|Broadcast area||Hampton Roads|
|Frequency||106.1 FM MHz
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||April 2001|
|Format||106.1 HD-1: Country
106.1 HD-2: Mainstream Rock "96.5 Rocks" WUSH-HD2
|HAAT||149.3 meters (490 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W United States Hampton (Roads)|
|Former callsigns||WEXM (2001-2003)
|Owner||Sinclair Telecable, Inc.
(Commonwealth Broadcasting, LLC)
|Sister stations||WNIS, WROX-FM, WNOB, WTAR, WUSH-HD2|
The 106.1 frequency was formerly a translator for WROX-FM to service signal dropouts in Downtown Norfolk. This signed on in 1995. In April 2001, 106.1 was upgraded to a full-powered frequency as WEXM, serving the Eastern Shore of Virginia (with a city of license of Exmore), and again simulcasting WROX. The simulcasting would be discontinued in March 2004, as 106.1 would relocate their tower to Hampton and be re-licensed to Poquoson.
On March 7, 2004, the 106.1 signal would debut as Adult Hits WPYA "106.1 Bob-FM". This format was very popular with listeners, and fared much better than sister station WKCK (now WNOB)'s Country format. The two stations swapped signals, formats and call letters, and became "Kick 106" on September 23, 2004. That would last until 5 p.m. on February 2, 2005, when, after playing "Gone Country" by Alan Jackson, the format, which never had high ratings, was dropped and the station began stunting with Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" for two days straight. The Top 40/CHR format known as WZNR, "The Zone @ 106.1," debuted at 2 p.m. on February 4 (after a brief joke "introduction" for a Soft AC format called "Mix 106.1", complete with the playing of the beginning of Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come"), with Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" being the first song played. The station was hoping to fill the market's Mainstream Top 40 void that was left open by WNVZ in 1993 by giving listeners "All The Hits, Not Just Some Of Them." The station also carried the syndicated morning show, "The Playhouse", which is based out of Portland, Oregon (the reasoning behind this was most likely that the show's host (PK)'s hometown was Virginia Beach).
Even though the format was well received in the area, the station had low ratings. On September 21, 2006, at 12:04 pm (ET), WZNR exited the "Zone" by segueing from the All-American Rejects' "Move Along" to an introduction to the new WNRJ, "Energy 106.1, Music That Makes You Move", followed by its first song in the new format, Bob Sinclar's "Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)." WNRJ's format, branding and logo are also extremely similar to that of Alan Burns' Movin' format. Although this station was billing themselves as a "Rhythmic Hot AC," WNRJ was expected to lean slightly towards a Dance direction (as evidenced by the Sinclar track they launched with).
In January 2007, Energy's playlist began to shift towards Rhythmic Contemporary by incorporating more current R&B/Hip-Hop product into the mix and lessening on Dance and Old School tracks as a way to boost ratings and because of WWHV's flip from Urban to Sports (now WXTG). During this time, the station was still suffering from dismal numbers in the Arbitron ratings. On August 27, at Midnight (ET), Energy shifted formats to Adult Top 40, with the current Hot AC Pop/Rock fare mixed in with some of the Rhythmic crossovers that were held over from the previous format.
December 2007 relaunch
Energy's new Adult Top 40 format ultimately failed in the ratings, as the station peaked below a 2 share for the market's ratings. Sinclair Communications decided to take station in a different direction by flipping back to their previous country music format, while going in stunt mode for about 4 days to promote the change. On December 14, 2007, just before 2 pm (ET), after playing "Bye Bye Bye" by NSync, WNRJ began stunting with all Garth Brooks songs as "Garth 106", starting with "The Thunder Rolls"; the stunt would shift over the next few days to songs by Kenny Chesney as "Kenny 106", Martina McBride as "Martina 106", and George Strait as "George 106".
The station completed its shift back to country as WUSH, "US106, America's Country" at 5 p.m. on December 18, 2007, with the first song on US106 being "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" by Alan Jackson. Two days later, though, the station took the WUFH call sign. The station continued to ID as "WUSH", signaling a possible goof with either the station or the FCC. The call letters were corrected on January 2, 2008.
On August 15, 2008, the FCC granted a request from Sinclair Communications to move the antenna and increase the power of WUSH. Owner Bob Sinclair also made the announcement on-air at 5 pm. The new tower started broadcasting on May 29, 2009 with 11,000 watts in Portsmouth, Virginia.
In 2014, WUSH started broadcasting in HD Radio and put sister station WROX-FM on its HD2 sub-channel. On March 25, 2016, the HD2 channel shifted to Mainstream Rock, branded as "96.5 Rocks", which is simulcasted on translator W243DJ (96.5 FM).
- Broadcasting Yearbook 2010 (PDF). ProQuest, LLC/Reed Publishing (Nederland), B.V. 2010. p. D-552. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- "Arbitron Station Information Profiles". Nielsen Audio/Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- "Call Sign History". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- "WUSH Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=40 HD Radio Guide for Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Newport News
- "CHR 106.1 WZNR becomes Rhythmic AC "Energy 106.1" WNRJ". FormatChange.com, The Format Change Archive. 2006-09-21. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
- Maisey, Jeff (2007-08-31). "WNRJ now Hot Adult Contemporary". The Virginian Pilot. Retrieved December 17, 2007.