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WWDC (FM) logo.png
City Washington, D.C.
Broadcast area Washington metropolitan area
Branding "DC101"
Slogan "DC's Alternative Rock"
Frequency 101.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
Translator(s) See § Translators
First air date 1947
Format Alternative rock
HD2: Active rock
ERP 22,500 watts (analog)
357 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT 232 meters (761 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 8682
Transmitter coordinates 38°59′59.00″N 77°03′27.00″W / 38.9997222°N 77.0575000°W / 38.9997222; -77.0575000 (NAD27)
Callsign meaning W Washington, D.C.
Former callsigns WOL-FM (1947–1950)
WWDC-FM (1950–2005[2]
Former frequencies 98.7 MHz (1947–1950)[2]
Affiliations Compass Media Networks
Premiere Networks
Owner iHeartMedia
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
Sister stations WASH, WBIG-FM, WIHT, WMZQ-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website dc101.iheart.com

WWDC (101.1 FM, "DC101") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Washington, D.C.. The station is owned by iHeartMedia through licensee AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C. and broadcasts an alternative rock format. Studios are located in Rockville, Maryland, while the station's broadcast tower is located near Silver Spring, Maryland at (39°00′0.0″N 77°03′25.0″W / 39.000000°N 77.056944°W / 39.000000; -77.056944).[3]

WWDC serves as the flagship station for Elliot in the Morning and as the local affiliate for Skratch 'N Sniff and The Side Show Countdown with Nikki Sixx.

WWDC uses HD Radio, and broadcasts an active rock format on its HD2 subchannel. The HD2 programming is simulcast on translator W284CQ.[4]


WWDC-FM signed on in 1947 as a beautiful music station on 101.1 FM. It was owned by Capital Broadcasting Company with WWDC (1450 AM). In 1950, Cowles Media Company, the owner of WOL (1260 AM) and WOL-FM (98.7 FM), exited the Washington market and sold to Capital. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the sale on the condition that WWDC's 250-watt signal on 1450 AM could not be upgraded.[5] Capital resold WOL and WOL-FM, and on February 20, 1950, Capital moved WWDC onto the far superior 5-kilowatt 1260 AM signal. WOL-FM and WWDC-FM also swapped licenses, callsigns and transmitting facilities on the same day. Unlike the AM stations, both FM stations were near each other and on equal footing at 20 kilowatts of power, so the two simply modified their new licenses to continue operating on their same frequencies.[6][2]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it simulcast the programming of its (slightly more contemporary than) MOR AM sister station on weekdays, and played oldies at night and on weekends. In the mid-1970s, it attempted album rock at night for a few months and then switched full-time to an album rock music format. Its AM counterpart (now WSPZ) was the first American radio station to play a Beatles song when it played "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in December 1963.[7]

DC101's most successful era in terms of ratings and revenue was 1987–1990. The station was #1 in Men (Arbitron) and was a printing press when it came to money. One of the premier Album Oriented Rock stations in the country, the air staff featured Greaseman in the morning, Dusty Scott in midday, Steveski in afternoons and Kirk McEwen in the evening. With this lineup and format, DC101 consistently ran in the 6s, dominating Men in the nation's 7th largest market. The sound was a combination of new and classic rock. Other personalities (Boss Jocks) during the 80s included Adam "Smash" Smasher, Ernie D'Kaye, Cerphe, Sandy Edwards, Buddy Rizer, YDB (Young Dave Brown), Sean Donohue (Rusty Brainpan), and Vinnie Brewster.

DC101's rock playlist typically swings toward the hard rock end of the rock spectrum, playing acts like Foo Fighters and Metallica. Early on, though, pop-oriented acts including Elton John, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart often cropped up on-air. During the 1990s, DC101 interspersed more modern and alternative rock acts including Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots into its rotation to compete with its chief rival, WHFS-FM. Originally a mainstream rock station, WWDC changed to their current alternative rock format by 2005 because of WHFS-FM flipping to tropical music as WLZL, but Mediabase & Nielsen BDS had them on the alternative rock panels prior to the WHFS-FM flip. This left the hard rock/active rock playlist for the Washington/Baltimore area to continue on rival WIYY (98 Rock) in Baltimore.

DC101 was among the last independently owned radio stations in the Washington, D.C. market. In February 1998, parent company Capitol Broadcasting sold DC101 and its AM sister station, WWDC 1260 (now WSPZ), for $72 million to Texas-based Chancellor Media, later AM-FM.[8] Eventually, AM-FM was acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which (as iHeartMedia) now owns and operates a total of five radio stations in Washington, D.C. Like many other Clear Channel radio stations, DC101 has been criticized for having a limited play list. Listeners can hear the same songs several times throughout a 24-hour period.

DC101's facilities were once located on Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square in downtown Washington, D.C. They later moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, and are now located in Rockville, Maryland. DC101 is known for its prize giveaways. They give tickets most commonly, but also (more rarely) give away larger prizes such as stereos, cars, boats, or trips.[citation needed] By 2011, DC101 added Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd back on the playlist, although they are played sparingly and the station is still not considered as active rock. As of August 2014, the above-mentioned artists have been dropped from the playlist.

