Infobox Radio station
name = WDVD
area = [http://www.radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/pat?call=WDVD&service=FM&status=L&hours=U]
branding = 96-3 WDVD
slogan = Today's Best Hits Without the Rap
June 1, 1948
frequency = 96.3
MHzHD Radio 96.3 HD-2: Planet 96.3 Alternative rock
power = 20,000
haat = 240
class = B
facility_id = 8631
coordinates = coord|42|27|13|N|83|09|50|W|type:landmark
former_callsigns = WPLT (6/30/97-3/14/01) WHYT (8/16/82-6/30/97) WJR-FM (6/1/48-8/16/82)
licensee = Radio License Holding I, LLC
webcast = [http://mmslb.eonstreams.com/abc_mi_detroit_wdvd_fm_fast Listen Live]
website = [http://www.963wdvd.com/ www.963wdvd.com]
WDVD is a
hot adult contemporary radio stationin Detroit, Michigan, broadcasting at 96.3 MHzon the FMdial. WDVD's studios and offices are located in the Fisher Buildingnear downtown Detroit. WDVD's transmitter is located in Oakland Countyin Royal Oak Township at 8 Mile Road and Wyoming Avenue. WDVD broadcasts with an Effective Radiated Powerof 20,000 watts from an antenna that is 787 feet in height. WDVD transmits its signal from the same tower that five other Detroit FMradio stations broadcast from. 96-3 WDVD is currently owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting.
WDVD is licensed for
HD RadioOperations with its secondary channel known as "Planet 96.3", "Modern Alternative of the 80's 90's and Beyond" with an Alternative Classics format, which was used from 1997 to 2001.
June 1, 1948, the station signed on as WJR-FM, simulcasting WJR-AM. Around 1970 the station adopted the "Solid Gold" automated format from Drake-Chenault, which played oldiesfrom the 50's and early 60's with a sprinkling of current hits. For a time, WJR-FM used the on-air moniker "California Radio" with this format. By 1973, however, the station had reverted back to the beautiful musicformat, with which it was quite successful for a time.
Hot Hits WHYT
In June 1982,
Billboard Magazinereported that WJR-FM's owner, Capital Cities Communications, had hired consultant Mike Joseph to implement his widely successful " Hot Hits" format on WJR-FM by the fall of that year, taking note of the success the format was having in Philadelphia (WCAU-FM) and in Chicago ( WBBM-FM). In July 1982, WJR-FM applied to the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) for a call letter change to WHYT. The call letter change was approved late in the summer of 1982 and, oddly, the new calls coexisted with the station's Beautiful Music format for a few weeks. On September 15, 1982, at 5 p.m., WHYT signed off the Beautiful Music for good with " Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra, followed by the first song of the new format, "You Dropped a Bomb On Me" by The Gap Band.
"Hot Hits," which had already proven an immense success in Philadelphia for WCAU-FM and in Chicago for
WBBM-FM, was a fast-moving, jingle-intensive format that featured a tight rotation of 50 current hits (no recurrents or oldies). The station's on-air name was "96 NOW" (the same slogan used by WBBM-FM which operated on the same 96.3 frequency in Chicago). "96 NOW" was a moderate ratings success but did not approach the popularity that WCAU-FM or WBBM-FM were enjoying with Hot Hits, probably due in part to heavy competition from Detroit's urban contemporaryand album oriented rockstations. In response, WHYT's CHR format went through several metamorphoses in the next few years, dropping the Mike Joseph formatics (though they continued to use the slogan "Hot Hits" on the air through 1986) and adopting several different on-air monikers, including "96 Hit FM" (1983) and "Hitradio 96" (1984). In 1985 the station retooled itself as "Power 96 FM" and added more dance musicand urban contemporaryproduct to its CHR playlist, and listenership increased (perhaps due to urban powerhouse WDRQ's switch to an adult-contemporary format earlier that year), leading the station to be a regular top 10 ratings finisher through the end of the decade. In 1989, the station dropped the "Power 96" name and became simply known as "96.3 FM," taking on even more of a rhythmic contemporarylean.
