|City of license||New York City|
|Broadcast area||New York City area|
|Slogan||"Where Hip-Hop Lives"|
|Frequency||97.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
97.1 HD-2 HumDesi Radio
|First air date||1948 (as WNNJ at 103.5)|
|Former callsigns||W2XWG (1940–1948)
WNBC-FM (1948–1954 and 1960–1975)
|Former frequencies||103.5 (MHz) (1948-1988)|
(Emmis License Corporation of New York)
WQHT (97.1 FM, Hot 97) is an American radio station in New York City under the corporate ownership of Emmis Communications. The station broadcasts on 97.1 MHz FM. WQHT. Despite being billed as a Rhythmic CHR station on Mediabase & Nielsen BDS, WQHT primarily plays mainstream urban hits, with a few pop-leaning titles on occasion. It is one of two flagship radio properties of Emmis alongside co-owned KPWR ("Power 106") in Los Angeles.
- 1 History
- 2 Controversies
- 3 Staff
- 4 In popular culture
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
WAPP becomes WQHT
- See WKTU for a full history of the 103.5 and 97.1 frequencies. This page is for a history of WQHT only.
In 1986, Emmis Broadcasting bought rock formatted 103.5 WAPP from Doubleday Broadcasting. There was speculation in the industry as to what Emmis was going to do with WAPP, since their ratings were low. On August 13, 1986 WAPP switched to what appeared to be a classic rock format, stunting as "Classic 103."
On August 15, 1986 at 6 pm, The Rolling Stones' "It's All Over Now" and a bomb noise rang out WAPP and the classic rock titles. The station debuted as "Hot 103.5" with new call letters WQHT and a new CHR/Dance format. The first song was believed to be "R.S.V.P." by Five Star. Nobody in the radio industry expected it, but the new rhythmic/CHR format was taking shape. WQHT was the second such station with the format, months after Emmis launched it on KPWR "Power 106" in Los Angeles earlier that year.
Then, Emmis VP of Programming Rick Cummings said the company was considering four formats for the old WAPP but were leaning towards the classic rock and CHR/Dance formats. "It was an 11th hour decision," Cummings told Billboard magazine on 8/30/1986.
The Program Director ended up to be Joel Salkowitz (who was first named only as Asst Program Director) and Steve Ellis was Music Director (a hold over from WAPP) Don Kelly was the consultant for both WQHT and KPWR in those early months.
The All New Hot 103
Hot 103.5 played a different variety of music than what was on the New York radio dial at that time. There was no CHR/Dance station in the market since 92KTU WKTU left the air a year earlier. WQHT came on the air with a new, improved dance oriented format, which trade magazines of the day called a hybrid format. The station mixed in CHR hits with Dance and Club music of the day.
Songs that appeared on 103.5 during the first few months included "Say It, Say It" by E.G. Daily, "Something About You" by Level 42, "Rumors" by the Timex Social Club, "Diamond Girl" by Nice & Wild, and "I'll Be All That You Need" by Trinere.
The station started to play "hotmixes" or extended versions of certain songs. The "hotmixes" were either just the extended versions available commercially on 12" Singles, or mixes that were created by local club DJs, such as "Little" Louie Vega, especially for WQHT. They also aired regular versions of the songs that had longer intros than that of their competitors such as Z-100. Noel used the Hot 103 version of his single "Silent Morning" for the music video, as evidenced in the video's credits. With the debut of WQHT, some record labels such as Atco and Elektra reportedly started to see a spike in 12" single sales in the New York Metropolitan Area, as was reported by Billboard Magazine.
Hot 103.5's (the name was later shortened to Hot 103 in the Fall of 1986) imaging sounded similar to that of sister station KPWR a.k.a. "Power 106" as WNAP's very own Chuck Riley and Eric Edwards became the official voices of the station. Chuck mainly voiced the bumpers and sweepers, while Eric mostly voiced the promos and specialty liners. The two were also the voices for other Emmis stations at the time such as KPWR, WLOL, and WAVA.
As September approached Hot 103 started to add more personality to the station. Some of the first DJs or "Hot Jocks" to join WQHT were Deborah Rath from KPWR a.k.a. "Power 106", Al "Nouveau" Bandiero from 92KTU, Johnny "Big John" Monds from WUSL a.k.a. "POWER 99fm", Sonny Joe Fox from KMEL a.k.a "All Hit 106 KMEL", Frederick "Fast Freddie" Colon, with Vanessa Scott, and Rufus Hunt, who was a hold over from WAPP.
