|City||Newark, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New York City area|
|Branding||Nash FM 94.7|
|Slogan||"New York's Country Station"|
|Frequency||94.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1947|
HD2: WABC simulcast
|Callsign meaning||From the NaSH branding|
Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
|Sister stations||WABC, WNBM, WPLJ, WFAS|
Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)
WNSH ("Nash FM 94.7") is a radio station licensed to Newark, New Jersey and serving the New York City metropolitan area. The station is owned by the broadcasting division of Cumulus Media. WNSH's studio facilities are located at 2 Penn Plaza in midtown Manhattan, and its transmitter is located in West Orange, New Jersey. The station airs a country music format, and is the flagship for the "Nash" brand of country-related multimedia established by station owner Cumulus Media.
The 94.7 FM frequency signed on in 1947 as WAAT-FM, and was owned by the Bremer Broadcasting Company along with sister station WAAT (970 AM, now WNYM). The following year Bremer launched a television station, WATV on channel 13, New Jersey's first TV outlet, transmitting from the WAAT-FM tower. In 1957 the three stations were sold by Bremer to National Telefilm Associates, who changed the operation's call letters to WNTA-FM. During this period the station had diversified programming such as jazz, classical music, and easy listening music.
National Telefilm split up its holdings in 1961, with WNTA-TV (now WNET) being sold to a New York City-based nonprofit educational group, and the WNTA radio stations going to Communications Industries Broadcasting. The new owners changed the calls to WJRZ-FM and initially retained the station's previous format, but on April 14 (Easter Sunday), 1963, began leasing airtime to Family Radio, a Christian broadcaster based in Oakland, California. In 1964 the station was renamed WFME, and in March 1966 Family Radio purchased 94.7 FM outright and began airing its religious programming around-the-clock.
WFME's local programming consisted of community announcements, weekend public affairs, and weather and traffic inserts during Family Radio's Rise and Rejoice morning show. WFME originated a portion of the network's overnight program Nightwatch, hosted by station manager/chief engineer Charlie Menut. The rest of the station's schedule originated from Family Radio headquarters in Oakland.
WFME's programming was also heard on two translator stations: W213AC (90.5 FM) in Hyde Park, New York; and W247AE (97.3 FM) in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. As a result of WFME's license status change (see below), the translators could no longer legally rebroadcast WFME's broadcast signal; as a result, both translator stations are now carrying a different Family Radio station with a similar feed as of February 2012.
Sale to Cumulus Media
On January 6, 2012, Family Radio applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change the license of WFME from noncommercial to commercial. This move followed the sales by Family Radio of stations in the Philadelphia (WKDN-FM, now WKVP) and Washington-Baltimore (WFSI, now WLZL) markets, and quickly prompted conjecture from radio industry monitors that WFME would be sold next. The application was approved on February 7, 2012.
The sale rumors were confirmed on October 16, 2012, when Family Radio announced that it would sell WFME to Atlanta-based Cumulus Media; the originally undisclosed price was later confirmed to be $40 million. In addition, Family Radio acquired Cumulus' WDVY (106.3 FM) in Mount Kisco, New York. The FCC approved the sale/station trade January 4, 2013, making 94.7 FM a sister station to Cumulus' two existing New York market stations, WABC and WPLJ. Four days later, on January 8, 2013, Cumulus completed the purchase of WFME. Family Radio programming on 94.7 FM ended at 3:40 p.m. on January 11, 2013; prior to signing off of the frequency, station manager Charlie Menut stated that the network's programming would be transferred to 106.3 FM, which became the new WFME on January 15, and that efforts to acquire an AM frequency that would cover the New York City area were being made. Two years later, in February 2015, Family Radio programming returned to the area via its acquisition of WQEW (1560 AM), a former Radio Disney outlet.
