|Broadcast area||Chattanooga, Tennessee|
|Slogan||Chattanooga's Hit Music Station|
|First air date||1960|
|Format||Contemporary Hit Radio|
|ERP||100,000 watts horiz
88,000 watts vert
|HAAT||336 meters (1,102 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Dynamo of Dixie|
(WDOD of Chattanooga, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WXCT, WDEF-FM|
The station signed on in the early 1960s as a simulcast of WDOD AM. Both stations played country music. Past personalities included Gene Michaels, Earl Freudenberg, Tommy Jett, Jerry Pond, and "Big" Bill Love. The station also carried NASCAR races, and was primarily a country station, except for a brief period in the early 1980s. In 1997, WDOD-FM switched from country music to Triple-A "The Mountain."
The station was considering a switch to mostly classic rock with some new rock mixed in, though WSKZ was already doing this. Research showed that listeners wanted mostly new rock with some classics. One possible approach to this was modern adult contemporary, but this might have hurt sister station WDEF-FM.
Regardless of the market, Triple-A had the same songs representing about half the playlist, but the rest were different on each station. On The Mountain, artists included Jewel, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Talking Heads. A sample hour of music included Collective Soul, Third Eye Blind, Chris Isaak, Stone Temple Pilots, EMF, Van Halen, Dave Matthews Band, Joan Osborne, Bruce Springsteen, Vigilantes of Love, Loverboy, No Doubt, Aerosmith, and U2. Many songs were familiar and had been hits (an unusual approach to alternative), but they were not heard in the Chattanooga market.
One characteristic that made The Mountain different was attitude, which other area stations did not have. DJs and liners attacked the competition as well as artists such as Michael Bolton and Barry Manilow. Operations Manager Danny Howard did not want to go overboard, and, having worked in AC, he personally felt uncomfortable with making fun of Bolton. But the approach got people's attention.
96.5 The Mountain
On March 3, 2008, the station changed to the current Contemporary Hit Radio format, though keeping the name "96.5 The Mountain". The final song on the AAA format was In The End by Linkin Park, while the first song on the CHR format was Stronger by Kanye West.
On February 3, 2011, at 12 Noon, the station re-branded as Hits 96. The last song as 96.5 The Mountain was Just Dance by Lady Gaga, while the first song as Hits 96 was Higher by Taio Cruz. Howard, at this time the program director, said, "Our new name reflects what we do; play all of today's hit music." General Manager Bernie Barker said, "Hits 96 is not about a lot of change. It’s about a ‘new download’ with some ‘tweaks’. The new logo is more about today." Artists include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Usher, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, and Linkin Park.
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Summer 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- "WDOD-FM Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WDOD-FM Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- Marc Schiffman, "Howard's Triple-A Twist Keeps the Mountain Fresh," Billboard, Vol. 109, August 2, 1997.
- "96-5 The Mountain, WDOD-FM, Introduces New Sound". The Chattanoogan. March 3, 2008.
- "96.5 The Mountain" Chattanooga Flips From AAA to CHR
- "96.5 The Mountain Evolves Into Hits 96". The Chattanoogan. February 3, 2011.