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CityMedia, Pennsylvania
Broadcast areaGreater Philadelphia (Delaware Valley)
Frequency100.3 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding100.3 WRNB
SloganPhilly's R&B Station
FormatUrban adult contemporary
SubchannelsHD2: Urban contemporary (WPHI-FM simulcast)
OwnerUrban One
(Radio One Licenses, LLC)
First air date
November 8, 1982 (as WKSZ)
Former call signs
WKSZ (1982–1993)
WPLY (1993–2005)
WPHI (2005–2011)
Call sign meaning
W Rhythm aNd Blues
Technical information
Facility ID25079
ERP17,000 watts (analog)
650 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT259 meters (850 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
40°02′36.4″N 75°14′31.6″W / 40.043444°N 75.242111°W / 40.043444; -75.242111 (WRNB)
WebcastListen Live

WRNB (100.3 MHz, "100.3 WRNB") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Media, Pennsylvania in the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley radio market. It is owned by Radio One and airs an urban adult contemporary radio format. In afternoon drive time, WRNB carries the syndicated D. L. Hughley Show. WRNB's studios and offices are in the "555 Building" on City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd.

WRNB has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 17,000 watts. The transmitter is located in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia at (40°02′36.0″N 75°14′32.0″W / 40.043333°N 75.242222°W / 40.043333; -75.242222).[2] The station is short-spaced with two other co-channel FM stations (see See § Signal note below). WRNB broadcasts in the HD Radio hybrid format, with its HD-2 subchannel simulcasting sister station 103.9 WPHI-FM's hip-hop - urban contemporary sound.


Early Years[edit]

In 1942, a station broadcasting on 100.3 FM first signed on as KYW-FM Philadelphia. It was the sister station to KYW 1060 AM, owned by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. By the late 1940s, KYW-FM moved to 92.5 MHz.[3] The 100.3 frequency remained dark for a decade and a half.

In 1962, WXUR-FM began broadcasting, licensed to the suburban community of Media.[4] It was powered at only 4,200 watts, simulcasting the Christian programming of its AM sister station 690 WXUR (now WPHE in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania). WXUR-AM-FM were owned by Carl McIntire, a Bible Presbyterian minister. In 1973, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked the licenses for both stations, with the FCC ruling that WXUR-AM-FM violated the Fairness Doctrine, refusing to air competing viewpoints. The 100.3 frequency then went silent again for eight years.

WKSZ Kiss 100[edit]

In 1981, after a seven-year comparative hearing, the FCC awarded the license to the Greater Media Radio Company, owned by Daniel Lerner. The name referred to the station's city of license, Media, and was not associated with the larger Greater Media, Inc., which locally owned 102.9 WMGK, 950 WPEN and other stations around the U.S. On November 8, 1982, 100.3 FM returned to the air, this time as WKSZ, "Kiss 100," with a soft adult contemporary format.[5] By 1987, Kiss 100 was the #1 Arbitron-ranked station among women ages 25 to 54.

In the early 1990s, however, the battle for AC listeners heated up, with 101.1 WEAZ (now WBEB) becoming the dominant station for soft music in Philadelphia. Kiss 100 lost ground in the ratings, falling to 17th place in 1992. WKSZ tried to combine AC and oldies with what the station called the "50/50 Mix." This failed to turn ratings around, and in 1993, Kiss 100 returned to a playlist of AC love songs.

WPLY as Y100[edit]

On March 15, 1993, at 6 a.m., with the station still struggling, WKSZ became "Z100," switching to a Top 40 format. The flip came three days after Eagle 106 gave up Top 40 and switched to smooth jazz, creating an opening which WKSZ hoped to fill. New York's WHTZ, located on the same frequency of 100.3 MHz, and calling itself "Z100" since 1983, demanded that WKSZ drop the name to avoid listener confusion. After a brief legal battle, the call sign and name were changed to WPLY, "Y100."

The station initially had a slight alternative rock lean, but still played other Top 40 hits, including pop and dance. By early 1995, WPLY evolved into a full time modern rock format, which lasted nearly ten years.[6] Through the late 1990s, Y100 leaned towards Modern AC, and would shift towards an active rock lean in 2000.

In 2000, the station was bought by Radio One for $80 million.[7] Radio One focuses mostly on urban music and didn't plan to program an alternative rock station. The company tried to make a deal to swap formats with Greater Media's 95.7 WEJM (now WBEN-FM). At the time, it ran a rhythmic oldies format called "Jammin Gold," which would have better fit into Radio One's portfolio. The deal fell through, and Radio One continued to run Y100 as a modern rock station for nearly five years. While ratings had gone down, the station still was moderately successful.

