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3WS Logo.jpg
City Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Pittsburgh metropolitan area
Branding 94.5 3WS
Slogan Pittsburgh's Classic Hits
Pittsburgh's Official Christmas Station (November-December)
Frequency 94.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
94.5 HD-2 for Jammin' Oldies
First air date 1940 (as WMOT)
Format Classic Hits
Christmas music (November-December)
ERP 50,000 watts
HAAT 247 meters
Class B
Facility ID 59968
Callsign meaning The branding 3WS means that there are 3 Ws in WWSW
Former callsigns WMOT (1940s-1950s)
WWSW-FM (1950s-1973)
WPEZ (1973-1980)
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
Sister stations WBGG, WDVE, WKST-FM, WPGB, WXDX-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website 3wsradio.com
"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.


WWSW's HD Radio Channels on a SPARC Radio with PSD.

Early years[edit]

The station signed on as WMOT in 1940, [1] 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.

As 3WS[edit]

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[edit]

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.)

For more than a month prior to Christmas, WWSW switches to all holiday music format, 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.

WWSW HD2[edit]

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).

Syndicated Programming[edit]

Currently airing on Sundays is Beatle Brunch at 8:00am. Casey Kasem's American Top 40: The Eighties airs at 9:00am Sundays and American Top 40: The Seventies airs at 7:00pm Sundays.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°27′48″N 80°00′17″W / 40.4634°N 80.0048°W / 40.4634; -80.0048