"Broadway" Bill Lee from Denver's KPKE a.k.a. "All Hit 96 FM" was chosen to joined the Hot 103 Hot Jocks around Christmas time, and Rick Allen joined as Production Director, with a little help from TM Studios they customized the "K-Power!" jingle package for Hot 103 under the name of "The Hot Streak!" and it was featuring Chuck on rapping vocals instead of singing he was rapping & saying "Hot 103" instead. Rick would go on to fame as the person who created the famous "From the top of the World Trade Center" top of the hour ID, also voiced by Chuck for Hot 103 and then Hot 97. Other radio stations, to this day, try to duplicate that particular ID. Many radio production directors were impressed by Rick's work he ended up releasing some of the production elements and music beds used for Hot 103 into syndication under the brand name "Continuous Climax."
Since Hot 103 was playing music heard primarily in nightclubs, the station did a lot of appearances at various night clubs in the tri-state area. Therefore, the station even had "HotSpot" reports with reporters such as Kimberly Howard of B97 in Brooklyn phoning in the latest club happenings every Friday and Saturday during the night show so listeners knew where the party was.
By 1987, Hot 103 was making a name for itself by playing Freestyle. Artists such as Noel, Safire, The Cover Girls and TKA were made famous because they were played in heavy rotation right next to Mainstream Top 40 artists such as Exposé, Debbie Gibson and Taylor Dayne. Freestyle and club music from other cities such as Miami wasn't ignored either. Company B and Tiger Moon, who were famous in the Florida club scene, were played on WQHT as well. In fact, Hot 103 pioneered custom station versions of songs, where the artists would change lyrics and sing about the station. WHTZ Z100 copied Hot 103's success by adding a few Freestyle titles, as well for both Urban Contemporary stations WBLS and WRKS were playing long versions of the records they played as well.
To bolster that they were on the club scene, Hot 103 added a local weekly countdown show called New York's Hot Tracks hosted by Bill Lee, which counted down the top 10 selling 12" singles of the week in the tri-state area. The show started on Sunday Nights and then moved to Friday Nights at 6:00pm and then later at 5:00pm. It featured short interview clips and aired sonovox numbers produced by Rick Allen identifying the chart position (The show was later hosted by Jeff Thomas, and was cancelled in 1993). N.Y.H.T. was produced, for a time, by PD Joel Salkowitz and researched by future WQHT jock herself, Angie Martinez who would go on to dominate PM Drive after the station flipped to Hip-Hop and R&B in 1992.
In July 1987, Hot 103 wanted to devote some airtime to older dance music at the urging of jock Al Bandiero. Management agreed, and thus began "The Hot 103's Disco Classics' Showcase", which would feature older dance music, which usually had to be at least 7 years old to get played on the show. The show was broadcast for an hour from 8 pm-9 pm on Sunday nights. In 1989, the show was expanded to 2 hours. Later hosts would be Paco Navarro in 1992 from 92KTU fame and Freddie Colon. The show lasted until 1994.
During that summer, WQHT celebrated its first anniversary as Hot 103 and released the "Hot 103 Anniversary Album" on cassette, LP or CD on Warlock Records. The album contained four "Hotmixes" of CHR/Dance hits heard on Hot 103 over the past year. Sister station Power 106 also released the same album but under the Power 106 name.
WQHT Jock Line Up Summer 1987:
- 5:30am-9:00am Rufus Hunt
- 9:00am-12:00pm Deborah Rath
- 12:00pm-2:00pm Johnny "Big John" Monds
- 2:00pm-6:00pm Al "Nouveau" Bandiero
- 6:00pm-10:00pm "Broadway" Bill Lee
- 10:00pm-2:00am Frederick "Fast Freddie" Colon
- 2:00am-5:30am Vanessa Scott
WQHT Jock Line Up Fall 1987:
- 5:30am-9:00am Johnny "Big John" Monds
- 9:00am-12:00pm Deborah Rath
- 12:00pm-2:00pm Al "Nouveau" Bandiero
- 2:00pm-6:00pm "Broadway" Bill Lee
- 6:00pm-12:00am Fredrick "Fast Freddie" Colon
- 12:00am-5:30am Sonny Joe Fox
Since the station signed on the air, it presented a music intensive morning show with only two stopsets of commercials an hour. Mornings were first hosted by Rufus Hunt with news by Judy Hernandez (another hold over from WAPP where she went by the name Judy Herron.) After Rufus left, Johnny "Big John" Monds began took over for him.
By the fall of 1987, Hot 103 was looking for a morning team to round out it's dayparts. It settled on the veteran team of "Walton & Johnson & The Not Ready For Drive Time Players." The show didn't click, and was off the air in a couple months.
