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WBMX (104.3 MHz, 104.3 Jams) is a commercial FM radio station in Chicago, Illinois, serving the Chicago metropolitan area and Northwest Indiana. The station is owned by Entercom and airs a classic hip hop radio format.

WBMX
104.3 Jams logo.png
CityChicago, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago metropolitan area
Northwest Indiana
Branding104.3 Jams (primary)
104.3 BMX Jams (secondary)
SloganChicago's #1 For Throwbacks
Frequency104.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air dateSeptember 1953[1]
FormatClassic hip-hop
HD2: Sports (WSCR simulcast)
Language(s)English
ERP4,100 watts (Analog)
163 watts (Digital)
HAAT480 meters (1,570 ft)
ClassB
Facility ID28621
Transmitter coordinates41°52′44.1″N 87°38′08.2″W / 41.878917°N 87.635611°W / 41.878917; -87.635611Coordinates: 41°52′44.1″N 87°38′08.2″W / 41.878917°N 87.635611°W / 41.878917; -87.635611
Callsign meaningWe are the Black Music EXperience (trading off former call letters of WVAZ)
Former callsignsWSEL (1953-1960)[2]
WJJD-FM (1960–1977)[2]
WJEZ (1977[2]–1984)[3]
WJMK (1984–2017)[3]
OwnerEntercom
(Entercom License, LLC)
Sister stationsWBBM (AM), WBBM-FM, WCFS-FM, WSCR, WUSN, WXRT-FM[4]
WebcastFlash player
Website1043jams.com

WBMX's studios and offices are located at Two Prudential Plaza in the Chicago Loop. The station has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 4,100 watts, with its transmitter atop the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). WBMX broadcasts in the HD Radio format, with its HD2 signal simulcasting the sports radio format on co-owned WSCR.[5]

From 1974 to 1988, the call letters WBMX were held by 102.7 FM, licensed to Oak Park, Illinois (now Urban AC station WVAZ). On December 4, 2017, the call letters were transferred from Boston to 104.3 FM in Chicago.

HistoryEdit

WSELEdit

The station began broadcasting in September 1953, holding the call sign WSEL.[1] The station had an ERP of 40,000 watts, and its transmitter was located atop Chicago's Randolph Tower.[2] WSEL was owned by Chicago Skyway Broadcasting Company.[2]

A previous station in Chicago had briefly operated on 104.3 MHz in 1949. WCFL-FM, owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor, broadcast from 3 to 9 p.m. as a 400-watt simulcast of WCFL, but the owners surrendered the station's license, as it was not profitable.[6]

In 1958, WSEL's transmitter was moved to the Willoughby Tower at 8 South Michigan Avenue.[2] In 1960, the station was sold to Plough Broadcasting for $50,000, and it was taken silent.[2][7]

WJJD-FMEdit

The station returned to the air January 2, 1961, with its call sign changed to WJJD-FM.[8][2] It was co-owned with 1160 WJJD by Plough Broadcasting. At the time, 1160 WJJD was a daytimer. WJJD-FM initially aired classical music, show tunes, folk music, and jazz.[9][10]

On February 15, 1965, WJJD adopted a country music format, and WJJD-FM simulcast 1160 WJJD, with WJJD-FM continuing WJJD's country programming after sunset.[11][12][13]

In 1971, the station's transmitter was moved to the Prudential Building, and its ERP was reduced to 14,100 watts.[2]

WJEZEdit

In February 1977, the station's call sign was changed to WJEZ.[2] The station adopted a "beautiful country" format, playing easy listening country music, with large amount of instrumentals, in an approach patterned on the beautiful music format.[14][15][16]

In September 1978, the station adopted a "modern country" format, with a playlist that was approximately 80% country, 20% adult contemporary.[17][18][16][19] The station was branded "Z-104".[16][19] In 1982, WJEZ gained competition as WUSN also adopted a country format.[20] At that point, WJJD 1160 adopted an adult standards format, known as "The Music Of Your Life".[20] In 1984, Infinity Broadcasting acquired WJEZ and WJJD for $13.5 million.[21][22][23]

