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Broadcast areaBaltimore metropolitan area
Frequency91.5 MHz (HD Radio)
OwnerBaltimore City Community College
First air date
1951 (at 88.1)
Former frequencies
88.1 MHz (1951–1962)
Call sign meaning
Baltimore Junior College
Technical information
Facility ID3654
ERP50,000 watts (analog)
2,000 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT152 meters (499 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
39°23′11.4″N 76°43′50.9″W / 39.386500°N 76.730806°W / 39.386500; -76.730806 (WBJC)
WebcastListen Live (iTunes/MP3)
Listen Live (Windows Media)

WBJC (91.5 FM) is a non-commercial, public FM radio station licensed to serve Baltimore, Maryland. The station is owned by Baltimore City Community College and broadcasts a classical music format. Its broadcast tower is located near Pikesville, Maryland at (39°23′11.0″N 76°43′51.0″W / 39.386389°N 76.730833°W / 39.386389; -76.730833).[2]


WBJC-FM originally broadcast on 88.1 MHz with a 250 watt transmitter obtained from military surplus by Edward Arnold, chief engineer, to serve as a workshop for his students of radio and for those of the Department of Speech, Drama and Radio, headed by Clarence DeHaven at the Baltimore Junior College, which shared the campus of the Baltimore high school, known as Baltimore City College. Its antenna had a gain of -3db so that the effective radiated power was only 125 watts. However the antenna was on the top of the school's tower, which enjoyed a great view of almost all of Baltimore except for a few valleys. and its signal covered the City of Baltimore and much of surrounding counties. Generally speaking the station operated a flexible schedule as it was largely dependent on student volunteers. Generally the station signed off at 5 PM, but sports events often extended the broadcast day and led to weekend operation.

In the summer of 1952 Dick Ballard broached the idea of making use of the facilities in the evening for broadcasts of good music. With James Winship Lewis, director of the Handel Choir and member of the faculty of the department of Speech, Drama and Radio of the college, he secured the support of a number of civic leaders, and with the enthusiastic backing of the late Dean Katenkamp arrangements were completed. The evening broadcasts began on the 15th of September, 1952, running from 7 to 11 PM seven days a week. The rather limited operating expenses were underwritten by the Department of Adult Education with the support of Thomas A. Van Sant and Wilmer V. Bell. All of the expenses of preparing and presenting the programs, including securing the records, were borne by members of the volunteer staff, assisted by friends of the station. The evening staff programs consisted of classical music with less frequent dramatic plays, talks, poetry, readings and interviews with Baltimore musicians. Thursday night was Opera Night.

The volunteer staff, which at first included, in addition to Dick Ballard and Jim Lewis, Mary George, Yvonne Morin, Paul Hicks, Stephen Hubard and Clare Milton, soon grew and by the April, 1953 had organized and elected as officers Clare Milton, Maurice Rushworth, Dick Ballard, Jeannette Spotten, Mary George, Les Keller and Arthur Cunliffe. The staff published a monthly program guide (one year's subscription was $1.00 [3]). Sixty-odd volunteers produced the evening programs during its first five years. The 1957, 5th Anniversary Issue of the program guide gave special mention to the contributions of Miss Yvonne Morin, program director for almost four years and of the succeeding evening staff manager, Bill Stotz. Over the two decades that the Evening Staff broadcast, Clare Milton was a consistent contributor, programming and often announcing the Monday evening broadcast and serving as Program Manager or Station Manager for many years.

Early FM radios often would not tune down to as low as 88.1 MHz, so Clarence DeHaven, who oversaw operation of the station, in addition to his teaching and administrative duties, asked the FCC to allow a change of WBJC's frequency to one which was adjacent to the frequencies used by commercial broadcasters. This coincided with the Junior College's move to its own campus on Reisterstown Rd. For many years the station occupied a wood-frame house on the campus, with studios on the second floor. The "Evening Staff" volunteer program ended in the early-1970s. Matt Edwards, a classical music commentator on New York's WNCN and WQXR for many years, started as an Evening Staff volunteer at WBJC while in his teens.

WBAL-FM, WCBM-FM, and WITH-FM were full-time classical music stations in the 50s and 60s, plus WFMM carried classical music at night. WBJC-FM's "Evening Staff" sought to present a more diversified selection of music than was available on these other stations. An example of how the Evening Staff approached this mission was the regular Monday evening program "Masterpieces of Music Before 1750." In September, 1957 the guide described the program for the month as an "anthology of musical examples from Gregorian Chant to J. S. Bach [which] contains the pieces discussed in Carl Parrish and John F. Ohl's book of the same title published, by W. W. Norton & Company. The recordings were made by Danish soloists and ensembles including Finn Videro, Aksel Schiotz, Else Brems, Niels Brincker, the Schola Gregoriana of Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Boys' and Men's Choir, the Madrigal Choir of the Danish State Radio and the Chamber Orchestra and Chorus of the Danish State Radio, and were under the direction of Mogens Wöldike. Listening to these programs while perusing the book would be an excellent introduction to the history of music."[4]

Current operations[edit]

The station broadcasts a 24 hours-a-day schedule of classical music and arts information programming. The station studios and office is located in northwest Baltimore, Maryland and the antenna is near the junction of I-695 and Reisterstown Road. The station's 50,000 watt signal reaches more than 180,000 listeners weekly across Maryland, Delaware, Washington, DC and portions of 4 other surrounding states. It is possible to hear WBJC along the Atlantic City Expressway at night approximately between Exits 7 and 38 as this is due east of Baltimore across flat terrain. Reception can sometimes be a problem, though; especially south and west of DC. The station's website offers advice on how to improve reception.

WBJC produces several popular programs hosted by Jonathan Palevsky.[5] Past Masters showcases notable performances from the past. Face the Music has a panel of local musical experts listening and offering critiques of new recordings. Vocalise focuses on vocal music (the station usually does not play vocal music on a daily basis). WBJC Operafest presents classic opera recordings in their entirety. Toccata focuses on keyboard music. Music in Maryland features locally performed concerts. Late night/early morning broadcasts are provided by Classical 24.

WBJC's primary competition for classical music listeners is WETA 90.9 FM, licensed to serve Arlington, Virginia. Although WETA is a Washington metropolitan area station, its service contour covers portions of the Baltimore metropolitan area.[6]

WBJC 5th Anniversary Program Guide September 1957


  1. ^ "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WBJC]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. June 18, 2012. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  2. ^ "FM Query Results for WBJC". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  3. ^ WBJC Listeners' Guide to Evening Programs, 5th Anniversary Issue, September, 1957
  4. ^ WBJC Listeners' Guide to Evening Programs, 5th Anniversary Issue, September, 1957
  5. ^ "Artist Profile - Jonathan Palevsky". Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  6. ^ "60 dBu Service Contour for WETA, Washington, DC, 90.9 MHz BMLED-20070511AAI". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-07-17.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°23′11″N 76°43′51″W / 39.386500°N 76.730806°W / 39.386500; -76.730806