|Broadcast area||Pittsburgh metropolitan area|
|Branding||SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan|
|Slogan||Pittsburgh's Hometown Sports Station|
|Frequency||93.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1953|
|Format||93.7 HD-1: Sports talk
93.7 HD-2: KDKA simulcast
93.7 HD-3: CBS Sports Radio
|Callsign meaning||taken from sister station KDKA|
|Former callsigns||WKJF-FM (1950s-after 1968)
|Affiliations||Pittsburgh Pirates Radio Network
CBS Sports Radio
NFL on Westwood One
(CBS Radio Stations Inc.)
|Sister stations||KDKA, KDKA-TV, WBZZ, WDSY-FM, WPCW|
KDKA-FM (93.7 FM), branded as "SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan", is a radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Owned by CBS Radio, the station operates at 93.7 MHz with an ERP of 41 kW. Its studios are located at Foster Plaza in Green Tree west of downtown Pittsburgh, and the transmitter is located on Mount Washington (next to their former studios) in Pittsburgh's South Shore area.
The station programs a sports radio format, and serves as the flagship station for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). It simulcasts its AM namesake, KDKA on its HD2 subchannel, while HD3 is the national broadcast feed of CBS Sports Radio.
The 93.7 frequency in Pittsburgh began its life as WKJF-FM in the 1950s, an independently owned FM station. For a brief time, there was a co-owned UHF TV station, WKJF-TV (channel 53; now occupied by WPGH-TV), which operated in 1953-54.
During its early incarnations as WKJF, WKOI, and WJOI, the station programmed a beautiful music format. During the 1960s, Bill Hillgrove, who would later become a Pittsburgh sportscaster, was a staff member and hosted a Saturday night big band show titled "Stereo Dance Party." For many years, the station was owned by EZ Communications.
WBZZ - B94
Debuting at Midnight on April 5, 1981, WBZZ (B94) was the city’s number one Top 40 music station, tailoring its programming to not only a younger audience, but also a Pittsburgh audience. The first song played after the format switch was "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel.
B94 featured local morning shows such as “Quinn and Banana" (featuring Jim Quinn and "Banana" Don Jefferson) from its debut in 1983 until 1993, and “John, Dave, Bubba, Shelly” (with some minor personality changes) from 1993 through 2004. In addition, the station as a whole featured a mostly local airstaff who were born and/or raised in the area.
EZ Communications would merge with American Radio Systems in July 1997, with ARS merging with Infinity Broadcasting (owned by CBS Radio) in September of that year. (Infinity would be renamed CBS Radio in December 2005.) In 1998, the station relocated from its longtime studios on Mount Washington to Foster Plaza in Green Tree.
In 2000, Clear Channel Communications unveiled a new CHR format, KISS-FM, on WKST-FM. The new station began to take a large chunk out of B94's audience. With more syndicated programming featuring famous national on air talent and focusing more on the younger audience, B94, for the first time, saw itself slipping into second place. Also not helping matters was sister station WZPT switching to a Hot AC format at the same time, which, while it played a mix of 1980s and 1990s music with current hits, otherwise had a similar format to B94.
In February 2003, WBZZ tweaked its name by calling itself “93-7 BZZ”. This was done because the station didn't want any confusion of exactly where it was on the radio dial, especially considering that the only station in Pittsburgh actually on the 94 range (WWSW-FM) had an oldies format. It was also done to re-image the station to compete with WKST, and because most radio stations sound out their exact frequency rather than rounding it due to the spread of digital tuners. Later, in mid-2004, the station tweaked its name again, calling itself "B93-7".
The "K-Rock" years and "The Zone" experiment
In 2004, Clear Channel yanked Howard Stern from all of their owned stations that aired his show, including the local WXDX-FM. In response, WBZZ operations manager Keith Clark decided to flip the station’s format after 23 years, and not only pick up Howard Stern (which he saw as a golden opportunity to improve the station's ratings), but unveil a new active rock format known as "93-7 K-Rock" to compete with Clear Channel’s other rock stations.
On June 30, 2004, at 8 a.m., without much warning, WBZZ’s on-air talent gathered to say goodbye to Pittsburgh, thanking the city for its support throughout the years. WBZZ ended the Top 40 format at 8:30 a.m. with "Move This" by Technotronic, while K-Rock's first song was "For Those About To Rock" by AC/DC. Listeners that had liked WBZZ but didn't like the new rock format were encouraged on-air to listen to sister station WZPT. The WBZZ call letters would be replaced by WRKZ on July 7, 2004. Ratings for the station improved initially after the switch, but began to decline before Howard Stern's departure for Sirius Satellite Radio.
