* Page 7 *
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!
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8
Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11
WJRZ - 100.1 FM, Manahawkin
WJRZ signed on July 4, 1976 (originally licensed to Ship Bottom, until 1978) with what I guess could be described as a CHR/Hot AC fomat.
Some early slogans WJRZ used were "Stereo 100" and "FM 100" - later using "Power 100."
WJRZ's "theme song" from 1976 is available here.
Some vintage WJRZ jingles can be heard here from 1978, here from the early/mid 80's and here from 1987.
Some people that have been with WJRZ over the years included Lance DeBock, Brent McNally, Allan Brady, Greg Kozier, "Captain Jack" Aponte, Jay Sorensen, Bob Sorrentino, Charles Magill, Jay Lurie, Tom Rivers, Mike Moran, Steve Biro, Dave Packer, "Spaceman Scott", Dave Lavender, Russ Monroe, Walter Hughes, Bill Mead, Cosmo Rose and Tripp Rogers.
Ralph Hahn started at WJRZ in 1976 when the station first signed on, as a part-time news anchor, later becoming a full-timer & morning show co-host from 1983 to 1986, again from 1990 to 1993 as a full-time news anchor, and yet again in 2006, doing news and co-hosting mornings.
Some vintage WJRZ pics are available here.
The CHR/Hot AC format continued until November 1991, when WJRZ began experimenting with a classic hits/oldies format.
However, they eventually reverted back to their Hot AC format by mid-1992.
In 1992, WJRZ attempted to start up an AM station.
Some personalties in the mid-1990's included Jim "Kelly" (aka Jim "Ryan"), Rich Kaminski, Gary Guida, Dan Turi, "Charlie Maxx" and Adam "Johnson" (morning news anchor).
Click here to hear an aircheck montage of WJRZ from 1976 to 1998.
In December 1998, WJRZ dropped Hot AC in favor of country as "Jersey Shore Country."
The country format had a mixed reaction from area listeners.
In early 2000, WJRZ was bought by New Jersey Broadcast Partners (owners of WRAT, WDHA, etc.) and in June 2000, fliped to oldies as "Oldies 100."
In 2002, ownership changed to Greater Media.
Here is an aircheck from August 2002 of Vinnie Lewis, who did mornings at the time - click here.
In early 2005, Jay Sorensen returned to the air staff of WJRZ; Jay was one of the original DJ's when the station signed on in 1976.
In mid-2006, the "Oldies" name was dropped, in favor of "The Greatest Hits Of The 60's & 70's."
In November 2007, WJRZ began broadcasting in HD.
In early 2008, "Jersey's Greatest Hits" replaced "The Greatest Hits Of The 60's & 70's."
On December 26, 2009 (after previously playing Christmas music since early November), WJRZ switched back to a Hot AC format as "Magic 100.1".
First song played on "Magic 100.1": Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home", a veiled reference to their return to the Hot AC format after nearly 12 years.
After experiencing low ratings since debuting "Magic 100.1", WJRZ switched back to "classic hits" at 6am on April 22, 2013, playing "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles as the first song.
Last song played on "Magic": "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift.
(Thanks to Adam J. Holland, "Charlie Maxx", Tripp Rogers & Bob Sorrentino for some of this information)
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher and Lance Venta for digging up some old WJRZ logos)
(Thanks to Steve Biro for the WJRZ "Stereo 100" sticker/logo)
(Thanks to Vinnie Lewis for his aircheck)
(Thanks to Bill Clanton Jr. for the WJRZ jingles)
(Thanks to Lance DeBock for the WJRZ montage)
(Thanks to Ralph Hahn for some of this information)
WHTZ - 100.3 FM, Newark
100.3's origins date back to 1942 when it was WMGM, licensed to New York.
The station went off the air in February 1955.
During 100.3's down time, the frequency was allocated to WFHA in Red Bank.
On June 1, 1961, 100.3 was ressurrected as WVNJ, now licensed to Newark.
WVNJ featured an easy listening/jazz format that continued until August 2, 1983, when WHTZ "Z100" was born.
(The former WVNJ studio building can be seen here.)
"Z100" was also the birthplace of the "Z Morning Zoo", originally hosted by Scott Shannon.
In the mid 1990's, WHTZ experiemented with alternative rock, but by 1996, went back to it's mainstream CHR format.
(Thanks to Patrick McIntyre for some of this information)
(Thanks to Bryan Varga for the Z100 logo)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up an old "Z100" logo)
(Thanks to Anita Bonita for digging up one of the original Z-100 logos)
(WVNJ logo, courtesy of knowston.homestead.com)
WZXL - 100.7 FM, Wildwood
100.7's origins date back to 1947 when it was WBAB, licensed to Atlantic City and owned by the Press-Union Newspapers.
The Press got out of the broadcasting business around 1949/1950 and took WBAB silent.
100.7, in its current form, went on the air December 17, 1959 as WCMC.
The MOR format from WCMC-AM was simulcast on the FM, except for Phillies baseball, which was on the FM only.
Between 5 and 7pm, the station played instrumental (or "dining music"), then from 7pm on, a mix of music was featured: everything from current Top 40 to rock to disco.
