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This page will attempt to showcase the histories of New York City 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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WXNY - 96.3 FM, New York
The origins of this station date back to November 8, 1939 when W2XQR signed on at 42.3mc.
It then moved over to 45.9mc and became W59NY.
In 1944, calls changed to WQXQ and moved to the present FM band at 97.7.
In 1946, the station moved to 100.5 and by 1948, had settled on its current frequency of 96.3 and became WQXR.
For most of it's history, WQXR has been owned by The New York Times Co. and is New York's premiere (and only, since 1993) full-time classical music station.
On October 8, 2009 at 8pm, a frequency switch occurred between Univision's WCAA 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.
On October 15, 2009, 96.3 became "X 96.3", with new calls of WXNY.
(Some information taken from the WQXR-AM profile in the "Airwaves Of New York" book)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for an old WQXR logo)
(Original WQXR logo, courtesy of knowston.homestead.com)
WQHT - 97.1 FM, New York
This station went on the air in January 1940, with calls of W2XWG, on 42.6mc.
In 1941, calls were changed to W51NY and moved to 45.1mc.
The station initially operated Tuesday through Saturday from 4p-11p.
In 1944, the station moved to the current FM band at 97.7 with calls of WEAF and by 1948, it had moved to it's current position of 97.1 and had changed calls to WNBC.
In the 1950's, 97.1 had calls of WRCA and in 1960, changed back to WNBC.
In the early 1970's, WNBC simulcasted Imus' morning show from their AM counterpart, then would program an automated Top 40 format for the rest of the broadcast day.
Around 1975, 97.1 attempted a news format with calls of WNWS as the "NBC News & Information Service" - but the format bombed.
On January 1, 1976, they became a Soft AC, with calls of WYNY.
The music was packaged by Bonneville and live jocks interacted with a Schaefer automation system.
Craig Simon was the first PD/MD, along with Stan Cohen as GM.
Later, GM Dan Griffin, PD Dave Klahr and MD Jere Sullivan joined the station.
For a time, WYNY used the slogan, "Movin' Easy Y-97" and later, "New York 97".
Well known jocks were added to the station over time, including Larry Kenny, Dan Daniel, Bill St. James, Steve O'Brien, Al Bernstein, Dick Summer, Ed Baer, Herb Barry, Margaret Jones - and weekend specials with Cousin Brucie and Sid Mark's "Saturday With Sinatra."
At night, WYNY turned to talk programs under the supervision of Maurice Tunick.
During this time, Dr. Ruth did some of her first radio shows Sunday nights on WYNY.
In 1979, PD Dave Klahr was replaced by Pete Salant.
WYNY then evolved into a Gold-Based AC by 1980, a Hot AC by 1982, then to mainstream AC by 1984.
By 1982, WYNY had become New York's most listened to music station and was the top station in the market in the "money demo" 25-54.
Randy Davis, Mike McCann and Carol Mason had joined the weekday lineup and weekend talent included former WNBC jock Bill Rock and Floyd Wright.
Pete Salant was replaced by Rick Torcasso as PD in April 1983.
Denise Oliver became the program director in 1985; she was replaced by Chuck Crane in the fall of 1986.
WYNY's morning show changed frequently during the 80's...
Dan Daniel moved to afternoons, replaced at first by Bruce Bradley (formerly of WHN), before Dan returned to mornings for a second stint.
Then, came the team of Harris and Harris (Rick and Paul), which became Harris and Wade when Rick Harris was replaced by former WXLO DJ Mike Wade.
Other DJ's joining WYNY during the mid 1980's included former WKHK jock Shawn Burke and Lisa Taylor.
WYNY went back to Hot AC in 1986.
On July 1, 1987 at 12:01am, WYNY started a Gold-Based country format as "Country 97".
The first song played was Dolly Parton's, "Think About Love."
The initial lineup included Mike Wade, Randy Davis, Jack Scott, Lisa Taylor, Mike McCann, Floyd Wright, Jay Michaels, Bill Rock and Jessica.
"Dandy" Dan Daniel later joined the station, as well as Scott Carpenter and Carole Mason.
The PD was Michael O' Malley.
Then on September 22, 1988 at 5:30pm, a frequency swap between 97.1 and 103.5 in Lake Success occurred (see below) and 97.1 became WQHT "Hot 97" and featured a mainstream urban format.
By 1994, "Hot 97's" format had evolved to include rap/hip-hop.
