|Broadcast area||Greater Philadelphia (Delaware Valley)|
|Slogan||Philly's #1 Hit Music Station
All The Hits
|Frequency||102.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||February 10, 1942 (as W53PH)|
|Format||Analog/HD1: Top 40 (CHR)
HD2: Pride Radio (dance hits for the LGBT community)
|HAAT||204 meters (669 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||IOQ looks like 102
Q resembles 2 in Cursive Writing
|Former callsigns||W53PH (1942 – 1943)
WFIL-FM (1943 – 1971)
|Former frequencies||45.3 MHz (1942 – 1945)
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
|Sister stations||WDAS, WDAS-FM, WISX, WRFF, WUSL|
WIOQ (102.1 MHz, "Q102") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The station is owned by iHeartMedia and broadcasts a Top 40 (CHR) format. The transmitter is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia at ( ) and its studios and offices are located in Bala Cynwyd.
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On February 10, 1942, the station signed on for the first time with the call sign W53PH. It broadcast at 45.3 MHz on the original FM band, which covered 42 to 50 MHz. The station was owned by the WFIL Broadcasting Company and mostly simulcast its AM sister station 560 WFIL. On November 1, 1943, the station was assigned the WFIL-FM call sign. After the FCC created the current FM band on June 27, 1945, the station moved to 94.3 MHz, then 99.9 MHz, before finally moving to 102.1 MHz.
On July 10th, 1968, WFIL-FM switched away from classical music to an early version of a soft adult contemporary format. Known as "Popular 102," the station featured softer pop music of the day with a mix of currents, oldies and instrumentals. Each hour included a track from a featured album of the week, and voices on the station were pre-recorded announcements and news from the staff at sister station WFIL-AM, including Jay Cook, J.J. Jeffrey, Tommy Tyler and news from Allen Stone and Glenn Barton.
The station promoted itself as playing "The Nicest Music for the Nicest People." This format continued through May 1971, when Triangle Publications decided to sell its Philadelphia broadcasting stations.
Album Rock Format
In 1971, Triangle Publications sold WFIL AM-FM and Channel 6 WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV) to Capital Cities Broadcasting (later Capital Cities Communications). In turn, WFIL-FM 102.1 was spun off to Richer Communications in May 1971. The call letters were changed to WIOQ representing the script version of IOQ in relation to the frequency of 102. The familiar jingle of Popular 102 was also changed to W102. Initially, the familiar PAMS jingles were updated to reflect the new call letters and the station continued as before. By 1972, the station's imaging changed to Stereo Island which trended even softer than the station had been, but added live DJs while the music rotated on an IGM automation unit.
Air staff at this time included Jeff Dean, Lee Meredith, Art Andrews, Alan Drew (Frio), Jere Sullivan, and Jay Mathieu, with Dave Klahr continuing as program director. After a year or so in this format, the station brought back the Popular 102 moniker and started playing a slightly more uptempo mix of pop tunes. When Dave Klahr left, Roy Laurence was hired as program director and the station's mix, which by then had become Top 40-based with a more adult presentation than its former AM sister, gradually became more rock-oriented, and by about 1975 WIOQ had a progressive rock format. Around this time the station began using an extract from the album Intergalactic Trot by Stardrive as the music bed for hourly station IDs. It would remain WIOQ's audio signature for over a decade.
The station also started using the moniker "Q102" during that time. For a time in the mid-70s, the station affiliated with ABC's "American FM Radio Network" in order to air some programs hosted by then-hip Geraldo Rivera. That contract also forced the station to air the network's ABC news at :15 past the hour, as its competition was playing music. The station had trouble competing with established FM rock leader WMMR and aggressive AOR upstart WYSP. Programming duties were split between Alex DeMers and Bill Fantini, with DJs Jim Harlan, John Harvey, and Bill Paul rounding out the full-time air staff. After a few years, the owner (by then listed as Que Broadcasting, Inc.) declared bankruptcy. WIOQ emerged from the bankruptcy under the ownership of The Outlet Company, a retail and broadcasting firm based in Providence, Rhode Island.
