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WKXW (101.5 FM, "New Jersey 101.5") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Trenton, New Jersey. It is owned by Townsquare Media. Its studios and offices are located in Ewing and its broadcast tower is located near the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township in Mercer County, New Jersey at ( ).
|City||Trenton, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New Jersey|
|Branding||New Jersey 101.5|
|Slogan||"Not New York, Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey. New Jersey 101.5"|
|Frequency||101.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||August 27, 1962|
|Format||FM/HD1:News and talk/Classic Hits|
HD2: "Radio Zindagi" Indian Talk/Music (WWRL simulcast)
|ERP||15,500 watts (analog)|
617 watts (digital)
|HAAT||275 m (902 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Two W's bookending "KiX" (former branding)|
|Former callsigns||WBUD-FM (1962-late 1960s)-WBJH until (1977) WTRT (1977-1980)|
|Owner||Townsquare Media |
(Townsquare Media Trenton License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WPST, WNJE|
The station went on the air on August 27, 1962, as WBUD-FM. Its call sign subsequently changed to WBJH, which stood for Bill and Joy Hardin, the son and daughter-in-law of the owner. About 1977, the station changed calls to WTRT and called itself "The New T-101 FM". In 1980, the station became WKXW, under its new owner Fidelity Communications. It was playing a hot adult contemporary format as "The All New Kix 101 & A 1/2 FM" and later "Kix 101.5". By the late 80s, the station evolved into more of a gold-based adult contemporary format. Its weekend Saturday oldies show evolved into an all oldies format from the 50's through early 70s on overnights and weekends before the change to its current weekday talk format, which came in 1990 when it was sold to Press Communications. The sale to Millennium Radio Group took place in 2001.
On March 1, 1990 at 5pm, “New Jersey 101.5”, conceived by Sabo Media CEO, Walter Sabo, became the first full-time FM Talk station in America targeted for a younger audience. Mark Sheppard, who later went to middays, kicked off the format playing Bill Haley & The Comets' "Rock Around The Clock".
Since the 1990s, the station has a talk and news format during the week, with oldies music on the overnights and weekend. Initially, the oldies format was 1960s-based with a few pre-1964 oldies and a 1970s oldie or two each hour. By the early-to-mid-1990s, more 1970s music was added and by the early-2000s, 1980s music from 1980-1982 was added occasionally. Between 2000 and 2005, music from between 1986 and 1989 was added to the lineups. Gradually, at the same time, songs from 1964 and older were gradually reduced in the late-1990s and gone by 2000. In September 2007, 1960s music was removed from the "60s, 70s, and 80s" weekend music programming ID, and nearly all 1960s music had been removed from the playlist. However, in May 2012, "60s" was added back to the weekend music programming ID, coinciding with a limited but steady increase in music airplay focusing on select titles by well-known artists.
In the mid-to-late-1990s, music was ended on weekday overnights and now airs strictly on weekends and maybe some holidays.
The station has, at times, provided a simulcast on various AM and FM stations in the Atlantic City area, beyond the reach of its main transmitter. The most recent simulcast ceased in June 2009 when then-WXKW changed formats to ESPN Sports Radio.
In 2008, the station's parent company was sued by a photographer for copyright infringement, and defamation with regards to the online posting of a photocopy of a New Jersey Monthly magazine photograph. Photographer Peter Murphy sent a notice of copyright infringement to the station to remove a photo Craig Carton and Ray Rossi, which had been photocopied from a March 2006 issue of the magazine; the station also posted "photoshopped" versions of the picture that were submitted by listeners. While the station complied with the takedown request, Carton and Rossi complained on-air about Murphy's conduct, allegedly saying that Murphy was "not to be trusted" and that people "should avoid doing business" with him. Carton and Rossi also alleged that Murphy "was a homosexual." In April 2008, Murphy brought suit for direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement, violation of the DMCA, and defamation of character against Millennium Radio Group, Carton, and Rossi. The Third Circuit ruled that the station's actions did constitute both a violation of the DMCA and copyright infringement, which vacated the district court's judgment.
On July 26, 2018, the station came under fire after hosts Judi Franco and Dennis Malloy referred to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal as "turban man" while on air. The hosts were suspended for 10 days.
In December 2018, Judi Franco garnered controversy when called the state's "Move Over" law "silly" and unnecessary in an opinion piece she posted on the station's website under the headline "Dead cops make bad laws."
New Jersey-centric brandingEdit
The station has strongly branded its New Jersey-ness, with its announcers frequently self-identifying "New Jersey 101.5" and with its bumper message intoning "Not New York. Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey!", as well as its branded New Jersey Fast Traffic and New Jersey Instant Weather. The New Jersey-centric nature of the station is emphasized in the traffic reports, in that they refer to traffic direction on bridges and tunnels as "entering New Jersey" or "leaving New Jersey" instead of the more traditional designations of "into the city/inbound" or "out of the city/outbound". As well, current temperatures of different samples of towns in New Jersey are given after the weather reports. Despite the station's branding, the 101.5 signal does not reach the majority of Cape May, Salem and Sussex Counties while the signal's coverage of Atlantic, Bergen, Cumberland and Hudson Counties is poor at best, though streaming and smart speaker options do allow full-state reach of the station through other means.
The way WKXW has been able to maintain a strong listener base can be attributed to several factors, including:
- Radio stations in New York City and Philadelphia tend to only mention New Jersey issues, news, politics, etc. in short regional rundowns outside of the most high-profile stories, if at all (for instance, state weather is mentioned by some New York and Philadelphia stations under the vague terms "The Beaches" or "The Jersey Shore" without delineation of location for those observations). For decades the station was the highest rated FM Talk station measured, according to Arbitron/Nielsen Media.