(Thanks to Mark D, Stu Dolgon, Joseph Graif, Joe Honerkamp, Mike McCann, Patrick McIntyre & Jere Sullivan for some of this information)
(Thanks to Kyle Smith & Bryan Vargo for the "Hot 97" logos)
WSKQ - 97.9 FM, New York
This station dates back to December 1941 when it signed on as WGYN.
The station was owned by Family Circle magazine.
WGYN's studios were on the 57th floor of 70 Pine St., which was the Cities Service building, a block from Wall St. in lower Manhattan.
WGYN's programming was varied, featuring popular music segments, classical music, interview programs and live remotes from Palisades Park in NJ and Mabel Horsey Studios in Times Square.
Hourly 5 minute newscasts were sponsored by the New York Daily Mirror.
The staff at the station included program director John MacDougall, announcer/technician Charles Barclay, Mitchell Krause (later, a long-time news correspondent for CBS news), Bill "Wee Willy" Weber (who had greater success later on in Philadelphia radio & TV) and staff announcer "Larry Monroe" Berg.
The station began to experience antenna and transmitter problems during 1949, and then abruptly went off the air in April 1950.
In 1952, 97.9 was resurrected as WEVD (having moved from 107.5) and took on an ethnic format.
Spanish Broadcasting Systems bought WEVD in 1988.
On February 1, 1989, calls were changed to WSKQ (with the WEVD calls eventually moving over to 1050 AM) and began a Spanish AC format as "KQ-97".
In 1993, the station was renamed "Mega 97.9" and evolved into a Spanish CHR format.
(Thanks to "Larry Monroe" Berg & Mark D for providing some of this information)
WEPN - 98.7 FM, New York
This station dates back to August 1939 when it signed on as W2XWI, licensed to Carteret NJ.
On February 28, 1940, it took calls of W2XOR and started to operate full-time on March 15, 1940 on a frequency of 43.4mc in the early FM band.
On July 24, 1941, the station became W71NY and moved to 47.1mc.
In 1944, calls changed to WBAM (which stood for Bamberger's Department Store) and by 1946, had moved to 96.9 in the current FM band.
In 1948, the station moved to its current position of 98.7 and calls were changed to WOR-FM - now owned by RKO.
In 1966, the station launched what was probably the first FM-only Top 40 format in the country.
While the format featured mainly hit music and Top 40 programming elements such as jingles, the DJ's were decidedly more laid-back then their counterparts at the AM stations, and WOR-FM mixed in some album cuts and B-sides along with the Top 40 singles.
Some vintage WOR-FM jingles can be heard here.
The format was initially launched during an AFTRA strike, so the station ran jockless during the first few months of its existance.
When the jocks finally left the picket lines and returned to the studios, the lineup included Lin Lounsbery, Scott Muni, Murray "The K" Kauffman and Bill "Rosko" Mercer.
Later, Bill Brown was added to the lineup.
In the very early days, WOR-FM still simulcast "Rambling With Gambling" in morning drive from WOR-AM.
In the fall of 1967, Bill Drake was signed on to consult the station and instituted a format similar to the RKO AM stations in Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Memphis.
From the start, the station was definitely more oldies and adult-oriented than most Top 40's, but still had that "Boss Radio" sound which was given "The Big Town Sound" in New York.
Bill Brown was the only one of the pre-Drake crew that made the transition, and over the years, many DJ's whose names were household words passed through WOR-FM, including Johnny Donovan, Joe McCoy, Rick Shaw, Sean Casey, Mark Driscoll, Tommy Edwards, Bob Evans, Jim O'Brien and Walt "Baby" Love.
The call letters were changed to WXLO in the fall of 1972, but the station continued with the same basic sound (even editing the old jingles with the new calls.)
Over the next few years, the format evolved into a more hits, less oldies, and a more edgy presentation.
The station changed its on-air moniker from WXLO to "99-X" in late 1974.
A picture of the WXLO news booth from 1974 can be seen here.
Some vintage WXLO jingles can be heard here.
In 1979, they became "FM 99 WXLO", later evolving into a Soft AC format by late 1980.
On August 1, 1981, calls changed to WRKS, was renamed "Kiss" and featured an Urban format.
In 1989, RKO sold the station to Summit.
In 1994, Emmis bought WRKS, and changed the format to a Gold-Based Urban format.
By 1999, WRKS had evolved into a Hot Urban AC.
On April 26, 2012 at 10am it was announced that "Kiss FM" was ending its 30 year run on 98.7 and moving to 107.5 WBLS.
On April 30, 2012, 98.7 began an affiliation with ESPN to bring sports programming to FM.
Calls changed to WEPN on May 14, 2012.
