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Philly TV & Radio Stations History


          

These days, radio stations seem to change call letters, formats, and ownership about as fast as you can surf the channels. Here is a pretty complete listing of TV and radio stations, with frequency, format, ownership, and a brief history. I will do my best to keep up with them as they change; it won't be easy!


        Always Under Construction!
This page is updated often, so keep coming back!




560 WFIL (formerly WFIL, WEAZ, WBEB, WPHY)
Current Format: Religious Talk
Ownership: Salem Communications, Inc.
Sister Station: WNTP (formerly WIBG, one-time WFIL rival)
Web Address: www. WFIL.com
WFIL began in 1935 when WLIT (the Lit Bros. department store station) and WFI (Strawbridge and Clothier) merged. Prior to 1966, WFIL programmed an MOR format, broadcast Phillies games beginning in the mid-50's,and was an ABC affiliate. On 9/18/66 , WFIL went to a top forty format, competing head-to-head with #1 WIBG, featuring "Boss Jocks" Jim Nettleton, Long John Wade, Dr. Don Rose, Banana Joe, Brother Love, Barbara Somers, George Michael, etc. In 1977, as audiences drifted to the FM band, the heyday ended when the format evolved into a sort of Adult Contemporary format. That didn't last long, and neither did the Country format in the early 80's. In Sept. 1983, "Famous 56" returned; they tried to bring back the old magic of the 60's and 70's, and even brought back some of the legendary jocks, but it just wasn't a success. The next change came in '87, satellite oldies programming. In the spring of 1989, they began simulcasting EZ101 (WEAZ-FM), and changed the WFIL call letters to WEAZ. About two years later, the format was changed to the Easy Listening instrumental music formerly played by EZ101 until 1988, and was called "Wish 560." In 1993, the call letters were changed to WBEB along with FM sister station 101. Later that year, the station was sold to its current owner, and within the following year, the call letters were changed to WPHY and back to WFIL. (Special thanks to Andy Fayer!)

610 WIP (Has always been WIP)
Current Format: Sports
Ownership: Infinity
Sister Stations: WYSP, WOGL, WMMR, WPHT, KYW
Web Address: www.610wip.com
From the piano department at Gimbel's department store,WIP first broadcast on March 17, 1922. The call letters stood for "wireless in Philadelphia." In those days, all radio stations operated on the same frequency, and WIP shared air time with WFI, WOO, WRP, WCAU,WDAR, and WNAT. In the 60's and 70's the station played a sort of Adult Contemporary (it wasn't actually called that yet) and featured the likes of Bill Webber, Tom Moran, Ken Garland, Nat Wright, Tom Lamaine, Don Cannon, and legendary newsman John Paul Weber. In 1986, Tony Bruno launched WIP's current all-sports/talk format.

860 WWDB (formerly WTEL)
Current Format: Business News
Ownership: Beasley Broadcast Group
Sister Stations: WXTU, WRDW
Web Address: (none currently)
WTEL began broadcasting in 1925, originally airing at 1310 AM. WTEL featured a mostly Spanish format, with the exceptions of an English popular music program mornings in the late 40's, and a Contemporary Christian music show mornings from the 60's until the late '80's. In October, 1988, WTEL was bought by Beasley and switched to a Contemporary Spanish music format. In 1998 the station was given the WWDB call letters and featured WWDB FM talk show hosts, and a part-time simulcast of the FM station. In late 1999 they ran a feed from CNN, and in early 2000 the call letters were changed back to WTEL and the station carried a part time religious format. In November, 2000, the calls were again switched to WWDB, and the programming became business news aired via satellite.

900 WURD (formerly WFLN, WDVT, WURD, WEGM)
Current Format: News/Talk
Ownership: Mega Broadcasting
Sister Station: WEGM-AM
Web Address:none currently
WFLN was founded in 1956 as a sister station to WFLN 95.7 FM, a Classical station which was usually simulcast on AM. In 1985, the station was bought by talk show host Frank Ford and former WWDB salesman Jon Harmelin and became WDVT (letters meant "Delaware Valley Talk") Talk 900. The station was licensed for daytime broadcast only, and could not compete with WWDB and WCAU. In 1988 the station was bought by Willis Communications and became WURD "Love 900," with a religious format. In 1996, the station was sold to Mega Broadcasting, who changed it to WEGM, a Spanish/"Tropical" format, simulcasting on FM 104.9 in Egg Harbor, NJ. The station was down from August to late October 2001, airing only a continuously looping request for listeners to tune in to 104.9 FM. The WURD call letters had been returned, and Mega had moved its Spanish format and WEMG call letters to 1310 (La Mega). On 10/23/01,WURD began airing an unusual mix of random hits from various decades and formats. Then, on 12/10/01,"Info 900" began running an audio feed of CNN Headline News for most of its broadcast day.