In 1988, the station brought in the married morning team of Ron Stevens and Joy Grdnic to handle morning drive. Stevens & Grdnic were unique as they were a male/female team rather than the usual male/male morning show. Veteran newsman J. Paul Emerson of The KMEL's Morning Zoo was joined as the wild newsman with a CKLW tabloid type delivery. The station added traffic updates via Shadow Traffic and contracted with WNYW Fox 5 Meteorologist Nick Gregory to provide live weather updates.
Hot 103's big impact
In February 1987, Billboard magazine created a new "Crossover 30" chart in response to Hot 103 and the rise in popularity of other CHR/Dance stations and the type of music that they played. The chart was based solely on airplay from stations that reported to it. Radio trade magazine "Radio and Records" created a similar chart and started reporting the weekly music adds by Hot 103 and others.
The impact of Hot 103 and other similar stations such as WPOW a.k.a. "The New Power 96 FM", WHQT a.k.a. "The New Hot 105 FM" in Miami, and on KPWR a.k.a. "Power 106" in Los Angeles, has somehow spurred Emmis to join with Westwood One to create a weekly national dance music countdown called "American Dance Traxx". The show debuted the week of March 23, 1987.
The show was groundbreaking as it presented the countdown in long music sweeps rather than just 2-songs in a row and then a commercial break. The 3-hour "American Dance Traxx" was hosted by WUSL's alum & KPWR's PD and DJ Jeffrey "Wyatt On The Radio" Wyatt and produced in NY by WQHT PD Joel Salkowitz. The show used the same music beds that were on WQHT and KPWR and featured short interviews with the artists of the day. A.D.T. aired on WQHT Sundays from 9:00pm-12:00am. Deborah Rath would substitute for Jeff on occasion. After Jeff left both KPWR and Emmis, Deborah Rath was made the permanent host until former MTV VJ and host of "Club MTV" "Downtown" Julie Brown took over in 1992.
In February 1987 the tradition started with the first of several "Hot Night" concerts. Hot Night consisted of the top CHR/Dance artists of the day and the only way in to the concert was by winning on WQHT. Hot Night 1 was held February 4, 1987 at the Palladium and starred Sheila E. and The Cover Girls. Hot Night 2 was held at the same location, starring The Jets and Debbie Gibson.
As years went on, "Hot Night" got bigger and expanded to more exotic locations such as the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. The last known "Hot Night" was in 1993, where it all began, at the legendary Palladium and starred SWV.
The Hot 103's Original Saturday Night Dance Party
In June 1987 WQHT debuted the "The Hot 103's Original Saturday Night Dance Party", live from 4D NightClub in Manhattan from 10:00pm-2:00am, with no commercials and limited interruption. Sometimes 20 minutes would go by without a station identification. Everything on the radio was live from the club as WQHT plugged right into the DJ booth mixer. The mixing, the WQHT jock host, and sometimes even the crowd could be heard over the air. Scotty Blackwell was the first DJ to spin for "The Hot 103's Saturday Night Dance Party", where he would mix with 4 Technics 1200ML Turntables. There was even a cart machine on hand to play the Hot 103 sweepers over the air and inside 4D.
As time went on, WQHT was wired into two dozen different clubs around the tri-state area. "The Hot 103's Original Saturday Night Dance Party" would bring The Palladium, The Copacabana, Foxes, Emerald City, The Tunnel, Chicago, Limelight, 1018, The L.I. Exchange, and The Roxy right into New York, Connecticut and New Jersey living rooms, cars and boom boxes.
Other notable club DJs such as Glenn Friscia, DJ Animal, Roman Ricardo, Freddie Bastone and Mojo Nicosia were on the turntables for "The Hot 103's Saturday Night Dance Party". Artists such as France Joli, Safire, Cover Girls and others would occasionally perform live on the radio and in the clubs.
The All New Hot 97
In the fall of 1988, Emmis purchased 97.1 WYNY from NBC, as well as the license of the WNBC-AM station that was being closed. On Thursday September 22, 1988 at 5:30pm the stations swapped frequencies. WYNY a.k.a. "Country 97 FM" was moved to 103.5FM and transform into "The All New Country 103.5 WYNY". Meanwhile Hot 103 moved to 97.1FM and officially becoming "The All New Hot 97, Your Most Music Station". After the transition to Hot 97, Stephanie Miller & Howard Hoffman were brought in to do the morning show (1988–91), J. Paul Emerson stayed on as newsman, with Daniel Ivankovich, aka Reverend Doctor D, aka Odie Johnson was brought in as producer.