For much of the 1980s, WHYT was Detroit's local affiliate for
Casey Kasem's (and then Shadoe Stevens') American Top 40. Legendary personality Joey Reynolds, last heard from in Detroit radio in 1966 at WXYZ-AM 1270, hosted WHYT's morning show for a time in 1984.
WHYT's major competitors from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s were Z95.5 and 99.5 The Fox, as well as urban-contemporary powerhouse
WJLB-FM. The station's peak of popularity came during its days as "Power 96" and then "96.3 FM" from roughly 1986 to 1991, when the station moved its music mix toward rhythmic CHR(while not totally abandoning mainstream pop and rock), frequently racked up top five Arbitron ratings 12+, and was one of the top stations in the 12-24 age demographics (often neck-and-neck with WJLB, with Z95.5 coming in a distant third despite often beating WHYT 12+). Michael J. Foxx was a popular draw in the mornings. In 1991, however, the debut of 89X, as well as Foxx's departure, took substantial market share away from WHYT as teens and young adults flocked to the "cutting edge" modern rock format of 89X.
In 1992, the station delved even farther into
rhythmic CHRterritory, becoming known as "96.3 Jamz." WHYT eliminated most of the mainstream pop and rock from its playlist and began to focus almost exclusively on hip-hop, R&B and dance hits as well as some dance remixes of mainstream hits.
The WHYT calls are now used at a
contemporary Christianmusic station near Lapeer, Michigan.
The Planet 96.3
With the emergence of
alternative rockin 1994 the station dropped most of the hip-hop and R&B from its playlist and replaced it with alternative rock, redubbing itself "The Planet 96.3." For the first several months the station continued to play mainstream dance/pop artists such as Madonna, Real McCoy, and Ace of Base, creating a CHR/Alternative hybrid similar to the then-current sound of WHTZin New York City. A short time later, the station evolved completely to alternative. In reference to the format shift, program director Rick Gillette, who had guided WHYT to high ratings during its "Power 96" and "96.3FM" days in the late 1980s, claimed that the station was merely responding to the popularity of the "hot" music of the time, which happened to be Alternative. In addition to Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, and the other popular rock bands of the day, the Planet played a number of local Detroit acts that never achieved major national stardom, such as the Suicide Machinesand Charm Farm, as well as some non-mainstream dance and ambient artists such as Vanessa Daou.
After completing a deal with a college radio station in
Plattsburgh, New York, the station's calls were switched to WPLT to match the "Planet" moniker in 1997. With the call letter change, however, the station tweaked its format to more of a Modern Adult Contemporarysound to distinguish it more from competing alternative-rock station CIMX(and, later in 1997, WXDG). The Planet dropped White Zombie, The Offspringand other harder-edged artists from its playlist and focused more on alternative pop-rock acts such as Jewel, Sheryl Crow, and Barenaked Ladies. The Planet also played Classic Alternative music heavily, with the hour-long "Flashback Lunch" middays at noon; "Saturday Night Flashbacks" with dance and extended versions of classic alternative and '80s songs, broadcast live from the club Clutch Cargo'sin suburban Pontiac; and holiday-weekend countdowns of "The Coolest Flashbacks of All Time." During this time, the station identified itself as "Modern Hits of the 80's and 90's." Another popular feature on Planet 96.3 was Big Sonic Heaven, a Sunday-night program of ambient, trance, chill and non-mainstream dance music hosted by DJ Darren Revell.
The Planet made some ratings headway with the Modern AC sound but was never a major player in the market. Over the Labor Day weekend of 1999, the station stunted by playing "
It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M., and then debuted "Alternative Classics", an attempt to convert the station's popular '80s "Flashback" shows into a full-time format by combining '80s new wave and punk with more recent (but non-current) '90s rock. Artists featured included U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Go-Go's, Peter Gabriel, Erasure, and Echo & The Bunnymen. The change failed to raise ratings, and within a year WPLT had begun to re-add current music into its rotation (such as "Smooth" by Santana and Rob Thomas) in the guise of "Future Alternative Classics." In response to continued low ratings the station changed its calls to WDVD on March 14, 2001, with its music gradually shifting in a more mainstream Hot Adult Contemporarydirection. The "Flashback" programs and "Big Sonic Heaven" were cancelled shortly afterward.
