|City||Point Pleasant, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||Ocean County/Monmouth County, New Jersey|
|Branding||95.9 The Rat|
|Slogan||The Rat Rocks!|
(also on HD Radio via WJRZ-FM-HD2)
|Translator(s)||W300AO (107.9, Manahawkin, relays WJRZ-FM-HD2)|
|First air date||September 2, 1996|
|Callsign meaning||W R A T - FM|
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(Beasley Media Group, LLC)
|Sister stations||WJRZ-FM, WMTR, WDHA-FM, WCTC, WMGQ|
WRAT (95.9 FM, "The Rat") is a rock music radio station licensed to Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Its studios and transmitter are located in the Borough of Lake Como, New Jersey. The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group.
WRAT took over the frequency 95.9 from WADB, a station named for the founder, Adamant Brown and his wife Dorothy. Brown, after determining that there was no one on frequency within the required 70 miles, and co-channel 35 miles. petitioned the FCC for the rights to the frequency. A tower was subsequently erected at the studio site in South Belmar (now known as Lake Como). Taking to the air in October 1968, it was one of the first automated broadcast stations with large carousels loaded with broadcast-spec tape cartridges for the majority of advertising. Large reels of taped music with interspersed commercials allowed the station to run with minimal human intervention. An SMC digital programmer controlled the operation. The station's "easy listening" format quickly proved popular in its coverage area of southern Monmouth and northern Ocean counties but over time, the nationwide audience for that program format began to decrease. Once Brown decided to sell the station, its days as a "beautiful music" outlet were numbered.
After a Labor Day Weekend stunt during which the song "Rat in the Kitchen" by UB40 was aired continuously, WRAT flipped to rock and roll on Labor Day Monday, 1996. The first song that day was AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock." The station quickly gained a loyal following, filling a void in the Monmouth/Ocean (N.J.) radio market, by providing a local station with a rock format and approach which listeners could previously only hear via stations broadcasting from New York City and Philadelphia.
WRAT's programming, sales, marketing, and internet operations are all controlled by local employees.
WRAT's marketing efforts have tended towards the "edgy". The station gained some notoriety in the late 1990s with a roadside billboard advertising campaign to promote its playing of nine songs in a row. The billboard photograph was captioned "WRAT 9 in a row", and featured 5 large-breasted women in bikinis standing next to each other, cropped so that only their chests were visible, and also cropped on the side so that only half of the last women was visible: thus, nine breasts in a row. As recently as early 2010, a billboard campaign was turned down by the managing authorities of a local outdoor advertising company.
In September 2006, WRAT celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Some of the station's success over this time has been contributed to the longevity of the air staff. Almost all of the air talent that began on the station in 1996 is still on air in some capacity, a rarity in today's radio landscape. Similarly rare is the presence of a staff member on the air around the clock while many stations switch to an automated format for the overnight hours. The "family atmosphere" amongst its airstaff is genuine.
Throughout the station's history, its biggest problem has been a very weak signal. Though the station added new transmitters in the summer of 2005 that allow the signal to reach as far as the urban areas of New York City and Philadelphia, the station still suffers significant interference in southern and central Ocean County due to co-channel interference from WBEN-FM at 95.7 and WTTH at 96.1. WRAT was amongst the first radio stations in the market to simulcast its radio broadcast over its internet website, and continues to do so to this day.
On March 9, 2014, WRAT extended its coverage to include southern and central Ocean County by adding a 250-watt translator at 107.9 FM transmitting from a 300-foot tower on Beach Avenue in Manahawkin, New Jersey. The 107.9 signal extends from Forked River to Atlantic City including Long Beach Island, Tuckerton, Brigantine and Pomona.
On July 19, 2016, Beasley Media Group announced it would acquire Greater Media and its 21 stations (including WRAT) for $240 million. The FCC approved the sale on October 6, and the sale closed on November 1.
- Beasley Acquires Greater Media
- Beasley Closes on Greater Media Purchase; Makes Multiple Staff Moves
- Official website of WRAT
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRAT
- Radio-Locator information on WRAT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRAT
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W300AO
- Radio-Locator information on W300AO