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|City of license||Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Broadcast area||Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo|
|Frequency||93.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||June 25, 1951|
|Callsign meaning||World's Biggest Country Transmitter|
|Former callsigns||WJEF-FM (6/25/51-7/24/63)
|Sister stations||WBFX, WMAX-FM, WOOD, WSNX-FM, WSRW-FM, WTKG|
The station has had a country music format since July 24, 1992. WBCT's transmitter is at the WWMT Tower in Gun Lake (Michigan). The antenna is approximately 800 feet (240 m) up the 1,100-foot (340 m) structure. The station's signal can be heard as far east as Ann Arbor, Michigan, as far south as Rome City, Indiana, and as far north as Reed City, Michigan, providing a coverage area of 25,000 square miles (65,000 km2) over 20 counties in Michigan. This makes the transmitter one of the most powerful in North America.
WJEF-FM/The Modern Sound
The station began operations in 1951 as WJEF-FM, simulcasting the programming of WJEF/1230 (now WTKG). In 1960, the station broke away from the simulcast and went to playing classical music. That same year, the station increased its power to 500,000 watts. This was under the ownership of John Fetzer, who also previously owned WKZO-TV (now WWMT), WWTV-FM (now WJZQ) in Cadillac, Michigan, and the Detroit Tigers. WJEF also owned and operated a Muzak franchise on a subcarrier.
In the mid-1960s, the station, now known as WJFM, switched to a MOR/news/talk/sports format, and in 1967 became more music-intensive, adopting the moniker "The Modern Sound," which Fetzer reportedly soon did away with because he felt the station played too much "rock and roll." From then on and through much of the 1970s, apart from an automated country format in 1971-1972, WJFM was primarily a Beautiful Music station. Despite its strong signal, the station usually hovered near the bottom of the ratings during this time.
Mellow 93/Joy FM/Classic Rock
WJFM changed to an automated Top 40 format in 1977 and then adult contemporary the following year as "Mellow 93", picking up the format that had been abandoned by WMLW in its switch to WFFX earlier that year. "Mellow 93" proved a moderate ratings success, with the station usually around fifth or sixth place.
The AC format lasted until the station called in a consultant, who attempted a CHR format change in 1984. The change on the airwaves not only included the play selection, but most of the staff either quit or was let go. With the Grand Rapids area flooded with CHR stations at the time, with WGRD, WSNX and WKLQ all playing Top 40 music, WJFM's CHR format lasted only two years before the station went back to Soft AC as "The New Joy FM." The "Joy" format also proved a failure, and in 1988 WJFM became a Classic Hits station. Ratings for the Classic Hits format were initially very good but soon dropped off, and in 1990 the station evolved to Classic rock.
In 1992, John Fetzer finally sold the station. In June 1992, Billboard magazine reported that a number of key WJFM staffers, including general manager Joel Schaaf, program director and midday host Sean Stevens, and morning man Jeff France, had left the station, and rumors began swirling to the effect that the classic-rock station would go country to take on incumbent country powerhouse WCUZ. Sure enough, on July 24, 1992 the classic rock format was dropped for country and WJFM became WBCT as "B93". Lee Cory was the original program director, and Neal Dionne and Reese Rickards were the original B-93 morning show hosts. B-93 wasted little time in becoming a consistently top five-ranked station in the Grand Rapids market. Despite recent competition in the format from Cumulus's "Thunder Country" WTNR, B93 remains consistently one of the top-rated stations in West Michigan.
Grand Rapids Winter 2011 Arbitron Ratings: #1 (7.9) Kalamazoo Spring 2011 Ratings: #4 (5.7)
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBCT
- Radio-Locator information on WBCT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WBCT
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.
- B 93.7 on MySpace