(Thanks to Don Blesse, Mark D, Roddy Freeman & Stuart Taubel for providing some of this information)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for an old WRKS logo)
(Thanks to Matt Seinberg from BigAppleAirchecks.com for the "99X" logo)
(Thanks to Joe Tedd for the WOR-FM and WXLO jingles)
WBAI - 99.5 FM, New York
This station started off as W75NY in 1941 on 47.5mc in the early FM band.
In 1944, calls changed to WABF and in 1946, moved to 98.5 in the current FM band.
The station didn't move to its current position of 99.5 until 1948.
WABF continued until July 1953 when it was taken off the air.
Owners of FM stations at the time didn't forsee a future for FM and at one point in 1955, 9 stations in the NYC area were off the air.
However, 99.5 got another lease on life when it returned in June 1955 as WBAI, owned by Broadccast Associates Inc., hence the calls.
The station continued as a commercial operation until 1960 when Lou Schweitzer, manager of WBAI, gave the station to the Pacifica Foundation and made it non-commerical.
The station currently features a variety of programming, some of it controversial, and in recent times, internal problems with staff members and management have threatened the possibilty that the station, and others under the Pacifica umbrella, may be put up for sale.
(Thanks to Chris Albertson, Doug Douglass & Andy Lanset for some of this information)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for the b&w WBAI logo)
Looking for WHTZ "Z100"? Go here: NJ FM Page 7
WCBS - 101.1 FM, New York
The origins of this station go back to 1941 when it was W67NY, located at 46.7mc in the early FM band.
Calls were changed to WABC in 1944 and in 1946, moved to 97.3 in the current FM band.
By 1948, it had become WCBS-FM and was located at its current position of 101.1.
In late 1966, WCBS-FM featured a format called "The Young Sound", which included a combination of soft rock songs and covers.
The format was syndicated to other CBS stations across the country (including WCAU in Philadelphia) and to AFR (American Forces Radio).
It initially debuted for 12 hours a day, simulcasting WCBS-AM during other hours.
Its expansion to 24 hours a day in 1967 was delayed for about a week because the day before WCBS-AM was scheduled to change to all-news, an airplane destroyed the AM tower.
Therefore, WCBS's "NewsRadio 88" format actually debuted on 101.1.
In 1970, WCBS-FM replaced "The Young Sound" with a hybrid Top 40/Album Rock format.
DJ's of this era included Bob Lewis, Bill Brown, and Bobby Wayne.
In June 1972, WCBS-FM evolved into an oldies format, which is what they are, of course, best known for.
Some vintage WCBS-FM jingles can be heard here and here.
I practically grew up listening to this station when I used to visit my grandparents in Paramus NJ when I was a kid.
I have fond memories of hearing such DJ's as Harry Harrison, Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy and of course "Cousin Brucie" Morrow.
The oldies "institution" came to end at 5pm on June 3, 2005, as Infinity switched the station to a "variety hits" format as "Jack-FM."
Due to listener demand, plus "Jack's" poor ratings, WCBS-FM returned on July 12, 2007 at 1:01pm, featuring songs from the 60's, 70's and 80's - "The Greatest Hits Of All Time".
The last song played on "Jack" was "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey at 12:40pm.
Between 12:40 and 1pm, a collage was played featuring clips of WCBS-FM's old jingles, song clips, old commercials & TV show themes.
The first song played on the "new" WCBS-FM was "Do It Again" by The Beach Boys.
"Jack" was moved over to WCBS-FM's HD2 channel, later re-named "Tony".
On March 3, 2014, Scott Shannon debuted in mornings.
(Thanks to Don Blesse & Ed Montgomery for some of this information)
(Thanks to Thomas Lawler for the b&w WCBS-FM logo)
(Thanks to Joe Tedd for the "Solid Gold Radio" WCBS-FM jingles)
("The Young Sound" & "WCBS/FM Stereo 101" logos, courtesy of NY Radio Archive)
WFAN - 101.9 FM, New York
This station went on the air in 1945 as WGRF and provided background music for stores.
Around 1955, calls were changed to WBFM.
By the early 1960's, calls were changed again to WPIX and for a time was owned by the New York Daily News, later the Chicago Tribune.
From 1972 to 1977, WPIX had a Top 40 format, under PD Neil MacIntyre.
Some DJ's during this time included Les Marshalk, Jim Quinn, Howard Hoffman, Jerry Carroll (later, "Crazy Eddie's" pitchman) and Dennis Quinn.
From 1975 to 1977, disco music was featured nightly on the station.
From 1978 to 1980, the station focused on AOR (album-oriented rock), alternative & new wave music and then switched back to Top 40.