Sunday nights even featured an opera program.
WCMC's antenna, circa 1974, can be seen here.
On May 22, 1981, calls were changed to WNBR and had an "automated" Adult Contempoary format.
On November 26, 1986 calls changed to WZXL and instituted a mainstream rock format, which continues to this day.
The weekend of the initial switch, WZXL played Beatles albums, commercial-free.
(Thanks to Phil Galasso, Ed Rickles & Dave Russell for some of this information)
(Thanks to Tom McNally and McNally.cc for an old WBAB logo)
WCFA-LP - 101.5 FM, Cape May
This station, one of the few LPFM's in NJ, was granted its call letters on June 21, 2005; it was originally allocated to Cape May on June 15, 2001.
It went on the air in November 2006 with a Classical/Jazz format.
WKXW - 101.5 FM, Trenton
101.5 signed on August 27, 1962 as WBUD, later changing to WBJH, which stood for Bill and Joy Hardin, the son and daughter-in-law of owner Dick Hardin.
The station's city of license at this time was "Trenton-Fairless Hills," in an attempt to compete in Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Around 1977, 101.5 changed calls briefly to WTRT and called themsleves "T-101."
By 1980, the station was bought by Fidelity Communications and the calls changed to WKXW.
The chief owner was Philadelphia radio personality Ed Hurst.
Philadelphia radio Hall of Famer Hy Lit and his son Sam Lit were brought in to anchor the air staff.
After the Lits left in the early 1980's, Bo Weaver (from WTTM 920) joined the staff and helped coin the phrase, "Kicks 101 ½" and instituted their Adult Contemporary format.
In 1990, WKXW FM (and WBUD AM) was purchased by Press Broadcasting.
Press Broadcasting President Bob McAllan decided to commit to a full time, full service FM station that served New Jersey.
The station can be heard from the 30th Street Station in Philly to the Holland Tunnel.
The positioning of the station says “Not New York, Not Philadelphia, Proud to be New Jersey 101.”; so many stations licensed to the state deny it, they pretend to be from New York or Philly. (Z-100 is licensed to Newark. WPAT is licensed to Paterson but both hide it.)
WKXW’s owners, McAllan and the Lass Family and GM John Dziuba decided to be super proud of its Jersey license.
So, on March 1, 1990 at 5pm, “New Jersey 101.5” became the first full time FM Talk station in America targeted for a younger audience.
Mark Sheppard, who later went to mid-days, kicked off the format playing Bill Haley & The Comets' "Rock Around The Clock".
The New Jersey FM revolutionized talk radio in America.
It proved that 100% live & local can attract enormous audiences of young adults to talk.
The original line up included Jim Gearhart, Jay Sorensen, and Jon and Ken.
During the first year the line up grew to include Roberta Gale, Brooke Daniel, Mary Walters, and Willie Twyman.
It debuted at #1 in Trenton.
On weekends, "the music comes out to play"; intially, the station featured 50's & 60's "oldies", but has since evolved into a mix ranging from the 60's to the 80's.
Over the next 19 years, the format, invented by consultant Walter Sabo, quickly grew to be the most listened to FM talk station in the world, more than any station in New York or Los Angeles, reaching a regular cume of over 900,000 people.
Other talk show hosts included: Hilarie Barsky, Karen Kay, Diminski & Doyle, Scott and Casey, Carton and Rossi "The Jersey Guys," Dennis Malloy, Jersey Judy and Big Joe Henry.
Program Directors included Perry Simon, Jay Sorensen, and Leigh Jacobs; News Directors include Dave Alexander and Eric Scott.
Since 1999, Eric Johnson has been the PD of 101.5.
The station has a very large, local news department.
WKXW is licensed to Trenton, but is located in a very secluded part of another town because of the controversial nature of much of its programming.
In November 1995, WKXW began simulcasting on WBSS.
And, since 1996, WKXW's morning show with Jim Gearhart has been shown on CN8, seen on most Comcast cable systems in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area.
In March 2004, the CN8 simulcast was dropped.
In 2001, Press sold the station for over $100,000,000 to Mercury Capital Partners; the station is controlled by investment bankers UBS, and owned by Millennium Radio Group LLC.
In 2011, ownership changed to Townsquare Media.
(Thanks to Kevin Fennessy, Eric Johnson, Walter Sabo, Arn Schwartz & Mark Sheppard for some of this infomation)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for an old WKXW 101½ logo)
WJKS - 101.7 FM, Canton
101.7 was originally WNNN with a religious format when it signed on Janaury 15, 1972.
WNNN started using the slogan "Win 101.7" in March 1989.
In 1997, WNNN was bought by QC Communications and in between the switch from religious to what was to become urban AC, there was a period of about a month that 101.7 was running an MOR-type format.
But on October 1, 1997, 101.7 switched calls to WJKS and became "Kiss 101.7."
The religious programming moved over to their AM sister station.
(Thanks to Lance Venta for an old WNNN logo)
WMRH-LP - 101.7 FM, Linwood
WMRH-LP signed on in December 2006, broadcasting from Mainland Regional High School.
Calls were assigned on April 18, 2005; it was originally allocated to Linwood on June 15, 2001.
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