|Broadcast area||Metro Detroit |
|Slogan||Interactive Hip-Hop & R&B|
|Frequency||107.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||December 6, 1961|
|HAAT||123.5 meters (405 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Grosse Pointe Radio|
|Owner||International Free and Accepted Modern Masons |
WGPR is an FM radio station in Detroit, Michigan broadcasting a Mainstream Urban format. Owned by the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons and operated under local marketing agreement by Urban One, the station operates on 107.5 MHz. Its studios, along with those of WDMK are on Detroit's lower eastside. The station's transmitter is located atop the Maccabees Building on the campus of Wayne State University.
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WGPR was founded on December 6, 1961, by broadcaster Ross Mulholland, who had worked at WJR and several other area stations. The original construction permit for the station bore the call letters WQTI (similar to Mulholland's easy listening-formatted AM station, 560 WQTE (now WRDT)), but the station was never on the air with those calls. Initially, WGPR featured programming similar to that of WQTE. The station was purchased in 1964 by its current owner, the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons (d/b/a WGPR, Inc.), led by William V. Banks, who would serve as president and general manager of WGPR and its sister TV station (founded in 1975) until his death in 1985. Under the ownership of the Masons, WGPR would transition to chiefly African-American-oriented programming of urban contemporary, R&B, soul, and gospel music, with some ethnic programs in Spanish, Italian, Greek, and other languages, which would remain a part of the station's broadcast schedule into the 1990s.
It is reported that the station's callsign meant Where God's Presence Radiates, but the original meaning was Grosse Pointe Radio, as the station was originally based out of a studio on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods when it went on the air in 1961 (the original building still stands and houses a real estate agent). The current studios are located on East Jefferson in Detroit.
The Electrifyin' Mojo was heard on WGPR-FM during the early 1980s. In 1982, during Mojo's tenure at WGPR, the station scored its highest ratings, landing in the Top 10 on several occasions. By the mid-1980s, the station had once again fallen into the lower echelons of the ratings and would remain so for the next quarter-century. WGPR was by the end of its run in October 2011 the lowest-rated of Detroit's three urban AC stations, trailing WMXD and WDMK. Nevertheless, the station had a devoted audience, and its ratings were not largely adversely affected by Detroit's switching from Arbitron's diary system to the Portable People Meter PPM.
The station was co-owned with WGPR-TV channel 62, which the Freemason group established in 1975. On September 29, 1975, Amyre Porter, Doug Morrison and Sharon Crews became the nation's first African-American primetime news team. This station, which would adopt the CBS affiliation in 1994 following WJBK's switch from CBS to Fox, was sold to CBS in 1995 and re-called WWJ-TV.
Jazzy 107.5/The Rhythm/The New WGPR
Until October 2011, WGPR featured a mix of Urban Adult Contemporary hits and Urban Oldies. From June 1997 to June 2008, the station was known as "The Rhythm 107-5" or "The Jazzy 107-5", and for several years featured Smooth Jazz mixed in with its current format. On June 20, 2008, the station reverted to the straight Urban AC format it had aired prior to the introduction of the R&B/jazz hybrid in the early 2000s.
Saturdays were "Old School" Saturdays, featuring a wide variety of R&B, soul and dance-oriented oldies. Genres played on OSS included disco, funk, 1980s electronic music, dance music, Motown Sound, urban oldies, and 1970s R&B. This program was prone to technical errors. These errors included skipping CDs, varying volume levels between tracks, a song ending midway through and sometimes accidental but simultaneous mix-in of multiple song tracks. Sundays were devoted mostly to gospel programming.
According to the September 2011 PPM Ratings release, WGPR ranked #20 (2.1) in the Detroit market.
Radio One LMA, Hot 107-5
On October 21, 2011, Radio One announced that it would take over WGPR under a local marketing agreement, and that it would move WHTD's urban contemporary format to the station as Hot 107.5; WHTD was to flip to an urban gospel format as Praise 102.7 on October 31. On October 24, WGPR signed off as Radio One assumed control, and began stunting with a loop of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by Boyz II Men, interspersed with promos redirecting WGPR listeners to Radio One's urban AC station WDMK (whose competition was neutralized by the format shuffle). On October 26, 2011, WGPR re-launched as Hot 107.5.
WIZF alum Big Greg (also known as Buckie Naked) was the first DJ on air, followed by future 106 & Park host Shorty Da Prince on nights and Paigion on mid-days. The WHTD call letters did not move with the frequency shift; those call letters now belong to an AM radio station in Toccoa, Georgia, repeating non-commercial Christian station WRAF. The station featured the syndicated Rickey Smiley morning show until October 2014, when it was replaced with The Morning Heat, a local show with Big Greg, Foolish, and Deelishis.
