|City of license||Scottdale, Pennsylvania|
|Broadcast area||Scottdale / Connellsville|
|Branding||"Music Power 104"|
|Slogan||"The Home of the Hits"|
|First air date||December 21, 1971|
|Callsign meaning||Ludwig Stanley Wall (founder)|
|Owner||L. Stanley Wall (dba The Wall Group)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2007)|
WLSW is an American radio station, licensed in the Pittsburgh suburb of Scottdale, Pennsylvania it serves the Pittsburgh Media Market. The station operates at the federally assigned frequency of 103.9 MHz with an effective radiated power of 320 watts. The station is privately owned by Ludwig Stanley "Uncle Stan" Wall.
WLSW first signed on the air back in 1971, founded by legendary Pittsburgh DJ Ludwig Stanley "Uncle Stan" Wall, who first applied for the frequency back in 1968 upon the advice of a friend who was a broadcast engineer. Wall had also been a DJ and later general manager for WTRA (now WCNS) in Latrobe prior to putting this station on the air.
Unlike many FM stations of its time, WLSW was a standalone operation. It's important to remember at this time this was an oddity, because few cars in those days were equipped with FM radios, and FM's were often simulcast by their AM sister operations. It's also important to remember that FM had barely begun to gain acceptance among its AM counterpart.
Nevertheless, WLSW forged ahead, with a format mainly composed of oldies, rock, and Top 40 music. Its studios, offices, and transmitter were located in a converted double-wide mobile home at the top of a mountain on PA Route 711 a few miles east of Connellsville. Geographic references were often made by the DJ's as "Magic Mountain", while others jokingly called the treacherous stretch of Route 711 as "Murder Mountain"--a reference to the steep climb and potentially treacherous winter conditions on this stretch of the highway.
WQTW: An AM station joins the fold
In April 1984, Wall purchased WQTW, an AM station operating at 1570 kHz 15 miles north of Connellsville in Latrobe, for $66,000. The 1,000 watt station, which had the distinction of being Latrobe's first of two radio stations, had had its studios and offices destroyed in a fire the year before and had been silent for a period of about nine months.
Wall purchased WQTW and returned it to the air, and using his same formula for WLSW's beginning, parked another converted double-wide mobile home at the transmitter site on George Street in Derry Township for the station's operations. Under Wall's ownership, WQTW operated independently of its FM sister for a period of about six years until it was decided to simulcast WLSW over its airwaves, keeping separate oldies and polka programming on the weekends, and Derry Area high school football games. This changed in March 2009, when WQTW resumed fully independent programming.
WLSW: Keeping the Oldies Alive
In 1992, Wall decided to add oldies programming to his program lineup at WLSW. Though rival oldies station WWSW in Pittsburgh played oldies, none offered pre-British invasion R&B-based music which had become legendary in Pittsburgh, largely due to the popularity of legendary Pittsburgh disc jockey Porky Chedwick.
According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Wall had made the decision as he was traveling along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and had heard DJ Charlie Apple on the former WKPA on a cold November Saturday afternoon. Wall had heard Apple tell his listeners that since the station had been recently sold, and a format change was inevitable, it was his last show, thus there would be no special Christmas show as he had done in the past.
According to the interview, Wall picked up his cellular car phone and dialed the studio line. He called Apple on the air and said "You'll do it on my station". Another WKPA DJ, Jeff Allen, was also offered a show on WLSW. Other reputed oldies DJ's would gradually be added, including the legendary Porky Chedwick.
Since ownership rules changed in 1992, allowing companies to own more stations in a single market, Stan Wall has had countless offers from prospective buyers, though his station is not for sale. Broadcasters have sought out to make offers to Wall, primary because the station, while operating at an ERP of 3,000 watts, actually broadcasts using only a 325 watt transmitter. The reason is the enormous height of the mountain from which WLSW's tower site is located, as well as the fact that because of the natural high elevation, the much shorter than usual tower does not need to be lighted, thus making it one of the most cost-efficient and low-maintenance FM operations in western Pennsylvania.
WLSW also bears the distinction of being one of the few remaining suburban Pittsburgh radio stations with a live, local, real-time airstaff.
WLSW has, in recent years, shifted its music from Top 40 to Hot Adult Contemporary and to an upbeat oldies format today, adopting the moniker "Musicpower 104" in the early 1990s. Though the station is primarily music-intensive, it does offer some full-service programming elements traditionally found on a typical small-market AM station, such as high school football and basketball, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Penguins Hockey.
The oldies specialty programming, which has been highly successful since debuting on WLSW in 1992, remains today on weeknights and weekends, as do Charlie Apple, Jeff Allen, Jerry Braverman, Georgio, "Kid Doo Wop" Jared Panek, Larry Conn, Johnny O, and Big Ed "The Musicman".
Former WLSW program director Debbie Larson had been with the station for more than 20 years. With the change to Oldies delivered via satellite in 2009, the only notable weekday on air talent is Jeff Gerard on local afternoon drive.
Legendary Pittsburgh DJ Terry Lee, who cut his teeth on McKeesport's WMCK decades ago, also simulcasts live on WLSW and on the web four evenings a week, beginning at 8PM Eastern, playing a mix of well-known and obscure rock from the 1960s and 1970s, and his much-loved "Music For Young Lovers" selections from the doo-wop era.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WLSW
- Radio-Locator information on WLSW
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WLSW