For a period of time under GM Vince Cremona and PD Joe Piasek, WPIX celebrated "The First 25 Years Of Rock n' Roll" as "New York's Rock n' Roll PIX 102" and championed a format referred to as "Elvis to Elvis" (Presley to Costello).
During their 2nd stint as Top 40, some DJ's were Mark Simone, Alfredo Santos and "Jack Da Wack", who would later join Z-100 when they signed on in 1983.
In 1981, they went back an AOR format, then they segued into CHR by January 1982, and AC by March.
From January 1983 to the Spring of 1986, the format was marketed as "Nothing But Love Songs..."; very mellow.
Later in 1986, they go in more of a eclectic AC format, and Hot AC by 1987.
Some slogans during this period were "Express 102" and "Pix 102".
During a majority of the 1980's, WPIX ran an Urban AC show from 8p to midnight.
By the fall of 1987, this show had evolved into Jazz, intially as "The Pix Penthouse", later as "City Lights".
Then on August 10, 1988, they switched formats and became WQCD "CD 101.9", intially as an AC/Jazz hybrid, later just Contemporary Jazz.
In 1989, they added some New Age and Soft AC cuts.
In the early 1990's, the New Age music was phased out and the station was pretty much a smooth jazz/soft AC operation now, as is most "smooth jazz" stations today.
In 1999, Tribune sold the station to Emmis.
On November 22, 2004, the station introduced "Chill Jazz" to the music mix and renamed the station, "New York Chill: CD 101.9."
On February 5, 2008, 101.9 dropped Smooth Jazz in favor of a rock format as "The New York Rock Experience", with new calls WRXP.
On July 15, 2011, WRXP was sold to Merlin Media and rock was dropped, in favor of a more female-oriented format featuring news and adult contemporary music, currently using the generic name, "101.9 FM... New".
Calls changed to WEMP on July 21, 2011.
On August 11, 2011, WEMP evolved into a "news-hybrid", as "101.9 FM News."
After nearly a year of meager ratings as "all-news", 101.9 switched back to rock as "New Rock 101.9" on July 17, 2012 at 10:05am.
On July 25, 2012, 101.9 re-instated the WRXP calls.
On October 8, 2012, it was announced that CBS had bought 101.9 for $75 million and will use it to move all-sports WFAN to FM.
On November 2, 2012 at midnight, WFAN officially moved to 101.9, and became WFAN-FM.
(Thanks to John Ciccimarra, Mark D, Patrick McIntyre, Joe Piasek, Marty Siegel & Stuart Taubel for some of this information)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for the "New York Chill" logo)
WNEW - 102.7 FM, New York
WNEW-FM signed on in August 1958.
Around 1966, WNEW-FM instituted an MOR format that was advertised as "Sexpot Radio."
One of the DJ's included Allison "The Nightbird" Steele, who made the transition to the progressive rock format and stayed there for many years, and later hosted an overnight show on WXRK, before passing away in the mid 1990's.
The progressive rock format debuted in October 1967 and, aside from Steele, the other voices were decidedly male.
The early lineup included Scott Muni and Bill "Rosko" Mercer (both of whom had recently quit WOR-FM), along with Jonathan Schwartz and John Zacherle.
Long-time WNEW-FM legends Pete Fornatale and Dave Herman joined the station around 1970.
Other names that have graced the WNEW-FM airwaves included Pat St. John, Dennis Elsas, Jim Monaghan and Vin Scelsa with his "Idiot's Delight" program.
On July 1, 1995, WNEW switched to Alternative Rock, later evolving into a Modern Rock/AAA hybrid by October of that year.
After WXRK went to Alternative in Janaury 1996, WNEW threw some Classic Rock into their music mix, evolving into strict Classic Rock by the end of the year, and then back to Mainstream Rock by 1999.
But with sagging ratings, WNEW "Where Rock Lives" (or used to) decided to drop its format after nearly 4 decades and became a talk station in September 1999.
All the DJ's were let go - however Scott Muni went on to host an afternoon show on WAXQ (see below) and Pete Fornatale and Vin Scelsa have moved their programs over to non-commerical WFUV.
While the talk format hasn't been entirely successful, their biggest asset was Opie & Anthony, whose afternoon show garnered the most publicity.
On August 22, 2002, Opie & Anthony's show was cancelled due to a stunt involving a sex act in St. Patrick's Cathedral.
On January 27, 2003, WNEW dropped the talk format altogether, and started to "stunt" with a Mainstream Top 40 format.
