WDTW-FM

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WDTW-FM
WDTW-FM 106.7 The D logo.png
City of license Detroit, Michigan
Broadcast area Metro Detroit
Branding 106.7 The D
Slogan The D Rocks Detroit!
The Next Generation of Classic Rock
Frequency 106.7 MHz
(also on HD Radio)
First air date October 16, 1960
Format Classic rock
HD2: Alternative rock
ERP 61,000 watts
HAAT 155 meters
Class B
Facility ID 59952
Transmitter coordinates 42°19′55.00″N 83°2′42.00″W / 42.3319444°N 83.0450000°W / 42.3319444; -83.0450000
Callsign meaning W "DTW" –FM
IATA airport code for Detroit Metro Airport
Former callsigns WDTM (1960–66)
WWWW (1966–92)
WWWW-FM (1992–2000)
WLLC (2000–02)
WDTW (2002–05)
Affiliations iHeartRadio
Premium Choice
Owner Clear Channel Media and Entertainment
(AMFM Radio Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations WDFN, WDTW, WJLB, WKQI, WMXD, WNIC
Webcast Listen Live
Website thedrocks.com

WDTW-FM (106.7 FM) – branded 106.7 The D – is a commercial classic rock radio station licensed to Detroit, Michigan; owned by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the station serves Metro Detroit. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WDTW-FM broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online via iHeartRadio; the HD2 digital subchannel airs alternative rock via the Premium Choice network. The WDTW-FM studios are located in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, while the station transmitter resides atop Cadillac Tower in Downtown Detroit.

On November 5, 2012, radio personality Alan Cox announced an agreement with Clear Channel to host mornings at WDTW-FM. Cox mostly hosts the show from his home station WMMS/Cleveland, but he occasionally broadcasts from WDTW-FM.[1]

History[edit]

WDTM[edit]

The station began operations on October 16, 1960, as WDTM, airing classical and jazz music, like many other FMs of the time. Gordon McLendon purchased the station in 1966, changed the call letters to WWWW ("W4"), and installed a beautiful music format. The station was at that time located at 2930 E. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, in a building now housing the marijuana law firm Cannabis Counsel, P.L.C.[2]

W4 Stereo/W4 Quad[edit]

By 1970, McLendon changed W4's format from easy listening to "Solid Gold" (oldies-oriented Top 40) as "W4 Stereo," with an airstaff that included Don Schuster and Detroit radio legend Tom Clay. During its oldies period, W4 was one of the first stations to pick up Detroit radio veteran Casey Kasem's newly syndicated countdown show, American Top 40.

In 1971, "W4" became an album oriented rock station. In 1974, it briefly styled itself "W4 Quad" during its brief use of quadrophonic transmission. In the late 1970s, album-rock W4 was one of the top-rated radio stations in Detroit. It is most remembered today as one of the early radio jobs for Howard Stern. Stern was the morning DJ in 1980. Shamrock Broadcasting purchased W4 in July 1979 and, faced with increasing competition (W4 was one of four Detroit stations broadcasting in the AOR format), Shamrock changed the station's format to country music on January 18, 1981. The new management reportedly planned to brand Stern as "Hopalong Howie," which he declined after two weeks, moving to WWDC-FM in Washington, D.C. In the film "Private Parts", Stern announces his departure in the middle of a song claiming he didn't understand country music.[3]

W4 Country[edit]

The move to country music paid off. The Detroit market, the nation's fifth largest at the time, was bereft of FM country music stations despite the market containing a sizable percentage of population whose families hailed from the Southern United States and grew up with the genre. "W4 Country's" first years coincided with the rise in popularity of country music as a whole from a genre concentrated in the South and other parts of rural America into one with a nationwide following. At the time of the country format's launch, the immediate Detroit area's only country music station was an AM station, WCXI on 1130 kHz. WWWW became the first FM country station in Detroit since WCAR-FM's and CKLW-FM's brief tries at the format in the mid-1970s, and as a result, WCXI's ratings fell. By the early 1990s, AM 1130 was being used as a simulcast for W4. WCXI also attempted to compete with W4 from 1982 to 1986 with an FM station at 92.3 - coincidentally, the former WCAR-FM - separately programmed from the AM, but the FM station never took off.

"W4 Country" lasted for almost two decades and did reasonably well in the ratings. However, low advertising revenue coupled with increased local competition in the format (from WYCD) led owners AMFM (which became part of Clear Channel in August 2000) to drop the country format on September 1, 1999 at 6 PM. The final song played on "W4 Country" was "The Dance" by Garth Brooks, followed by "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Alice 106.7/The Drive[edit]

Logo 1999–2002
Logo 2002–06

Then, on September 3, 1999 at 2:05 PM, after two days of stunting with a 400-Hz tone (which also involved a contest to correctly guess the day and time that the tone would end), the station relaunched as "Alice 106.7," featuring "Rockin' Hits of the '80s and '90s" with "All Right Now" by Free being the first song played.

The WWWW calls remained for another year until the new calls WLLC were adopted on October 2, 2000. (Said as "WLL..See". Emphasis was eventually put on the C due to listeners mistakenly believing the station picked up call letters WLLZ, which used to be for 98.7.) At this same time, the WWWW callsign was moved to 102.9 MHz in nearby Ann Arbor by Clear Channel as they relaunched "W4 Country" on that frequency. It had been a rock station prior to that (formerly WIQB).

While WYCD was the chief ratings beneficiary of the death of "W4 Country," ratings for "Alice" remained anemic, and in July 2002, the station changed its calls to WDTW and relaunched as "106.7 The Drive," with not much change in format. "The Drive" featured mainly classic hard rock tracks from the 1970s through the 1990s with some more recent material, with a more upbeat and harder-rocking presentation than classic-rock rival WCSX. Yet, the station's ratings continued to be poor.

