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:
WPDI - 104.7 FM, Hazlet
This station, originally on 89.3, has had a long and very strange history.
They signed on May 24, 1979 as WVRM.
WVRM stood for "Vic" Scudery (owner of Airport Plaza and Interstate Electronics in Hazlet), "Ray" (Vic's attorney) and "Mickey" Caruso (aka Steve Liadis).
Allan Brady was one of the first station managers of WVRM, which programmed Top 40 during the week, oldies on the weekends and religious programming on Sundays.
Don Owen (aka Don Zeller) did morning drive as "Don Owen's Country Frolic."
Don was later replaced by Steve Cosgriff (aka Steve Cie), and the show shifted to Top 40 music.
WVRM, at the time, was known as "The Big V."
In 1981, Allan Brady did mornings and overnights on WJRZ in Manahawkin.
Another DJ around that time, Hank Hart, hosted "The Wild Weekend Rock N' Roll Show" Fridays at 6pm, and later hosted a heavy metal show on Tuesdays.
Another highlight was Steve Lewis' "Fantasy Park", which highlighted local talent in a "park-like" atmosphere.
Mike Singer was the original engineer for WVRM until around 1982, when Rod Copolla took over.
WVRM was financially anchored by a "School For DJ's" overnight service, known as Kaleidescope.
Some other shows featured on WVRM included, "Sandy Shep's Moments To Remember", "Mike Singer's Remember When" and "The Friday Night Ghost Train Show."
In 1982, Harry Stridacchio bought WVRM; his son, Michael, along with Debbie Lisk (both age 13 at the time) hosted "The Mike & Debbie Rock Show".
After Debbie left, the show evolved into "Rock Box USA".
WVRM changed calls to WCNJ on March 2, 1987.
Since then, they have had a wide variety of formats ranging from CHR to Classic Rock to Oldies to Spanish.
The Spanish format started in September 1992.
They then went to an alternative rock format in December 1994 and then to oldies in March 1995 as "Solid Gold CNJ."
This is the station where back in 1996 they were doing an Oldies fomat with Sal Anthony as PD.
Sal Anthony helped then-WRLJ, 89.7, Freehold Twsp. get on the air, then about 6 months later, preceeded to steal their equipment and start his own pirate station on 104.7 FM in Howell, under the calls of WZVU.
Another ex-employee of WCNJ, Mike Selvanto, also started his own pirate station on 89.3 FM in Toms River back in September 1998, under the calls WSMR.
(See the Pirate Page for more information on Sal Anthony and Mike Selvanto.)
They illegally moved their studios in 1998 to Red Bank and started up "89.3 CFM," which was a CHR/classic rock hybrid.
In September 1998, Sal Anthony "bought" WCNJ and converted it back to oldies.
In June 1999, WCNJ started up an ethnic, mostly Indian, format programmed by Eastern Broadcasting Corp.
In April 2002, WCNJ broke away from Eastern Broadcasting Corp., but is still programming the ethnic format, this time with Mercury Broadcasting.
On March 2, 2005 (exactly 18 years after 89.3 acquired the WCNJ calls), new calls of WDDM were assigned, to go along with the "Dhoom FM" slogan they began using recently.
On September 2, 2005, 89.3 debuted a religious format via satellite from EWTN and billed itself as "New Jersey's Catholic Radio."
In April 2007, "Dhoom FM" abruptly returned to 89.3.
On April 13, 2011, WDDM went silent to make room for WFJS.
Calls changed to WPDI on April 10, 2012, in anticipation of the station returning to the air on 104.7.
On April 25, 2012, WPDI returned to the air on 104.7, broadcasting as "Radio Asia."
(Thanks to Allan Brady, Stephen Cosgriff, Hank Hart, Steve Lewis & Michael Stridacchio for some of this information)
WSJO - 104.9 FM, Egg Harbor City
104.9 is remembered most as WRDR with its MOR/Adult Standards format that was featured since it signed on September 23, 1971.
The station was started by Jim Rodio, d/b/a Rodio Radio.
Some of the DJ's during WRDR's heyday included Ivory Blackwood, Bob Canavan, Tom Moran, Danny Morrow, Gene Packard, Sue Schilling and Karen Notaro.
Ken Pauli was News Director for a time in 1981.
Some WRDR memoribilia can be found by clicking here.
However in May 1999, Mega Communications, owner of numerous Spanish language stations across the US, bought 104.9 and converted it into a Spanish CHR format as "Mega 104.9," with calls of WEMG becoming effective on May 13, 1999.