950 WPEN (has always been WPEN)
Current Format: Sports Talk
Ownership: Greater Media Group
Sister Stations: WMGK, WBEN, WMMR
Web Address: www.sportstalk950.com
WPEN went on the air in 1929, and carried an MOR format all the way to early 1975, when the station was bought by its current owner, Greater Media. In the spring of 1975, after a few months off the air for engineering upgrades, WPEN was now "95PEN", with a oldies format, the first in Philadelphia. (Mike St. John made his Philly debut at this time.) Legend Joe Niagara soon joined, with an afternoon drive show. In 1979, the format became Nostalgia, featuring big bands hits and adult standards. Over the years, many other legends came to WPEN, like Ken Garland, Bill Webber, Bill Wright, Sr, Tom Moran, and Ed Hurst returned with his "Steel Pier Show". In 2003, WPEN became the radio home of Jerry Blavat. In 2004, 'PEN dropped Adult Standards, and Christy Springfield came over from WOGL in early 2005. On October 3, 2005, WPEN's run with various oldies formats came to an end with the current Sports Talk format. In a statement from station manager Bob DeBlois, "...Although we made great progress with Oldies, we feel a true Sports Talk station like Sports Talk 950 would be the perfect fit to satisfy the Philly sports fan's incredible appetite for great sports."

990 WNTP (formerly WIBG, WZZD)
Current Format: Contemporary Christian
Ownership: Salem Communications
Sister Station: WFIL
Web Address: www.newstalk990.com
Founded in the 1920's as WIBG (stands for "I believe in God") by St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elkins Park. In 1958, WIBG went to the Top Forty format, and featured legends like Bill Wright, Sr, Hy Lit, Joe Niagara, and Don Cannon. After nearly twenty years of greatness,FM radio and disco began to take over, and on 9/10/ 77, WIBG became WZZD ("Wizzard 100"), with a disco format. Disco didn't last long, of course, and in 1980 WZZD went to a religious format. The former call letters "WIBG" ("I believe in God"), were being used by another AM station in South Jersey. In April, 2004, the WZZD call letters were changed to WNTP with the unveiling of a conservative talk format.

KYW 1060 (formerly WRCV)
Current Format: News
Ownership: Infinity
Sister Stations: WYSP, WPHT, WIP, WOGL, KYW-TV
Web Address: www2.kyw1060.com  (online broadcast available)
KYW originated in Chicago in 1921(which explains why it starts with a "K" ), and moved to Philadelphia in 1934. In 1941, KYW moved from 1020 to 1060 on the dial. In January, 1956, it was moved to Cleveland, and came back to Philadelphia in June, 1965 when Westinghouse acquired NBC's WRCV-TV and radio station. KYW's all-news format was began 9/21/65, and for many years has often been ranked #1 in Philly.The KYW call letters stood for "young warriors." (KYW's music format ended with Bill Webber behind the mike.)

1210 WPHT (formerly WCAU, WOGL, WGMP, WPTS)
Current Format: Talk
Ownership: Infinity
Sister Stations: WYSP, WIP, WOGL, KYW
Web Address: www.thebigtalker1210.com
WCAU was founded in May, 1922 by electrician Wilson Durham in the back of his shop at 1936 Market St. In 1924, he sold the station to Ike Levy and Daniel Murphy for $25, 000. In 1928, Levy's brother-in-law, William Paley, bought a struggling 16 station network called the United Independent Broadcasters for $500,000. He changed the name to Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and made WCAU the flagship station. In 1946, the Levys sold the station to David Stern, the publisher of the Philadelphia Record, who then sold it toThe Bulletin a year later. In 1957, the station was sold back to CBS. The end of an era came on 8/15/90, when 30 WCAU employees were fired (mostly the talk show hosts and the entire news department). The station was now WOGL (Oldies), and simulcast WOGL-FM for half of each day. On 3/18/94 it became all-sports WGMP, and then in 8/96 became WPTS (which stood for "Philadelphia's talk station."). The WPTS call letters lasted only a few weeks, and were changed to WPHT (perhaps to avoid confusion with Trenton's WPST).

1340 WHAT
Current Format: Talk
Ownership: Inner City Broadcasting Corp.
Web Address: www.what1340.com
WHAT went on the air in 1925. In their own words, this station's goal is to "focus on community service and issues related to improving the conditions of Philadelphia's African American population."


