|Broadcast area||Washington metropolitan area|
|Slogan||Washington's Classic Rock|
|Frequency||100.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1951|
|Format||Analog/HD1: Classic rock
HD2: Ethnic Vietnamese ("Nationwide Viet Radio")
|ERP||50,000 watts (analog)
500 watts (digital)
|HAAT||149 meters (489 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Big 100|
|Former callsigns||WOOK-FM (1951)
|Former frequencies||95.9 MHz (1951–1952)|
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
|Sister stations||WASH-FM, WIHT, WMZQ, WWDC|
WBIG-FM (100.3 FM, "Big 100") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Washington, D.C. The station is owned by iHeartMedia through licensee AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C. and broadcasts a classic rock format. The broadcast tower used by the station is located west of Falls Church, Virginia at ( ), while studios are located in Rockville, Maryland.
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WOOK-FM signed on in 1951 on 95.9 MHz. It soon changed callsigns to WFAN, apparently to emphasize its status as the flagship of the Washington Senators radio network. The station moved to 100.3 MHz and upgraded power in 1952. By 1959, it is recorded as "mostly duplicating" co-owned WOOK (then-1340 AM).
By the late 1960s, WFAN was running a Spanish-language format, the first in the Washington area. In the mid-1970s, United Broadcasting, the owner of WFAN-FM, WOOK and WFAN-TV (channel 14), was beset by legal issues. In September 1975, the Federal Communications Commission cited WOOK for broadcasting fraudulent advertising and denied renewal of its license. Faced with losing one of their two radio signals, United decided to preserve the more popular urban contemporary format of WOOK, moving it and the callsign to 100.3 FM – now branded "OK 100" – in December 1976. The WFAN callsign and Spanish format, which had a smaller audience, moved to 1340 AM. The AM station's license duly expired April 22, 1978, and the 1340 AM allocation was turned over to WYCB. The decision to sacrifice the Spanish-language format led to complaints to the FCC from the local Hispanic community. Unlike equivalent bodies such as the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, the FCC does not concern itself with the type of programming broadcast by licensed stations, so it did not take action. In February 1984, the station rebranded as WDJY "DJ 100".
Starting in October 1990, the station featured an eclectic smooth jazz format as "Jazzy 100", later changing callsigns to WJZE. WJZE was acquired by Colfax Broadcasting and adopted the oldies format as WBIG-FM at 4 p.m. on June 3, 1993. The station was sold to Chancellor Broadcasting in 1996; Chancellor then merged with Capstar Broadcasting to form AMFM, Inc. in 1998. WBIG-FM came under its current ownership when iHeartMedia (then known as Clear Channel Communications) purchased AMFM in October 1999.
WBIG "evolved" from an oldies format to classic hits (1970s and early 1980s) on April 3, 2006. This was accompanied with a slight branding change to "Big 100.3". The changeover was not announced, and the new format followed Jack FM's lead by removing several announcers. Jeff "Goldy" Gold, who spent 12 years at WBIG, was the morning host at WFVL in Fayetteville, N.C. from September 2005 to February 2009. Since 2012, Goldy has been the host of Good Morning Fayetteville on News/Talk 640 WFNC. Kathy Whiteside now does mid-days at Lite FM in Baltimore, Johnny Dark worked at WTTR AM in Westminster, Maryland until his passing in September 2016, and Ira Melman worked for a while at WTOP-FM in DC, and now works for VOA, the Voice of America, in Washington.
WBIG was the first station in the U.S. to work directly with a Beatle. Ringo Starr hosted and voiced the commercials for the "BIG Ringo Starr Art Show" in March 2007. It was the first time that artwork from all four Beatles appeared in the same exhibition. Proceeds from the sales of art benefited Ringo's charity The Lotus Foundations. The station converted their website from idigbig.com to idigringo.com and changed the graphics to reflect Ringo's participation, including home videos provided by Ringo.
After the spring 2009 format change of rival classic rock station WTGB (now WIAD) to adult contemporary, WBIG-FM tried to appease listeners of WTGB by shifting to a musical position in between light classic hits and slightly heavier classic rock but still not becoming a full-fledged classic rock station. Four months later, oldies outlet WJZW (now WMAL-FM) flipped to mainstream rock (mostly heavy classic rock with a few newer songs). Throughout 2010, WVRX slowly siphoned listeners from WBIG, especially in WVRX's target demographic of men 25-54. By the third week of August, 2010, WBIG had plummeted to 14th in the overall Arbitron radio ratings; it had been hovering around 8th place since the demise of WTGB. Accordingly, on August 30, 2010, the station fired its last on-air morning show staff: morning man Jon Ballard and news anchor Bill Stabler. After being fired, Ballard called into Elliot in the Morning (based at sister station DC101 WWDC, where Ballard worked afternoons until 2006) and began to discuss the incident with Elliot Segal. Reportedly, although Ballard did not criticize WBIG-FM or Clear Channel, WWDC management cut off the conversation by ending the show early and "dumping" to music, a process normally used to avoid content that would garner FCC fines. After Ballard's firing, the station shifted its playlist completely to classic rock, and began promoting the fact that it was now DJ-less. In October, the DJ's returned; with Lisa Berigan doing middays, Doc Reno doing afternoon drive, and Big Rig doing nights. On November 20, Tommy Griffiths would take the station's morning shift.
In July 2016, "Big 100.3" reverted to the "Big 100" branding.
WBIG-FM is short-spaced to WRNB 100.3 WRNB (licensed to serve Media, Pennsylvania) as the cities they are licensed to serve are only 112 miles apart. The minimum distance between two Class B stations operating on the same channel according to current FCC rules is 150 miles.
- "RadioStationWorld - District of Columbia". radiostationworld.com. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Engineering STA [WBIG-FM], Attachment 4: IBOC STA Request". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. July 24, 2007. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
- "FCC History Card for WBIG-FM".
- "FM Query Results for WBIG". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- Broadcasting-Telecasting Yearbook 1951 (PDF). p. 164.
- "WOOK-FM Now WFAN (FM)" (PDF). Broadcasting-Telecasting. May 7, 1951. p. 52.
- "FM Spot Check" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 9, 1959.
- "Brand loyalty" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 19, 1966. p. 88.
- Richards, K.M. "WOOK-TV/14, Washington, DC". The History of UHF Television.
- "FCC denies renewal to Eaton's WOOK, adding another jeopardy to woes of broadcast group" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 15, 1975. p. 30.
- "Call letters" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 10, 1977. p. 68.
- "The switcheroo in Washington" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 1, 1978. p. 38.
- "Call letters" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 27, 1984. p. 72.
- Yorke, Jeffrey (23 October 1990). "WDJY, at a jazz juncture". Washington Post.
- "S-4 SEC filing". EDGAR Online. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- Yorke, Jeffrey (January 17, 1995). "WJZW-FM: A Jump for Jazz". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- Michael Futch, "Layoffs Claim Radio Hosts," The Fayetteville Observer, February 10, 2009.
- "After WBIG, Washington morning man is fired, he calls sister station DC101". Radio-Info.com. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- "Jon Ballard Exits Big 100.3/Washington, D.C. Mornings". All Access. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- "How Far is it Between Media, PA, USA and Washington, DC, USA". Free Map Tools. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
- "Minimum distance separation between stations. 47 CFR § 73.207 (1)" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-06-11.
- Official website
- Washington Post article examining the format change
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBIG
- Radio-Locator information on WBIG
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WBIG