|Broadcast area||Nashville, Tennessee|
|Branding||103.3 Nash FM|
"Nashville's Home for 103-minute Music Marathons"
|Frequency||103.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||April 18, 1962 (as WNFO-FM); January 1, 1967 (as WKDA-FM/WKDF)|
|Former callsigns||WNFO-FM (1962-1965)
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
|Sister stations||WGFX, WQQK, WSM-FM, WWTN|
WKDF (103.3 FM, "103.3 Nash FM") is a Country music radio station broadcasting on a frequency of 103.3 MHz from Nashville, Tennessee. WKDF is owned by Cumulus Media. A transmitter site is in Brentwood, Tennessee, and its studios are located in Nashville's Music Row district.
The first commercial (as opposed to experimental) station to occupy the 103.3 FM frequency in the Nashville market was WNFO-FM, founded in 1962 and operated by Hickory Broadcasting Corporation. Despite several FM stations already operating in Nashville at the time, receivers were not yet in widespread use, and the relatively few listeners were not enough to attract advertisers. It left the air sometime around 1965, with WKDA, then one of the two Top 40-formatted stations in the market, taking over and restarting it on January 1, 1967 as WKDA-FM. WKDA-FM/WKDF was located for many years with its sister station in the downtown Stahlman Building, where its large neon sign remains mounted. The station was later moved to Rutledge Hill on Second Avenue South on or around 1978, to a property once occupied by the home of Captain Thomas G. Ryman (of Ryman Auditorium fame). The Transmitter site was moved from Rutledge Hill to a Brentwood, Tennessee tower in 1982 while the studios remained on site. In 2012, the station was moved to 10 Music Circle East near Nashville's Music Row after the merger of Citadel and Cumulus Broadcasting.
In January 1970, WKDA-FM began playing album-oriented rock, aimed especially at Nashville's large college student population, first at night only, and, then, beginning in March concurrent with a format change of the AM to country, full-time, for about a year and a half. Afterward, in the daytime, the station employed a mix of rock and Top 40 music, while switching to hard and progressive rock at night, during most of the 1970s and early 1980s. As the FM format grew, it soon became the dominant station of the two, which eventually separated. For some years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, "KDF" (as it was popularly known after its callsign officially changed to WKDF in 1976) was the dominant station as determined by the number of listeners reported by Arbitron, in the Nashville market, due, again, to its vast popularity among younger listeners. The only true competition the station had in the rock market was the Vanderbilt University student station, WRVU, which played alternative and college forms of rock not considered commercially acceptable in that day and time (WRVU has since discontinued broadcasting on an analog radio signal, but is available over the Internet and on HD Radio).
Although the station, like most 1970s-era album rock outlets, underwent some ratings decline during the early 1980s due to changing tastes among its adolescent listeners (e.g., "new wave", techno pop), WKDF proved resilient to the point of being able to capitalize on the backlash against MTV-influenced artists later in the decade. By the early 1990s, the station shifted its playlist somewhat to reflect the then-rising grunge and alternative rock scenes, leaving other FMs in the area to pick up the oldies from its early days; in recent times, WNRQ has served as Nashville's classic rock station.
After nearly 30 years of programming rock, however, WKDF reformatted to country music on April 1, 1999, after continued ratings losses to competitor FM outlets. Originally going by the moniker "Music City 103.3", it reverted to using its call letters in branding beginning in 2001. In recent years, the playlist has featured a mixture of contemporary and classic country.
In September 2011, WKDF came under Cumulus ownership (as a result of the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel), and thus, is now a sister station to fellow Nashville country outlet WSM-FM.
On February 3, 2014 WKDF, along with nine other Cumulus-owned country music stations, made the switch to the "Nash FM" branding that had been employed previously only by New York City outlet WNSH. Later that year, WSM-FM adopted a similar brand, Nash Icon. WKDF (as Nash FM) is positioned as a personality-based station that focuses on contemporary country, while WSM-FM (as Nash Icon) is more music-based and focuses on established country hits dating back to the 1980s.
WKDF's morning and evening programs, "America's Morning Show" and "Nash Nights Live" respectively, are distributed nationally and originate from Cumulus' Nash Campus at WKDF's former studio on Rutledge Hill. WKDF itself broadcasts alongside the remainder of Cumulus Nashville's local cluster of stations on Music Circle East.
Former on-air staff
Notable former disc jockeys from the station include:
- Steve Dickert: 1972–2005 – disc jockey, later general manager. Briefly joined Cumulus Nashville (WWTN, WSM-FM, WRQQ, WNFN, WQQK) as market manager in 2006.
- Kidd Redd: 1984–1999 – disc jockey and host of The Nashville Tapes; later program director.
- Mike Donegan (The Duke / The Dook): 1989-2003 mornings; later at Sirius and stadium announcer for the Tennessee Titans.
- Joe Elvis: late 1980s–1998 - Afternoons, host of The Nashville Tapes; later at WNRQ, Nashville. Drummer for area rock band Government Cheese.
- Tommy Womack: early 1990s – host of The Nashville Tapes; often contributed to Joe Elvis' program. Also a member of Government Cheese.
- Ian Case (Ian Punnett): Early 1990s / 1998–1999 – mornings.
