|City of license||Detroit, Michigan|
|Broadcast area||Metro Detroit |
"Detroit's Hip-Hop & R&B""Detroit's Strong Songs"
|Frequency||97.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||May 24, 1941|
|Callsign meaning||John Lord Booth|
|Former callsigns||WMZK (?-12/3/80)
|Owner||Clear Channel Communications|
|Sister stations||WDFN, WDTW, WDTW-FM, WKQI, WMXD, WNIC|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2007)|
WJLB ("FM 98") is a Mainstream Urban radio station in Detroit that broadcasts on 97.9 Megahertz (MHz) frequency. The station is known on-air as "FM 98WJLB". This is the station that began the career of Urban radio legend and video jock, Donnie Simpson. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, WJLB was the home of radio legend John Mason.
WJLB, along with sister WMXD, had broadcast for 20 years in Detroit's Penobscot Building, which is located in the heart of Detroit's Downtown Financial District. Clear Channel moved both stations to their corporate consolidated owned building in Farmington Hills in November 2009.
WJLB's transmitter is located in Highland Park near the intersection of Hamilton Avenue and Midland Street and transmits its signal from an antenna 489 feet in height with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts.
"FM 98" can be heard far north as Flint and as far west as Lansing on 1-96 and past Jackson west on Interstate 94, however at night, WJLB can be heard as far west as Battle Creek and even far north as Saginaw. The 97.9 Frequency is one the strongest signals in Southeast Michigan.
97.9 FM, The station that became WJLB began operation in around May 7, 1941, as a testing station with 1,000 watts of power at 44.9 megahertz frequency. On May 24, it officially began broadcasting as W49D, Michigan's second FM radio station. It was owned by John Lord Booth.
97.9 signs on as WMZK
On September 12, 1945, W49D was assigned a full-powered frequency at 96.5 Megahertz and renamed with the calls WLOU. In June 1948, the station moved up to the 97.9 freqnency with the new calls, WMZK, which was a play on the word music, "MuZiK" with a format of automated beautiful music. In later years, WMZK alternated between beautiful music and foreign-language programming for various ethnic groups.
In 1979, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), began investigations on WJLB-AM 1400 and WMZK. The investigation focused on whether morning DJ, Al Perkins, was receiving money for playing records. [needs citation Billboard August 4, 1979: 16]. Subsequently, Al Perkins was found shot dead. Norman S. Miller, was the General Manager, WJLB-AM 1400, Booth Broadcasting, Inc. at the time.
"97.9 as WJLB"
In 1980, the WJLB calls migrated back to the FM dial along with an Urban contemporary format from the 1400 kHz AM frequency. WJLB-AM, which went on the air as WMBC in 1926 and adopted the WJLB calls in 1939, had been providing programming geared toward Detroit's black community for nearly four decades.
"FM 98 Strong Songs"
Now, the stereo FM station became "FM 98 WJLB, Detroit's Strongest Songs". WJLB-AM 1400 continued to program to the African American community in Detroit for nearly a quarter-century afterward as WQBH ("Welcome Queen Back Home," named for longtime air personality and eventual station owner Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg), and is now WDTK, owned by Salem Communications with a conservative news/talk format. Within a few years, WJLB-FM had soared into the upper reaches of the Detroit Arbitron ratings and has been there ever since, despite picking up competition from several competitors including WHYT (Power 96), which was mostly dance and Top 40 but in 1992 would flip to "96.3 Jamz" and aired a Rhythmic Contemporary format, and then in 1996 at the 105.9 frequency, the former jazz-formatted WJZZ, which became WCHB-FM "The Beat" and later WDTJ "105.9 Jamz" (now urban AC-formatted WDMK "105.9 Kiss-FM"). FM98 was famous for its specialty Friday Mix Shows with "Electrifying Mojo" and its Sunday Night Segway featuring mostly Slow R&B and Motown Soul tracks.
In April 1994, Booth American Company merged with Broadcast Alchemy to become Secret Communications. Later in the year in the month of August, Chancellor Media acquired the station from Secret Communications. In 1997, Chancellor Media and Evergreen, which already owned WKQI "Q95.5" and WMGC later merged to form AMFM, Inc. In November 1999, AMFM, Inc. was purchased by Clear Channel Communications. WJLB and sister station WMXD "Mix 92.3" have been under the Clear Channel banner ever since. Over the last several years, WJLB has shifted to a more younger demo playlist with more Hip Hop and less Urban and Old school and House Music which the station was built on in the 1990s and through 2005.
FM98 WJLB currently ranks at #8 (4.5) in the Detroit market according to the November 2010 PPM Ratings release.
The current lineup (as of March 29, 2012) includes CoCo, Foolish, and Mr. Chase In The Morning with CoCo, Foolish, Mr. Chase, Tracey McCaskill (News), and producer Max from 6am-10am. Middays are hosted by Cheron from 10am-2pm. Afternoon drive is hosted by Bushman from 2pm-6pm. Evenings are hosted by Ya Big Dogg Blast from 6pm-10pm. Overnights are vacant, and feature The Quiet Storm from 10pm-2am, and WJLB Music from 2am-6am.
WJLB is also known for Mixin Impossible Weekends during holidays, which includes DJ Kim James, DJ Blast, DJ Fingers, Don Q., DJ Polo and DJ Mo Beatz. Guest DJs include DJ Jinx, Dj Scratch, and DJ James O Steen.
Other notable programming includes The A List - Bushman and Ya Bigg Dog Blast on Friday nights. Weekend's/Fill-ins include Big Tigger, DJ Kim James, Deborah Smith Pollard, and Ya Bigg Dogg Blast. WJLB's mixshow DJ crew is named The 7 Deadly Technics, which includes DJ Kim James, DJ Blast, DJ Fingers, Don Q., DJ Polo, DJ Mo Beatz, DJ Jinx.
Recent Former WJLB Personalities include Dr. Darrius (now weeknights at WGPR Hot 107.5), Sunshyne (now middays at WPGC 95.5 in Washington, DC), Jazzy T (now afternoons at 93.7 WBLK in Buffalo, NY), and TradeMark.
FM98 Former personalities
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WJLB
- Radio-Locator information on WJLB
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WJLB