1540 WNWR
Current Format: Ethnic
Ownership: Global Radio
Web Address: www. wnwr.com
In 1947, 1540 signed on the air as WJMJ with a religious format (the calls standing for Jesus, Mary, Joseph). In 1965, greeting card company Russ Craft, owners of WRCP-FM, bought the station and changed the call letters to WRCP, playing a MOR format until changing to Modern Country in Sept. 1967 with  the FM station simulcasting the AM. WRCP played a country format for 14 years, when in 1981, they switched to oldies. In 1983, Program Director (and WSNI-FM jock) Don Cannon changed the format to Beatles and Motown, and the call letters became WSNI, nicknamed "Philly 15", with Mike St. John doing mornings and WIBG legend Hy Lit mid-days. The next year, the station went back to the original calls of WRCP before being renamed WPGR ("Philly Gold Radio"). St. John left and the station added Harvey Holiday, Tommy McCarthy and local legend Jerry Blavat. In November 1987, WCAU-FM and WIOQ switched to oldies and Harvey Holiday and McCarthy left for WIOQ. In May 1988 Mc Carthy returned to do mornings, with Lit and Blavat rounding it out. Hy Lit left for WOGL in February 1989, McCarthy moved to mid days and ex-postal worker "Armand (Colianni) In The Morning" replaced him. McCarthy was let go in February 1990 as Armand and Blavat did 6 hour shifts. In 1991 the call letters changed several times in January, switching to WSNI and then back to WPGR within two weeks.  In 1992, Blavat took over, and renamed it "Geater Gold Radio", playing mostly doo-wop, R&B, and remotes from local dance clubs. Andy Volvo was added, and some Phila radio vets like Bob Charger, George Benson and Kevin Fennessey popped in and out. TV legend Sally Starr was given a weekend country music show. In late 1993 WDAS veteran jock Georgie Woods "The Guy With The Goods" became the morning jock with Armand moving to middays followed by Charger, Volvo and Blavat. Woods flopped, and in a last ditch effort to save the station, Armand returned to mornings...but the station was sold in 1995 to its current owners. 1540's current calls, WNRW, stand for "New World Radio", featuring multicultural and multilingual programming. Special thanks to Kevin Fennessy and Armand Colianni!

FM Stations

88.5 WXPN
Current Format: Progressive Rock/ Folk/ Jazz
Ownership: University of Pennsylvania
Web Address: www.wxpn.org
Began broadcasting in 1957, and moved from 88.9 to 88.5 in the late 80's. WXPN operates several translator stations to relay their signal to Central PA and NE Maryland.

90.1 WRTI
Current Format: Jazz/ some Classical
Ownership: Temple University
Web Address: www.wrti.org
Began broadcasting in 1953. Operates several translator stations to relay their signal to South Jersey and NE Maryland.

90.9 WHYY
Current Format: News/ Talk
Ownership: WHYY
Web Address: www.whyy.org
The WHYY call letters stand for "wider horizons for you and yours." WHYY began broadcasting on Oct. 20, 1954 at facilities donated by Westinghouse Radio. In 1957 WHYY launched WUHY ch. 35, and the FM station was renamed WUHY. In 1963 WUHY-TV switched to ch. 12 and was renamed WHYY. In 1978 WUHY-FM went to full-time broadcasting with the addition of National Public Radio Membership and was renamed WHYY. The station switched from Classical music to a News/ Talk format in 1987.

91.7 WKDU
Ownership: Drexel University
Web Address: www.punx.com/wkdu.html
(more info forthcoming)

92.5 WXTU (formerly WIFI)
Current Format: Contemporary Country
Ownership: Beasley Broadcast Group
Sister Stations: WRDW, WWDB
Web Address: www.wxtu.com  (online broadcast available)
WIFI signed on the air in 1958. By the late 60's, the station played a mix of Soul, R&B, and Oldies. In the 70's, WIFI was one of the first stations anywhere to broadcast a Top 40 format on FM (free of AM simulcast). The station featured personalities such as Ron Diamond, Johnny Devereaux, Buzz Allen, Machine Gun Kelly, and Wild Child Kane. In 1982, WIFI (nickname "I-92") went to a modern rock format they called "Rock of the 80's." It didn't last long, and a few months later the call letters bacame WXTU, and the format Urban Contemporary. That didn't last long, either. In early 1984 the station found its niche with its current Country format.

