WIYY (97.9 FM, "98 Rock") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Baltimore, Maryland. The station is owned by Hearst Communications and broadcasts an active rock format. WIYY shares a studio/office facility with sister stations WBAL (1090 AM) and WBAL-TV (channel 11) on Television Hill in the Woodberry section of Baltimore, near the transmission tower it shares with WBAL-TV. WIYY and WBAL are the only two radio stations owned by the Hearst Corporation, and are also co-owned with the TV station. WBAL Radio is simulcast through WIYY's HD2 HD Radio subchannel.
|Broadcast area||Baltimore Metropolitan Area|
|Frequency||97.9 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Slogan||Baltimore's Rock Radio|
|Subchannels||HD2: WBAL simulcast (News/Talk)|
First air date
|December 7, 1958|
Former call signs
|ERP||13,500 watts (analog)|
270 watts (digital)
|HAAT||288 meters (945 ft)|
|Webcast||98 Rock Webstream|
WBAL Webstream (HD2)
WIYY and WBAL are the flagship stations of the Baltimore Ravens radio network, sharing the 'official broadcaster' title with WBAL-TV (the city's NBC affiliate), which airs the team's television-focused programming.
In January 1948, WMAR-FM signed on for the first time at 97.9, owned by the A.S. Abell Company, publishers of the Baltimore Sun and founders of WMAR-TV, Baltimore's first television station. The first station to use that call sign (and not related to the second WMAR-FM at 106.5, now WWMX), WMAR-FM was a collaborative partner of Transit Rides Inc., developer of a music format designed for public transportation and owned by the Cincinnati-based Taft family. After two years on the air, Abell shut down the station in June 1950 and turned in its license to the Federal Communications Commission.
The 97.9 frequency remained silent until December 1958 when WFDS-FM signed on for the first time, a classical music outlet under the ownership of William S. Cook, a Baltimore native and professional engineer. Cook created WFDS-FM as one of the first radio stations in the United States to experiment with stereo. The Hearst Corporation purchased the station in April 1960 and retained classical music while changing the call sign to WBAL-FM.
In June 1975 WBAL-FM joined NBC Radio Network's 24-hour national "News and Information Service" (NIS), and was the largest affiliate of NIS not to be an NBC Radio owned-and-operated station. After two years of all-news and low ratings, NBC closed down NIS in late May 1977. But WBAL-FM bailed on the service early, adopting its present elements—the call letters WIYY, rock music format and the 98 Rock branding—on March 28, 1977.
In 2007, the station was nominated for the Radio & Records magazine Active Rock station of the year in a top 25 market award . Other nominees included WAAF in Boston, KBPI in Denver, WRIF in Detroit, WMMR in Philadelphia, and KISW in Seattle. WIYY was a nominee for the 2012 "Major Market Radio Station of the Year" RadioContraband Rock Radio Award.
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