The last song played on Hot 103 was Debbie Gibson's "Stayin' Together" and the first song played on "The All New Hot 97" was M.A.R.R.S.' "Pump Up the Volume". WQHT even had Vanna White from the legendary game show "Wheel of Fortune" was on hand to change huge plastic letters at a big station switch party in Midtown Manhattan. Freddie Colon was the jock in studio before and after the switch, but Bill Lee actually took the listeners through the switch itself.
At 5:30pm, listeners also heard for the first time the new Chuck Riley and Rick Allen produced top of hour ID for the new Hot 97. It was similar to the one used on Hot 103, but was more heavily produced and now said "From the Top of the Empire State Building" and the introduction of the Hot 97 name. The change reflected the use of the antenna for 97.1 being at the Empire State Building rather than the World Trade Center as it was while on the 103.5 frequency. The station made a contest out of the event by giving listeners 97 dollars in cash if they could name the last song played "over there" and the first song played, as Chuck would say "We're over here now!".
Hot 97's ratings fell slightly in 1989. The station started to lean towards Top 40 as the station added artists such as Milli Vanilli, Bobby Brown, Paula Abdul, Taylor Dayne, MC Hammer, De La Soul, New Kids on the Block, and more. Hot 97 changed their on-air line-up and moved "Fast" Freddie Colon to middays and brought in Gregg Thunder, a KDWB and WLOL alum for nights. Thunder brought more of a comical Top 40 approach to nights by rhyming and being more listener interactive with heavy phones. With the addition of Gregg, WQHT had two rhyming jocks back to back everyday: "Broadway" Bill Lee from 4:00pm-8:00pm & Gregg Thunder from 8:00pm–12:00am.
Another sign of a Top 40 lean was that Hot 97, for the only time, aired jingles from TM on which they recustomized the "K-Power!" jingles with Chuck saying "Hot 97" instead, in the fall of 1989. The jingles weren't jingles per'se, but they were at the end of ramp music beds that DJs could talk over. Jonathan Wolfert of the legendary JAM Creative Productions created a new jingle package for WQHT, they called it "Power Up!", it was featuring the JAM jingle singers rapping instead of singing. But by 1990, the jingles at the end of the ramp music beds were replaced with Chuck saying "Hot 97" instead of the jingle singers, the "Power Up!" jingle package was so popular at Hot 97 that JAM did a customization version of "Power Up!" for KPWR and this version is truly featuring the JAM jingle singers saying "Power 106" instead of Chuck's.
In the summer of 1990, Hot 97 teamed up with MicMac Records and released The Hot 97 MicMac Concert on cassette, LP or CD. The album featured MicMac artists that got airplay on Hot 97 like Johhny O., Cynthia and Tiana.
On July 22, 1990, Hot 97 teamed up with future and now defunct sister station WRKS a.k.a. "98.7 Kiss FM" for a Unity Walk to promote racial harmony in New York City.
In 1990–1991, the station started to play more house and R&B music (aka New Jack Swing) while cutting back on some of the freestyle records. Artists such as Black Box, The Goodmen, Doug Lazy and Daisy Dee received more airplay.
Around this time Hot 97 added new shows focusing on house music such as "The Hot 97's All Night House Party", which was similar in format to "The Hot 103's Original Saturday Night Dance Party", but focused on house music. WQHT broadcast live from area night clubs such as The Tunnel, Roseland and Metrohouse from 2 am until 4 am Saturday into Sunday morning. DJ's included Frankie Bones, Roman Ricardo and Little Louie Vega.
In 1991, Anything Goes with Clivilles & Cole debuted, where legendary record producers Robert Clivilles and David Cole of C&C Music Factory mixed new house and dance music on Saturday nights from 9 pm to 10 pm. The station also added a show spotlighting new house and dance tracks from overseas such as Europe. London jock Dave Kendall was picked to host Planet Traxx, which would air after American Dance Traxx at 12 midnight. 1992 also featured a mix show entitled The Underground Rave, mixed by DJ's Charlie Casanova and Joey Beltram before Glenn Friscia took over. As the rave scene diminished in popularity, this show was canceled.
In the Fall of 1992, Hot 97 added a new station voice, the first time ever since the station signed on in 1986. They added Bobby Ocean (famous from working at KFRC) to voice some promos and sweepers for "Hot Night Cancun," the station concert held that December. During this time, WQHT replaced the long-running Rick Allen-produced and Chuck Riley-voiced "Top of the Empire State Building" top of hour ID. It was replaced with one voiced by Bobby Ocean but without the effects that made the previous ID noteworthy.
From dance to hip-hop and R&B
Towards the end of 1992 and early 1993, Hot 97's ratings hit an all-time low. In response, Emmis named Judy Ellis its General Manager (a position in which she served until 2003) and WQHT started to add more R&B and Rap product. Artists such as Positive K, Mad Cobra and Onyx were phased in while some of the traditional freestyle and house music was drastically cut. The station started a gradual two-year change towards an Urban Hip-Hop format.