93.3 WMMR (formerly WIP)
Current Format: Rock
Ownership: Greater Media Group
Sister Stations: WBEN, WMGK, WPEN
Web Address: www.wmmr.com  (online broadcast available)
Began as WIP-FM, simulcasting the WIP-AM programming. In 1966, became WMMR (letters meant "Metromedia Radio," the owner of the station). In the Spring of 1968, DJ Dave Herman began a show he called "The Marconi Experiment." For four hours each night, he did what was called "free-form," or a "no format" format, playing any rock album cuts he wanted, from performers whose music wasn't being played on the AM Top 40 stations. This style had already become popular in San Francisco where it originated in 1967, and it became so popular in Philly that WMMR adopted it full-time in 1969. Toward the late 70's, as FM grew in popularity, the sound slowly evolved into a more commercial sound. WMMR dominated the ratings in the 80's and early 90's, but then slipped. In March, 2002, when rival WYSP took on another talk shift, MMR became Philly's only full-time rocker until 2004, when WYSP returned to full-time rock.

94.1 WYSP (formerly WIBG, WPNA)
Current Format: Active Rock, Talk
Ownership: Infinity
Sister Stations: WOGL, WIP, KYW-AM, WPHT, KYW-TV
Web Address: www.94WYSP.com
Simulcast WIBG-AM until the mid-1960's, and switched to "underground" , or "progressive" rock. The music was pre-recorded without live announcers. The station was sold in 1968 and was shut down while ownership attempted to get a transmission power increase from the FCC. An FM station in Sunbury, PA which was on the same frequency would not sign a waiver to reduce their power and avoid signal interference. During this time, WIBG's call letters had been changed to WPNA. In 1971, still not on the air, the station was sold. New ownership got the Sunbury station to agree to the waiver, and WYSP (call letters stood for " your station in Philadelphia") went on the air on 8/23/71 with a "big band" format, and then switched to album rock in 1973. In 1974, it experimented with "quad" sound,but with the lack of compatible radios and lack of sound quality on mono radios,the experiment was quickly phased out. In 1980,it went to classic rock, and in 1995 went to "active rock." In 1996, the station was purchased by Infinity/CBS, who sold WMMR to Greater Media because they were over the limit of stations they could own in one market. Federal deregulation did not occur until late in 1996, which would have allowed them to keep all of their stations. In of March, 2002, WYSP became more talk than rock, airing talk shows from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., then returned to a full-time music format in 2004.

95.7 WBEN (formerly WFLN, WXXM, WEJM, WMWX)
Current Format: Classic Hits/CHR
Ownership: Greater Media
Sister Stations: WPEN,WMGK, WMMR
Web Address: www.957benfm.com
Was founded by civic leaders as a fine arts station, and first went on the air in March, 1949, playing mostly classical music. The station was sold in 1988. The new ownership wanted to increase profits, so 10 of the 31 employees were fired, including popular on-air personalities, which hurt ratings. More commercial advertising and traffic reports were added, also. From 1995 to 1997 it was bought and sold five more times, and each time cutbacks and more commercialization were made. Finally, in 1997, when the station was bought by current owner Greater Media, an ownership executive announced in September that the station's classical recordings would be sold to WRTI (Temple Univ.), stating he felt that classical music was best- presented in a non-commercial format. The station immediately became WXXM, "Max 95.7" , playing "modern rock" , starting with Cheryl Crow's "A Change Will Do You Good." The format didn't last long, and in May, 1999 the station became WEJM, "Jammin' Gold," playing Urban Oldies. This format also did not last long, and on 6/15/01, EJM became WMWX "Mix 95.7,"  playing Hot AC. In March 2005, the name became "95.7 Ben," with a format they describe as "playing anything we feel like."  The call letters were finally changed to WBEN on May 9th.

96.5 WRDW (formerly WHAT, WWDB, WPTP, WLDW)
Current Format: Rhythmic CHR
Ownership: Beasley Broadcast Group
Sister Stations: WXTU, WWDB, WTMR
Web Address: www.965online.com  (online broadcast available)
Began broadcasting in 1944, simulcasting WHAT-AM, and in 1958 went to a full-time jazz format, which lasted until 1975, when it went to a talk format. The call letters were changed to WWDB in the late 60's (stood for the owners, William and Dolly Banks) to differentiate it from sister station WHAT-AM. The station was sold to Beasley in 1997, and in Nov. 2000 switched to WPTP "The Point." The all- 80's format was never a huge success, and in Nov. 2003, the station became "Wild 96.5" with its current CHR format. In Jan. 2004, a copyright infringement issue with Clear Channel  forced WLDW to stop using the name "wild."  The next month, 96.5 became "Wired 96.5."