- Sheri Sexton: 1990s – nights, middays; also music director.
- B. Derek (Buddy Scott): 1987–1997 – overnights. Now a local chiropractor.
- Jimmy the K: 1990s – weekends; later at WNRQ Nashville.
- Jason Joseph: 1990s – later at WBUZ Nashville (as Biscuithead), and program director at WLRS Louisville, Ky.
- Aljon Go: 1990s – overnights, weekends, host of The Nashville Tapes; later at "102.9 The Buzz" WBUZ Nashville.
- Brent Fox: 1990s – weekends, host/producer of The Nashville Tapes; later at "102.9 The Buzz" WBUZ and "Rooster 106" WNPL, both Nashville.
- Fiona: 1998–1999 – Mornings co-producer and co-host. Later at WGFX and WQQK, both Nashville.
- Pauly: mid-1990s – nights; later with WZZP & WEGI Clarksville, Tennessee, WRQQ Nashville, WNFZ Knoxville, Operations Manager/Program Director at JWC Broadcasting WBXE & WKXD Cookeville, Tennessee, and Program Director at WHFX Brunswick, Georgia.
- Shannon McCombs: 1985–1994 / 1999 – Overnights, mid-days, afternoons; Host of Breakfast with the Beatles, and The Nashville Tapes. Returned for short time when the format flipped to country.
- Stevie Stevens (Lisa Walker): late 1980s–early 1990s – evenings, also assistant program director.
- Chris Barrington: 1993–1995 – weekend overnights.
- Patty Murray: mid–1980s (Deceased)
- Dave Walton (Toon): 1980s
- Charley: early 1980s – evenings; now a strategic UX researcher at Google, Mountain View, CA. Wrote about her stint at WKDF on Medium.
- David Hall: 1980s –later at WRLT Nashville (Deceased)
- Steve Henderson: late 1970s – afternoon drive (Died in 1983).
- Jack Shell: 2008–2011 – afternoons; later assistant program director at WYCD Detroit, now with WLYF Miami.
- Jack Sass: 1997–1999 – later program director at WBOP Harrisonburg, Virginia. Also co-hosted show with Pauly (see above) on Vanderbilt University's WRVU.
- Big Dave: 1990s – morning co-host (with Mike "The Dook" Donegan); later at B105 (WUBE) Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Beth Donahue: mid-1990s – morning co-host with Big Dave and the Duke; later at WBUZ Nashville.
- Traffic Squeegie: 1990s – traffic; also on sister station WGFX (as Sid). Later at WNRQ and WBUZ, both Nashville.
- John Nagara: mid-1980s–early 1990s – Assistant program director/music director.
- Slats: late 1980s – later at WMMS Cleveland, Ohio. Management suspended him at least once for on-air pranks.
- John Haggard: early 1970s.
- Jay Franklin: early 1970s.
- John McCall: mid-1970s – overnights and weekends.
- Dick Mason: mid-1970s.
- Jim Battan (Coyote J): 1970s – later at WERC Birmingham, Q-93 New Orleans, KPRI San Diego, The X Birmingham, WZRR Birmingham, and online radio station The Edge 247.
- Wylie Rose: 2008-2011 – Mornings
- Eddie Foxx: 2000-2007 – afternoons/mornings; also music director. Later at WKSF Asheville
- Justin Cole (Stuntboy): 2002–2007 – mornings/afternoons; later at WPOC Baltimore
- Lisa Manning: 2002–2008 – Morning news; later at WSM-FM Nashville
- Tom Bootle: 1970s-80s – Mornings (Carl P. and the P. Team, Mike Donegan "The Dook" Show)
- Carl P. Mayfield: 1980s / 1999–early 2000s – mornings during 1980s; later returned to mornings during the early period of the country format; also at WSIX, Sirius, and WKDF's sister station WGFX.
- Doug Bolin (Doug Baugh): 1985–1993 – weekends.
The Nashville Tapes aired on KDF Sunday nights, featuring rock music from Nashville and the surrounding area. Hosts included (but were not limited to): Kidd Redd, Joe Elvis, Tommy Womack, Shannon, Morgan, Leslie Hermsdorfer, Brent Fox, and Aljon Go. Go later founded the directly-inspired Local Buzz program on WBUZ, Nashville.
In popular culture
On The Dick Van Dyke Show episode titled "Ray Murdock's X-Ray," which originally aired on January 23, 1963, the call letters of the television station broadcasting the fictitious Ray Murdock X-Ray Show are WKDF.
In a mid-1990s episode of COPS on the Fox television network, Metro Nashville police answer a domestic disturbance call. Upon arriving at the residence, they are directed down a hallway to the locked door of a male teen who had allegedly been 'huffing' spray paint or glue and who had now barricaded himself in his room. When the police officers get to the teen's door, the viewer can clearly see a black and yellow KDF 'bullet' sticker affixed to the door at eye level.
Nashville-based country music songwriter/singer Phil Vassar released his debut album in 2000 with an up-tempo song that broke into the Top 5 on the Billboard country singles chart called "Carlene" In the video, the iconic WKDF neon sign and Nashville skyline is seen in the first 10 seconds.
- WKDF official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WKDF
- Radio-Locator information on WKDF
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WKDF
- History of WKDA/WKDF by a former employee