KDKA-FM

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KDKA-FM
KDKA-FM logo
City Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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 (1953) (as WKJF-FM)
Format Analog/HD1: Sports talk
HD2: News/Talk (KDKA simulcast)
HD3: Sports talk (CBS Sports Radio simulcast)
ERP 41,000 watts (analog)
1,955 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT 167 meters (548 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 20350
Callsign meaning taken from sister station KDKA
Former callsigns WKJF-FM (1950s-after 1968)[2]
WKOI (?-1974)
WJOI (1974-12/10/1981)
WBZZ (12/10/1981-07/07/2004)
WRKZ (07/07/2004-04/02/2007)
WTZN-FM (04/02/2007-11/27/2007)
WBZW-FM (11/27/2007-02/15/2010)
Affiliations Pittsburgh Pirates Radio Network
Pittsburgh Panthers
CBS Sports Radio
NFL on Westwood One
Owner CBS Radio
(sale to Entercom pending)
(CBS Radio Stations Inc.)
Sister stations KDKA, KDKA-TV, WBZZ, WDSY-FM, WPCW
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.937thefan.com

KDKA-FM (93.7 FM, "SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The station is owned by CBS Radio through licensee CBS Radio Stations Inc. and broadcasts a sports radio format. Studios are located at Foster Plaza near Green Tree (west of Pittsburgh) while the broadcast tower used by the station is located on Mount Washington (next to their former studios) in Pittsburgh's South Shore neighborhood at (40°26′28.0″N 80°01′31.0″W / 40.441111°N 80.025278°W / 40.441111; -80.025278).[3]

The station serves as the flagship station for the Pittsburgh Pirates Radio Network and the Pittsburgh Panthers IMG sports network. KDKA-FM uses HD Radio and simulcasts the programming of sister station KDKA on its HD2 subchannel, while the national broadcast feed of CBS Sports Radio is simulcast on its HD3 subchannel.

History[edit]

KDKA-FM's HD Radio Channels on a SPARC Radio with PSD and EAS.

Early years[edit]

The station signed on for the first time using the WKJF-FM call sign in the 1950s as 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"[edit]

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.[4] 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.

KDKA-FM's Tower on top of Mount Washington

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 rebranded as “93-7 BZZ”. This was done as 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[edit]

In 2004, Clear Channel cancelled The Howard Stern Show including on 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 unveiled 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., after briefly touting a big announcement, 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.[5][6][7][8][9] 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 sign 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.

To replace Stern, the station carried David Lee Roth's radio show as his replacement. However, due to low ratings, Roth was replaced by Opie and Anthony less than three months after his debut.

The afternoon drive show of Kidd Chris, from co-owned WYSP in Philadelphia, aired on 93.7 from August 28, 2006 until March 19, 2007.

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.[10] The station also carried programming from Sporting News Radio. Miller and Paulsen were displaced to KDKA when the format was abandoned.

Revival of B94[edit]

Logo for the revival of B94, used from October 2007 to February 2010

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.[11] 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."[12] 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), Detroit (WVMV), Boston (WODS), and Orlando (WJHM).

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 aired 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 sign, WBZZ, were in use by an Adult Contemporary radio station in Malta, New York. That station is now WQSH, and CBS has indicated an intention to reacquire the call sign 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)[edit]

On January 19, 2010, it was announced that CBS Radio would drop the B94 branding again, and would flip the format to sports talk, launching February 15, 2010 under the name "Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan".[13][14] 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-FM, and then the current WBZZ (WZPT would adopt the call sign in 2011). Midday guy Sean "Coop" Cooper was transferred to nights at WYCD in Detroit.[15]

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.[16]

The station also adopted the KDKA-FM call sign 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 and the Pittsburgh Panthers IMG College Sports Network. If Pitt and the Pirates are on at the same time, KDKA-FM will broadcast the Panthers and sister KDKA will broadcast the Pirates.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [KDKA]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. April 18, 2011. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  2. ^ http://www.pbrtv.com/stations-in-the-late-1960s/
  3. ^ "FM Query Results for KDKA". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  4. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Billboard/80s/1981/BB-1981-04-18.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.fybush.com/NERW/2004/040712/nerw.html
  6. ^ Stern returns to Pittsburgh radio
  7. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/stories/2004/06/28/daily35.html
  8. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/2000s/2004/RR-2004-07-09.pdf
  9. ^ Shock jock sparks reformat; firing of morning DJs at WBZZ
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  11. ^ Radio station 93.7 dumps talk format after six months Archived 2010-01-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ B94 Returns
  13. ^ The Fan Blowing Into Pittsburgh
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  16. ^ Debut of 93.7 The Fan

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°26′28″N 80°01′31″W / 40.4412°N 80.0253°W / 40.4412; -80.0253