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|City of license||Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Broadcast area||Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Slogan||"Grand Rapids' Rock Alternative"|
|Callsign meaning||Grand Rapids Daytime (when WGRD was only on-air sunrise to sunset)|
|Former callsigns||WXTO (?-1971)|
(Townsquare Media of Grand Rapids, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WFGR, WLHT-FM, WNWZ, WTRV|
WGRD-FM is the flagship station of The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show, a comedy/talk program, on weekday mornings. It consists of five members: Greg "Free Beer" Daniels, Chris "Hot Wings" Michels, Eric Zane, Joe "Producer Joe" Gasmann, Jr, and Steve McKiernan. The show is now syndicated in 16 markets throughout the eastern United States.
WGRD is heard as far South as Kalamazoo/Portage/Battle Creek, as far North as Reed City, Michigan, and as far East as Grand Ledge, Michigan, and occasionally heard as far West as Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
97.9 FM began as WXTO,[when?] a station owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids and operated by Aquinas College; later, the owners of Top 40 music stations WGRD-AM 1410 in Grand Rapids and WTRU-AM 1600 Muskegon (Regional Broadcasters, Inc.) took full control of the station in 1971 and changed its call letters to WGRD-FM. The station's transmitter would remain on the Aquinas College campus until 1974. During the mid-1970s, WGRD was frequently the #1 station (12+) in the Grand Rapids market. In the 1979 Fall Arbitron ratings period, WGRD dominated the market with a 19 share. By 1985, the station was known as "98ROCKFM, WGRD." WGRD earned a 12.2 share (12+) in the Summer 1986 Arbitron ratings with Morning Show host Big John Howell along with Radar (Robert Shroll) & Jennifer Stephens.
WGRD-AM 1410 (which had had a Top 40 music format in place since 1959) was struggling in the ratings at the time against pop-rock competitors WLAV-AM 1340 and WZZM-FM 95.7 (then known as "Z96", now WLHT). WGRD thus moved its struggling Top 40 format onto its new FM station, making the stereo FM station the primary frequency while having the AM continue to simulcast. The revamped WGRD quickly became the dominant Top 40 station in the market and continued to be for over two decades.
In the Summer of 1993, the station moniker was "Grand Rapids #1 Hit Music Station, 98WGRD" . By 1994, however, the station had lost significant market share to Muskegon's WSNX, which had flipped from AC to Top-40, programmed by former WGRD music director JJ Duling. WGRD switched that year from CHR to the then-emerging and rapidly growing modern rock format, which it has had ever since.
The original WGRD, AM 1410, is now WNWZ "Touch 1410" with a Urban Adult Contemporary format. The call letters "GRD" stood for "Grand Rapids Daytime," since WGRD-AM was originally licensed to air only during daytime hours. During the early 1980s, AM-1410 operated as WXQT, with a big-band "MUSIC OF YOUR LIFE" format. WXQT became oldies "GREAT GOLD 14K" for several years (later known as WKTH). In August 2010 a reunion of more than 60 former WGRD staff members was held in Grand Rapids, which included market legend Bruce Grant, the original program director from 1948, and dozens of other personalities from the AM 1410/97.9 history. As of 2010, in response to Regent becoming Townsquare, WGRD began shifting its format direction to active rock, and in response, fill the void when Citadel Broadcasting dropped active rock for sports talk on WKLQ.
WGRD's target demographic is men ages 18–34 and a secondary of Men 25-54 (Arbitron demographics).
WGRD is the flagship station of the popular syndicated show.
From 10am to anywhere from 10:15 or 10:30 the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show does a local bit, talking about the area of Grand Rapids, and anything they may have missed on the syndicated broadcast.
12pm- "Liquid Lunch" Request Hour
- Jackie On Air
- Best Of The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show followed by
Jackie On Air
- Dave Kim
- Green Day Gary
- Top 20 In Rock by Loudwire
Former on-air staff
- Big John Howell
- Radar (Robert Shroll)
- Jennifer Stephens
- Bubba the Love Sponge
- Kevin Matthews
- Chuck Bailey
- Michelle McKormick- Mornings WLAV
- Scott Winters
- Darla Jaye-talk show host at KMBZ in Kansas City, Missouri
- Rick Beckett-former midday co-host at WOOD-AM (deceased)
- Stephanie Webb-co-host of Take 5 And Company at WZZM
- Sean Stevens-afternoon drive at WVFM in Kalamazoo, Michigan
- Rockin' Ray Baker
- Bob Berry
- Phil Kelly (VanderLaan)
- Beth Huizenga
- Sandi Davis
- Sean Stevens
- Pete Bunch
- Bob Hendryx
- Jack Swart
- JJ Duling
- Rich Kennedy
- Larry Olek
- Bob Mason (now @ WGVU oldies)
- Allen Jackson Wilkerson
- Buddy Hollis
- Michael Ferris
- Mark Roberts/Johnny Walker
- Shaun Hendricks
- Jerry Tarrants (Former PD)
- Dahmer (Dahmer Before Dark)
- Michael Grey
- Dave Fox
- WGRD Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WGRD
- Radio-Locator information on WGRD
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WGRD