|City of license||Providence, Rhode Island|
|Broadcast area||Providence metropolitan area|
|Branding||Lite Rock 105|
|Slogan||Today's Hits & Yesterday's Favorites|
|Frequency||105.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||July 11, 1948|
|Former callsigns||WPJB (1948-1951)
|Sister stations||WEAN-FM, WPRO, WPRO-FM, WPRV, WWKX|
WWLI (105.1 FM) is a radio station in Providence, Rhode Island that under ownership of Cumulus Media. This station is better known as "Lite Rock 105" and plays the adult contemporary format. Its transmitter is located in Johnston, Rhode Island, while its studios are located in East Providence.
The station began broadcasting July 11, 1948 as WPJB, owned by The Providence Journal. WPJB was initially one of the few FM stations to not be co-owned with an AM station, but in 1951 the Journal purchased WFCI (1420 AM) and changed its call letters to WPJB; this resulted in the FM station changing to WPJB-FM. The Journal would shut down WPJB on October 9, 1954 after purchasing WEAN (790 AM; now WPRV) from General Teleradio; as WEAN did not operate an FM station, WPJB-FM remained on the air with classical music, though both stations retained their existing call letters. The station subsequently incorporated beautiful music into its programming as well.
WPJB-FM became a top 40 station, "JB 105", on August 1, 1975, a change promoted in The Providence Journal the week before; the station's classical music library was donated to the Providence College radio station, WDOM, a year later. The station initially used an early version of a format developed by Mike Joseph that eventually became known as Hot Hits (branded as "Big Hits" on WPJB), though it phased out most aspects of this format by 1977. WPJB saw some ratings success when rival WPRO-FM began taking a more adult-focused approach in 1980, boosting its teen listenership; however, by the end of the year, WPRO-FM's ratings began to recover, and WPJB began making changes to its format. Initially, at the start of 1981, the station moved to more of a rock-based direction, but after WHJY adopted an album rock format in September, WPJB abruptly backed away from this emphasis. The following year, the station began shifting to an adult contemporary format; that November, WPJB stopped including a top-35 chart in The Providence Journal, and in 1983 the "JB 105" branding was dropped. WPJB again shifted closer to top 40 in August 1984.
The Providence Journal sold WPJB-FM and WEAN to Eastern Broadcasting Corporation in 1985. Eastern placed less emphasis on the WPJB call letters that April; on June 13, the station began to announce that "WPJB is dead!", and after a period of stunting, it adopted a soft adult contemporary format, "Lite 105", on June 14, with the call letters changing to WWLI. Eastern Broadcasting was bought by Tele-Media in 1989; four years later, Tele-Media bought former rival WPRO-FM and its AM sister station. Tele-Media, in turn, sold its stations to Citadel Broadcasting in 1997. WWLI soon moved to a mainstream adult contemporary format, and changed its branding to "Lite Rock 105" in 2001.
In 2007, the format was freshened to include more 1980s, 1990s and current songs, while dropping some songs from the 1970s. By the end of 2008, longtime afternoon host Charlie Jefferds left the station and live weekend hosts were eliminated in a cost cutting measure. In November 2010, mid-day host Tanya Cruise left the station in light of personal affairs. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011. On Friday, November 4, 2011, NiteLite host Art Spencer was released after 18 years as the station's evening host, per budget cuts ordered by new owner, Cumulus. In July 2012, Assistant Program Director and production guru Mike Rovin left the station, in a promotion to Program Director at Cumulus' sister stations WHOM and WJBQ in Portland, ME. By the end of 2012, Program Director Tony Bristol also left the station. Since Bristol's departure, the format has leaned more in the direction of Hot Adult Contemporary. On Saturday, February 2, 2013, the syndicated show BACKTRAX USA with Kid Kelly (90s edition) made its debut on the station. By the end of February, Brian Demay was named as new Program Director and Afternoon Drive host. Demay was formerly PD for Beasley Broadcasting's WJBR in Wilmington, Delaware, and left the station with the highest ratings in its history.
In December 2013 the new "Heather and Steve" morning show debuted (former host David Jones exited in November 2013), and in February of 2014, "Nite Lite with John Tesh" was added. According to Nielsen Audio, Nite Lite is the highest rated nighttime radio show in the Providence radio market.
Current air personalities include morning show hosts Heather and Steve (Heather Gersten and Stephen Donovan), mid-day host Amy Pontes, afternoon host and Program Director Brian Demay, and evening host John Tesh.
Notable former personnel include inaugural Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame member Charlie Jefferds, former Program Director Tony Bristol, former morning show host David Jones, former Nite Lite host Art Spencer, former morning show host Gary Degraide, former Assistant Program Director Mike Rovin (aka, JT), Heidi West, Peter Clark, Linda Liese, Tom Holt, Bonnie, Donna Mac, Sue Wilson, Kim Wakefield, Scott Cook, Lori Sergiacomi (aka, Tanya Cruise), Larry Kruger, Rick Cabral (aka, RJ), Michael Bernz (deceased) and Cruisin' Bruce Palmer.
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1949 (PDF). 1949. p. 314. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "WFCI Sale" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. April 9, 1951. p. 22. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "FCC roundup" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. June 11, 1951. p. 96. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "Journal Takes WEAN Oct. 9, Relinquishes WPJB There" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. October 4, 1951. p. 62. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1973 (PDF). 1973. p. B-138. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "WPJB (JB 105) History". Radio Histories. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- Monti, Henry; Ratcliffe, Richard (November 3, 1976). "WPJB Donates Library". The Cowl. p. 3. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- "Providence Journal Co. sells two radio stations". The Telegraph. January 16, 1985. p. 36. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Fybush, Scott (April 3, 1997). "Snow, Snow, and More Snow". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Fybush, Scott (April 16, 2001). "Clear Channel Buys Two in Maine". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
- 1992 Broadcasting Yearbook, page A-306
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WWLI
- Radio-Locator information on WWLI
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WWLI