|City||New York, New York|
|Broadcast area||New York metropolitan area|
|First air date||1925|
|Callsign meaning||W Z RoCk|
(former satellite network)
|Former callsigns||WIBS (1925-1930)|
|Owner||Multicultural Broadcasting |
(Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Licensee, LLC)
WZRC, known on-air as "AM1480" (simplified Chinese: 中文广播电台; traditional Chinese: 中文廣播電臺; pinyin: Zhōngwén Guǎngbò Diàntái; Jyutping: Zung1 Man4 Gwong2 Bo3 Din6 Toi4), is a radio station licensed to New York City. The station is owned by Multicultural Broadcasting and airs Cantonese programming. It is one of two Cantonese radio stations serving the New York metropolitan area, the other is Chung Wah Chinese Broadcasting Company. WZRC's transmitting facility is located in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.
WZRC was first licensed on June 29, 1925 as a portable broadcasting station with the sequentially issued call letters of WIBS, to the New Jersey National Guard, 57th Infantry Brigade, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Portable stations could be transported from place-to-place on movable platforms such as trucks. In early 1926 ownership of the station was changed to Lieut. Thomas F. Hunter, and in mid-1927 the station was reported to be "no longer portable". In November 1927 the station's owner became the New Jersey Broadcasting Corporation, located at 80 Broad Street in Elizabeth.
On November 11, 1928, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) implemented a sweeping reallocation of station transmitting frequencies, as part of a reorganization resulting from its General Order 40. The New York City area had a large excess of stations, and WIBS was ordered to begin timesharing on 1450 kHz with four other New Jersey stations: WNJ (Newark), WBMS (Union City), WAAT (Jersey City) and WKBO (Jersey City). WAAT (now WNYM) was able to quickly gain permission to move to 1070 kHz, but this still left WIBS in the tenuous financial situation of reduced operating hours and revenues due to having to share its frequency with three other stations.
WHOM and The Popes (1930 - 1960)
The station's call letters were changed to WHOM in early 1930; they stood for owner Harry O'Melia. WHOM's studios moved to Jersey City in 1932. At the start of 1933 WHOM was still limited to one-quarter of the airtime on its shared frequency, however during the year a series of events allowed it to achieve full time operation. In April, it began using three-quarters of the hours, after the FRC refused to renew WNJ's license, and WHOM's owners purchased and silenced WKBO. A few weeks later, the station acquired WBMS, giving it unlimited use of its frequency.
On March 29, 1941, WHOM moved from 1450 kHz to 1480 kHz, its location ever since, as part of the implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement. During the 1940s the station aired ethnic brokered programming and was owned by Generoso Pope. The Popes built a media empire, including: The National Enquirer, Il Progresso Italo-Americano, Il Bollettino della Sera, Il Corriere d'America, and the Philadelphia daily L'Opinione. Pope used his influence through his media empire to secure the vote of the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman. In 1950 the station's studios moved to New York City.
1960 – 1982
In 1960, WHOM evolved to mostly Spanish programming. In 1975 the station was sold to SJR communications along with WHOM-FM (now WNYL) and the call sign was changed to WJIT (Radio Jit). The format went from diversified Spanish to Spanish contemporary music. In the late '70s WJIT was the leading salsa and merengue station on the New York dial. In 1982 the format was changed to Spanish Adult Contemporary and the station was sold, along with WKTU 92.3, to Infinity Broadcasting.
1982 – 1998
In 1989, Infinity decided that with a new Spanish station on 97.9 that it should move 1480 WJIT (by then known as talk station 1480 Radio America) to an English format. The Spanish format was dropped on April 30, 1990, and the station began airing a heavy metal based satellite rock format "Z Rock". The call-sign was changed to WZRC (originally used in Chicago by the flagship station for the network, "Z-Rock 106.7 FM" from 1986-1987).
On May 27, 1993, WZRC switched to country through Transtar's "Mainstream Country" satellite-delivered service. This was short lived; a few months later, WZRC switched to Korean brokered programming. Infinity continued to own the radio station until after its merger with CBS in 1997. At that point, it owned 92.3 WXRK, 101.1 WCBS-FM, 102.7 WNEW-FM, 660 WFAN, 880 WCBS, 1010 WINS, and 1480 WZRC. While it was not required to sell WZRC, it opted to anyhow, and sold the station to Multicultural Media in 1998.
Multicultural initially kept the Korean format, but switched to Chinese in 2002 and now[when?] in Cantonese (to complement Multicultural's Sinocast network broadcast locally on 92.3 FM subcarrier).
- "Date First Licensed" ,FCC History Cards for WZRC.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, July 1, 1925, page 3.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, March 31, 1926, page 8.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, June 30, 1927, page 10.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, November 30, 1927, page 9.
- "Broadcasting Stations", Second Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission (June 30, 1928), page 181.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, March 31, 1930, page 14.
- "WKBO and WNJ Time Taken Over by WHOM", Broadcasting, April 15, 1933, page 10.
- "Full Time for WHOM", Broadcasting, June 15, 1933, page 28.
- "Z-Rock Bows In New York", Radio & Records, May 4, 1990, pages 3, 38 (americanradiohistory.com)
- "Rumbles", Radio & Records, June 4, 1993, page 26 (americanradiohistory.com)
- The Airwaves of New York by Bill Jaker, Frank Sulek and Peter Kanze, 1996.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WZRC
- Radio-Locator Information on WZRC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WZRC
- FCC History Cards for WZRC (covering WIBS / WHOM / WJIT from 1927-1981)
- AM1480 radio program schedule
- AM1480 live audio streaming
- Multicultural Broadcasting Radio Company
- What it was like to intern at WZRC in 1991