During this time, Hot 97 also made several on-air and imaging changes. Long time station voices Bobby Ocean and Chuck Riley was gone, leaving only Eric Edwards as the station voice. Edwards also changed his delivery style to fit in with the new urban sound of Hot 97. Eric is still the station voice of WQHT to this day.
Long-time PD Joel Salkowitx was let go, replaced by Steve Smith. The station axed veteran jocks Al Bandiero, Jeff Thomas, Fast Freddie Colon, Broadway Bill Lee, Howard & Stephanie, Niecy Colon and others. Deborah Rath stayed on the longest but shifted over to sister station CD 101.9 in late 1994.
A new generation of radio personalities began appearing on Hot 97. Among the most famous was the addition of a new morning show of Ed Lover and Doctor Dre of Yo! MTV Raps. The ratings rose to number three in one rating period.
Despite the change in format, the Saturday Night Dance Party continued broadcasting from clubs on Saturday Nights. In 1995, DJ Skribble was one of the DJ's featured on the show. Meanwhile, the All Night House Party was still being broadcast on Saturdays from 2-4AM, with Frankie Knuckles and David Morales as the DJs. In 1996 DJ Johnny Vicious joined the mixing team. In 1994 a new Friday Night mix show called "Sounds of the NY Underground" debuted. This was syndicated mix show featuring DJs from around the world. In 1997 the station ceased all dance music shows. At the same time, the new 103.5 WKTU took over the role of the tri-state area's dance music mix show radio station. Johnny Vicious, DJ Skribble and David Morales are among the notable ex-Hot 97 DJ's that started providing content to the new WKTU.
In 1993, Funkmaster Flex joined Hot 97 and was host of the Friday Night Street Jam and weekly two-hour show where he mixed hip-hop live from the studio. Flex eventually rose up through the ranks and became Hot 97's long time night personality.
Other noteworthy personalities included the addition of Wendy Williams to PM Drive, Williams used to be the overnight jock back on Hot 103 in 1988. Angie Martinez, a researcher on "New York Hot Tracks" in the late 1980s and who previously worked in the promotions department, was promoted to nights. A few years later, the two had a public falling out, resulting in Williams being fired from Hot 97 and Martinez assuming afternoon drive, where she remains to this day.
In 1995, Hot 97 again became New York's top station in the Arbitron ratings. After Emmis purchased WRKS (98.7 Kiss FM) from Summit Communications in 1994 and gravitated its heritage urban format to the adult audience (dropping hip-hop altogether), Hot 97 went on to be the only radio station in New York for hip-hop until mid-1997 when WBLS reintroduced it on its playlists and moved to urban contemporary, moving WQHT to its current rhythmic contemporary format. In March 2002, Clear Channel Communications launched WWPR-FM (Power 105.1 FM) to challenge Hot 97, and went to number-five in the ratings. In the fall of 2005 Power 105.1 edged slightly ahead of Hot 97 for the first time ever during the same period of time as the Tsunami song parody. Most recently the station resurged back to the top of the ratings, although WLTW (106.7 Lite FM) is still the top-rated radio station in New York City.
Most recently, as of April 2012, Hot 97 overall Arbitron ratings have been once again nearing all time lows, with typical monthly averages in the low 3's. In the month of March 2012, WLTW was #1, followed by WCBS-FM, WHTZ, WKTU and WSKQ rounding out the top 5. Hot 97 was in 13th place with a 3.2 rating. The previous month their overall # was 2.8.
In May 2007, R&R and BDS moved WQHT back to the Rhythmic Airplay panel after a long tenure as an Urban reporter; however the station was always a rhythmic reporter per Mediabase. More recently, Hot 97 has begun to play more late 90s and early 2000s throwbacks. While the majority of the songs played on the station are current Hip-Hop and R & B Hits, classic hits by artists such as the Notorious B.I.G and Tupac have begun to receive more airplay.
In the fall of 2008, WQHT served as the home of the nationally syndicated Big Boy's Neighborhood, produced by ABC Radio and based from WQHT's sister station, KPWR Power 106 in Los Angeles. However by July 2009 WQHT dropped the program and instead expanded their local morning show hosted by new morning jocks, DJ Cipha Sounds & Peter Rosenberg.
By 2010, due to rivals WXRK (92-3 Now) & Clear Channel Communications' WKTU moving towards rhythmic top 40 directions, Hot 97 switched to Urban Contemporary, ending the longtime rhythmic top 40 format at the station. Mediabase & Nielsen BDS still report the station as a rhythmic top 40. However, the rhythmic contemporary format has since resurfaced at Hot 97 with WXRK reverting to contemporary hit radio.