"Nash FM" launch
About twenty minutes after WFME signed off, 94.7 FM under Cumulus ownership began a simulcast of WPLJ, which broadcasts a hot adult contemporary format. The frequency's call sign was changed three days later to WRXP, a call sign previously used on the 101.9 FM facility in New York City under two different owners and two different stints as an alternative rock station. The WPLJ simulcast ended on January 18 in favor of stunting with "The 94.7 Wheel of Formats." During this stunt, a wide variety of sound clips and songs were played, from formats such as Top 40/CHR and smooth jazz, as well as polka and all-one artist formats like all-Bruce Springsteen and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
The stunting continued until 9:47 a.m. on January 21, when WRXP adopted a new country music format branded as Nash FM 94.7. The first song on "Nash FM" was "How Country Feels" by Randy Houser. The move gave the New York City area its first full-time country station since 2002, when the "Y-107" simulcast of four suburban stations at 107.1 FM—located in Briarcliff Manor and Hampton Bays, New York, and Belvidere and Long Branch, New Jersey—cancelled the format. The last station to carry country full-time within the market was WYNY (103.5 FM), which became rhythmic adult contemporary WKTU in 1996. To coincide with the "Nash" launch, Cumulus Media swapped the WNSH call sign from its station in Cambridge, Minnesota (the present-day WRXP) on January 29, 2013.
The launch of "Nash FM" in the New York radio market was the first step in Cumulus establishing "Nash" (the name alludes to the city of Nashville, the center of the American country music industry) as a nationally recognizable brand for country music-related content. During 2013, Cumulus would apply the "Nash" brand (or its "Powered by Nash" tagline) to 17 other Cumulus-owned country-formatted stations, as well as its syndicated country programming (including American Country Countdown), their related online properties, concert events (such as the "Nash Bash" series of concerts held in New York in February 2013), and print with the October launch of Nash Magazine. Now applied to 34 Cumulus country stations other than WNSH, Cumulus' future plans for "Nash" include applying the brand to all of Cumulus' country stations and national country content (once the company's acquisition of Westwood One closes), licensing the brand to non-Cumulus stations, additional live events, and television and digital content.
WNSH is currently ranked #19 in the Arbitron ratings for New York City, receiving 2.2% of total market audience. The audience of WNSH is primarily listeners from New Jersey and Long Island, as well as other suburbs of New York.
On November 3, 2014, 104.7 WELJ in Montauk dropped its Hot AC format for a simulcast of WNSH to cover listeners on Eastern Long Island where WNSH's 94.7 signal is difficult to hear. The simulcast ended on August 31, 2015, when WELJ was re-branded as 104.7 Nash Icon.
Beginning in March 2015, WNSH (along with some other Nash FM stations) began adding an occasional non-country pop song to its rotation.
The "Nash FM" brand consists of a 3–note sonic logo, originally produced by APM Music. The jingles were also produced for all Nash FM and national programming until late August 2016, when TM Studios did a brand new custom package to be used on all Nash FM stations and national programming.
Scott Fisher is the Nash FM voiceover, though some stations use other voiceover artists such as Steve Camer.
Unlike most of the area's FM stations (including its sister station WPLJ), which transmit their signals from atop the Empire State Building, WNSH transmits its signal from First Mountain in West Orange, New Jersey, about 15 miles west of Midtown Manhattan. Therefore, WNSH's signal is much stronger west of New York City than the stations from the Empire, but is considerably weaker east of Manhattan and in parts of the city itself. It is short spaced to multiple stations, including AC-formatted station WMAS-FM in Enfield, Connecticut, which also broadcasts on 94.7 MHz, and is also owned by Cumulus.
- "HD Radio station guide". Retrieved May 21, 2018.
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- "NTA Newark purchase gets FCC's approval."[permanent dead link] Broadcasting, April 7, 1958, pg. 64.
- "Changing Hands." Broadcasting, November 6, 1961, pg. 78.
- "For the record." Broadcasting, April 2, 1962, pg. 129.
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- "WFME Program Guide". Archived from the original on 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
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