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|Broadcast area||Pittsburgh metropolitan area|
|Slogan||80s to Now
Pittsburgh's 10 in a Row Station
|Frequency||92.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
92.9 HD-2 "Q in the City" (Soul and R&B)
92.9 HD-3 "Rockin' Q" (Classic rock)
92.9 HD-4 "Reflections Radio" (Soft Rock Hits)
|First air date||W75P (1940) April 4, 1942 (as KDKA-FM)|
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary|
|Callsign meaning||LiTe (former branding)|
|Former callsigns||W75P (1940-1942)
(WPNT Media Subsidiary, LLC)
WLTJ (92.9 FM), is a Hot Adult Contemporary music format radio station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The station, which is owned by Saul Frischling, through licensee WPNT Media Subsidiary, LLC, broadcasts with an ERP of 43 kW. Its transmitter is co-located with the transmission facilities of WPGH-TV and WPNT in the Summer Hill area of Pittsburgh, and its studios are located at Centre City Tower in the downtown area.
WLTJ was originally known as W75P, and at times was simulcast with its then AM sister station, KDKA.
In the late 1950s, several systems to add stereo to FM radio were considered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Included were systems from 14 competitors, such as Crosley, Halstead, EMI, Zenith Electronics Corporation and General Electric. The individual systems were evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses during field tests in Uniontown, Pennsylvania using KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh as the originating station. While credit is given for WEFM Chicago and WGFM Schenectady, New York on June 1, 1961 as the first stereo FM broadcasters, KDKA-FM was the first to broadcast in stereo, albeit on an experimental basis.
During the 1970s, KDKA-FM was an automated station that played beautiful music during the day, and classical music at night. During morning and afternoon drive periods, the station joined its AM sister for rebroadcasting its intensive news blocks.
In October 1979, the station changed its call letters from KDKA-FM to WPNT (The Point), completely separating its programming from that of its AM sister. While still under the same ownership umbrella, Westinghouse also dropped the classical music for an all-beautiful music format with live announcers. It had a good debut, taking ratings away from the beautiful music station next to it on the dial, WJOI (93.7 FM, which, ironically, would later take the KDKA-FM callsign). In 1984, WPNT was purchased by Long Island-based entrepreneur Saul Frischling in April 1984 for $3 million. Though Frischling himself is listed as the licensee, the station did business at that time as Legend Communications and then changed its name to Steel City Media in the late 1990s.
Almost immediately after Saul Frischling purchased WPNT, it switched its format from easy listening to a totally live format of light adult contemporary, yet the station retained the WPNT calls and continued to bill itself as "The Point". The station then moved its studios from the KDKA home at One Gateway Center to 1051 Brinton Road, in suburban Pittsburgh community of Forest Hills.
WPNT's original lineup of on-air personalities at the time of start-up under the new format was Program Director Nat Humphries hosting mornings, John Gallagher for middays, Jon Summers for afternoons, Peter Morley for evenings, Jean Lam hosting overnights, and news anchors Jeff Long and Rick Charles. A year after the ownership change, KQV legend George Hart replaced Humphries as Program Director and morning show host.
Two years later, in an effort to better reflect its image as that of a light adult contemporary station, the station took on the call letters WLTJ and the moniker "Lite FM 92.9". (The WPNT callsign would resurface in the Pittsburgh market nearly three decades later when MyNetworkTV affiliate WPMY unexpectedly changed its callsign to WPNT.) Not long after the change, the station moved to a new, state-of-the-art broadcast facility at Seven Parkway Center in Green Tree borough. Music was a mixture of current and recurrent adult contemporary hits with a mix of standard hits from artists such as Sérgio Mendes, Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, and Andy Williams. Songs by those artists became a featured part of WLTJ's playlist and later became known as "Lite FM Encores". In addition, a new program known as "Heartlite" was created as a three-hour request and dedication show from 9 to midnight, hosted by Morley. The show was one of the first of its kind in the nation at the time.
Weekend and fill-in announcer Gary Love would later assume responsibilities for the morning show from Hart, and Beth Bershok would assume Jean Lam's overnight shift by the end of the 1980s, in addition to doing traffic reports with Love on the morning show. The chemistry between Gary and Beth worked so well that the decision was made in the early 90's to pair them together and bill them as equals. "Gary and Beth in the Morning" aired from 1991 until the station's format change in 2008.
WLTJ became a dominant force among Pittsburgh Arbitron ratings, and among listeners as an office favorite. In 1989, WLTJ's position as a listen-at-work radio station was challenged when Pittsburgh's longtime easy-listening institution, WSHH, switched to a soft adult contemporary format and used its existing audience base to replicate WLTJ's ratings successes.
WLTJ and WSHH often ran neck-and-neck in the ratings with similar formats, with one or the other occasionally shifting to the older or younger core of the 25-54 age demographic in order to keep up with ratings trends. That competition continues between the two stations today. Both WLTJ and WSHH share the distinction of being held by private owners, as opposed to publicly traded multiconglomerate broadcast operations.
In 1993, after the FCC relaxed its ownership rules and allowed companies to own more than one FM station in the same market, Legend Communications purchased album rock formatted WRRK-FM (licensed to Braddock) from WHYW Associates. The station, which had been known as 97 Rock, reverted to its previous format of classic rock and its former moniker, Magic 97. The call letters, however, did not revert to WMYG, and the station became known as "Magic 97 WRRK".
In 1999, both stations moved to a new, more spacious location on Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh, with state-of-the-art, all-digital Equipment & Studios built by Chief Engineer, Paul Carroll from August to November of that year.
Of the original WPNT adult contemporary weekday lineup, John Gallagher lasted until the entire staff was dismissed during the format adjustment made the weekend of March 23, 2008. George Hart died of complications from liver transplant surgery in 1993. Pat Bridges, who had joined the station in the early 80s in a part-time capacity, returned in 2004 to assume the role of host for "Heartlite".
The new "Q92.9"
After consistently disappointing ratings, the WLTJ identity disappeared the weekend of March 23, 2008 and the station was immediately rebranded as "Q92.9" (a somewhat ironic brand, as the station does not have, nor has it ever had, a Q in its call sign) with a different music mix. Station executives said they wanted to add more '90s music and felt the station needed an imaging overhaul to complete the transition. Most of the music from the 1970s was dropped, and more upbeat material from the 80s and 90s was added along with more current hits.
The station began with no DJs. The station has a live air staff from 5:30 am to 12 am weekdays and 9 am to 7 pm on weekends. They also have weather and traffic reports, which were not initially run in the early days of the format.
In November 2009, WLTJ shifted directions to Hot Adult Contemporary, with most of the musical mix focusing on more current product with some classics from the 1980s and 1990s getting less playtime.
In addition to this change, the Q-Tags that were heard at the beginning of the Q's days, which stated the name and artist of every song at the end, were eliminated to create a faster paced, less interruptive musical selection, stemming from the opinions of some listeners.
On July 5, 2016, WLTJ went jockless as it let the entire air staff go with the exception of afternoon host/PD Zack Szabo, presumably due to ratings, which has seen the station trailing its competitors since the shift to Adult Top 40. It also displayed a new slogan, billing themselves as "Your 10 In A Row Station."
- Q92.9 official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WLTJ
- Radio-Locator information on WLTJ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WLTJ
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.