98.5 started simulcasting sister station WHTG "G-106.3" from Eatontown.
On July 5, 2006, 98.5 changed calls to WKOE as part of a switch with new move-in 106.5 in Bass River Twsp.
On July 24, 2006, after "stunting" with playing The Eagles "New Kid In Town" over and over for 12 hours, 98.5 debuted as "K-98.5: Jersey Shore Kountry" and new call letters of WKMK.
First song played was Alan Jackson's "She's Gone Country."
In February 2009, 98.5 was renamed "Thunder 98.5".
On September 15, 2010, "Thunder" moved to 106.3 & 106.5 (replacing "Hit 106"), and "B-98.5" was re-born.
First song played on the "new" B-98.5 was the same one they played 13 years earlier: "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.
Call letters changed to WHTG on September 16, 2010.
On December 8, 2010, 98.5 went back to the WBBO calls.
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher for digging up an old WJLK/WQNJ logo)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for the "More Music Radio" B-98.5 logo)
WCZT - 98.7 FM, Villas
98.7 was originally allocated to Villas on January 26, 1988 and granted the WVIL calls on November 8, 1988.
Calls were then changed to WLQE on February 1, 1990 and signed on soon afterwards with a country format as "Lucky 99."
On March 2, 1992, calls were changed to WFNN and the format shifted over to Hot AC (via satellite) as "Fun 98.7."
By April 1992, the format had again changed, this time to oldies.
Another format change occured in November 1992, when WFNN switched to a rock format.
On January 19, 1998, the format evolved into classic rock and on March 1, 1998 changed calls to WWZK.
In February 2001, a switch occured between 98.7 and 94.3 in Avalon with 94.3's calls and format moving to 98.7.
The WCZT calls became effective on March 2, 2001.
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up an old WWZK logo)
WAWZ - 99.1 FM, Zarephath
WAWZ, owned by the Pillar Of Fire church, signed on August 22, 1954 and has virtually stayed the same over the years with its religious format.
The WAWZ calls stand for Alma White, who founded Pillar Of Fire church.
WAWZ originally started as an AM station.
On December 26, 2002, WAWZ turned to a more Contemporary Christian music format, and in February 2003 started using the slogan "Star 99.1 FM".
WZBZ - 99.3 FM, Pleasantville
99.3 signed on in 1974 as WGRF with an adult contemporary format.
The WGRF calls stood for Merv Griffin, who owned the station at the time.
Calls were changed to WLQE on March 13, 1984 and became "Lucky 99", featuring an AOR format that was part-live and part-automated.
Some DJ's during this time were Chris Caldwell, Bill Cain and Jackson T. Chase.
On September 1, 1987, calls were changed again to WMID.
By March 1990, the format switched to classic rock, using the slogan "Classic Rock Plus."
The classic rock was dropped in December 1997 in favor of Smooth Jazz, with calls changing to WSAX on January 1, 1998.
Then in February 2000, 99.3 took the Dance CHR format and calls from 105.5.
The WZBZ calls became effective on March 23, 2000.
In February 2002, the format shifted over to Urban, still using "The Buzz" name.
On June 10, 2008, the station was renamed "99.3 Kiss FM" and debuted a mainstream CHR format.
On March 8, 2013, 99.3 reverted back to "The Buzz" and its urban format.
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up an old WMID logo)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for a new WZBZ logo)
(Thanks to Chris Caruso, Jack Moore & Nathan Rosenthal for some of this information)
(WMID/WGRF window sticker/logo, courtesy of Mike McCann)
WBHX - 99.7 FM, Tuckerton
99.7 was originally granted the WTUC calls on October 26, 1992; it was originally allocated to Tuckerton on January 17, 1990.
On September 5, 1997, calls were changed to WBHX.
However, because of various antenna problems, 99.7 did not come to life until nearly 2 years later.
On May 7, 1999, WBHX signed on for the first time conducting on-air tests.
These on-air tests would continue sporadically until August 10, 1999, when they finally signed on full-time.
WBHX's classic rock format focused mainly on the obscure, rather than with the usual hits, featuring lots of album cuts and live tracks.
For the most part, the station was automated, however weekday mornings featured "Radio Rohn" (aka Ron Stekeur, WBHX's GM.)
In the beginning, Ron did his show solo, but a few months later, local model/spokesperson Tara Kelly joined him.
Tara stayed with the show for a little while, then was eventually replaced by another Tara - Tara Thornton.
Tara left the show in mid-2001 and then once again, Ron did the morning show solo.
In August 2000, Mike Jarmus joined the airstaff for afternoons, with his "Woodstock Lunch" midday show.
Saturday mornings featured Lisa Koz.
WBHX also featured some specialty shows on the weekends, such as "The Dead At Midnight" - a Grateful Dead show Saturday nights at midnight hosted by Ron, "Blues Delux" - a syndicated show featuring the latest blues music, and most notably, "The Dr. Demento Show" - no explanation needed.
Some WBHX newspaper articles can be seen here.
On July 22, 2002, WBHX was sold to Press Communications for $2.75 million.
On October 2, 2002, "Radio Rohn" did his last morning show, ending with Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust".
On October 4, 2002, Press began stunting with songs featuring "breeze" or "wind" themes, along with wind sound effects in between the songs.
WBHX then became "99.7 The Breeze" and featured mainly Soft AC songs from the 60's and 70's.
Starting November 4, 2002, mornings were hosted by Captain Jack (formerly with WHTG-AM and WJRZ, among others) along with co-host Donna Rose doing news, while other shifts were voicetracked via satellite.
On June 30, 2003, 99.7 began a simulcast with the "107.1 The Breeze" station in Long Branch.
In April 2004, veteran radio personality Tim Downs replaced Captain Jack for mornings (with Jack segueing to afternoons.)
In March 2005, veteran personality Al Brooks (from WOBM fame) joined for news, replacing Donna Rose.
In early 2006, Mike Fitzgerald (of WCBS-FM fame) replaced Tim Downs for mornings.
After downplaying the "Breeze" name for a couple of weeks, the station became simply, "107.1 FM: A Music Radio Station", with more of a Hot AC presentation and de-emphasizing 99.7, except for the top of the hour, on April 19, 2013.
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