WDCH-FM (99.1 FM) is a radio station currently broadcasting a business news format to the Baltimore, Maryland/Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Licensed to Bowie, Maryland the station is currently owned by Entercom and operated by Bloomberg L.P. Its transmitter is located near Crofton, Maryland, and the broadcasting studios are located near the Washington Navy Yard along the north/west bank of the Anacostia River (Eastern Branch of the Potomac River) in Southeast Washington.
|Broadcast area||Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area|
|Branding||Bloomberg 99.1 and 105.7 HD2|
|Slogan||"Wall Street Listens. The World Listens."|
|Repeater(s)||105.7-2 WJZ-HD2 (Baltimore)|
|First air date||1947 (as WNAV-FM)|
|HAAT||157 meters (515 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Washington, D.C. H (placeholder)|
|Former callsigns||WNAV-FM (1947–1983)|
|Affiliations||Westwood One News|
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WIAD, WJFK-FM, WLZL, WJFK, WPGC-FM, WJZ, WJZ-FM, WLIF, WWMX-FM|
WDCH is one of the few stations in the Baltimore/Washington corridor that directly targets both markets. This is because its transmitter is located halfway between the two cities, providing a strong city-grade signal to both.
The 99.1 MHz frequency was originally WNAV-FM, licensed to Annapolis, Maryland and featuring a beautiful music format. It competed with similar stations in both the Baltimore and Washington markets. In 1983, the station changed calls to WLOM-FM.
In 1983 the owners of WHFS, then licensed to Bethesda at 102.3 FM, sold that station for $2 million and used the money to purchase WLOM along with and its sister station WNAV (1430 AM). The WHFS format and call letters were then moved to 99.1 FM, licensed to operate with 50,000 watts (Class B FM) with much higher power than the 102.3 facility, which broadcasts with only 3,000 watts (Class A) at the time; a Class A FM is the lowest coverage area as opposed to a Class A AM which is the greatest coverage area. Thus WHFS on 99.1 could then be heard in Baltimore, Washington, and much of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Eventually Einstein's group sold WHFS. When the station switched formats, it was located at the Infinity Broadcasting Center in Lanham, Maryland. The 102.3 frequency is now occupied by an Urban AC station in Washington, using the call letters WMMJ and nicknamed "Majic 102.3".
Since 1990, WHFS has hosted an event called the HFStival, an annual (sometimes semi-annual) day-long (sometimes two-day-long) outdoor concert. The concert, often held at Washington's RFK Stadium, features a variety local and national acts; for example, the 2004 lineup included The Cure, Jay-Z, Modest Mouse, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Cypress Hill. Robert Benjamin, Bob Waugh and Bill Glasser took the HFStival from a small yearly concert in Fairfax, Virginia, to a large festival in Washington, D.C. that was headlined by major acts and was surrounded by culturally significant booths, games, food, and rides, as well as an outdoor second stage. Amongst others, Billy Zero was instrumental in growing the HFStival Locals Only Stage where bands like Good Charlotte and Jimmie's Chicken Shack got their big break. The term Locals Only stuck and is still used today and the Locals Only Stage was copied by Modern Rock Stations across the Country.
In the mid-1990s, Liberty Broadcasting published a quarterly magazine titled "WHFS Press" that was mailed to listeners and available in local music outlets.
Though becoming famous as a cutting-edge station playing the latest underground music (and often beating the mainstream to the punch by months and even years), under Infinity Broadcasting's ownership, the station became the local modern alternative rock station in the mid 90s. No longer playing rather obscure progressive rock, nor the classic and hard rock of its Baltimore competitor WIYY, HFS was now formatted more towards a younger set of fans who were more apt to listen to Green Day and Fuel than less mainstream artists such as Fugazi or Lou Reed. The station played much of the alternative hits that were touted by the mainstream press and MTV, turning off many old-school HFS listeners, but in turn gaining many listeners in the 18–24 age demographic.
During this period, WHFS featured a specialty show called "Now Hear This", hosted by Dave Marsh, which highlighted indie and local music. The station never fully reverted to its prior all-indie status, but it did begin to combine more underground programming with its modern rock format.
In 1999, WHFS released a New Music New Video Compilation Volume 1 on VHS that was distributed free at Washington area Tower Records outlets. It featured tracks by Cyclefly, Fuel, Fastball, Elliott Smith, Kid Rock, Eve 6, 3 Colours Red, Puya, and Joydrop.
"El Zol 99.1 FM"Edit
At noon on January 12, 2005, 99.1 switched to a Tropical Latin music format. Its call letters were changed to WZLL on January 28, 2005, and then again to WLZL on February 5, 2005, and the station was rebranded as "El Zol 99.1 FM". AOL, which had a partnership with Infinity Broadcasting and recognized that many people would miss the old WHFS format, quickly launched an internet-only streaming radio station with a playlist much like that of WHFS. Due to numerous complaints about the format change, which attracted media attention, then-owner Infinity brought the WHFS format back a month later on the 105.7 FM frequency (now WJZ-FM). The WHFS call letters have since relocated first to a talk station on 1580 AM (now WJFK), then to a sister station in West Palm Beach, Florida. WLZL was also CBS Radio's first Spanish radio station, and the company's only Spanish station outside the southern United States.
