|City||Voorheesville, New York|
|Broadcast area||Capital Region|
|Slogan||"#1 for Hip-Hop and Today's Hits"|
|First air date||1991|
|Callsign meaning||W Albany JamZ|
|Former callsigns||WCDA (1991-96)
(6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WFLY, WKLI, WROW, WYJB, WINU|
WAJZ is an urban-leaning Rhythmic Contemporary station serving the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area. The station is owned by Pamal Broadcasting and operates at 96.3 MHz with an ERP of 470 watts and is licensed to Voorheesville, New York. The station is one of the few Class A FM signals based on the Helderberg Mountains antenna farm used by higher powered FM's and most TV stations in the market.
Since the launch of Jamz 96.3 on December 23, 1998, it has become one of the most popular radio stations in the Albany market, initially as an urban contemporary radio station, and evolving to rhythmic contemporary by September 2005 due to WKKF's change in direction. As of 2011, the station tends to lean more urban rather than dance (similar to WQHT in New York City) due to sister mainstream CHR WFLY, and has ranked in the top 5 in several Arbitron books, a rarity for a lower-powered signal in the Albany market.
The station signed on May 24, 1991 as WCDA, running a full-service, locally programmed adult contemporary format, calling itself CD96.3. The format ran for three years, featuring live, personality-driven programming that included a full-time news staff. Unfortunately, the market was over-served by adult contemporary stations, and three years later the format was changed to a contemporary country format, initially using programming from Jones Satellite to target dominant country station WGNA-FM. Eventually, WCDA brought back in more locally produced programming. Like most locally owned and operated "single" stations, WCDA found itself competing against ownership groups that had acquired multiple stations. The Albany market, like most radio markets in the nation, saw all of its individually owned stations eventually sold to larger group broadcasters, WCDA among them.
In August 1996, Albany Broadcasting (forerunner to today's Pamal Broadcasting) purchased WCDA, put the WPTR calls the company retained from their sale of 1540 AM, and relaunched the station under a classic-heavy country approach. After 18 months of struggling ratings, the station relaunched on November 3, 1997 as New country Power Country 96.3 after a weekend of Halloween-related stunting. The relaunch had no effect on its ratings as the station languished at the bottom of the ratings even with rights to Siena College men's basketball and New York Yankees baseball.
On December 23, 1998, WPTR changed its format to Urban Contemporary, the first such station in the market, as Jamz 96.3 with the WAJZ calls following several weeks later. For its first half-decade, the station maintained very good numbers, but increased competition from rivals WVCR-FM (Siena College) and rhythmic-leaning WKKF forced the station to reevaluate its stance. In September 2005, it started shifting its direction towards a Rhythmic Contemporary approach (similar to WPKF in Poughkeepsie) due to the station not having competitors when they were an urban station. Since 2011, the station has returned to an Urban Contemporary direction, with most dance product shifting to sister station WFLY; however, the station is still reported as a Rhythmic Contemporary by Mediabase and Nielsen BDS.