106.7 The Fox[edit]

At noon on May 17, 2006, "The Drive" signed off with "Too Late For Love" by Def Leppard followed by an announcement by legendary Detroit TV news anchor Bill Bonds stating that they were "building a brand new radio station" at 106.7 and "letting you, the listeners choose the music." For the next week the listeners who registered at 1067needshelp.com picked first the new radio format, then the station's name, logo, voice of the station and number of commercials per hour.

On May 19, after first playing two days of music from many formats, then narrowing it down to just rock and country, it was announced at 3 PM that day that the format would be country music. By May 22, the name of the station would be "106.7 The Fox" and the new logo for the station was picked on May 24. Its logo was similar to Vancouver rocker CFOX-FM. On May 26, 2006, the format change appeared complete as the voice of the station and minutes of music per hour were announced. Radio insiders believe the station adopted a country format only to steal listeners from competitor WYCD, which was starting to challenge Clear Channel's adult contemporary WNIC in revenue and ratings.[4] On April 29, 2009, in a similar move to what had been done at sister station WDFN, WDTW dropped all on-air talent, and soft-relaunched under the branding of "Detroit's Fox Country 106-7".

106.7 The Beat of Detroit[edit]

On September 4, 2009, after three years of struggling with the country format, The Fox was dropped at Noon in favor of Rhythmic Adult Contemporary as 106-7, The Beat of Detroit. The last song on "The Fox" was "Shuttin' Detroit Down" by John Rich, followed by "Into The Groove" by Madonna. The station also began running 10,000 songs in a row commercial free. In an announcement made by Til Levesque, president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio Detroit, the station described the new sound as "a unique AC (adult contemporary) format, built especially for Detroit, to become 106.7 The Beat." The station will target the 25-54 adult audience with "an upbeat mix of today's hits and feel-good memories ...", mostly current Rhythmic and Dance hits with a balanced emphasis on recurrents from the 80s and 90s and some 1970s disco hits.[5] The station's format is also similar to that of Detroit's own WDRQ when it relaunched in 1996 as a Rhythmic AC outlet. Artists include Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Sean Paul, and The Black Eyed Peas. On October 6, 2009, The Beat finished up their 10,000 songs commercial free. The station still offered commercial free hours. WDTW-FM's HD2 channel also changed format shortly afterward, switching from "Mother Trucker" (a hybrid of country music and southern rock) to Pride Radio, which had previously featured on the HD3 channel of CHR/Pop sister station WKQI (Channel 955).

About a year after WDTW's flip to Rhythmic AC, its playlist and direction switched over to a conventional Rhythmic Top 40 direction by adding more currents and cutting back on the heavy amount of gold. This change was likely due to changes in the Detroit radio landscape involving sister station WKQI's shift to a broader CHR-Pop presentation and competition with CBS Radio's WDZH, which changed formats from smooth jazz a month after The Beat was launched. Mediabase switched the station from its Rhythmic AC reporting panel to its Rhythmic CHR reporting panel in September 2010. The Beat's reporting status has since changed again, as Mediabase added the station to its CHR/Pop reporting panel in April 2011, although WDTW-FM remained an adult leaning CHR/Rhythmic rather than CHR/Pop (a la WKTU in New York) and sister station WKQI is the true CHR/Pop in Clear Channel's cluster. And like WKTU, Nielsen BDS did not include the station's playlist on their Top 40/CHR panel despite being listed there as well.

Despite being a CHR/Pop reporter at the time, WDTW still featured many Rhythmic AC elements in its music. The station reintroduced some 1980s and 1990s gold back into rotation to the tune of two or three songs per hour, although 1970s disco music was no longer in rotation; the station even featured an hour of "old school" '80s and '90s rhythmic hits at noon each weekday. In addition, it blended in a few Dance cuts as well. Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton's syndicated Remix Top 30 aired on Sunday evenings.

Ratings throughout The Beat's history were moderate, usually peaking in the mid-3 share range or lower. In the last ratings book as a Rhythmic Top 40, WDTW was ranked #18 with a 2.2 share of the market. This is most likely because WDTW and WKQI had a very similar playlist (as WDTW complimented WKQI), which probably hurt them from gaining any ratings strength.

106.7 The D[edit]

On November 4, 2011, at 10 AM, WDTW changed their format to classic rock, branded as "106.7 The D".[6] The final song on "The Beat" was "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men (also the last song played on WGRV 10 years prior), while the first song on "The D" was "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)" by AC/DC. The station describes the new format as "The Next Generation of Classic Rock", meaning the station includes more 1980s' rock (along with the usual 1960s' and 1970s' rock tracks), as well as early 1990s' rock material. WDTW-FM is the second Clear Channel FM in Detroit to have flipped formats in 2011; WNIC was the first in August since that station shifted from adult contemporary to hot adult contemporary (they rebranded under Fresh 100.3 in December 2010, but Mediabase kept it on the AC panel for more than a month while Nielsen BDS kept it on the AC panel for eight months).

WDTW-FM's HD2 format has changed several times since its inception. During the station's tenure as "The Fox," the HD2 was known as "The Mother Trucker" and featured a mix of country and rock music. Following the switch to "The Beat", the HD2 changed to Clear Channel's Pride Radio feed of mainly dance music geared toward the LGBT community. Since the change to "The D," the HD2's format has changed once more, this time to a simulcast of Clear Channel's "Alternative Project" feed from iHeartRadio.

References[edit]

External links[edit]