On November 16, 2011, CBS Radio announced plans to acquire WFSI (107.9 MHz) from religious broadcaster Family Radio, with the intention of moving WLZL's Spanish Tropical format and "El Zol" branding from 99.1 to 107.9, with a new all-news format launched on 99.1 FM to compete directly with the region's leading all-news format station, long-time powerhouse WTOP-FM. The 99.1 MHz frequency then adopted the WNEW-FM call sign, which was named after the former AM and FM stations of the same name in New York City.
 The format change occurred on December 1, when 99.1 and 107.9 both began simulcasting El Zol. El Zol was finally moved to 107.9 on December 12, 2011, and 99.1 began stunting with Christmas music, with the WNEW-FM call letters now in place on 99.1. On December 27, 2011, WNEW-FM ended its Christmas music stunting and began stunting with the 1981 Silver Anniversary Edition of The History of Rock and Roll.
All News 99.1Edit
The all-news format launched at noon on January 22, 2012; the station initially planned to launch at 5 a.m. on January 19, but postponed it due to technical problems. The station also broadcasts simultaneously in HD Radio on 94.7 FM – HD2 and 105.7 FM – HD2.
WNEW-FM regularly programmed traffic reports and weather every five minutes between 5 am and 7 pm on the ones and sixes weekdays, and every ten minutes on the ones (six times an hour) the rest of the week (both from CBS local affiliate television station WUSA, Channel 9), sports updates twice an hour at :25 and :55 from sister all-sports station WJFK-FM, entertainment news once an hour, and business news from Bloomberg News twice an hour at :15 and :45. When breaking news warranted, WNEW-FM would break format to provide continuous coverage of any event. When the station began, it had traffic reports only every ten minutes, and had weather reports every four minutes. At the beginning, it focused on Washington area news, traffic, and weather. In 2014, the station expanded its coverage of the Baltimore metropolitan area by providing news, traffic and weather reports, and coordinated with on-air personalities in the news, sports and weather departments from its long-time market-leading station WJZ-TV; the change was widely promoted and advertised at the time. This was thought to be an opportune time, since competitor WTOP had switched from its long-time wide-ranging AM signal at 1500, to several FM repeaters which curtailed its traditionally strong signal across two states and the District. WNEW-FM was now the only station to provide coverage to both Washington and Baltimore, unlike WTOP, which had, since the early 1970s, focused on the Washington area and only occasionally carried Baltimore news events, sports or the slightly different weather and temperature readings.
As done with other CBS-owned all-news stations, WNEW-FM provided the audio feed of such network news programming as the daily CBS Evening News each weeknight at 7 pm, Sunday's Face the Nation interview/discussion program, and the weekly Sunday news magazine, 60 Minutes; the latter's simulcast was frequently promoted by WJZ-TV, but the radio broadcast was paused every 10 minutes for traffic and weather updates, and as a result, the WNEW-FM simulcast would be a few minutes behind the CBS television broadcast. In addition, similar to other CBS-owned all-news stations, 60 Minutes was broadcast at 7 pm on Sundays each and every week, regardless of whether or not the televised version (usually an NFL football game) was delayed on CBS.
On February 23, 2015, WNEW-FM began airing Talk programs, including the syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show in the evenings, a business and personal finance call-in program and Overnight America, another syndicated nationwide late-night broadcast.
On the first weekend in March 2015, media insider local internet news website dcrtv.com reported that CBS Radio was moving their DC-area radio stations studios and offices closer to Nationals Park, which is the home of the local baseball team, the Washington Nationals. WNEW-FM was the first station to move. On March 8, 2015, WNEW-FM claimed that they were renovating their studios and could not continue broadcasting their ordinary news programming, promising to return to regular programming later that night. This came weeks after hosts on sister station WJFK-FM, 106.7, "The Fan" had similar problems.
On December 18, 2015, at 10 am, WNEW-FM began simulcasting Bloomberg Radio as "Bloomberg 99.1 & 105.7-HD2" after CBS began leasing the station to Bloomberg earlier that day. WIAD-HD2 would drop the WNEW simulcast and flip to classic hits a couple months later in February.
On March 15, 2016, WNEW-FM changed calls to WDCH-FM. The WNEW-FM call letters returned to New York City that same day.
On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom. The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th. Despite the merger, Bloomberg will continue to lease the station via a time brokerage agreement.
- "WHFS Press", Liberty Broadcasting, Winter 1994
- WHFS: For Many, The Only Alternative
- "Radio-Info: "Official: CBS buying D.C.-Baltimore WFSI (107.9), will debut all-news on 99.1", November 16, 2011". Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- CBS Radio press release: "CBS RADIO TO BRING ALL-NEWS STATION TO 99.1 FM IN WASHINGTON, D.C.", November 16, 2011.
- Radio Insight: "CBS Acquires WFSI, To Launch All-News On 99.1", November 20, 2011 (updated January 22, 2012)
- "CBS Radio's "All News 99.1" WNEW to debut in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, 1/19". Radio-Info.com. January 3, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- "CBS delays the launch of Washington DC's "News 99.1"". Radio-Info.com. January 17, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
- "Radio Ink Magazine". Radio Ink Magazine.
- "RadioInsight – WNEW Adds Dave Ramsey". RadioInsight.
- CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
- "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.