In April 2011, WQHT is now New York City's only rhythmic contemporary station with the reverting of rival WKTU back to rhythmic adult contemporary. Also, it is the only full standalone station in Emmis' New York cluster after WRKS ended its longtime urban format for ESPN sports under an agreement with Disney.
On Air Sound
New York City FM radio stations have a long tradition of very aggressive audio processing used in their quests to sound "louder" than their competition. WQHT maintains one of the most heavily processed signals today. Substantial amounts of distortion are introduced into WQHT's audio as by-products of creating the "loud" sound. Studies have shown that aggressive audio processing creates listener fatigue. The fatigue reduces the length of a listening session, especially with female listeners. Proponents may argue that the aggressive sound is appropriate for the current format.
HD radio operations
In early 2006, Hot 97 launched an HD2 station called Hot 97 Throwbacks. Hot 97 Throwbacks, located at 97.1-2, uses the format of Classic Hip-Hop. The format is comparable to Sirius XM Radio's BackSpin, but censored and with a few R&B songs.
On September 9, 2008, Emmis announced a programming partnership with WorldBand Media and will be using WQHT's HD-3 signal to produce programming for the South Asian communities in 3 major cities including New York City. In June 2009, WorldBand Meida was removed from WQHT and placed on sister station WRKS's HD2.
In January 2012, Emmis added Rock 101.9, RXP which was formerly on WFAN-FM and streaming online, to the HD2 channel. With this move, the station is no longer streaming online.
Word to the Badd!
In early November 1991, deejay Freedie Cohen stirred up controversy when he played Michael Jackson's latest single "Black or White" back to back with an early version of Jermaine Jackson's then-single "Word to the Badd!" The single's lyrics involved Jermaine criticizing Michael's selfishness and even insisting Michael was ashamed to be black. Jermaine issued a statement and released a re-written version on his 1991 album You Said.
2004 Indian tsunami parody
On January 17, 2005, Hot 97 Miss Jones provoked a controversy by airing a song entitled "USA for Indonesia" a month after approximately 187,000 people died in the Asian tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The song, a parody sung to the 1985 tune "We Are the World", was criticized for overtly racist mocking of the Asian and East African victims; the song lyrics contain the racially derogatory word "Chinamen," and calls the drowning victims "bitches." Some of the lyrics included the words "Go find your mommy. I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head. And now your children will be sold. Child slavery".
Miss Info, a fellow on-air colleague of Korean descent, was outraged and spoke against the song on the station. She excluded herself from producing the song and said it was wrong for it to be played. Miss Info immediately found herself subjected to a four-minute, on-air lambasting from the other DJs. Miss Jones accused Miss Info of always distancing herself from the antics of the others, and of acting superior because she is Asian. Another jock on the show named Todd Lynn muttered "I'm gonna start shooting Asians."
Following angry protests from the Asian-American community, bloggers, and networking sites, and other New Yorkers, Miss Jones, DJ Envy, and Tasha Hightower were suspended for two weeks while Todd Lynn and song writer Rick Del Gado were fired. The station issued an apology on its website. Newsday, Sprint, McDonald's, and Toyota all pulled their advertising from the station. The suspended employees' pay was diverted to charities helping victims of the tsunami.
Fights and shootings
In February 2001, a shootout erupted between the entourages of rappers Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown in front of the offices of Hot 97 on Hudson Street, which led to one of Lil' Kim's bodyguards being injured. In February 2005, gunfire erupted in front of the same place between 50 Cent's entourage and The Game's entourage. The Game was quickly met by 50 Cent's crew after being notified he was at the front entrance of the building. A friend of 50 Cent pulled a gun and shot at The Game and his entourage. A bullet hit a member of The Game's entourage in the leg. Both incidents also led to the nickname "Shot 97" by Wendy Williams.
Since its inception, WQHT has held "The Hot 97 Summer Jam" every June. The concert series has ran into controversy, notably in 2006, with Miss Jones dissing Mary J. Blige on air after the singer did not mention her name when she sent shout outs to the Hot 97 DJs, and again in 2012, when moments before Nicki Minaj was about to take to the stage, morning host Peter Rosenberg made a negative comment about her song "Starships", saying to the fans, "I see the real hip-hop heads sprinkled in here. I see them. I know there are some chicks here waiting to sing 'Starships' later—I'm not talking to y'all right now." That comment would prompt Lil' Wayne to pull Minaj and the rest of the acts signed to Cash Money Records out of the event. Minaj later spoke to Funkmaster Flex about the incident, and after that, appeared on Rosenberg's show, with the host apologizing to her on air. She performed two songs with 2 Chainz at the following year's Summer Jam.
Current Hot 97 DJ's
- Cipha Sounds
- Peter Rosenberg
- Laura Stylez
- Ebro Darden (Hot 97 Program Director)
- Big Dennis Rivera
- DJ Camilo
- Angie Martinez
- Funkmaster Flex
- Miss Info
- Lisa Evers
- J. Medina
- Shani Kulture
- Big Ben
- DJ Absolut
- DJ Bobby Trends
- DJ C-Lo
- DJ Enuff
- DJ Kast One
- DJ Kay Slay
- DJ Magic
- DJ Spynfo
- DJ Wallah
- DJ Young Chow
- L. Boogs
- Massive B Sound System (Bobby Konders & Jabba)
- Mister Cee
Former Hot 103/Early To Mid Hot 97 DJ's
- DJ Cocoa Chanelle
- Sunny Anderson (now hosts Cooking for Real on Food Network)
- Al "Nouveau" Bandiero (now at 103.5 WKTU in New York, NY)
- Scott Blackwell (Hot 103 Saturday Night Dance Party mixer using 3 turntables)
- Yo! Sunny Joe (now at Movin' 100.3 / 96.5 FM in Syracuse, NY)
- Fred "Bugsy" Buggs ("The Mic Wrecker")
- Tim Byrd "The Byrd Man" (now at Sunny 104.3, W. Palm Beach, FL)
- David Morales
- DJ Animal
- DJ Clue? (now at WWPR-FM 105.1 in New York, NY)
- DJ Envy (now at WWPR-FM 105.1 in New York, NY)
- DJ Louie Styles ("The Hightstown Heavy Hitter")
- DJ Skribble
- DJ Whoo Kid
- DJ Red Alert (now at 98.7 Kiss FM (WRKS) in New York, NY)
- Doctor Dré (not to be confused with the rap artist Dr. Dre)
- "Fast" Freddie Colon (now at KTNI in Denver, CO)
- Frankie Knuckles
- Vanessa Scott
- Fatman Scoop
- Glenn Friscia (now at Pulse 87.7 (WNYZ-FM) in New York, NY)
- Howard Hoffman
- Jimmy Howes
- Johnny Vicious
- "Broadway" Bill Lee (now at 101.1 WCBS-FM in New York, NY)
- Vic Latino (now at WPTY-FM 105.3 in Long Island, NY)
- The Legendary Paco (Navarro)
- Lisa G.
- Paco Lopez (now at WNUE 98.1FM La Mega in Orlando, Florida) as an Account Executive
- Ed Lover (now at Sirius/XM's BackSpin)
- Raqiyah Mays
- DJ Megatron
- Stephanie Miller
- Miss Jones (now at 98.9 (WUSL-FM) in Philadelphia, PA)
- "Big" John Montell
- Sue O'Neil (now at 101.1 WCBS FM in New York, NY)
- Star & Buc Wild (now at Pulse 87.7 (WNYZ-FM) in New York, NY)
- Deborah Rath (now at WQCD CD 101.9 in New York)
- Roman Ricardo
- Ray Rossi (now at WKXW / WXKW New Jersey 101.5)
- Gary Spears (now at WJMK 104.3 FM K-Hits in Chicago, IL)
- Stevens & Grdnic
- Mary Thomas
- Greg Thunder (now doing mornings on KS95)
- Baltazar (now at WBQT/Boston)
- DJ Uncut
- La La Vasquez
- Wendy Williams (now at The Wendy Williams Show on BET)
- Steph Lova
- Lil' Nat (now at 98.7 Kiss FM (WRKS) in New York, NY)
- Ralph McDaniels
- DJ Jazzy Joyce
- DJ Green Lantern
- K. Foxx [now at 103.5 the Beat Miami [WMIB] in Miami, FL]
HOT 97 General Managers
- Judy Ellis: 1993 - 2002
- Barry Mayo: 2002 - 2005
- Dan Halyburton: 2005 - 2007
- Alex Cameron: 2007 - 2014
- Deon Livingston: 2014 - Present
HOT 97 Program Directors
- Joel Salkowitz
- Steve Smith
- Tracey Cloherty
- John Demick
- Ebro Darden
HOT 97 Marketing Directors
- Rocco Macri: 1993 - 2002
- Kevin Cox: 2002 - 2006
- Brian D'Aurelio: 2006 - 2011
- Donyshia Benjamin: 2011 - present
- Koren Vaughan (Director of Marketing): 2014 - present
HOT 97 Promotion Directors
- Frank Iemetti: 1993 - 1997
- Kevin Cox: 1997 - 2002
- Donyshia Benjamin: 2003 - 2013
- Bethany Kent: 2013 - present
Current Station Voices
- Eric Edwards
- Pat Garrett
Former Station Voices
Former Station Jingles
In popular culture
Films and television:
- In the 30 Rock episode called "The Source Awards", Tracy Jordan mentions Hot 97 as a traditional place to get shot.
- The Sklar Brothers riff on Hot 97 in their Comedy Central Presents special.
- In the Seinfeld episode called "The Pool Guy", Kramer mentions Hot 97 as one of the sponsors to his Moviefone information line.
- In the movie World Trade Center, one of the officers says that his wife heard on Hot 97 that a second plane had hit the towers, to which another officer replies: "Who gets their news from Hot 97?"
- In Puff Daddy's song "All About The Benjamins", he says, "...Ain't nobody's hero, but I wanna be heard on your Hot 9-7 everyday, that's my word..."
- In Jay-Z's song "Death of Auto-tune (D.O.A)" he mentions the radio station, saying "This is for Hot 9-7" and mentions the station's former disc jockey, DJ Clue? as well as two long-time DJs in the line, "I made this just for Flex 'n Mr. Cee."
- In Black Star's song "What's Beef", Mos Def says: "Beef ain't the summer Jam on Hot Ninety-Seven".
- In Big Pun's song with Inspectah Deck and Prodigy "Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)", Big Pun says: "Take all you made, call you gay on Hot 97".
- In Grand Theft Auto IV There is a Radio Station Called Beat 102.7 Which Parodies Hot 97 And Have is Real Life On-Show DJ Mister Cee and Funkmaster Flex
- "Emmis and WorldBand Media Partner to Launch First-of-Its-Kind Digital Radio Network" (Press release). PR Newswire. September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2008. "Top 3 U.S. markets to offer programming in HD for the South Asian ethnic community"
- Reid, Shaheem (January 26, 2005). "Hip-Hop Station Blasted For Song Mocking Tsunami Victims". MTV News. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Hinckley, David (January 26, 2005). "Hot 97 is weathering "Tsunami Song" storm". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- "Stop the Song". AsianWeek. February 4, 2005. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Virasami, Bryan (January 25, 2005). "Call for federal fines, more apologies after station airs 'We Are the World' parody offensive to Asians". Newsday. Retrieved June 28, 2009.[dead link]
- Ogunnaike, Lola (February 3, 2005). "Tsunami Jokers Fired". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Hinckley, David (February 2, 2005). ""Tsunami Song" Fallout". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Guzman, Rafer (February 11, 2005). "Newsday pulls ads from Hot 97 show". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- D'Angelo, Joe (February 27, 2001). "Lil' Kim Present At Hot 97 Shootout, Police Say". MTV News. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Reid, Shaheem (February 28, 2005). "50 Drops Game From G-Unit; Shots Fired At Radio Station". MTV News. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- "Summer Jams & Hip-Hop Battles" by Dana Hall (From Radio-Info, June 6, 2012)
- Jen Carlson, “Hot97’s DJ Peter Rosenberg: Nicki Minaj ‘Is Inherently Hip Hop… It’s Just That Starships Is Not’,” Gothamist, June 7, 2012.
- Latifah Muhammad, “Nicki Minaj Makes Peace With Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg,” BET, May 28, 2013.
- WNBC-FM Abandons Rock For Popular Music Format – The New York Times, December 18, 1974.
- Asian Media Watchdog - One of the high profile groups that organized Tsunami Song protest
- Freestyle Music Information
- Station info on New York Radio Guide
- Former Presidents and the Hot 97 Controversy
- World Music Central - British MPs deplore Hot 97's racist tsunami song
- World Music Central - Demonstrations planned outside Hot 97 New York
- Media Week Headlines
- UK Chinese - Chinese Community ask George Bush and Tony Blair to take action against Hot 97
- UK Chinese - British MPs and the Hot 97 Tsunami Song
- Club LK.US - UK Sri Lankans denounce Hot 97's racist tsunami song
- Sunday Island Sri Lanka - Two tsunami songs mentioned in the British parliament with kudos to Nimal Mendis by Nan
- House of Congress Press Release from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi Condemns Broadcast of ‘Tsunami Song’
- Hot 97 website
- Hot 97 New Yorker article
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WQHT
- Radio-Locator information on WQHT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WQHT
|FM 97.1 in New York, New York
October 7, 1988 – present
|FM 103.5 in New York, New York
1986 – October 7, 1988