- New Jersey has only two English speaking commercial television stations: Secaucus-licensed WWOR-TV (channel 9) and Wildwood-licensed WMGM-TV (channel 40), an NBC affiliate until the start of 2015 (currently a Justice Network station owned by Univision). Both stations no longer have news departments or local newscasts. WMGM-TV covers the outer fringes of the Delaware Valley and Philadelphia, while WWOR-TV primarily serves the New York Tri-State Area. On July 2, 2013, traditional newscasts (which were nominally focused on New Jersey issues) on WWOR were discontinued for an outside produced interview program called Chasing New Jersey, which later took on a generic social media focus under the title Chasing News with only a vague focus on New Jerseyan issues. WMGM-TV ended their NBC affiliation on January 1, 2015 due to NBCUniversal parent Comcast exercising territorial exclusivity for the Philadelphia/Atlantic City market with their O&O WCAU. The news department was also terminated, though it remains under contract to the owners which sold off the station license, and they may relaunch it on another station. PBS member network NJTV is the only remaining television operation with a New Jersey-focused newscast, but was converted to private ownership from state backing in July 2011 under Chris Christie's campaign promises to cut state expenses, and is currently operated by Newark-licensed WNET (operating from a New York City base), which also airs the NJTV newscasts on WNET itself for Northern New Jersey. Smaller independent stations such as WMBC-TV and WACP also have newscasts to serve local audiences of Northern and Southern New Jersey, respectively, except WMBC-TV's news also focuses on New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Townsquare News NetworkEdit
The station is the flagship broadcasting arm of the Townsquare New Jersey News Network as heard on twelve radio stations throughout the state. The network consists of WOBM-FM in Toms River, WOBM-AM in Lakewood, WCHR-FM in Manahawkin, WJLK-FM in Asbury Park, WADB-AM in Tinton Falls, WFPG-FM in Atlantic City, WSJO-FM in Egg Harbor City, WPUR-FM in Atlantic City, and WENJ in Atlantic City. Various bureaus throughout the state share stories with the Ewing headquarters.
The station's proprietary format was created in 1990. It was idea of Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo. Sabo, a former NBC and ABC executive, branded the station, built its approach to call-in radio and gave the station its Jersey-centric point of view. His initiatives were carried out by Jay Sorensen and Perry Michael Simon, with the help of Press Broadcasting chief Bob McAllan and general manager John Dziuba. Subsequent program directors include Leigh Jacobs and Eric Johnson.
- Eric Scott – host of the early morning news show New Jersey's First News With Eric Scott as well as the monthly "Ask the Governor".
- Bill Spadea – host of the morning show; took over hosting duties from the original and longtime host, populist Jim Gearhart, in December 2015.
- Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco – hosts of the mid-day show, The Dennis & Judi Show, which mixes a variety of topics, from New Jersey politics, to the mundane, irreverent issues; the show first aired in 1997.
- Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle – hosts of The Deminski and Doyle Show which returned on July 5, 2011 after leaving for the Detroit market in 1999.
- Steve Trevelise – host of the evening show, a mix of comedy and current events.
- Big Joe Henry – host of the weekend music shows, showcasing a mix of oldies retro and more modern music, together with a retro DJ style featuring reverb, Big Joe Jokes (often revolving around his own prodigious weight), and sound effects. "Livin' large and lovin' life." Also on-site hosts a Sunday-evening talent show in Point Pleasant, New Jersey during the summer.
Supporting personalities include Dan Zarrow on weather, David Mattau  and Patrick Lavery  on news, Bob Williams, Jill Myra, "Tom Rivers" (aka Matt Ward from 1010 WINS), and Bernie Wagenblast for traffic.
Notable radio personalities who have worked at the station include:
- Philadelphia radio Hall of Famer Hy Lit and his son Sam Lit, who anchored the air staff in the early 80s
- John and Ken (John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, now at KFI Los Angeles)
- Scott and Casey (Scott Hasick, currently at WMVN/WARH St. Louis)
- Tommy G (named to Talkers Magazine Frontier 50)
- Paul "PJ" Cunningham worked on-air at KIX 101 1/2 from 1987–1989. Has been host of The Bender Nation morning show on KBKS-FM in Seattle since 2001.
- Jeff McKay – traffic reporter
- Two incarnations of the Jersey Guys, first with Craig Carton and Ray Rossi (in summer 2002) and second (in summer 2007) with Casey Bartholomew and Ray Rossi:
- "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WKXW]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
- "N.J. 101.5FM studio is renamed after longtime radio personality Jim Gearhart". nj.com. November 2, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- "FM Query Results for WKXW". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
- "Oaktree closes on Millennium-NJ, files to transfer stations to Townsquare Media". Radio-Info.com. July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, 08-1743 (US District Court, D. New Jersey 2010).
- Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, 10-2163 (3rd Circuit 2011).
- "New Jersey radio hosts suspended for calling attorney general 'turban man'".
- The Latest: Sikh group says radio station should apologize - AP NEWS
- Cervenka, Susanne (December 5, 2018). "NJ 101.5 host Judi Franco 'trampling on the graves' of police, trooper union says". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "Alan Kasper, New Jersey 101.5 meteorologist, announces retirement". Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "David Matthau on NJ 101.5". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- "Patrick Lavery on NJ 101.5". Retrieved 26 June 2018.