On April 2, 2007, WRKZ became "93.7 The Zone," and changed its call signs to WTZN-FM in the process. This left Pittsburgh without an active rock station until WKVE flipped to it in 2009. The new station, although not carrying the "Free FM" name in its branding, was considered to be part of CBS's hot talk network by that name, the only station to affiliate with the network after the initial launch. Joining the lineup were Opie and Anthony, Pittsburgh native Dennis Miller, and former WDVE personality Scott Paulsen. The station also carried programming from Sporting News Radio. Miller and Paulsen were displaced to KDKA when the format was abandoned.
Revert to B94
On Monday, October 1, 2007, at 10 AM, after Opie and Anthony, WTZN began stunting with Christmas music, in anticipation of a format flip scheduled for later that week. The station made some fairly obvious hints as to the future of the station, advertising "Something's missing in 'Pitts-urgh'," and asking, "What is missing in Pitts-urgh?", prompting visitors to go to a message board at http://www.pitts-urgh.com/ where there was a message board asking "What do you miss the most about Pittsburgh?," among the choices being "B94 Radio."
B94 returned to Pittsburgh the following Friday, October 5, at 5 pm, with its first song being Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack." This marked CBS Radio's first top 40 station launch of the late 2000s; it would later launch the format in Houston (KKHH), San Francisco (KMVQ-FM), New York City (WXRK), Los Angeles (KAMP-FM), and Detroit (WVMV).
The return of B94 was apparently part of a CBS Radio initiative of resurrecting radio stations that had been killed off for other formats, such as WCBS-FM in New York and KFRC-FM in San Francisco. However, unlike those stations, which carry classic hits formats, B94 played current hits.
On November 27, 2007, WTZN switched its call sign to WBZW-FM to reflect its new format. B94's former call letters, WBZZ, were in use by an Adult Contemporary radio station in Malta, New York. That station is now known as WQSH, and CBS has indicated an intention to reacquire the call signs for use on one of its properties (which would later be at WZPT).
In the wake of WAMO-FM's departure from the Urban Contemporary format in September 2009 after it was sold to a Catholic-based organization, WBZW managed to take advantage of the situation by adding current R&B/Hip-Hop tracks to pick up the displaced WAMO listeners, even at the expense of the more Rhythmic-heavy WKST, but at the same time, stay within the Mainstream Top 40/CHR realm due to WKST's Rhythmic direction.
KDKA-FM (Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan)
On January 19, 2010, it was announced that CBS Radio would drop B94 again, and would flip the frequency to sports talk, launching February 15, 2010 under the name "Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan". Again, the change was part of an initiative by CBS to establish FM sports talk stations; often displacing heritage music stations in the process (WBZ-FM in Boston was another example of this). The station will focus on local sports programming while going head-to-head with WEAE and WBGG, which are owned by ESPN Radio and affiliated with Fox Sports Radio, respectively. Much like the previous abandonment of B94, the station's format was merged into WZPT ("Star 100.7"). Bubba and Melanie from the former B94 morning show have both moved to Star 100.7, with Bubba joining JR and Shelly on the morning show and Melanie Taylor taking the midday shift. Former WZPT midday jock Scott Alexander slides to afternoons, prompting the exit of former Star afternoon personality Jonny Hartwell. Kobe, B94's afternoon jock and Music Director, and Flick, B94's night jock, were both released. Flick eventually wound up at WKST, and then the current WBZZ (WZPT would adopt the call letters in 2011). Midday guy Sean "Coop" Cooper was transferred to nights at WYCD in Detroit.
The end of B94 came in the late hours of the 14th, when 93.7 began stunting with music played at sports events, also known as "jock jams", and liners redirecting listeners of B94 to Star, before the flip officially occurred at 6 AM on the 15th. Many station liners are also used (with a different branding) on sister stations WSCR in Chicago, WKRK-FM in Cleveland, and WFAN/WFAN-FM in New York.
The station also adopted the call sign KDKA-FM on February 15, 2010, to reflect the recent trend for CBS Radio all-sports stations in markets with a heritage CBS-owned station to have matching call signs, in this case KDKA-TV and the historic KDKA Radio. In 2012, KDKA-FM became the flagship station for the Pittsburgh Pirates Radio Network.
- Stern returns to Pittsburgh radio
- Shock jock sparks reformat; firing of morning DJs at WBZZ
- Radio station 93.7 dumps talk format after six months
- B94 Returns
- The Fan Blowing Into Pittsburgh
- Debut of 93.7 The Fan
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KDKA
- Radio-Locator information on KDKA
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KDKA
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article
- Paulsen's Departure from WDVE
- Article on B94's return from Edison Media Research (October 10, 2007)