On April 10, 2003, WNEW debuted as "Blink 102.7", an Adult Top 40 station, complete with entertainment features.
On September 12, 2003, "Blink" was transformed into a Mainstream AC, targeting a female audience.
Throughout November and December 2003, 102.7 converted to an "all-Christmas" format, calling itself simply "The New 102.7".
On December 26, 2003, 102.7 evolved yet again, this time into "The New Mix 102.7 FM", basically an AC station, with a slight Urban lean.
Throughout 2004, they started to tout themselves as "New York's Classic Dance Mix."
On January 2, 2007, 102.7 became "Fresh 102.7", a soft adult contemporary station.
On January 9, 2007, the WNEW calls were officially retired in New York after nearly 50 years, with the station becoming WWFS.
In April 2008, WNEW returned to 102.7 (sort of), as an HD2 channel.
After the WNEW calls spent some time on CBS-owned stations in Florida and Washington DC, they have returned to 102.7, as of March 15, 2016.
(Thanks to Brian Santapaola for sending in the WNEW logo)
(Thanks to Don Blesse, Mark D and Phil Galasso for some of this information)
(Thanks to Matt Seinberg from BigAppleAirchecks.com, Bryan Vargo & Lance Venta for digging up some old WNEW logos)
("Stereo WNEW/FM 102.7" thru "WNEW's 10th Anniversary" logos, courtesy of NY Radio Archive)
WKTU - 103.5 FM, Lake Success NY
This station started out back in 1940 and in the 1950's was the original location of WPAT.
By 1960, calls were changed to WTFM and moved its city of license from Paterson NJ to Babylon NY.
In December 1961, the city of license was offcially changed to Lake Success NY.
WTFM featured an easy listening & AC format for most of its history.
Then, in June 1982, the station flipped to AOR as WAPP "New York's Apple".
The station was initially commercial-free during that summer.
During it's brief stint as rock, Jon Bon Jovi sent a demo tape to the station for it's ameteur band contest - and won - and the rest, as they say, is history.
In October 1984, WAPP switched to CHR briefly, before going to a CHR/Rock hybrid in July 1985 as "Apple 103".
On August 15, 1986, rock was dropped in favor of a Rhythmic CHR format as WQHT "Hot 103".
Then, on September 22, 1988 at 5:30pm, a frequency swap took place between WYNY 97.1 (see above) and 103.5.
103.5 became country as WYNY "Country 103.5" and 97.1 became WQHT "Hot 97."
DJ's during this time included Joe Marino, Jim Kerr, Dan Taylor, Kim Ashley, Bill Walker, Del DeMontreux, Jesse Walker, Frank Sata, Bill Rock, and Ray Rossi.
Charlie Cook became the PD in 1992, replaced by Johnny Michaels, Fred Horton, Rusty Walker, and finally Chris Kampmeier.
Country lasted on 103.5 until February 4, 1996 at 6:15pm when it was dropped in favor of resurrecting the old calls of WKTU (which had been on 92.3 in the 1970's and early 1980's - but by this time, the WKTU calls were being used at a station in Ocean City NJ and when WKTU was acquired for 103.5 on February 28, 1996, the Ocean City station switched to WTKU.)
The last song played on WYNY was Garth Brooks', "The Dance."
WKTU now features a Rhythmic/Dance CHR format.
(Thanks to Mark D, Patrick McIntyre & Tommie Turitto for some of this information)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up an old WYNY logo)
(Thanks to Matt Seinberg from BigAppleAirchecks.com for the WAPP logos)
WAXQ - 104.3 FM, New York
104.3's origins go back to 1949 when it had calls of WFDR.
On December 1, 1956, 104.3 became WFMX, later WNCN, when it became a part of the "Concert Network" of classical stations.
Other stations in the network were in Boston MA, Hartford CT, Providence RI, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Riverhead/Long Island NY.
On November 7, 1974, the station flipped to rock as WQIV, with the calls standing for "Quadrophonic" to emphasize their enhanced stereo sound.
Some DJ's during that time inclued Rosko, Al Bernstein, Dave Mallow, Carol Miller and Meg Griffin.
Soon afterwards, a citizens group formed in an attempt to restore the classical music and after much legal pressure, 104.3 reverted back to classical music (and WNCN) on August 25, 1975.
Classical remained until December 18, 1993 when WAXQ "Q-104.3" debuted with a Hard AOR format.
On July 1, 1996, WAXQ evolved into its current classic rock format.
(Thanks to John Clark, Mark D, Doug Douglass, Dave Mallow, Marty Siegel & Thomas Stern for some of this information)
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