On March 31, 2003, 104.9 began playing a loop (in Spanish) telling listeners to tune to 1310 AM if they wanted to continue listening to Mega.
On May 8, 2003, the loop stopped and they began "stunting" with a variety of music ranging from rap to country to oldies, under new owners Nassau Broadcasting.
The next day (May 9), 104.9 began a simulcast with WPST in Trenton.
On May 16, 2003, 104.9 switched to country as "The All-New Country 104.9", however, this was not to be the final format.
On August 26, 2003, calls changed to WOJZ.
On August 28, 2003, 104.9 began stunting with a "heartbeat" sound.
At 12noon on August 29, 2003, 104.9 debuted as "Smooth Jazz 104.9."
In November 2004, Millennium Radio Group took control of the station and on November 5 at 12noon, 104.9 debuted as "SoJO 104.9: South Jersey's OWN Radio Station," featuring a mix of 80's, 90's and current music.
A sample jingle from WSJO can be heard by clicking here.
(Old WRDR logo & DJ information courtesy of: WRDRFM1049.tripod.com)
(WOJZ logo, courtesy of Dick Taylor)
(Thanks to Ken Pauli for some of this information)
(Thanks to WalkerBroadcasting.com and PaulMcGrath.info/jingles for the WSJO jingle)
WSNQ - 105.5 FM, Cape May Ct. House
105.5 signed on September 5, 1985 as WBNJ, after being granted their calls on February 11, 1985; it was originally allocated to Cape May Ct. House on March 26, 1981.
In December 1988, WBNJ featured an adult contemporary format, that evolved into a Jazz/New Age mix in August 1989, as "Joy 105.5."
In March 1992, 105.5 tried an MOR format, then in September of the same year, went country as "Hit Country 105."
In September 1994, WBNJ began a simulcast of WTTH, 96.1 in Margate City.
Then, on February 19, 1999, 105.5 became a stand-alone station once again as WZBZ "105.5 The Buzz," with a Dance CHR format.
105.5 was granted the WZBZ calls on March 1, 1999.
Then, about a year later, on March 14, 2000, 105.5 changed calls to WGBZ, with the WZBZ calls and originating programming going over to 99.3 in Pleasantville.
In February 2002, the format shifted over to Urban, still using "The Buzz" name.
Call letters changed to WSNQ on December 25, 2007.
On December 15, 2011, 105.5 broke away from the 99.3 simulcast and became "Sunny 105.5" with a Soft AC format.
WDHA - 105.5 FM, Dover
WDHA first went on the air on February 22, 1961.
The WDHA calls stand for "Drexel Hill Associates," who were the original owners of the station.
WDHA started off as an MOR station, but also mixed in some Oldies and some Classical and Jazz in the evenings.
Between 1968 and 1974, Jack Summer produced what was arguably the first syndicated entertainment news show featuring a woman radio anchor, Diana Ashmore.
WDHA was the first station to go stereo full-time - experimenting with quadrophonic stereo in 1972/1973.
WDHA also had a one hour lunchtime news/talk show that was simulcast with their AM station, WMTR.
On Sundays, they featured the "Polka Party" program with Jonny Stavins and a jazz and blues show Sunday nights.
Some of the DJ's during this time included Geoffrey Kevin Dahl (afternoon drive) and Ed Reilly (evenings).
By 1974, the MOR format was dropped and they switched to Top 40, staying away from hard rock.
During this time, they played the album cut versions instead of the shorter single versions of the hits.
In the late 1970's and early 1980's, WDHA was known as "The Jersey Giant".
By 1980, they started to include more hard rock and album cuts and eventually evolved into what they are today, as "The Rock Of New Jersey".
In 1981, WDHA started a TV advertising campaign with Bob Linder, who boasted how much variety WDHA had ("We give our jocks freedom to dig deep...").
On June 1, 1984, WDHA was the first station to play a CD on the air: Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA".
Owned by New Jersey Broadcast Partners since the early 1990's, the station (along with WRAT/WMTR/WWTR) was sold to Greater Media (owners of WMGQ/WCTC) in 2001.
(Thanks to Doug Douglass, Rob Lawshe, Joe Malchow, Jack Summer & Matt Wilson for some of this information)
(Old WDHA logos courtesy of Bryan Varga & Lance Venta)
WCHR - 105.7 FM, Manahawkin
105.7 has had a long history, without ever being on the air!
105.7 was first allocated to Manahawkin on January 17, 1990.
With such a prime open frequency, a total of 12 different broadcasting companies were initially vying for it.