98.1 WOGL (formerly WCAU)
Current Format: Oldies
Ownership: Infinity
Sister Stations: WYSP, WPHT, WIP, KYW-AM, KYW-TV, WPSG-TV
Web Address: www.wogl.com
Originally began as a simulcast of WCAU-AM in 1939 as W3XIR at 42.1 mhz. Before ending up at 98.1 on the dial, WCAU was also located at 95.5 and 102.7. In the mid-60's, began playing "The Young Sound" format, an "instrumental type of pseudo-rock music." In Sept. 1970, the format was changed to  "Stereo Solid Gold," an oldies format on an automated system with no live announcers. In 1976, it was again changed, this time to disco, the format called "Fascinatin' Rhythm." By the late 70's, it evolved into a mellow R&B format . Then, in Sept 1981, it became top 40, "Hot Hits" (remember Bill O'Brien, Christy Springfield, Terry "Motormouth" Young?). On 11/9/87, the call letters were changed to WOGL , the format to oldies, and the new personalities were legends Hy Lit, Don Cannon, Bob Pantano, and Harvey Holiday. (Christy Springfield was the only holdover from the "Hot Hits" days.) In 2001, Mike St. John and Big Ron O'Brien also joined. (Special Thanks to Kevin Fennessy)

98.9 WUSL (formerly WPBS)
Current Format: Urban Contemporary
Ownership: Clear Channel Communications
Sister Stations: WIOQ, WSNI, WDAS-FM,WDAS-AM, WJJZ
Web Address: http://power99.amfmi.com
Originally signed on as WPBS (Philadelphia Bulletin Station) on November 13, 1963, featuring a "quality" music format common to FM stations at that time, with special nostalgic music on weekends. The Bulletin had long since sold WCAU-TV/AM/FM operations back to CBS in 1957 before getting back into the radio biz with WPBS. The Bulletin sold the station in 1976, when it then became WUSL, nicknamed "US1,"  featuring a soft rock/traditional hybrid format. In 1981, they adopted a Country format, which lasted little more than a year. In October, 1982, WUSL became known briefly as "Kiss 99" playing Urban Contemporary, but the name was challenged by upstart WKSZ 100.3, who had already copyrighted the name before going on the air the next month.  Within several weeks, the name was dropped and changed to "Power 99," which it has been continuously ever since.   Special thanks to Kevin Fennessy and Roland Petit!     

100.3 WPHI (formerly WXUR, WKSZ, WPLY)
Current Format: Rhythmic CHR
Ownership: Radio One
Sister Station: WPPZ
Web Address: (under construction)
First went on the air in the 1960's as WXUR, simulcasting its sister station, WXUR 690-AM. Purchased in the 60's by Carl McIntire, a fiery Presbyterian preacher who had many run-ins with the FCC. In the mid-60's, his Reformation Hour program aired on over 600 stations. In 1973, the FCC revoked the station's license for violating the Fairness Doctrine, refusing to air competing viewpoints. McIntire continued to broadcast from a WWII minesweeper in the Delaware Bay calling his broadcast "Radio Free America" until the Coast Guard shut him down. The frequency was dark for many years until November 8, 1982, when it signed on as WKSZ, "Kiss 100," with an Adult Contemporary format. By 1987, Kiss 100 was the #1 Arbitron ranked station among women ages 25 to 54. In the early 90's, however, the battle for AC listeners heated up, and Kiss lost ground in the ratings, falling to 17th place in 1992 behind three other AC stations. They tried to mix AC and oldies with what they called the "50/50 mix," but it didn't work, and in 1993 returned to just a contemporary mix of love songs. On March 15, 1993, still struggling, WKSZ became "Z-100," playing a Top 40 format, filling the void left by Eagle 106, who had switched to a smooth jazz format on March 12. New York's WHTZ, also on the same frequency, and also called Z-100 since 1983, demanded that WKSZ drop the name to avoid listener confusion. After a brief legal battle, the call letters and name were changed to WPLY, "Y-100." In early 1995, WPLY switched to an Alternative Rock format, which lasted nearly 10 years. In Feb. 2005, despite its success, Radio One yanked Y-100 from the airwaves, leaving Philadelphia with no alternative rock station. Thanks to former PD Jim McGuinn and crew, Y-100 lives on as an internet radio channel at  y100rocks.com.

