|City of license||Dearborn, Michigan|
|Broadcast area||Metro Detroit|
|Slogan||Detroit's Best Variety|
|Frequency||100.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)100.3 HD-2: "Detroit's Nicest Rock, 100.3 WNIC" (Soft Adult Contemporary)|
|First air date||1950 (as WKMH)|
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary (currently Christmas music)|
|Callsign meaning||Nice music (from Beautiful Music format)|
|Former callsigns||WNIC-FM (1972-7/6/87)
|Owner||Clear Channel Communications|
|Sister stations||WDFN, WDTW, WDTW-FM, WJLB, WKQI, WMXD|
WNIC is an American radio station based in Detroit, Michigan broadcasting at 100.3 MHz FM. WNIC's studios and offices are located in Farmington Hills, MI. WNIC's transmitter is located near Schoolcraft and Livernois Avenue in the City of Detroit on the near west side. WNIC broadcasts with an effective radiated power of 32,000 watts from an antenna 600 feet in height. The station airs a hot adult contemporary format from late December to early November each year and is currently broadcasting Christmas music under the brand 100.3 WNIC. It can be heard as far as Webberville, Michigan to the west, London, Ontario to the east, and Elmore, Ohio to the south.
WNIC went on the air around 1950 as WKMH-FM, sister to WKMH-AM 1310. Both stations were, and still are, licensed to Dearborn, Michigan.
WKNR-FM and top 40 format
On Halloween 1963, WKMH became WKNR, and legendary Top 40 radio station "Keener 13" was born, beginning a three-and-a-half-year reign at the top of Detroit's radio ratings until it was toppled by Windsor, Ontario's CKLW in 1967. WKMH-FM similarly became WKNR-FM, and chiefly simulcast Keener AM (with automated Top 40 programming during non-simulcast times) until 1969, when, inspired by the success of groundbreaking progressive rock station 99.5 WABX, the station adopted its own progressive rock sound. "Uncle" Russ Gibb was the WKNR-FM personality who helped to spread the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead. According to Gibb, a college student in Ann Arbor called him on the air one Sunday afternoon and explained the theory to him. The rumor took off from there and generated lots of publicity for Gibb and WKNR-FM. It was air personality Chris Randall who phoned WABC New York personality Roby Yonge, who put the rumor on the air in New York and was responsible for it spreading nationwide.
"Stereo Island" easy listening to WNIC adult contemporary
WKNR-FM dropped its progressive rock format in 1971 to become "Stereo Island," a cross between Beautiful Music and Middle of the Road that could be described as an early form of what would be later be called Adult Contemporary. "Stereo Island" was successful and spawned imitators such as WFMK in Lansing, but in 1972, both WKNR-AM and WKNR-FM were sold and became WNIC-AM/FM, simulcasting a straightforward Beautiful Music format. The WNIC calls were meant to denote the station's "NICe" music. In 1976, WNIC adopted a more up-tempo sound called "Rock 'n' Easy" and has been successful with that AC format ever since. WNIC scored its first number-one placing in the monthly Arbitron ratings in Detroit in 1998, although the station's ratings have since dropped, due largely to competition from Greater Media-owned Magic 105.1. The ratings drop was also blamed on the departure of popular morning show host Jim Harper to Magic 105.1.
On December 27, 2010, the station rebranded as "Fresh 100.3, Detroit's Fresh New Sound". With the change, the station dropped all 1970s music and a lot of 1980s music from the playlist, focusing on upbeat music from the 1990s through today, but retained some 1980s songs. The station made the switch at 4:00 PM (EST) after running its annual Christmas music and an on-air music test for two hours. The surprise flip caught listeners off guard, but according to Clear Channel/Detroit OM Todd Thomas, he noted that the target audience will remain the same, adding that "This is the music that radio listeners in Detroit told us they wanted to hear. With their help, we’ve created a unique sound on 100.3 for 2011 and beyond." WNIC also began airing the American Top 40 show (the adult top 40 version) on Sundays.
On December 26, 2011, WNIC slightly adjusted their moniker to "Fresh 100, Variety From Today & Back In The Day." The station also adjusted their on-air lineup adding Billy The Kidd for nights.
Return of 100.3 WNIC
On November 7, 2013 at 8:15am, after playing "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds and announcing their annual flip to all Christmas music for the holiday season, WNIC dropped the "Fresh" branding after almost three years in favor of returning to the station's heritage brand as "100.3 WNIC." This more than likely is a result from Today's 105.1 flipping to sports talk in August. It is unclear at this point if WNIC will return to its roots as a Soft AC station or stay with the current Hot AC format after the holidays.
Since 2002, WNIC has been known for playing nonstop Christmas music each year from the beginning of November through Christmas (billing itself as "Detroit's Christmas Station" during this period). In 2009, WNIC started playing holiday music on November 6, a later start that of the previous year, which was on November 2. They were well known for being one of the earliest radio stations in the entire United States to start featuring holiday music, with a majority of other stations not starting until around Thanksgiving. WNIC went all-Christmas again in 2011 despite then being a hot AC station. WNIC went all-Christmas on November 9, 2012 at 7:45 AM. WNIC went all-Christmas on November 7, 2013 at 8:15 AM as well as dropping the "Fresh 100" branding.
WNIC is licensed for HD Radio operations and features a soft AC/oldies format on its HD2 channel, which is a feed of Clear Channel's "Sunny Radio" programming on iHeartRadio. The HD-2 images as Detroit's Nicest Rock, 100.3 WNIC HD2 and features a mix of classic pop and AC hits from the 1960s through the 2000s no longer played on the primary station, with featured artists including Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie, The Carpenters, Barbra Streisand, and Barry Manilow.
When WNIC played Christmas music for much of November and December, WNIC's regular adult contemporary format usually moved to the HD2 channel. After Christmas is over, WNIC's HD2 channel played Christmas music until January 1.
The current lineup (as of July 2013) is as follows
- Morning Show (5 a.m.-10 a.m.): Jay Towers In The Morning - Jay Towers, Doni Flynn & Kam Carman
- Mid-Days (10 a.m.-3 p.m.): Theresa Lucas
- Afternoon Drive (3 p.m.-8 p.m) Dave Kent
- Nighttime (8 p.m.-12 a.m.): On With Mario Lopez
- Overnight (12 a.m.-5 a.m.): Bruce Scott
- Weekend/Fill-in: Lori Bradley
- Program Director: Tony Travatto
- Assistant PD/Music Director: Theresa Lucas
- "WNIC/Detroit Gets 'Fresh'" from All Access (December 28, 2010)
- Kristen Jordan Shamus (2009-11-15). "We may be rushing things, but we need a little Christmas now". Detroit Free Press.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WNIC
- Radio-Locator information on WNIC
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WNIC
- 100.3 WNIC Website