|City||Smithtown, New York|
|Broadcast area||Long Island|
|Branding||94.3 The Shark|
|Slogan||Everything That Rocks|
(also on HD Radio via WALK-FM-HD2)
|First air date||1961 (as WQMF)|
|HAAT||96 meters (315 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W W SharK|
|Former callsigns||WQMF (1961-1964)
(Connoisseur Media Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WALK, WALK-FM, WBZO, WHLI, WKJY|
WWSK (94.3 FM, "The Shark") is a mainstream rock radio station on Long Island located at 94.3 MHz. The station's city of license is Smithtown, New York, while its studios are located in Farmingdale, New York. The station is owned by Connoisseur Media.
What began as WQMF (1,000w Ant 120 feet) came about in September 1961 when WGLI-FM (103.5 FM) moved from Babylon to Lake Success. Owner Friendly Frost, a Long Island-based appliance store chain, applied for another FM frequency to replace 103.5 in the Babylon area and WQMF was born. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibited ownership of overlapping signals but because the new WGLI-FM antenna was located on a 175-foot tower (20Kw) alongside the Long Island Expressway right on the Queens-Nassau border its new signal did not cover Babylon (this would become an issue a few years later).
WQMF was one of the first totally automated radio stations in the area and maybe the country. Its equipment package was named "Silent Sam" by engineers assigned to operate it as it played "beautiful music" from audio tapes supplied by a syndicator. The engineers' main function was tending to WQMF’s sister station 1290 WGLI which required first class FCC licensed personnel because of its three tower directional antenna (1290 WGLI was shut down permanently in 1989).
In 1965, 103.5 FM, which had become WTFM, obtained a construction permit to move its transmitter to the Chrysler Building in Manhattan but big new coverage from a 950-foot antenna (7.1Kw H 4.6Kw V) produced an overlapping signal with 94.3 FM, which had taken the WGLI-FM call sign. A quick sale sent WGLI-FM to Greater Media, a New Jersey-based group broadcaster, who had just acquired WGSM (740 AM) in Huntington. Greater Media paid just $90,000.00 dollars ($665,000.00 2013 money) for the facility which was renamed WGSM-FM and began simulcasting WGSM (AM) with transmitter and antenna remaining at the WGLI complex.
Smithtown and soft sounds (1970–1990)
The arrangement continued until 1970 when the station moved its transmitter and antenna to a location in Brentwood where it remains to this day. As part of the move, WGSM-FM's COL changed from Babylon to Smithtown. After the move was completed 94.3 became WCTO ("WCTO Stereo") and began a twenty-year run playing easy listening music and earning top ratings which have never been duplicated by the many incarnations that would follow. (Example: 1975 ARB rating listeners 18-49 10A-3P M-F, WCTO was the number one LI radio station)
Magic, country, and rock (1990–2010)
In June 1990 a switch to a popular light AC format as WMJC ("Magic 94.3") under the guidance of Jack Kratoville (now at WLTW), then purchased by WRCN-FM radio in 1994 and simulcast the rock format from 1994-1996. After the rock experiment failed, it began to simulcast its sister station WGSM, which was carrying a country format at the time. WMJC eventually would adopt that format exclusively as "Country 94.3" when WGSM became Radio Disney. On November 10, 2000, the country format was dropped and WMJC became "Island 94-3" playing rock hits of the '80's and '90's with Charlie Lombardo (aka "Jay Letterman" from WALK-FM) as PD. By 2007, the branding changed to "94.3 WMJC", along with a music mix adjustment to Adult Top 40.
Gen X and The Shark (2010–present)
As mentioned, the station never achieved ratings anywhere near the high water mark set by WCTO and by mid 2010 was hovering in the 1 range. On October 19, 2010 came its sixth call letter change, from WMJC to WIGX, leading to rumors of a format change. Those rumors would prove true on November 5, 2010, when, at 4:30 PM, 94.3 began stunting with a montage of music, famous news, and TV snippets from each year from 1985 to 2005. At 5PM WIGX switched to a "Gen X hits" format, playing hit music from 1985 to 2005, as "94X". The first song on 94X was Jump Around by House of Pain. This version of 94.3 failed to achieve higher ratings and that brought about yet another change. At Noon on September 14, 2012, after playing Semisonic's Closing Time , the Star-Spangled Banner, and a brief clip from the trailer for "Jaws", WIGX switched to mainstream rock, branded as "94.3 The Shark", launching with Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Soon after, WIGX switched to its seventh set of call letters, WWSK.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Venta, Lance (September 14, 2012). "94.3 The Shark Long Island Debuts". RadioInsight. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Amorim, Kevin (September 14, 2012). "Rock radio gets some bite on 94-3 The Shark". Newsday. Retrieved April 21, 2013.