101.1 WBEB (formerly  WDVR, WEAZ)
Current Format: Soft Rock
Ownership: Jerry Lee and Dave Kurtz (independently owned)
Web Address: www.b101radio.com
WDVR went on the air on May 13, 1963, playing the likes of Mantovani, Lawrence Welk, and Percy Faith.  Within a short period of time, WDVR became quite popular, which was remarkable at a time when AM dominated the airwaves. FM stations in general could not compete with AM for ratings, advertisers, or recognition. Cars were equipped with AM radios, and hardly anyone bought FM radios for their homes at that time. At a time when other FM broadcasters were beginning to experiment with stereo sound for just a few hours a week, WDVR began broadcasting in stereo 24 hours a day. WDVR acheived other "firsts" by being the first FM station in America to gross $1 million in a year (1968), was the first to have a big-money giveaway ($101,000), and was the first to have a promotion on television. In 1980, WDVR changed call letters to WEAZ ("Easy 101"). When 106.1 (WWSH) switched formats to Top 40 in 1982, WEAZ was left as the only "Beautiful Music" station in Philadelphia, and was often tied for first place in the Arbitron ratings through the mid 80's. Around this time, co-owner Jerry Lee arranged an industry study of audience listening habits, and determined that "people who grew up after the advent of Rock 'n Roll basically do not like instrumental music." The Easy Listening format was dropped in favor of Adult Contemporary, and the station was flooded with calls from upset listeners. In April, 1993, in order to update its image again, the WEAZ and EZ 101 were replaced with WBEB and became known as B-101. Today, B-101 consistently runs neck-and -neck with KYW 1060 for first place in the Arbitron ratings, and remains one of the very few independently owned stations in any top market.  (Special thanks to Kevin Fennessy!)

102.1 WIOQ (formerly WFIL)
Current Format: Contemporary Hits
Ownership: Clear Channel Communications
Sister Stations: WDAS-AM, WDAS-FM, WSNI, WUSL, WJJZ
Web Address: www.q102philly.com
First aired in 1941 as W53PH, at a frequency of 45.3 megahertz. In 1943, the WFIL call letters were assigned. WFIL was also located on the dial at 94.3 and 99.9 before its current home at 102.1. WFIL was Philly's first station to broadcast in stereo, in 1958.

102.9 WMGK (formerly WPEN)
Current Format: Classic Rock
Ownership: Greater Media
Sister Stations: WPEN, WBEN, WMMR
Web Address: www.wmgk.com
WPEN was also located at 95.9 and 99.5 on the dial before arriving at 102.9. WPEN became WMGK ("Magic 103" ) in 1975, with an AC format, which lasted 18 years, remarkable for a music format (In 1992 they began calling it "Magic102.9", same format) . In 1994, after having featured a Saturday night 70's show for about a year, and "all-70's" weekends, the entire format was changed to '70's. In 1996, after ratings slipped and the 70's format was losing steam, they began adding songs from the 60's and 80's, calling it "102-9 MGK." In the Fall of 2001, it became known as the "classic rock" station instead of "classic hits," although classic hits crossover songs such as James Taylor's and others were still played.
In March 2002, a new Programming Director pretty much eliminated the crossover hits and added harder album cuts, making WMGK a true classic rocker, Philly's first since 1995, when WYSP dumped the format.

103.9 WPPZ (formerly WIBF, WDRE, WPHI)
Current Format: Gospel
Ownership: Radio One
Sister Station: WPHI
Web Address: none currently
Began broadcasting in the early '70's as an ethnic/religious station. The call letters WIBF stood for William, Irwin, and Benjamin Fox, who also owned channel 29 in the 60's. On november 9, 1992, the station became WDRE, playing a Modern Rock format. Then, on February 7, 1997, under new ownership, the format became Urban Contemporary and the call letters WPHI. (Sister station WPLY picked up the Modern Rock format in 1995.) In Feb. 2005, the format and call letters moved over to 100.3 when Radio One dumped Y-100's format.

104.5 WSNI (formerly WRCP, WSNI, WYXR, WLCE)
Current Format: 60's, 70's, and 80's Hits
Ownership: Clear Channel Communications
Sister Stations: WDAS-AM, WDAS-FM, WIOQ, WUSL, WJJZ
Web Address: www.sunny1045.com
104.5 went on the air in Feb. 1965 as WRCP, simulcasting WRCP-AM. In Sept. 1967, both stations switched from MOR to Country formats. They kept the Country format for ten years (a long time for radio) before changing to WSNI in Oct. 1977, with a unique format called "Beautiful Country," with soft vocal and instrumental country music, much of it produced by the Sunny Custom Orchestra. By the end of 1978, the country music was phased out, leaving mostly an Easy Listening format. In 1980, WSNI switched to an AC format, calling itself "Sunny 104," and stayed pretty much the same until they dropped oldies in 1987, in response to WCAU (WOGL) and WIOQ switching to oldies. In early 1990 the nickname "Sunny" was dropped, and in Dec. 1990 the call letters were changed to WYXR ("Star 104.5), with a Hot AC format. In 1996, they tried a CHR format, but within a year went back to Hot AC. In December 1999, the call letters and format were changed again, to WLCE ("Alice 104.5). Alice was a mix of rock hits from the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Over the next three years, the format was slightly altered, phasing out 70's hits and playing more current hits, and eventually wound up as Hot AC. As of 7/31/02, 104.5 is once again "Sunny," WSNI, sounding much like it did throughout most of the 80's.