Shock jock springboard[edit]

DC101 advanced the careers of several famous – and arguably notorious – morning radio personalities. Howard Stern was the morning man from March 1981 to June 1982. When Stern left the station on June 29, 1982, it was falsely reported that he was fired because of his on-air prank of pretending to call Air Florida airlines to book a flight to the 14th Street Bridge only one day after 78 people died when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River at the bridge.[9] There is a large amount of time between these milestones, as the crash of Air Florida 90 occurred on January 13, 1982, and the firing didn't come until late June. It is probably more accurate[10] to state that Stern was fired because of an impasse met on his compensation, and the fact that he signed with WNBC during the latter part of his WWDC contract. It is at WWDC that Stern was first paired with news anchor Robin Quivers. DC101 is featured prominently in Stern's 1997 bio-pic Private Parts.

Stern was replaced by Doug Tracht, better known as the Greaseman, who spent over ten years at the station, from August 2, 1982 to January 22, 1993, and returned to the station in April 2008, but eventually was laid off again in October 2008 so the station could focus solely on music on weekends without his comedy bits. DC101's current morning program is Elliot In the Morning, led by Elliot Segal. Since beginning his tenure at DC101 in the late 1990s, Segal has been suspended and fined on several occasions for the show's sometimes controversial content.

In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Alternative station of the year award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WBCN in Boston, Massachusetts, KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, KTBZ-FM in Houston, Texas, KITS, in San Francisco, and KNDD in Seattle, Washington.[11]

2002 controversy[edit]

The morning of May 7, 2002, on D.C. metro area shock jock Elliot Segal's radio program, DC101's "Elliot in the Morning" was conducting a contest. The winners of this contest would be cage dancers at an upcoming Kid Rock concert at George Mason University's Patriot Center. Wanting to be contestants, two sixteen-year-old Bishop O'Connell students, claiming to be eighteen, called the show. Instead of discussing the contest, the students, goaded by Elliot, discussed alleged sexual activity at O'Connell.[12] The students, who had used false names on air, were suspended the same day for their comments.[13] The principal addressed the student body over the PA system and criticized the immoral content of that morning's show. The following day (May 8), Segal, angered by the students' suspension, personally insulted the principal on air by making lewd insinuations about his family. He also mocked the school's mission statement.[14] The two days of broadcasting were ruled indecent by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a result, in October 2003, sixteen months after the incident, DC101's parent company Clear Channel Communications was fined $55,000.[15]

HD Radio and translators[edit]

WWDC-HD2 broadcasts an active rock format provided via satellite by iHeartMedia's Premium Choice. The format is simulcast on Chevy Chase, Maryland-based translator W284CQ (104.7 FM), and carries the branding "104.7 Rock Nation".

WWDC-HD2 and W284CQ temporarily became the FM home of the Washington Capitals from January 23, 2017 through the end of the 2016-17 season. The midseason deal came about after WJFK-FM (106.7 FM) elected not to renew its deal with the Capitals before the 2016-17 season, limiting the team's local broadcasts to WFED (1500 AM) and Internet streaming. The Washington Wizards share WFED as their home station and take precedence in conflicts; as a result, Capitals games were left without a home radio broadcast when both teams were playing, leading to complaints from fans and the media. WWDC-HD2 and W284CQ aired all Capitals games for the remainder of the 2016-17 season. At the time the deal was struck, the active rock format was also inaugurated.[16] WWDC-HD2 ceased broadcasting the Capitals at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, as games returned to WJFK-FM.[17]

The two stations also added Baltimore Ravens coverage for the 2017 season, replacing WBIG-FM (100.3 FM) as the team's Washington outlet.[18]

Broadcast translators of WWDC-HD2
Call sign Frequency
City of license Facility
m (ft)
Class FCC info
W284CQ 104.7 Washington, D.C. 31140 99 230 m (750 ft) D FCC


  1. ^ "Engineering STA [WWDC]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. January 28, 2014. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b c "FCC History Card for WWDC". 
  3. ^ "FM Query Results for WWDC". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  4. ^ Venta, Lance (January 23, 2017). "iHeart Launches DC Translator With Rock And Hockey". radioinsight.com. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  5. ^ "WOL Transfer, FCC Approves Sale to WWDC" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 10, 1949. p. 38. 
  6. ^ "WNEW, WWDC Sales Given Approval By FCC" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 30, 1950. p. 26. 
  7. ^ CBS (2004-01-16). "Beatles' 'Helping Hand' Shuns Fame: Fab Four Fan Want To Find Teen Who Helped Launched Beatlemania". CBS News. Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  8. ^ Farhi, Paul; Fisher, Marc (19 February 1998). "Chancellor Buys 2 More D.C. Stations". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 January 2018 – via Proquest. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Answers.com
  10. ^ MarksFriggin.com – Stern Show News – Archive
  11. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. 
  12. ^ Atlantic Magazine Article on Elliot in the Morning [1]
  13. ^ FCC Transcript of Elliot in the Morning's offensive material from May 7th and 8th, 2002 [2]
  14. ^ Mission Statement: "Our mission is to provide students an education rooted in the life of Christ and to foster the pursuit of excellence in the whole person." (quoted from O'Connell Website)
  15. ^ FCC Announcement of Fine (Released October 2, 2003)
  16. ^ Steinberg, Dan (January 23, 2017). "Capitals broadcasts return to FM radio". Washington Post. 
  17. ^ Steinberg, Dan (4 October 2017). "Capitals radio broadcasts will return to 106.7 The Fan this season". Washington Post. 
  18. ^ "Baltimore Ravens Gameday Coverage". 

External links[edit]