As WDVD, 96.3 FM continued to flounder in the ratings for several years until the station added more pure pop music to its playlist to better compete with WKQI, raising its ratings to their best level in years.
The WPLT calls have been picked up by a country station in
In 2007, WDVD revived "Planet 96.3" and the "Alternative Classics" format as an offering on its secondary HD Radio channel.
96-3 WDVD Today
After the transition to Hot AC and the WDVD calls, the station continued to feature a heavy alternative-rock base for several years, while still playing "hair bands" such as Poison and
Aerosmithand pop artists like Kelly Clarksonand Christina Aguilera, and while still remaining mired in the lower echelons of the Detroit ratings. In 2006, however, this began to change as WDVD freshened its presentation and began to evolve into more of an Adult Top 40, adding jingles, branding itself with the new slogan "Today's Best Hits Without the Rap" (and taking shots at longtime rival station WKQIfor playing too much hip hop), and adding more pure pop music and light rhythmic material to its playlist, including some artists the station would probably not have previously played, such as Justin Timberlake, Natasha Bedingfield, and Fergie, and more recently, Jordin Sparks, Chris Brown, and Leona Lewis. Generally, though, as per its slogan, the station avoids hip hop musicexcept for those who cross over to the Hot AC charts, such as OutKastand Gnarls Barkley.
WDVD also has pop-rock artists with hit songs not played on Channel 955 record brief promos which are inserted over the introductions to their records, saying, "Here's another hit the Rap Channel doesn't play," or some variant thereof. Thus, the rivalry between 95.5 FM and 96.3 FM now is exactly the opposite of the way it was during the early 1990s, when the latter was in its "96.3 Jamz" stage and the former (then Hot AC "Q95") proclaimed itself "The Best Hits Without the Hard Rock and Rap"
June 12, 2007, WDVD was taken over by Citadel Broadcasting. According to the Citadel page [http://www.citadelbroadcasting.com/citadel_broadcasting.aspx?call=WDVD] , Citadel considers WDVD an adult-leaning Top 40 station without rap. After a long time in the ratings doldrums, the station has seen its share of the Detroit market increase recently (see below) as they have added more pop music to their playlist to compete with Channel 9-5-5.
The current lineup (as of July 2008) is as follows
* Morning Show: Blaine & Lisa With Allyson - Blaine Fowler, Lisa Jesswein & Allyson
* Mid-Days: Jake Edwards
* Afternoon Drive: Jesse Addy
* Nighttime: Scott Vertical
* Overnights: Jeanmarie Pavol
* Fri Nights: Allyson @ Boogie Fever - Allyson
* Weekend's/Fill-in's: Carl Anthony, Brian "Fig" Figula, "Jamie" James Flanagan, Dana Mascucci, Kelly McMann, Pat Tullio, Renee Vitale and JP Wagner
Current Station Rating
96-3 WDVD currently ranks as #8 in the Detroit market according to the Summer 2008 Phase II ratings release.
According to a preliminary Arbitron report released September 16, 2008
p1=oldwhytlogo1.gif|c1=WHYT logo (circa 1982)
p2=oldwhytlogo3.gif|c2=WHYT logo (circa 1983)
p3=oldwhytlogo2.gif|c3=WHYT logo (circa 1985)
p4=oldwhytlogo6.gif|c4=WHYT logo (circa 1986)
p5=oldwhytlogo5.gif|c5=WHYT logo (circa 1990)
p6=oldwhytlogo7.gif|c6=WHYT logo (circa 1992)
p7=oldwpltlogo.gif|c7=WPLT logo (circa 1997)
p8=dvd.gif|c8=WDVD logo (circa 2006)
* [http://www.michiguide.com/dials/rad-d/wdvd.html Michiguide.com - WDVD History]
* [http://www.detroitradioflashbacks.net/retroreplay/963fm/ WHYT CHR airchecks] , 1982-1992
* [http://www.stevemcvie.com/ Steve McVie's Mike Joseph Hot Hits tribute] , featuring WHYT "96 Now" airchecks from 1982-83
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