Oldies eraEdit

 
Logo in the 1990s as "Oldies 104.3"

In early August 1984, the station adopted an oldies format as "Magic 104" and its call sign was changed to WJMK.[24][25][3] Dick Biondi was the first disc jockey heard on "Magic 104".[25][24] Ron Britain was also one of WJMK's original DJs.[24][26] Initially, "Magic 104" included a few currents in its playlist, but by early 1985, all songs from the current decade were dropped, with the station playing music from the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s.[24][26][27]

In 1987, the station's transmitter was moved to the Sears Tower, and its ERP was reduced to 4,100 watts.[28][29]

In 1991, the station's moniker was changed to "Oldies 104.3".[30] In early September 1993, John Records Landecker joined WJMK as morning drive DJ, remaining with the station until 2003.[31][32]

In 1996, Infinity Broadcasting was purchased by the parent company of CBS.[33]

In 1999, with competition from the new Jammin' Oldies format of WUBT, WJMK increased the amount of 1970s songs played on the station while reducing the amount of pre-1964 songs played.[34] By 2002, the station would replace the All Request Saturday Night oldies show with a 1970s and early 80s program.[35][36][37]

On February 15, 2002, WJMK returned to its former moniker, "Magic 104.3", and its playlist was shifted to include more 1980s music, while further reducing the music played from the '50s and early '60s.[38][39] In July 2003, the station once again changed monikers, going back to "Oldies 104.3" and its playlist was refocused on music of the '60s and '70s.[39][40] In 2004, the station dropped the "Oldies" moniker and became known simply as "104.3 WJMK" with the slogan "The Greatest Hits of the 60s and 70s".[41]

Jack FMEdit

On June 3, 2005, at 4 p.m., WJMK switched to an adult hits format known as "Jack FM" at the same time veteran oldies station WCBS-FM in New York City made the same switch.[42][43] The station had a 1980s centric playlist, along with some titles from the 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s.[42] It usually had no live DJs and instead used sarcastic remarks voiced by Howard Cogan during breaks.[44]

Though WJMK's previous oldies format continued to be streamed online and on the WJMK's second HD Radio subchannel, complaints about WJMK's switch were numerous.[45][46][47] In July 2006, in a cost-cutting move by CBS Radio, the entire DJ staff of WJMK-HD2 was laid off.[46][47] Shortly thereafter, 94.7 WZZN, which had recently switched to an oldies format, hired several of WJMK's former airstaff.[46][47]

With a format change on WCKG from hot talk to adult contemporary, Steve Dahl and Buzz Kilman moved to WJMK to host mornings on November 5, 2007.[48] Dahl was dismissed on December 5, 2008.[49] With the exception of Dahl and Kilman, Chicago's Jack FM had no live personalities.[50]

WJMK's ratings plummeted after the switch to Jack FM, and the station saw further ratings erosion when Bonneville International debuted "Rewind 100.3" (a mostly 1980s-based format) on rival WILV in June 2010.[51][52]

K-HitsEdit

 
Logo as K-Hits

On March 14, 2011, at 1:04 p.m., after playing "Goodbye to You" by Scandal, WJMK switched to a classic hits format branded "K-Hits", playing hits from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.[53][52][54] Following a montage of songs and pop culture clips from 1966 to 1989, "K-Hits" was launched with "Beginnings" by Chicago.[55][54]

Chicago radio personalities Ed Volkman and Joe "Bohannon" Colborn (Eddie and JoBo) hosted the station's morning show, along with Gary Spears in middays, Bo Reynolds in afternoon drive time and George McFly heard in the evening.[54][50][56] Weekend hosts included Tommy Edwards, Ken Cocker, and John Calhoun.[56][57]

Eddie and JoBo were released on December 6, 2012, with the station citing low ratings as the main factor.[58][59] Mornings were then hosted by Dave Fogel, formerly of WLS-FM.[60] Tommy Edwards retired from radio on September 12, 2014.[61][62] The rest of the station's final airstaff included Brian Peck in middays and Jeffrey T. Mason in afternoon drive.[63]

In its last year, WJMK primarily played music from the 1970s and 1980s.[63]

104.3 JamsEdit

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom.[64] The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th.[65][66]

On the 17th, at 10 a.m., after playing "The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles and "Changes" by David Bowie, WJMK began stunting with sound effects and clips of a man giving occasional comments, such as "What's going on here?" and "It's almost time to start."[67] One hour later, WJMK flipped to classic hip-hop, branded as "104.3 Jams", which began with an introduction by legendary rapper, actress, radio DJ, and station voice MC Lyte. The first song on "Jams" was "Hypnotize" by The Notorious B.I.G..[67][63][68]

Entercom applied to move the WBMX call sign to 104.3 from its sister station in Boston to match the new format; the change took effect on December 4, 2017.[3][69] The WBMX call letters had previously been used by new rival WVAZ from 1974 to 1988.[70][71] In addition to WVAZ, WBMX also competes with WPWX and WGCI in the urban radio market.

WBMX is the second station in Chicago to use the "Jams" moniker, the first station being WEJM in the mid-1990s.[72]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Music as Written", Billboard. September 12, 1953. p. 20. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j History Cards for WBMX, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Janowski, Thaddeus P. (2010-09-29). "FCC 316: Application for Consent to Assign Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License or to Transfer Control of Entity Holding Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License (BTCH-20100930AFL)". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  5. ^ https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?latitude=41.8839927&longitude=-87.6197056 HD Radio Guide for Chicago
  6. ^ "Chi FM Bumped; 1 Outlet Folds, Prexy Out in 2nd". The Billboard. Vol. 63 no. 43. Cincinnati, Ohio. October 22, 1949. p. 6. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Changing Hands", Broadcasting. July 4, 1960. p. 46. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  8. ^ 1963 Broadcasting Yearbook, Broadcasting, 1963. p. B-56. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "Additional Stations Turn to I.G.M.'s Automated FM", U.S. Radio. January 1961. p. 1. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  10. ^ "FM Station Key", U.S. Radio. September 1961. p. 65. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "Plough's WJJD to Go Country Format", Billboard. January 30, 1965. pp. 3 & 42. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Brack, Ray. "WJJD Format Boosts Country", Billboard. October 16, 1965. pp. 3, 60, & 62. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  13. ^ "Stations By Format", Billboard. October 16, 1965. p. 62. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "WJJD-FM Out; New Country In", Billboard. February 26, 1977. p. 18. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  15. ^ "Radio News 1977", Radio & Records. December 23, 1977. p. 14. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Penchansky, Alan. "In Chicago, WJEZ -FM Going After Highly Rated WMAQ-AM", Billboard. December 23, 1978. pp. 38, 58. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  17. ^ Hall, Doug. "Vox Jox", Billboard. September 30, 1978. p. 30. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  18. ^ "1978 Country Review", Radio & Records. December 15, 1978. p. 77. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Stations, everywhere: a listeners' guide to the AM and FM bands", Chicago Tribune Magazine, March 4, 1979. p. 37. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Kirby, Kip. "Country Clicks for WUSN", Billboard. July 3, 1982. pp. 20, 49. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  21. ^ "Infinity on the Move", Radio & Records. March 23, 1984. p. 1. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  22. ^ Public Notice Comment - BALH-19840326GS, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  23. ^ Application Search Details - BALH-19840326GS, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c d "WJEZ Switches to Gold Format", Radio & Records. August 3, 1984. pp. 3, 32. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Dick Biondi". WJMK. Archived from the original on June 7, 2000. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  26. ^ a b Chicago Radio Guide. Vol. 1, No. 1. May 1985. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  27. ^ "WYLL FM 106.7", Radio Chicago. Fall 1989. p. 35. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  28. ^ Public Notice Comment - BPH-19850219IC, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  29. ^ Public Notice Comment - BLH-19870506KJ, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  30. ^ Ross, Sean; Rosen, Craig; Stark, Phyllis. "Vox Jox", Billboard. June 1, 1991. p. 16. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  31. ^ Kening, Dan. "`Big 89' Star John Landecker Back On The Air At WJMK", Chicago Tribune. January 11, 1994. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  32. ^ "10 Questions with ... John Records Landecker", All Access Music Group. March 19, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  33. ^ "Westinghouse to Change Name to CBS After Spinoff", Bloomberg News. Los Angeles Times. February 06, 1997. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  34. ^ Kirk, Jim. "WJMK's Makeover Helping it Face Down Rival WUBT on Oldies Front", Chicago Tribune. May 14, 2000. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  35. ^ "Oldies 104.3 Personalities". WJMK. Archived from the original on March 31, 2001. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  36. ^ "Lisa Greene". WJMK. Archived from the original on March 26, 2002. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  37. ^ "Fresh 105.9 Adds LeBaron And Greene", All Access Music Group. February 14, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  38. ^ Feder, Robert (February 13, 2002). "'Magic' is coming back to oldies station WJMK". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  39. ^ a b Feder, Robert (July 24, 2003). "WJMK 'growing up' with oldies audience". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 12, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  40. ^ "About Oldies 104.3". WJMK. Archived from the original on September 21, 2003. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  41. ^ "104.3 WJMK". WJMK. Archived from the original on November 30, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  42. ^ a b Schmeltzer, John. "Random radio fights back with 'Jack FM'", Chicago Tribune. June 7, 2005. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  43. ^ Feder, Robert (June 4, 2005). "Oldies station hits the road for 'Jack'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 9, 2005. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  44. ^ Showbiz Tonight Transcript, Showbiz Tonight. CNN Headline News. August 19, 2005. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
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  46. ^ a b c Feder, Robert. "Legendary Dick Biondi Back to Spinning Oldies", Chicago Sun-Times. November 2, 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  47. ^ a b c Sotonoff, Jamie. "An oldie and a goodie - legendary Chicago DJ Dick Biondi", Daily Herald. December 7, 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  48. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Dahl-Meier reunion talk still only that", Chicago Tribune. October 31, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  49. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Steve Dahl out at CBS' WJMK-FM", Chicago Tribune. December 05, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  50. ^ a b Feder, Robert (March 9, 2011). "Hit the road, Jack: Eddie & Jobo will host mornings on new K-Hits". Time Out Chicago. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  51. ^ Kampert, Patrick. "WGN back on top of radio rankings", Chicago Tribune. July 19, 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  52. ^ a b Chicago's WJMK-FM flipping to KHITS", Radio & Television Business Report. March 10, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
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  55. ^ "WJMK Relaunches As K-Hits 104.3", Format Change Archive. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  56. ^ a b "K-Hits Shows". 104.3 K-Hits. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  57. ^ Feder, Robert "Oldies legend Tommy Edwards ‘adds credibility’ to new K-Hits", Time Out Chicago. March 22, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  58. ^ Feder, Robert "It’s over and out for Eddie & Jobo on K-Hits morning show", Time Out Chicago. December 6, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  59. ^ "Eddie & Jobo Released From 104.3 K-Hits", Chicagoland Radio and Media. December 6, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  60. ^ Lazare, Lewis. "Classic hits WJMK-FM tries Dave Fogel in morning drive", Chicago Business Journal. January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  61. ^ Feder, Robert "Tommy Edwards signing off on a legendary career", RobertFeder.com. September 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  62. ^ "Chicago Radio Personality Tommy Edwards Set To Retire After Five Decades Of Broadcasting", CBS 2 Chicago. September 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  63. ^ a b c Feder, Robert (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Flips K-Hits to hip-hop '104.3 Jams'". RobertFeder.com. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  64. ^ Venta, Lance (February 2, 2017). "CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  65. ^ "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
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  67. ^ a b Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "WJMK Flips to Classic Hip-Hop". Radio Insight. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  68. ^ "Audio of Flip from K-Hits to 104.3 Jams". FormatChange.com. November 17, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  69. ^ Feder, Robert (November 29, 2017). "Robservations: Bruce DuMont retiring from broadcast museum". robertfeder.com. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
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  72. ^ Heise, Kenan. "Isadore Pink, WEJM Rap Deejay Pinkhouse", Chicago Tribune. November 08, 1996. Retrieved January 23, 2019.

External linksEdit