|City of license||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Broadcast area||Delaware Valley|
|Slogan||"Philly's Party Station"|
|Frequency||96.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
96.5 HD-2 for Club Dance
|First air date||1944 (as WHAT-FM)|
|Callsign meaning||WiReD W|
|Former callsigns||WHAT-FM (1940s-1960s)
(CBS Radio Stations Inc.)
|Sister stations||KYW, WIP-FM, WOGL, WPHT, WXTU, KYW-TV, WPSG|
WRDW-FM, also known as Wired 96.5, is a Philadelphia radio station owned by CBS Radio that plays a Rhythmic Contemporary musical format. Although they lean towards R&B/Hip-Hop, Wired also adds Rhythmic Pop tracks to their playlist. Its transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia and has studios located in Bala Cynwyd.
The station was briefly known as "Wild 96.5" with the callsign WLDW (WILD W), but was changed early on due to iHeartMedia, who are owners of the copyrighted 'Wild' moniker. When iHeartMedia, then known as Clear Channel Communications, threatened then-owner Beasley Broadcast Group with a lawsuit for copyright infringement, 'Wild' then segued into 'Wired' in order to avoid any potential legal action.
96.5 Philadelphia history
For several years in the 1940s and 1950s, the frequency was known as WHAT-FM and was simulcast with its sister station on the AM dial. In 1956, a young disc jockey known as Sid Mark took the airwaves for the first time in Philadelphia, beginning a nearly 50 year career in the market as a disc jockey. WHAT-FM became a full-time jazz station in 1958, the first of its kind on the FM spectrum.
In the late 1960s, the call letters were changed to WWDB, after the owners of the station, William and Dolly Banks. In the early 1970s, WWDB experimented with playing adult contemporary music, but eventually went back to jazz. In 1975, the station's format was changed to talk, and WWDB became the first FM talk station in the United States. On-air talk personalities included Irv Homer, Bernie McCade, Frank Ford and Bernie Herman.
After her brother William died in 1979, Dolly Banks took over as General Manager. Many lawsuits over the ownership of WWDB began since William Banks did not have children other than distant relatives were fighting for ownership. In 1985, Dolly Banks retired after the African-American employees of sister station WHAT-AM, along with the Black Media Caucus in Washington, DC, sued the estate, receiving millions of dollars and forcing an estate sale of WWDB. The sale, which was overseen by the FCC, required the ownership to go only to a Black minority, so WWDB was sold to Black Philadelphia attorney Ragan Henry (for an undervalued amount of $6,000,000), whose law firm was also working for the Banks Family. Irv Homer had to testify before the FCC.
In 1986, Charles Schwartz then purchased WWDB from Ragan Henry and ran it under the name of Panache Broadcasting,
Beasley Broadcasting of Florida purchased WWDB for $65,000,000 from Mercury Broadcasting in 1999. The new owners mislead the hosts saying that the Talk format would continue, but they did not want to pay the high salaries. At first, the station include extended infomercials. However, even after lawsuits filed by the Gay Alliance of Philadelphia, they decided to change the format with no notice to the employees or the listeners. On November 3, 2000, Beasley registered the new WPTP call letters for the station. At 9 AM on November 6, the day before the U.S. Presidential Election, the station began stunting with a computer-generated countdown. At 5 PM that day, WWDB's format was changed to '80s Hits, known as "96-5 The Point". The buyout of the WWDB hosts contracts is said to have cost Beasley $5,000,000.
The WPTP call letters went into effect on November 22. WPTP shifted to hot AC in early 2003. After the hot AC format on WPTP failed, on November 17, 2003, WPTP flipped to its current format as "Wild 96.5" (with callsign changing to WLDW which was later given to a small channel). After the Clear Channel injunction, WLDW became "Wired 96.5" and the callsign changed to WRDW-FM (the -FM tag is necessary because of the existence of AM station WRDW in Augusta, Georgia, which is also owned by Beasley).
