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|Broadcast area||Pittsburgh metropolitan area|
Pittsburgh's Classic Hits|
Pittsburgh's Official Christmas Station (November–December)
94.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
94.5 HD-2 for Jammin' Oldies
|First air date||1940 (as WMOT)|
Christmas music (November–December)
|Callsign meaning||The branding 3WS means that there are 3 Ws in WWSW|
iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
|Sister stations||WBGG, WDVE, WKST-FM, WPGB, WXDX-FM|
- "3WS" redirects here. For the Buffalo, New York radio station with the same brand, see WWWS.
WWSW-FM (3WS), is a classic hits radio station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The iHeartMedia, Inc. station broadcasts at 94.5 MHz with an ERP of 50 kW. Its transmitter is located in Pittsburgh just north of downtown, while its studios are located west of downtown. The current airstaff is made up of Jonny Hartwell, Sheri Van Dyke, Mike Frazer, Steve Grenato, and Kate Harris.
The station signed on as WMOT in 1940, and was a classical music station until the early 1960s. The station eventually changed its call letters to match its AM sister station, WWSW. The station became WPEZ in 1973 and was a successful top 40 station for the next seven years.
On Labor Day, 1980, the station gave up top 40 for an adult contemporary format, changing its identity at that time to "3WS", and recapturing its sister station's call letters of WWSW. For most of the 1980s, the station began to slowly add more and more oldies titles into its playlist, based on listener response.
The AM and FM stations both flipped to oldies in February 1988, simulcasting for much of the time. When not simulcasting, the FM played a core blend of oldies hits from the 60s and 70s, while the AM leaned more towards 50s and 60s titles. In 1991, the AM's independent programming was abandoned and began simulcasting the FM 100%.
The AM split from the FM in August 2000 and adopted a sports radio format as WBGG. In 2006, it was announced that Pitt Panthers football and basketball games would be aired on WWSW-FM; this lasted until 2012, when it switched to KDKA-FM.
Transition from Oldies to Classic Hits
Like many oldies stations, WWSW-FM recently had been de-emphasizing music of the 1950s and 1960s in favor of more songs from the 1970s (and even a few from the 1980s), while declining to use the word "oldies" on the air. In 2006, the music was abruptly adjusted forward with more emphasis on the 1970s and even more from the 1980s. The station started to play artists it had ignored before, like Styx, Huey Lewis & the News, Supertramp and Bruce Springsteen, while dropping long-time staples of an earlier vintage like the Dave Clark Five, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Herman's Hermits. (However, The Beatles continue to be a staple of the station's on air playlist.)
As of the late 2010s, the only 1960s tracks that remain on the station's playlist are those that have had an extremely enduring amount of populatity over the years, including songs by the likes of The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Rolling Stones. In addition, the station has begun to incorporate some tracks from the early 1990s into their playlist, including hits from Bryan Adams, R.E.M., Tom Cochrane, and Sheryl Crow. The station's playlist is now heavily focused on the mid-70s all the way up through 1989, with a few late 60s, early 70s, and early 90s tracks also getting airtime.
For more than a month prior to Christmas, WWSW switches to all holiday music format that includes both classic Christmas standards and some more recent material, putting a break to the usual classic hits played throughout the year qalong with Adult Contemporary station WSHH. This includes eliminating the specials such as "All Request Cafe" Ultimate Radio Party" "American Top 40" etc. The classic hits usually return December 26. Much of the evening and overnights as well as most of the weekend shows are voice tracked without a live person.
Some of the disc jockeys that broadcast at 3WS were Jim Merkel, Gary Dickson, Kenny Woods, Steve Hansen, Cris Winter, Bumper Morgan (deceased), RD Summers (deceased), Theresa Colaizzi, Ray Walker (deceased), Clarke Ingram, Bonnie Diver, and Lani Daniels. During the prime years at 3WS the morning show featured Merkel and Dickson, the station had oldies concerts that filled Three Rivers Stadium many times with oldies acts, and even Wolfman Jack made an appearance on February 23, 1991. The station received 3 Marconi Awards for best oldies station in the United States, while the morning show received 5 AIR awards (achievement in radio) for best morning show in Pittsburgh. Longtime air personality Jim Merkel was released from 3WS on October 4, 2010 after more than 31 years on the staff.
On April 25, 2006, Clear Channel announced that WWSW's HD2 subchannel will carry a format focusing on Rhythmic Oldies, which was originally on its sister station WPGB. (when it was WJJJ) In 2016, when 3WS cancelled its weekly Sunday Night Diner program, the format of the station was changed to 1950s and 60s oldies, similar to what was heard on the diner program each week. In addition, the subchannel carries Duquesne Dukes football and men's basketball games, as well as pre-game, post-game, and coaches shows for both of those sports.
- WWSW-FM official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WWSW
- Radio-Locator information on WWSW
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WWSW
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.
- Sunday Night Oldies Diner Website.
- Jeff Roteman's tribute to 3WS RADIO