|City||Dover, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||Northern New Jersey|
|Slogan||The Rock of New Jersey|
|Frequency||105.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||February 22, 1961|
|Format||FM/HD1: Mainstream rock
HD2: Live Rock
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(Beasley Media Group, LLC)
|Sister stations||WMTR, WCTC, WMGQ, WJRZ-FM, WRAT|
The station focuses both on rock music of the 1970s and 1980s as well as rock music from the 1990s, 2000s, and today. The station will go as far back as the 1960s on occasion. The station plays both classic rock and newer rock cuts and calls itself "The Rock Of New Jersey." Core artists include the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Mötley Crüe, Queen, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Nirvana, The Doors, Foreigner, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Rush and many others. The station is local and live full-time. The station's facilities are located in Cedar Knolls outside of Morristown.
In terms of ratings, the station dominates in northern New Jersey, especially in Morris County, where it is based. One reason was the lack of a modern rock station in New York City in 2006 and early 2007. WAXQ (Q104.3), which plays Classic Rock, was the only rock station in the New York market. This void was created by WXRK "92.3 K-Rock" when that station briefly became WFNY-FM "Free FM", a talk station, on January 1, 2006, and ended when it changed back to K-Rock on May 24, 2007 until March 11, 2009, when it became "92.3 Now FM". WDHA always garnered high ratings in northern New Jersey, even when New York had as many as three full-time rock stations.
WDHA started broadcasting out of Dover, New Jersey on 105.5 MHz on February 22, 1961 with 3,000 watts of radiated power from atop Shongum Mountain, said to be one of the highest peaks in Northern New Jersey. WDHA-FM was one of the first FM stereo stations in the United States beginning stereo broadcasting within a year of sign-on. The owners actually built their first stereo generator.
While the studios were being constructed on the site at Route 10 in Randolph Township near Millbrook Avenue, temporary studios were established on the second floor of the old Goodale Drug Store building at 8 West Blackwell Street in downtown Dover.
Ground was broken for the new construction in Randolph Township on Monday December 12, 1960 during a snow storm that left high snow drifts and blowing wind. D. Ridgely Bolgiano, general manager, announced that construction of the new site would begin "next week with the station scheduled to go on the air by mid-February." Peter L. Arnow of Convent Station was president of the firm, and Walter C. Blaser of Wharton was named director of music.
The studios and transmitter building were still under construction when the station went on the air with non-stop classical music, 18 hours a day, seven days a week. A 100-foot tower was erected next to the transmitter building on Route 10, and a small intercom system was installed to communicate between those at the transmitter site and those at the studios in downtown Dover. Studios were located at the Route 10 facility. WRAN did not go on the air until 1963. There was concern that the WDHA tower was affecting their directional antenna so the WDHA-FM antenna was mounted on a WRAN tower.
The WDHA calls stand for "Drexel Hill Associates," who were the original owners of the station. The station was owned and operated by Peter Arnow who moved to Morris County from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania and along with his associates took the name of "Drexel Hill Associates" for the name of their newly established company. It was often said the radio station was a college graduation gift from Mr. Arnow's father.
WDHA was licensed by the FCC to the city of Dover, one of the few towns in New Jersey that the FCC allocated both an AM and FM frequency. The AM frequency eventually went to WRAN at 1510 which also went on the air the same year, 1961, and operated its studios and transmitter directly behind WDHA. (With WRAN's four huge red-blinking towers, for many years passing motorists thought they belonged to WDHA since WDHA's building was located in view of the highway, while WRAN's building sat in the middle of a field, out of sight.)
Mr. Arnow and his associate Robert Linder operated the station together for many years. Eventually, they bought out 1250 WMTR in Morristown and operated both an AM and FM radio station with one site being at 10 Park Place in Morristown and the other on Route 10. Even though the music formats were always different, the newscasts were simulcast on both stations for many years.
WDHA later played adult pop hits during the day but still had classical music as well as jazz block programming at night. The station began broadcasting in stereo in 1972. WDHA studios had been located in Randolph Township while WMTR was located in Cedar Knolls. WDHA also had a one-hour lunchtime news/talk show that was simulcast with their AM station, WMTR.
Over the years, WDHA's music selections evolved, and the station started airing contemporary music at night with the classical format during the day. Soon, WDHA dropped its classical format altogether and went with strictly contemporary pop, later adding rock. From 1972 to 1974, WDHA gradually moved away from pop standards and evolved into a soft rock/adult contemporary format. Initially, they avoided hard rock. By 1975, they played the available album versions instead of the shorter single versions of the hits. For a time in the 1970s, WDHA was capable of broadcasting in quadraphonic stereo, one of only a handful of stations so equipped. By 1977, WDHA evolved into a top 40/rock format, blending both types of music. Harder rock would be gradually mixed in while pop hits were being phased out. By 1978, WDHA became known as "The Jersey Giant".
By 1980, WDHA had evolved into an album-oriented rock format similar to WNEW-FM at the time. In 1984, WDHA was the world's first radio station to play the then-new compact disc. By the late 1980s, more heavy metal bands were heard while the station still kept a balance between classic rock and new rock. At this time, WDHA had become a popular station in northern New Jersey.
In 1990, WDHA moved out of their Randolph facilities and into new Cedar Knolls facilities with sister station WMTR. In 1991, WDHA and WMTR were sold by Drexel Hill Associates to Signal Communications. The format was unaffected, and WDHA continued on as usual.
In the mid 1990s, Signal Communications restructured and became known as New Jersey Broadcast Partners. The station continued to dominate for rock music in this region and began to market themselves as "Classic Rock/New Rock". By the late 1990s, WDHA was the middle ground between WXRK 92.3 ("K Rock") who played hard rock and alternative music, and WAXQ ("Q 104") who played classic rock. WNEW-FM had poor ratings in New Jersey, in part due to its indecision over what kind of music to play, and in part because of the influence of WDHA.
In 2001, WDHA (along with WRAT and WMTR) was sold to Greater Media (owners of WMGQ/WCTC). Today, the station continues as the premier rock station for New Jersey. WDHA has begun HD Radio Broadcasts; WDHA HD-1 rebroadcasts WDHA's rock format. There has been some consideration paid to adding WMTR's successful oldies format to WDHA HD-2, but no decision has been made on this yet.
Among the prominent radio and TV people employed at one time or another at WDHA have been Rob Moorhead, Ralph Sutton, Kevin Cotrell, Eddie Trunk, Tony Paige, Lenny Bloch, Rich Phoenix, Tony Russomanno, Jeff Ofgang, Dave Holmlund, Bert Baron, Pat Blowers, and Ron Maher.
Current full-time on-air staff at WDHA are Jim Monaghan and Kim Mulligan (The Morning Jolt from 6am-10am), Terrie Carr (who returned to middays in 2010), Curtis Kay (PM drive), Lindsay Klein (nights), and Mike Cocheo (overnights). Weekend part-time staff includes Matt Gamba, Bill Hall, Scott Evil (also host of Metal Mania) and CMoore.
Anything Anything with Rich Russo airs at 11pm on Sunday Nights.
On July 19, 2016, Beasley Media Group announced it would acquire Greater Media and its 21 stations (including WDHA) for $240 million. The FCC approved the sale on October 6, and the sale closed on November 1.
- Some material sourced from the George Laurie Dover Area Historical Society
- Beasley Acquires Greater Media
- Beasley Closes on Greater Media Purchase; Makes Multiple Staff Moves
- WDHA Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WDHA
- Radio-Locator information on WDHA
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WDHA