In the December 2013 Detroit PPM ratings report, WGPR ranked 14th 6+ among subscribing stations, with a 3.6 rating to rival WJLB's 4.2.
End of Urban One LMA
On June 10, 2019, Urban One announced that it would not renew its LMA with WGPR when it expires at the end of 2019. The same day, Beasley Broadcast Group announced that it would acquire WDMK and its Detroit Praise Network stations for $13.5 million.
On April 20, 2011, WGPR launched its HD2 and HD3 digital subchannels with a smooth jazz format on WGPR-HD2 as The Oasis, and modern rock on WGPR-HD3 as The Bone—these subchannels are programmed by the Martz Communications Group. Martz owns the low-powered translators (through licensee Radio Power, Inc.) that rebroadcast the HD Radio signals for those without an HD Radio receiver—104.7 FM W284BQ rebroadcasts The Oasis, while 94.3 FM W232CA rebroadcasts The Bone. The Oasis programming came from Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network, featuring Kenny G as morning show host with Detroit radio veteran Sandy Kovach (formerly of the late smooth jazz V98.7) as co-host. As of May 1, 2011, the station had added an HD-4 channel with regional Mexican programming branded as La Jefa, but as of July of that year, the HD-4 was no longer on air and "La Jefa" is available only as an Internet stream.
Martz's operation of WGPR's HD subchannels was not affected by the LMA agreement with Radio One.
On January 31, 2012, Martz Communications ceased operations of The Oasis and The Bone, forcing them both off the air. Financial and signal difficulties were the primary reasons for the closure of the two HD subchannels.
The Oasis vs. WIOT
In March 2011, Martz filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to relocate the frequency of W284BQ, from 104.7 MHz to 93.9 MHz. The application was approved in August 2011. If built, the transmitter will interfere with Windsor, Ontario station CIDR-FM in much of the Greater Detroit area, though the licensee contends that the transmitter will be directional, as to not interfere with CIDR-FM on the Canadian side of the border.
In May 2011, Toledo station WIOT, which also broadcasts on 104.7 MHz, filed a complaint with the FCC, saying that W284BQ interferes with WIOT in the Michigan portion of their broadcast area. WIOT had also solicited comments and reception reports from listeners in the affected area.
Martz would soon after establish a website, http://www.savetheoasis.com/, which explains the station's position on the issue, stating that WIOT should not get special treatment on the grounds that it was an Ohio radio station that served no part of Detroit (though the statement was not exactly true, as the station is interfering with listeners inside WIOT's protected signal contour) and that Clear Channel's motive was to try to remove competition, as Clear Channel owns two of the heritage adult-oriented radio stations in Detroit, WMXD and WNIC. The Oasis' web site mentioned that they and Clear Channel planned to undergo mutual testing in order to alleviate the interference problems, but in June 2011, The Oasis claimed that Clear Channel had broken the commitment to work together for a resolution.
On October 18, 2011, the FCC ordered W284BQ to cease operation immediately. Oasis programming continued in the interim over WGPR HD-2 and 1047theoasis.com, until both the HD2 and the website were shut down. The translator filed to move to 93.5 FM; however, a K-LOVE repeater also applied to use this frequency and was granted permission.
On January 9, 2012, Martz applied to return The Oasis to the airwaves, this time via a translator on 92.7 FM. However, any relaunch on 92.7 was negated by Martz's suspension of operations of its Detroit HD Radio operations, as FCC regulations require the translators to repeat an existing station. The 92.7 translator has since been taken over by Salem Communications-owned talk station WDTK and is used to relay that station. Meanwhile, smooth jazz programming returned to the Detroit airwaves during the late evening and overnight hours via Radio One's WCHB and its FM translator.
- "Radio-One LMA's WGPR, Shuffles Detroit Formats". RadioInsight. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
- "Urban One Sells WDMK (105.9 Kiss FM)/Detroit, Three Translators To Beasley". All Access. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
- "Beasley Acquires WDMK & Three Translators In Detroit; Radio One To End WGPR LMA". RadioInsight. 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
- "Smooth jazz "Oasis 104.7" debuts in Detroit, on an FM translator". Radio-Info.com. April 20, 2011. Archived from the original on April 24, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- "A second new Detroit translator station debuts: Alt-rocker "94.3 the Bone"". Radio-Info.com. April 21, 2011. Archived from the original on April 24, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=10 Archived 2015-11-23 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Detroit
- "Two different operators want to move their FM translators to 93.5 in Detroit". Radio-Info.com. November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- FCC licensing data for W284BQ
- FCC document: "Minor Change Application - Radio Power, Inc. - W284BQ FM Tranalator Station" Technical Statement, March 2011.
- FCC document of WIOT's complaint, May 19, 2011. (from savetheoasis.com)
- WIOT website: "Signal Interference"
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-10-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WGPR
- Radio-Locator information on WGPR
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WGPR