105.3 WDAS (has always been WDAS)
Current Format: Urban Contemporary
Ownership: Clear Channel Communications
Sister Stations: WDAS-AM, WIOQ, WUSL, WJJZ
Web Address: http://wdasfm.amfmi.com
Began broadcasting in 1950. WDAS has a real "claim to fame" as an outlet and launching pad for legends such as Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, The Stylistics, The O'Jays, and others who started out in Philly. DAS was also home to legendary DJ's Jocko Henderson and Georgie Woods. CBS's Ed Bradley also started out here. In 1968, DAS, like WMMR, went to the "free-form" format, featuring legends Hy Lit, Ed Sciaky, T. Morgan, Larry Magic, and Gene Shay. Current VP/Station Manager/DJ (and Programming Director for over 25 years) Joe "Butterball" Tamburro started here in 1964.

106.1 WJJZ (formerly  WQAL, WWSH, WZGO, WTRK, WEGX, WJJZ)
Current Format: Smooth Jazz
Ownership: Clear Channel Communications
Sister Stations: WDAS-AM/FM, WIOQ, WUSL, WSNI
Web Address: www.wjjz.com
WQAL went on the air in November, 1959. The format was mostly instrumental music, similar to that of WDVR's format (Mantovani, Lawrence Welk, Percy Faith). In 1970, United Artists bought the station from original owner George Voron, and the call letters were soon changed to WWSH. The station was sold again in 1977 to Cox Broadcasting, who despite the station's popularity, dumped the "beautiful music" format in 1982 for Adult Contemporary. In a market already crowded with four Adult Contemporary stations, it didn't go over well in the ratings, and one year later the format was changed to Top 40. In 1984, the call letters were changed to WZGO (Z-106), and changed again in 1986 to WTRK (Electric 106), and the ratings were still low. In 1987, new owner Malrite changed the name again, to WEGX (Eagle 106), and ratings soon improved. In 1993,despite the success, the format was changed to Smooth Jazz,and the station was called JZ-106 for a brief period until the call letters became WJJZ about ten days later. 106.1 has changed call letters more than any other Philadelphia radio station.


TV Stations

Channel 3: KYW
Network Affiliation: CBS
Ownership: Infinity
HDTV Broadcast: ch. 26
Web Address: www.kyw.com
The histories of channel 3 and KYW are interwoven, but are not exactly the same. Let's start with KYW, which actually began in Chicago in 1921 (which explains why it starts with a "K"). To make a long story short, KYW came to Philadelphia in 1934, moved to Cleveland in 1956, and came back to Philadelphia in June, 1965 when Westinghouse acquired NBC's channel 3 and 1060 AM. The history of ch. 3 in Philly dates back to 1932, as experimental W3XE, owned by Philco. In 1939, W3XE became the first affiliate of the NBC network, and in 1941 was granted a commercial license (only the second in the country) and became known as WPTZ. In 1953,the station was sold to Westinghouse, and in 1956, NBC acquired WPTZ through an exchange of licences with Westinghouse, sending the KYW call letters to Cleveland. Channel 3 was now known as WRCV. In June, 1965,the FCC reversed the swap, bringing the KYW call letters back to Philly. KYW began its affiliation with CBS in Sept, 1995 when Westinghouse merged with CBS. Channel 3 boasts the country's first TV soap opera (1942) and the first color broadcast (1953).

Channel 6: WPVI
Network Affiliation: ABC
Ownership: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
HDTV Broadcast: ch.64
Web Address: www.wpvi.com
Began broadcasting in 1947 as WFIL, sharing affiliation with DuMont and ABC until 1955. Renamed WPVI in 1971 when Triangle Publishing (Philadelphia Inquirer) sold the WFIL stations to Capital Cities Communications, who then sold the radio stations.

