WTHK, known on-air as "The Hawk" was a radio station located at 97.5 FM which had a classic rock format. Although the station was originally licensed to Trenton, New Jersey, changing to Burlington, New Jersey in early 2006, The Hawk targeted the Philadelphia broadcasting area in addition to its own local region. Its transmitter was located in Ewing Township.
At 6PM EST, on Friday, November 17, 2006, the callsign changed to WJJZ and the format flipped to smooth jazz. The station transferred ownership from Nassau Broadcasting to Greater Media. It is also planned to move the transmitter from Ewing Township to Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, shortly after the flip.
In February 2005, WTHK flipped frequencies with sister station WPST, moving from 94.5 to 97.5 FM.
History of 97.5
97.5 started life, initially on January 10, 1949, then officially on April 19, 1949, as WTOA. It was owned by the Mercer Broadcasting Company, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trenton Times newspaper. WTOA started out broadcasting from 3pm to 11pm, with an ERP of 14,500 watts. Its original coverage area reached as far north as Brooklyn, New York, and as far west as Reading, Pennsylvania.
97.5 became WPST on September 13, 1971. The WPST calls originally stood for "Passport Stereo Trenton," a slogan of the station at the time. WPST is known for its mainstream CHR format, which they've had for many years. Tom Taylor was the PD who launched the format in the mid 1970s, and did mornings on the station until 1987.
In August 1975, owner Herb Hobler hired Phil Gieger as the General Manager. Along with Tom Taylor, they revamped the station and coined the phrase, "From The Shore To The Poconos, The Music Is On The FM 97.5 WPST." They initially established an Adult Rock format, and by the fall of 1975, the station took off and eventually became the number one station in the market.
Some WPST DJs over the years included John Mellon (aka Walt Ballard), Ed Johnson, Doug James, John Brown, Eddie Davis, Trish Merelo, Andy Gury, Brian Douglas, Mel Toxic, Jay Sorensen, Dave Hoeffel, Tom Cunningham, Michelle Stevens, Eric Johnson, Mark Sheppard,Bob Sorrentino,Lee Tobin,Lori Johnson, André Gardner, Phil Simon, Steve Trevelise, Joel Katz, Rich DeSisto and Scott Lowe.
On February 14, 2005, at 5pm, 97.5 "switched" frequencies and formats with 94.5 WTHK. In August 2005, 97.5's city of license was changed from Trenton to Burlington. WTHK 97.5 The Hawk signed off the air forever on November 15, 2006 at 7 PM EST. Smooth Jazz WJJZ took over the spot two days later at 6 PM EST. In the meantime, Greater Media aired a simulcast of WMGK, The Hawk's one-time competitor, on 97.5. Because WMGK is also a classic rock station, WTHK was ultimately discontinued in favor of WJJZ.
History of 94.5
94.5 in Trenton began on August 7, 1965, as WCHR-FM with a religious format. But after 33 years, that changed when Nassau Broadcasting bought the station. November 10, 1997, saw the beginning of things to come when WCHR began to simulcast on 920 AM in Trenton in preparation for a format change. On February 27, 1998, WCHR started stunting with construction sound effects, and on March 2, 1998, 94.5 became "New Jersey's Oldies Station." The WNJO calls were assigned on March 26, 1998. (Some time after that, the WCHR call sign was reassigned to 105.7 in Manahawkin, New Jersey).
On November 1, 2001, WNJO switched to a classic hits format as "94.5 The Hawk." Calls changed to WTHK on August 1, 2002 - and slowly evolved into a classic rock station. On February 14, 2005, at 5pm, 94.5 "switched" frequencies and formats with 97.5 WPST.
Reaction to The Hawk's loss
As expected, many former listeners of WTHK reacted the same way WJJZ's listeners did when Clear Channel discontinued the latter station in August 2006. The Hawk had a very loyal fanbase, and most of them have already said that they will not switch to its former competitor, Greater Media's WMGK. Since The Hawk's demise, WMGK is now Mercer and Bucks County's only local classic rock station, though out of market Classic Rock stations such as New York's Q104.3 (WAXQ), Jersey Shore's 105.7 The Hawk (WCHR-FM), and Easten's Classic Hits 99.9 The Hawk (WODE) can still be picked up in parts of this area .
However, WCHR-FM, which as noted above transmits from Manahawkin, New Jersey, is also named "The Hawk," and carries very similar content. This station is audible, and rather strong, at the eastern edge of the Philadelphia market.
- Press Release about the format change
- 97.5 - The Hawk's website
- Free Beer And Hot Wings Morning Show home page