On October 2, 2014, Beasley Broadcast Group announced that it would trade 5 radio stations located in Philadelphia and Miami to CBS Radio in exchange for 14 stations located in Tampa, Charlotte and Philadelphia (which Beasley will acquire 610 AM). The swap was completed on December 1, 2014.
From the beginning in the format, Wired 96.5 had some personnel changes in their airstaff. From the start, the original lineup included "Rocco the Janitor", Janita Applebaum, Dakota, Angel Garcia, and Kannon. By January 2006, Rocco was forced out of the morning slot to make room for the short-lived "Big Mama and the Wild Bunch" morning show. Dakota, who did 10PM - 2AM, transferred to a Beasley sister station in Fort Myers, Florida to do mornings. Immediately following, Hawaiian Morning Show duo "Sam & Ryan" handled on-air duties until a contract conflict & poor ratings gave way to another morning show exchange in early 2006. On March 20, 2006, Wired 96.5 acquired CHR/Pop radio station Q102's former morning host, Chio (who had briefly relocated to San Diego, CA to do a morning show there), to replace Big Mama. On October 12, 2006, it was announced that morning show member Casey was leaving that show to fill the Mid-Day slot (10am-3pm) after Applebaum left the station. In 2007, Wired began airing television commercials featuring Chio promoting the radio station and "Chio In The Morning".
In 2011, Chunky, Buster, and DJ Bonics were hired to eventually help develop the Philly's Party Station brand Wired 96.5 is currently operating under. Wired's brand is known as a lifestyle station aimed at Females 18-34 in Philadelphia and South New Jersey.
When WRDW debuted, it used the slogan "18 in a row" to promote its direction and distinguish itself from the competition. Around the beginning of the third quarter of 2005, Wired 96.5 introduced podcast programming, where listeners could send in their top 18 songs to be aired together at once. This led to rumors of a shift in Wired 96.5's direction. In January 2006, Wired 96.5's began a gradual switch from being categorized as CHR/Rhythmic to CHR/Pop, when the station changed its slogan to "Where Hit Music Lives" (which they revived in 2011) indicating a more Top 40/Pop playlist, but after a brief flirtation it did not evolve and stayed Rhythmic. As of today, they are still listed in Mediabase & BDS as a Rhythmic reporter because its playlist still favors Rhythmic hits even with the pop content thrown in. It also billed themselves as "Hits & Hip-Hop" to reflect their current direction; the slogan was later replaced with "Philly's Party Station." In 2008, they started following the same direction as sister station Power 96/Miami by adding Dance product to the playlist, such as "Mr. Saxobeat" by Alexandra Stan, and has expanded on that genre. By 2011, following Mediabase's move of rival WPHI-FM to the urban contemporary panel, WRDW-FM became Philadelphia's only rhythmic station.
In 2007, WRDW added an HD2 subcarrier to its lineup to carry non-stop Dance music 24/7 under the moniker "Hot Wired." The music and imaging is similar to sister station WPOW's HD2 subcarrier channel, now defunct. In 2012, the format changed to foreign language programming as "VDC Radio". In May 2013, Hot Wired returned to 96.5-HD2, while VDC moved to WXTU-HD3.
WRDW's signal can be heard as far north as Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Walnutport, Pennsylvania, Frackville, Pennsylvania and Maplewood, New Jersey, despite there being a pirate radio station called Streetz 96 in Newark, New Jersey (Streetz 96 moved from 96.5 to 106.5 on the FM dial). This is rather unusual as WRDW operates on a class B frequency with an Effective radiated power of 17,000 watts.
- http://www.phillytalkradioonline.com/comment/gil_gross.html, Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIXqF2hw1-A , Irv Homer
- CBS And Beasley Swap Philadelphia/Miami For Charlotte/Tampa from Radio Insight (October 2, 2014)
- Venta, Lance (December 1, 2014). "CBS Beasley Deal Closes". RadioInsight. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- WRDW Website
- 96.5 Philadelphia Information
- Wired 96.5 YouTube Videos
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRDW
- Radio-Locator information on WRDW
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRDW