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WWDC (FM) logo.png
CityWashington, D.C.
Broadcast areaWashington metropolitan area
Frequency101.1 MHz (HD Radio)
SloganDC's Alternative Rock
Smart People. News. (HD2)
FormatAlternative rock
SubchannelsHD2: 104.7 Wonk FM (Conservative talk)
Premiere Networks
Compass Media Networks
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
Former call signs
WOL-FM (1945–1950)
WWDC-FM (1950–2005)[1]
Former frequencies
97.5 MHz (1945–1946) (CP)
94.5 MHz (1946) (CP)
100.5 MHz (1946–1947) (CP)
98.7 MHz (1947–1950)[1]
Call sign meaning
W Washington, D.C.
Technical information
Facility ID8682
ERP22,500 watts (analog)
357 watts (digital)[2]
HAAT232 meters (761 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
38°59′59.4″N 77°03′25.9″W / 38.999833°N 77.057194°W / 38.999833; -77.057194 (WWDC)
Translator(s)See § HD radio and translators
WebcastListen Live
Listen Live (HD2) (HD2)

WWDC (101.1 FM, "DC101") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Washington, D.C.. The station is owned by iHeartMedia through licensee AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C. and broadcasts an alternative rock format. Studios are located in Rockville, Maryland, while the station's broadcast tower is located on Brookville Road in Silver Spring, Maryland at (39°00′0″N 77°03′25″W / 39.00000°N 77.05694°W / 39.00000; -77.05694).[3] WWDC serves as the flagship station for Elliot in the Morning and as the local affiliate for Skratch 'N Sniff

WWDC uses HD Radio, and broadcasts a conservative talk format on its HD2 subchannel. The HD2 programming is simulcast on translator W284CQ.[4]


Cowles Broadcasting Company applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a construction permit for a new FM station on 97.5 MHz on October 5, 1945. The FCC granted the permit on June 9, 1946. The permit was modified several times, with the station's frequency changing to 94.5 MHz, then 100.5 MHz, and finally 98.7 MHz. The station was originally assigned the WOL-FM call sign. The FCC granted the station its first license on February 17, 1949.[1]

Cowles Broadcasting sold WOL-FM and WOL (1260 AM) to Capital Broadcasting Company on October 3, 1949. At the time, Capital Broadcasting owned WWDC (1450 AM) and WWDC-FM (101.1 FM). The FCC approved the sale on the condition that WWDC's 250-watt signal on 1450 AM would not be upgraded.[5] Capital Broadcasting decided to swap the licenses, call signs and facilities of the two AM stations and the two FM stations. WOL-FM's call sign would be changed to WWDC-FM while its frequency would be changed to 101.1 MHz. Simultaneously, WWDC-FM's call sign would be changed to WOL-FM while the its frequency would be changed to 98.7 MHz. To prepare for these changes, Capital Broadcasting applied to the FCC for a construction permit on January 26, 1950 to change WOL-FM's frequency to 101.1 MHz. The call signs were swapped on the effective date of the sale, February 20, 1950. The FCC granted Capital Broadcasting a new license for the station, with the new call sign, for operation on the new frequency on August 26, 1952.[1]

Also on February 20, 1950, the call sign swap for the AM stations took place, with the WWDC call sign now on the more powerful 5-kilowatt 1260 AM facility. Capital Broadcasting then sold WOL 1450 AM to Peoples Broadcasting. Unlike the AM stations, the FM stations were near each other and on equal footing at 20 kilowatts of power.[6][1]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it simulcast the programming of its (slightly more contemporary than) MOR AM sister station on weekdays, and played oldies at night and on weekends. In the mid-1970s, it attempted album rock at night for a few months and then switched full-time to an album rock music format. Its AM counterpart (now WQOF) was the first American radio station to play a Beatles song when it played "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in December 1963.[7]

WWDC's most successful ratings and revenue period was 1987–1990. The station was #1 in men (Arbitron) and was a printing press when it came to money. One of the premier album oriented rock stations in the country, the air staff featured Greaseman in the morning, Dusty Scott in midday, Steveski in afternoons and Kirk McEwen in the evening. With this lineup and format, WWDC consistently ran in the 6s, dominating men in the nation's 7th largest market. The sound was a combination of new and classic rock. Other personalities (Boss Jocks) during the 80s included Adam "Smash" Smasher, Ernie D'Kaye, Cerphe, Sandy Edwards, Buddy Rizer, YDB (Young Dave Brown), Sean Donohue (Rusty Brainpan), and Vinnie Brewster.

WWDC's rock playlist typically swings toward the hard rock end of the rock spectrum, playing acts like Foo Fighters and Metallica. Early on, though, pop-oriented acts including Elton John, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart often cropped up on-air. During the 1990s, the station interspersed more modern and alternative rock acts including Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots to compete with its chief rival, WHFS-FM. Originally a mainstream rock station, WWDC changed to their current alternative rock format by 2005 because of WHFS-FM flipping to tropical music as WLZL, but Mediabase & Nielsen BDS had them on the alternative rock panels prior to the WHFS-FM flip. This left the hard rock/active rock playlist for the Washington/Baltimore area to continue on rival WIYY (98 Rock) in Baltimore.

In 2007, the station was nominated by Radio & Records for top alternative station in a top-25 market.[8]

WWDC was among the last independently owned radio stations in the Washington, D.C. market. In February 1998, parent company Capitol Broadcasting sold WWDC and its AM sister station, WWDC 1260 (now WQOF), for $72 million to Texas-based Chancellor Media, later AM-FM.[9] Eventually, AM-FM was acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which (as iHeartMedia) now owns and operates a total of five radio stations in Washington, D.C.

WWDC's facilities were once located on Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square in downtown Washington, D.C. They later moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, and are now located in Rockville, Maryland. By 2011, WWDC added Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd back on the playlist, although they were played sparingly and the station was still not considered active rock. As of August 2014, those artists have been dropped from the playlist.

Shock jock springboard

WWDC advanced the careers of several famous (or notorious) morning radio personalities. Howard Stern was the morning man from March 1981 to June 1982. When Stern left the station on June 29, 1982, it was rumored that he was fired because of his on-air prank of pretending to call Air Florida airlines to book a flight to the 14th Street Bridge only one day after 78 people died when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River at the bridge.[10] Nearly six months elapsed between the crash of Air Florida 90 occurred on January 13, 1982, and the firing in late June. It is more likely[11] that Stern was fired because of an impasse on his compensation, because he had already signed with WNBC before his WWDC contract ended. It is at WWDC that Stern was first paired with news anchor Robin Quivers. WWDC is featured prominently in Stern's 1997 bio-pic Private Parts.

Stern was replaced by Doug Tracht, better known as the Greaseman, who spent over ten years at the station, from August 2, 1982 to January 22, 1993, and returned to the station in April 2008, but eventually was laid off again in October 2008 so the station could focus solely on music on weekends without his comedy bits.

WWDC's current morning program is Elliot In the Morning, led by Elliot Segal. Since beginning his tenure at WWDC in 1999, Segal has been suspended and fined on several occasions for the show's sometimes controversial content; in October 2003, Clear Channel was fined $55,000 for the broadcast of indecent material during two episodes of the program in May 2002. In the first of the two broadcasts on May 7, 2002, a pair of sixteen-year-old students of Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School had phoned the show to participate in a contest, whose winners would receive a chance to become cage dancers at an upcoming Kid Rock concert. The two students—who assumed false names and claimed to be 18—discussed allegations of sexual activity at the school, goaded on by host Segal, including "graphic and explicit references to the sexual activities of the school's students and administrators" (such as oral sex). The next day, after learning that the two students had been suspended for the remarks, Segal criticized the school and its staff on-air, and proceeded to take further calls from O'Connell students that contained similar content.[12][13][14][15]

HD radio and translators

WWDC-HD2 broadcasts a conservative talk format branded as "104.7 Wonk FM"; the format launched on January 9, 2019, replacing the previous active rock format "104.7 Rock Nation". Programming primarily consists of syndicated content, including podcasts from HowStuffWorks, the Reaction Zone (an afternoon show which carries highlights of shows from other iHeartMedia conservative talk stations, along with alternating weather and traffic updates), Armstrong & Getty, and Joe Pags. The programming is simulcast by translator W284CQ (104.7 FM), which was originally located in Chevy Chase, Maryland,[16] and later moved to northern Arlington, Virginia.

WWDC-HD2 and W284CQ temporarily became the FM home of the Washington Capitals from January 23, 2017 through the end of the 2016–17 season. The midseason deal came about after WJFK-FM (106.7 FM) elected not to renew its deal with the Capitals before the 2016–17 season, limiting the team's local broadcasts to WFED (1500 AM) and Internet streaming. The Washington Wizards share WFED as their home station and take precedence in conflicts; as a result, Capitals games were left without a home radio broadcast when both teams were playing, leading to complaints from fans and the media. WWDC-HD2 and W284CQ aired all Capitals games for the remainder of the 2016–17 season. At the time the deal was struck, the active rock format was also inaugurated.[17] WWDC-HD2 ceased broadcasting the Capitals at the beginning of the 2017–18 season, as games returned to WJFK-FM.[18]

The two stations also added Baltimore Ravens coverage for the 2017 season, replacing WBIG-FM (100.3 FM) as the team's Washington outlet.[19]

Broadcast translators of WWDC-HD2
Call sign Frequency
City of license Facility
(m (ft))
Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info
W284CQ 104.7 Washington, D.C. 31140 99 140 m (460 ft) D 38°53′30.0″N 77°07′54.0″W / 38.891667°N 77.131667°W / 38.891667; -77.131667 (W284CQ) FCC


  1. ^ a b c d e "History Cards for WWDC". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  2. ^ "Engineering STA, Exhibit 1 [WWDC]". Federal Communications Commission. January 28, 2014. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  3. ^ "FM Query Results for WWDC". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  4. ^ Venta, Lance (January 23, 2017). "iHeart Launches DC Translator With Rock And Hockey". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  5. ^ "WOL Transfer, FCC Approves Sale to WWDC" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 10, 1949. p. 38.
  6. ^ "WNEW, WWDC Sales Given Approval By FCC" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 30, 1950. p. 26.
  7. ^ CBS (2004-01-16). "Beatles' 'Helping Hand' Shuns Fame: Fab Four Fan Want To Find Teen Who Helped Launched Beatlemania". CBS News. Retrieved 2006-09-21.
  8. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on February 27, 2008.
  9. ^ Farhi, Paul; Fisher, Marc (19 February 1998). "Chancellor Buys 2 More D.C. Stations". The Washington Post. ProQuest 1619952559.
  10. ^
  11. ^ – Stern Show News – Archive
  12. ^ Maynard, John (October 3, 2003). "Near-Record Fines For Radio Indecency". Washington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "FCC penalizes radio giant for sex segment". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  14. ^ Quirk, Matthew (2004-05-01). "Air Pollution". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  16. ^ "IHeartMedia Launches WONK-FM Washington DC". RadioInsight. 2019-01-09. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  17. ^ Steinberg, Dan (January 23, 2017). "Capitals broadcasts return to FM radio". Washington Post.
  18. ^ Steinberg, Dan (4 October 2017). "Capitals radio broadcasts will return to 106.7 The Fan this season". Washington Post.
  19. ^ "Baltimore Ravens Gameday Coverage".

External links

This page was last edited on 3 December 2020, at 13:31
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