Channel 10: WCAU
Network Affiliation: NBC
Ownership: NBC
HDTV Broadcast: ch. 67
Web Address: www.nbc10.com
WCAU began broadcasting in 1948, and was owned by the Philadelphia Bulletin until the station was sold to CBS in 1958. WCAU was affiliated with CBS until 1995, when CBS and Westinghouse merged, and CBS transferred ownership of WCAU to NBC.

Channel 12: WHYY
Network Affiliation: PBS
Ownership: WHYY, Inc.
HDTV Broadcast: 55
Web Address: www.whyy.org
Channel 12 was originally home to commercial station WDEL/ WPFH in the early 1950's, and became WVUE in 1957 after it was bought by Storer Broadcasting, owner of WIBG. WHYY became Philadelphia's first UHF channel (35) in 1957. Channel 12 went dark in 1959, and in 1963, WHYY moved from channel 35 to 12. Even though channel 12 has always been licensed to Wilmington, DE, its transmitter and studios are now in Philadelphia.

Channel 17: WPHL
Network Affiliation: WB
Ownership: Tribune Broadcasting
HDTV Broadcast: 54
Web Address: www.wb17.com
Channel 17's history in Philly began in 1960 as WPCA, a religious station owned by the Young People's Church of the Air. WPCA went off the air in 1962. On 9/17/65, WPHL was signed on the air by Wee Willie Webber, who hosted the Wee Willie Colorful Cartoon Show for ten years. WPHL also broadcast the Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers. WPHL became a WB affiliate in the mid-90's.

Channel 28: WXTV
Network Affiliation: Univision
Ownership:
HDTV Broadcast:
Web Address:
WXTV is a low-power Spanish language station which came to channel 28 in 1998 after previously broadcasting on channel 35 and 42.

Channel 29: WTXF
Network Affiliation: Fox
Ownership: Fox Television Stations, Inc.
HDTV Broadcast: 42
Web Address: www.foxphiladelphia.com
Channel 29 signed on the air on 5/16/65 as WIBF, co-owned with WIBF-FM 103.9. Taft Broadcasting bought the station in 1969, changing the calls to WTAF. Channel 29 began broadcasting Phillies games in 1982 for about ten years, and was the first station in Philly to air a 10:00 PM newscast. Like the other UHF stations, channel 29 mostly broadcast older movies and syndicated reruns before their network affiliation began in 1987. Earlier that year, TVX Broadcast obtained the station from Taft, and the calls were changed from WTAF to WTXF. In 1994, Fox bought the station from Paramount, who then bought WPSG (ch. 57), and converted it to the UPN network.

Channel 35: WYBE
(Independent)
Ownership: Independence Public Media of Philadelphia, Inc.
HDTV Broadcast: 34
Web Address: www.wybe.org
Channel 35 was formerly home to WHYY, WUHY, and WXTV. WYBE began broadcasting on 6/10/90.

Channel 48: WGTW
Network Affiliation: Trinity Broadcasting Network
Ownership: Brunson Communications
HDTV Broadcast: 26
Web Address: none
Channel 48 originated as WKBS (Kaiser Broadcasting), first airing on 9/1/65. Like the other independent stations, WKBS programming mostly featured older movies, syndicated reruns, and kids' shows (The Munsters, McHale's Navy, The Honeymooners, Speed Racer, Kimba, The Banana Splits) . WKBS was very popular, and for a while featured voice-overs by popular WFIL personality Dr. Don Rose between shows. The station went dark in early 1983 after its Chicago-based owners could not find a buyer, and much of the programming and equipment were sold to WPHL. Channel 48 returned in 1993 as WGTW, and was affiliated with the Home Shopping network until airing mostly syndicated reruns beginning in the late 90's. In early 2005, WGTW became an affiliate of Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Channel 57: WPSG
Network Affiliate: UPN
Ownership: Infinity
HDTV Broadcast: 32
Web Address: www.upn57.com
Channel 57 began in 1981 as WWSG, and programming was by subscription only. This wasn't very popular, and in early 1985 WWSG became WGBS (Grant Broadcasting), filling the void left by channel 48. WGBS showed movies and popular reruns, such as All in the Family, The Odd Couple, The Honeymooners, and Taxi. Combined Broadcasting sold the Station to Viacom in 1994, who converted it to the UPN network.

Channel 61: WPPX
Network Affiliate: Pax
Ownership: Paxson Communications
HDTV Broadcast:
Web Address: www.pax.net/wppx
Like channel 12, channel 61 is actually licensed to Wilmington, DE, with studios in Philadelphia. Channel 61 first signed on in 1986 as WTGI, airing mostly infomercials, and some religious and ethnic programming. The station was bought by Paxson Communications in 1999.