Adult Rock Era
Under Outlet, WIOQ evolved into an eclectic music format often described as "adult rock". The station played a blend of softer songs heard on rock music stations, some deeper album cuts, a few top 40 crossover hits, and a bit of uptempo jazz. Leading air personalities on WIOQ in this era included John Harvey ("Harvey in the Morning"), Helen Leicht who hosted a show called "Breakfast With The Beatles" on Sunday mornings, David Dye, Ed Sciaky and Michael Tozzi. (Leicht and Dye are now the midday DJs for the adult alternative public station WXPN. The former continues her "Leight Lunch" program at noon, and Dye is the producer and host of the nationally-distributed World Cafe.) After a proposed sale of Outlet's broadcast properties to Coca-Cola's Columbia Pictures subsidiary around 1982 fell through, the station group was acquired by Wesray Capital Corporation, a corporation partially owned by former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon.
Solid Gold 102
After years of low to moderate ratings, on November 10, 1987, at 6 a.m., adult rock was dropped in favor of an oldies format, playing the hits of 1955-1973 and positioning the station as "Solid Gold 102". Harvey Holiday, formerly of WDAS-FM, hosted the station's morning show.
Q102 goes CHR
Late in 1988, WIOQ was sold to EZ Communications. On January 18, 1989, at 7:18 a.m., the station dropped oldies and switched to a Rhythmic Contemporary format, mixing Dance, Urban and Top 40 hits. The first song under the new format was "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince and The Revolution. The WIOQ call letters were kept, but the station became known as "Pirate Radio", although it had no association with the rock-based CHR format of that name at then-KQLZ Los Angeles, then owned by Westwood One. WIOQ soon adopted, for the second time, the handle "Q102."
The station consistently leaned dance and urban, but played varying amounts of rock and AC crossover songs, changing according to chart trends and competitive conditions. In 1994, rival 98.9 WUSL was bought by EZ, with WUSL targeting African-American listeners, while WIOQ targeted more of a Caucasian and Latino audience. In 1996, EZ merged with American Radio Systems. To satisfy ownership limits (as well as taking advantage of a larger advertising market), WIOQ and WUSL were traded to Evergreen Media (owner of WJJZ), with EZ receiving Evergreen's Charlotte stations in return. In February 1997, Evergreen and Chancellor Media merged. After the Chancellor acquisition, WIOQ became co-owned with 104.5 FM (now WRFF), WDAS, WDAS-FM, WUSL, and WJJZ (now WISX).
By early 1998, the station evolved to Mainstream CHR with a slight dance and rhythmic lean. There were a few rumors that Q102 would adopt a Jammin' Oldies format in 1999, along with reports that WDAS-FM would possibly become a Jammin' Oldies station, but neither happened, as WXXM (now WBEN-FM) flipped to the format in May of that year.
As a result of a large merger in 2000, WIOQ and the other stations in its cluster became properties of Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia). Q102 remains a successful mainstream Top 40 radio station.
The morning drive show was hosted by Chris Booker, with Angi Taylor, Diego, Blaire, and Team, until Booker was fired on May 23, 2008, when WIOQ stated it was switching to a morning show that focused more on music. The station currently carries the syndicated "Elvis Duran & The Morning Show," which originates from Z100 New York. Q102 began airing the show on July 23, 2008.
On May 22, 2012, the station held the first Springle Ball concert. The station, along with WPST, became the only two Top 40 music stations in the Philadelphia market after WZMP switched to adult contemporary in January 2017.
- "The Beginning of FM Broadcasting in Philadelphia". broadcastpioneers.com. 2007. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
- "FM Query Results for WIP-FM". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
- "In the Matter of Allocation of Frequencies to the Various Class of Non-Governmental Services in the Radio Spectrum from 10 Kilocycles to 30,000,000 Kilocycles (Docket No. 6651)" (PDF). fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. June 27, 1945. Retrieved 2016-12-09.