Switch with 103.9[edit]

On February 24, 2005, at 11:50 p.m., Y100 ended its alternative rock format. WPHI, an urban contemporary station at 103.9 MHz, also owned by Radio One and known as "103.9 The Beat," moved to 100.3 FM. The station at 103.9, in turn, flipped to urban gospel as WPPZ-FM, "Praise 103.9." The last song on "Y100" was "Alive" by Pearl Jam (which was also the first and last song on WDRE).[8][9][10] By 2006, Nielsen BDS/Radio & Records moved WPHI to the urban contemporary panel. Mediabase followed suit in 2011. WPHI-FM's chief rival was WUSL, which had been Philadelphia's long-time Urban Contemporary leader.

In fall 2005, former rival personality Colby Colb was hired as the Program Director and afternoon host. For the next few years, 100.3 The Beat enjoyed high ratings, helped by Miss Jones in the morning and Colby Colb in the afternoon. Monie Love and Pooch took over mornings in 2005, with other disc jockeys on the station including Micheal Shawn, DJ Touchtone, DJ Jay Ski, Megatron, DJ Bent Rock, Moshay, Toshamakia, DJ JDS, Laiya and Hansoul. In late 2010, WPHI-FM became the Philadelphia home of the Star and Buc Wild Morning Show, syndicated from New York City. The show had actually been heard in Philadelphia in early 2006 on WUSL but had drawn some controversy and was dropped.

Switch with 107.9[edit]

Logo as "100.3 WRNB" from 2011-2013

On August 27, 2011, WPHI dropped the "Beat" moniker for "100.3 Philly." Radio One was preparing to make another frequency switch, this time moving 107.9 WRNB to 100.3 MHz on September 1.[11][12] WRNB was simulcast on both 100.3 and 107.9 until September 2, when the WPHI call sign moved to 107.9, adopted the former "Beat" format and rebranded as "Hot 107.9." (WRNB would continue to air an Urban AC format after the move.)

Urban Oldies[edit]

Logo as "Old School 100.3" from 2013-2016

On March 29, 2013, WRNB went jockless and began promoting a "big announcement" at 5 p.m. on April 1. At that time, after playing "Keep Your Head to the Sky" by Earth, Wind, & Fire, WRNB flipped to urban oldies as "Old School 100.3." The first song on "Old School" was "Atomic Dog" by George Clinton.[13][14]

The format played Motown, disco, funk, new jack swing, freestyle, and early hip hop from the 1960s to the early 2000s. The new format was designed to better compete with the dominant Urban AC station in Philadelphia, WDAS-FM.

In November 2014, sister station WPHI moved to a classic hip-hop format. In response, WRNB re-added some current music, although the station continued to focus on older urban hits.

Return to Urban AC[edit]

On October 6, 2016, WRNB moved back to urban adult contemporary music, once more calling itself "100.3 WRNB," and dropping the "Old School" reference.[15]

Logo as "100.3 WRNB" from 2016-2020

History of WRNB Call Sign[edit]

Beginning in the 1950s, the call sign WRNB was licensed to North Carolina's first full-time rock 'n roll radio station, a 1000-watt outlet in New Bern located at AM 1490 (now sports radio WWNB). WRNB 1490 was also famous for being one of the first radio stations to play Carolina Beach Music.[citation needed]

Signal note[edit]

WRNB is short-spaced to two other co-channel Class B stations: WHTZ Z100 (licensed to serve Newark, New Jersey) and WBIG-FM Big 100 (licensed to serve Washington, D.C.). The cities WRNB and WHTZ are licensed to serve are only 86 miles apart,[16] while the cities WRNB and WBIG-FM are licensed to serve are only 112 miles apart.[17] The minimum distance between two Class B stations operating on the same channel according to current FCC rules is 150 miles.[18]


  1. ^ "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WRNB]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. February 18, 2011. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  2. ^ "FM Query Results for WRNB". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  3. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 260
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1968 page B-140
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1983 page B-208
  6. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1996 page B-359
  7. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook page D-385
  8. ^ https://mycitypaper.com/articles/2005-03-31/cover.shtml
  9. ^ Y100 Announces Format Change
  10. ^ Y100 Signs Off
  11. ^ 107.9 WRNB to Move to 100.3 on September 1
  12. ^ 100.3 The Beat Becomes WRNB
  13. ^ WRNB Going Old School
  14. ^ WRNB Flips to Old School
  15. ^ WRNB Drops Old School 100.3 Branding Radioinsight - October 6, 2016
  16. ^ "How Far is it Between Media, PA, USA and Newark, NJ, USA". Free Map Tools. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  17. ^ "How Far is it Between Media, PA, USA and Washington, DC, USA". Free Map Tools. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  18. ^ "Minimum distance separation between stations. 47 CFR § 73.207 (b)(1)" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-05-10.

External links[edit]