Among them were Seaira Inc. (who eventually got 98.5 in Ocean Acres), Great Scott Broadcasting (who at the time owned WTTM and WCHR in Trenton), Jersey Shore Broadcasting (owners of WJRZ), Press Broadcasting (owners of WKXW in Trenton) and Southern Ocean Broadcasting, a company that was owned by Joan Beth Knox-Hansen - the sister of Joseph Knox, who owned WJRZ.
Other lesser known companies that were involved were Jersey Devil Broadcasting, Atlantic Radio Communications, LD Broadcasting, John Senior Broadcasting, Coastal Broadcasting System, Sage Broadcasting and Great American Broadcasting.
This list eventually got narrowed down to Jersey Shore Broadcasting and Press Broadcasting around 1992.
The original intent was to have WJRZ move from 100.1 to 105.7, and have Press Broadcasting take over the vacated 100.1 spot.
However, the matter was taken to the courts, with neither Jersey Shore nor Press winning the case.
In the interim, a holding company, Manahawkin Communications Corp., was securing the frequency.
In 1997, when Nassau Broadcasting bought Jersey Shore-area stations WOBM, WJLK and WQNJ, they entered into an LMA with the unbuilt 105.7.
One of the first things they did with 105.7 was grant it its first set of call letters, which were WAQB, on May 16, 1997.
On December 19, 1997, calls were changed to WNJO, as a placeholder until Nassau switched 94.5 in Trenton to oldies.
When the switch occured, 105.7 was given 94.5's old calls of WCHR on March 26, 1998.
During the call letter changes, 105.7 was also undergoing a bunch of power upgrades going from 4100 watts to 6300 watts.
In the summer of 1999, 105.7 looked like they were finally going to hit the air.
Billboards across most of the major highways in Ocean County announced that "Bruce Is Coming..." and featured a logo of a hawk playing a guitar.
Even a website was started briefly announcing the coming of "105.7 The Hawk," a classic rock station.
However, 105.7 hit a snag right before they were to sign on, when Nassau went ahead and upgraded the station's transmitter, without getting an OK from the FCC.
The result was that the transmitter was taken down and 105.7 continued its off-air status.
105.7 is now being sought after by Millennium Radio Group, who recently bought the same stations that Nassau originally purchased, and has an option-to-buy for 105.7 for $13 million.
On March 14, 2002, 105.7 signed on (still under Nassau's control) and temporarily simulcasted WBBO 98.5, Ocean Acres.
On April 15, 2002, 105.7 dropped the 98.5 simulcast and debuted itself as "105.7 The Hawk: Where Classic Rock Lives."
First song played was "Born In The USA" by Bruce Springsteen.
A sample liner from the station can be heard here.
In July 2003, Millennium took control of the station.
WQXR - 105.9 FM, Newark
105.9 went on the air on July 15, 1962 as WHBI, which stood for "Hoyt Brothers Inc.," the original owners of the station.
Jack Bilby brought over his "Talent Showcase" program, previously on WHBI's former AM station, Saturday nights from 11p to 12mid, broadcasting from the Cardinal Lounge in Nutley and on Wednesday nights from 12mid to 1a from Stefano's Bistro in Nutley.
The show was dropped in 1967 when WHBI landed in hot water with the FCC for allegedly announcing gambling numbers on their horse racing reports.
Jack Bilby's show then moved over to WRLB 107.1 in Long Branch (see below) and eventually even brought his show to television on WBTB (later WWHT) Channel 68 in Newark.
An aircheck from WHBI in 1982 can be heard here.
Calls were changed to WNWK sometime in the 1980's.
During this time, the station featured blocks of ethnic programming.
On May 27, 1998, calls were changed to WCAA and the format changed to Spanish Hits as "Caliente 105.9."
And in September 1999, the slogan was revamped as "Latino Mix 105.9."
On January 9, 2004, 105.9 began a simulcast with 92.7 in Garden City (Long Island) NY, the former home of WLIR.
On May 27, 2005, 105.9 (and 92.7) switched to a Reggaetón format as "La Kalle 105.9 & 92.7".
On January 11, 2007, the 92.7 simulcast was dropped.
On February 13, 2007, 105.9 inadvertently received the WQBA calls that were supposed to go to their sister station on 92.7.
The WCAA calls were returned to 105.9 on February 23, 2007.
On October 8, 2009 at 8pm, a frequency switch occurred between 105.9 and WQXR.
WQXR's owners, The New York Times, agreed to sell the station to Univision, who in turn then sold the station to WNYC, making 105.9 non-commercial.
(Thanks to DJ Spinelli & Jack Summer for some of this information)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up the old WNWK & "Caliente 105.9" logos)