WBEN-FM

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This article refers to WBEN-FM, the Philadelphia radio station. For the former WBEN-FM of Buffalo, New York, see WTSS. For the FM simulcast of WBEN (AM), see WLKK.
WBEN-FM
WMWX.JPG
City of license Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Delaware Valley
Branding 95.7 Ben FM
Slogan Playing Anything We Feel Like
Frequency 95.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)
95.7 HD-2 for Rhythmic AC/Classic Dance
First air date March 14, 1949
Format Adult Hits
ERP 8,900 watts
HAAT 350 meters
Class B
Facility ID 22308
Callsign meaning BENjamin Franklin
Former callsigns WFLN (1949-1997)
WXXM (1997-1999)
WEJM (1999-2001)
WMWX (2001-2005)
Owner Greater Media
Webcast Listen Live
Website ilikebenfm.com

WBEN-FM, known as "95.7 Ben FM," is an adult hits station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The station plays a mix of 1970s, 1980s and 1990s hits, with some current hot adult contemporary rock singles. Named after Benjamin Franklin, the station pioneered a "Playing Anything We Feel Like" radio format, a concept which originated in Canada with the Jack FM concept. Unlike most other stations with a similar format, the station broadcasts with DJ's. Monday-Friday, Marilyn Russell hosts from 5:30am-10am, Rich Desisto hosts from 10am-3pm, and Kristen Herrmann hosts from 3pm-7pm. The voice of actor John O'Hurley is used for the station voiceover. Its transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, and studios are in Bala Cynwyd.

History[edit]

The station was founded as WFLN by civic leaders as a "fine arts" station, and first went on the air in March 1949 with a classical music format. The station was sold in 1988 to Marlin Broadcasting. The new ownership added more news elements, sports reports, and traffic reports. From 1995 to 1997, it was bought and sold five more times, and each time cutbacks were made and the station adopted a more commercial sound.

Finally, on September 5, 1997, at 6 PM, Tom Milewski, the chief operating officer for Greater Media, who had recently acquired the station, announced that the station's classical recordings would be sold to WRTI (Temple University's radio station) and that Greater Media would provide financial support to WRTI; the stated rationale was that classical music is best presented in a non-commercial format. The station then became WXXM, "Max 95.7", airing a Modern AC format similar to, but slightly softer than, the station then known as Y 100. The first song it played in its new format was Sheryl Crow's "A Change Would Do You Good." The station reported as a hot adult contemporary station to trade publications. The station was jockless for about the first 6 months, and ratings plummeted. Although WXXM added well-known Philadelphia jock Barsky to mornings in early 1999, which resulted in some ratings improvement, it wasn't enough to warrant keeping the format.

At Noon on May 13, 1999, in the middle of Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery", the station flipped to "Jammin' Gold", playing a blend of urban oldies from the '60s to the '80s, disco, classic dance tunes, and some '70s pop hits. The first song on "Jammin' Gold" was "Back Stabbers" by The O'Jays. On August 30, WXXM changed call letters to WEJM. Given Philadelphia's history with the R&B genre, as well as having the demographics needed to support the format, "Jammin' Gold" was initially well received in the market. However, by 2001, the station's ratings began to slip.

On June 15, 2001, WEJM became "Mix 95.7", another incarnation of Hot AC. On July 17, WEJM changed call letters to WMWX. At some points, the station leaned toward Modern AC; at other times, toward adult contemporary. Mostly, though, the station was a mainstream Hot AC outlet similar to WPLJ in New York City. The station continued to be plagued by mediocre ratings.

Meanwhile, Infinity/CBS Radio was in the process of flipping some of its FM stations to a broad-based adult rock and pop format known as Jack FM, with its famous moniker of "We play what we want!!" and playlists of up to two thousand songs. Stations that adopted the format were mostly underperformers at the time of the format change, but a few were decently rated oldies stations.

With rumors circulating that there were plans to switch WOGL to such a format, on March 21, 2005, the station became "95.7 Ben FM", with a format they describe as "playing anything we feel like." "Mix" ended with "Better Man" by Pearl Jam. The call letters were finally changed to WBEN-FM on May 9, 2005. This format is very similar to the "Jack FM" stations in terms of playlist size and the character of the songs played (format and decade of original release).

Club Ben (WBEN-HD2)[edit]

In 2006, WBEN added an HD2 subcarrier to carry a commercial-free hybrid Rhythmic AC/Classic Dance format under the name "Club Ben."

Trivia[edit]

  • Both the current and original call letters invoke the name of Ben Franklin; the original WFLN stood for its owner of the time, Franklin Broadcasting.
  • Buffalo radio station WBEN (AM) (which was named for the Buffalo Evening News), is owned by Entercom Communications. Entercom is based in Philadelphia, even though they have no station holdings in the market. Entercom granted WBEN-FM the permission to use the call sign, a move that proved to be short-sighted: when FM station WLKK changed to a simulcast of WBEN-AM, it was unable to use the WBEN-FM call sign.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°02′21″N 75°14′12″W / 40.0393°N 75.2366°W / 40.0393; -75.2366