|City||Newark, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New York metropolitan area|
|Branding||Nash FM 94.7|
|Slogan||"New York's Country Station"|
|Frequency||94.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1947|
|Callsign meaning||From the NaSH branding|
|Former callsigns||WAAT-FM (1947–1958)
(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 airs a country music format, and is the flagship for the "Nash" brand of country-related multimedia established by station owner Cumulus Media. WNSH shares studios with sister stations WABC (770 AM), WPLJ (95.5 FM), and WNBM (103.9 FM) above Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan. The transmitting tower is atop First Mountain in West Orange, New Jersey.
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 in 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 reasonable formats such as CHR and smooth jazz, to formats that would never be viable, such as polka and all-one artist formats like all Bruce Springsteen and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
The stunting continued until 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.
Current local talent on WNSH includes Kelly Ford (weekdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Jesse Addy (weekdays 3–7 p.m.), both of whom joined "Nash FM" right after the format's debut. A morning show (6AM-10AM) was added to the station's lineup on June 20, 2013; titled America's Morning Show, the program originates before a live audience in Nashville and is hosted by Blair Garner, who hosted the Premiere Networks-syndicated After Midnite until July 2013, along with co-hosts and musicians Terri Clark and Chuck Wicks. America's Morning Show was heard exclusively on WNSH, but soon became syndicated nationally.
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 broadcasts 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 considerably weaker east of Manhattan and in parts the city itself. It is short spaced to multiple stations, including AC-formatted station WMAS-FM in Enfield, Connecticut, which also broadcasts on the 94.7 FM frequency, and is also owned by Cumulus.
- "WAAT, WATV (TV) sold to NTA for $3.5 million." Broadcasting, October 7, 1957, pg. 9.
- "NTA Newark purchase gets FCC's approval." Broadcasting, April 7, 1958, pg. 64.
- "Changing Hands." Broadcasting, November 6, 1961, pg. 78.
- "For the record." Broadcasting, April 2, 1962, pg. 129.
- "Family Stations sign to program on WJRZ-FM." Broadcasting, April 8, 1963, pg. 53.
- "For the record." Broadcasting, January 31, 1966, pg. 37.
- WFME Program Guide
- Taylor, Tom (9 January 2012). "New York scramble?: Is New York-market WFME (94.7) for sale? Family Radio applies to change its crown jewel to commercial operation.". TRI: Taylor on Radio-Info. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Taylor, Tom (10 January 2012). "Gotham guessing game: Yes, Family Radio's New York-market WFME (94.7) will be for sale. But not just yet.". TRI: Taylor on Radio-Info. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Venta, Lance (7 January 2012). "WFME Applies to Go Commercial, Prepares for Sale". Radio Insight. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- "BALH - 20121019ACU". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Done deal: Cumulus closes on WFME." Allaccess.com, January 10, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
- "Cumulus closes on WFME in New York City." Radioink.com, January 10, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Menut, Charles. Aircheck of Family Radio sign-off on WFME (FM), January 11, 2013. Formatchange.com. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
- Camping, Harold E. "What is happening with Family Radio?" Familyradio.com. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
- Venta, Lance (21 January 2013). "94.7 NashFM New York Debuts". Radio Insight. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- McKinley Jr., James C. (21 January 2013). "New York Radio Gets a New Country Station". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Cumulus Announces National "Nash" Brand For Country Entertainment". FMQB. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "What's Next For Nash-FM?" from RadioInsight, 1/22/2013
- "Cumulus' Lew Dickey Explains Why NYC's New NASH-FM 'Is Good for Nashville' at CRS," from Billboard, 2/28/2013
- "Cumulus Launches Six More Nash-FMs," from RadioInsight, 9/6/2013
- "Nash-FM Launches In Columbia Following Fan Move," from RadioInsight, 10/8/2013
- "Country Greets New York City with Nash Bash," from MusicRow, 2/21/2013
- "Cumulus Launches Nash Magazine," from RadioInsight, 10/22/2013
- Venta, Lance (21 January 2013). "Cumulus planning a national country brand". Radio Insight. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "New York Gets a Little Country." The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2013 (subscription required). 
- "Cumulus Discusses 2014 Plans for Nash," from RadioInsight, 10/30/2013
- "Blair Garner To Leave After Midnite," from Radio Insight, 7/11/2013
- "Cumulus to Debut America's Morning Show w/Garner," from Radio-Online, 6/10/2013
- Ross, Sean (March 23, 2015). Country Radio Goes Pop: How Formats Shift When Genres Cross. Billboard. Retrieved March 24, 2015.