WJLK (94.3 FM, "The Point") is a Hot Adult Contemporary radio station. The station broadcasts on the 94.3 FM frequency. Their variety of music stretches from bands such as Maroon 5 to Kelly Clarkson or Lady Gaga. The station is owned by Townsquare Media Group in New Jersey. Its transmitter is located near exit 100 along the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. It is the sister station of 105.7 The Hawk WCHR and 1310 WADB.
WJLK was created due to a New Jersey newspaper, The Asbury Park Press, wanting to spread into the still newly forming radio business in the 1940s. Originally destined to be WDJT at 104.3, by November 1946 the call letters had changed to WJLK, to honor the late J. Lyle Kinmonth. Kinmonth had been a pioneering publisher for the Press, and died the previous year. In addition, shortly before the first broadcast, the station changed from the 104.3 to the 94.3 megacycles.
The station's first broadcast took place on November 20, 1947, Kinmonth's birthday. When WJLK opened, it was one of an estimated 75 FM radio stations nationwide. WJLK also made history as the first FCC licensed radio station in New Jersey. The station was dedicated to news, and at this time broadcast from 6:30 A.M to midnight Monday through Saturday, and 8 A.M to midnight on Sundays.
Eventually, The Press purchased an AM radio station, WCAP, which they promptly renamed WJLK, located at 1310 on the radio dial. The FM station rebroadcast the AM station's programming. The newscasts for the station were 15 minutes long at the top of every hour, as well as a briefer at every half-hour. In between newscasts, there was a wide variety of shows featuring different types of music, or shows on specific subjects, such as gardening.
By the mid 1970s, it was obvious that specialized FM stations were doing better than stations with a format such as WJLK's. A man named Robert E. McAllen, an on-air personality in the early '70s, devised a new format with its emphasis on adult contemporary music. Eventually the format evolved into adult contemporary played often and block programming at night, playing Top 40, oldies, or talk.
During the 1980's WJLK adopted a Top 40 format and was branded as "K-94" New Jersey's Hit Music Station. Pat Gillen, was the program director and "your Pat in the afternoon". Tim Downs was morning drive, Carl Ross did mid days. Amy Wright handled the evening shifts and Dave Ulmann was the overnight host. Weekends were handled by Gary Guida (who became the PD after Gillen departed) Ed Healy and Mike Abrahms.
In 1989, the company sold both the AM and FM stations of WJLK, which had now been broadcasting under "K-94" to Devlin and Ferrari Broadcasting Company of New York for $12.5 million. The sale had been ordered by the FCC in exchange for allowing The Press to buy the stations WBUD & WKXW-FM, both based in Ewing, New Jersey for $12.1 million.
By August 1989, the K-94 format was discontinued and the station returned to broadcasting adult contemporary. Then, in 1993, the station began a simulcast with the 98.5 frequency and was billed as "Soft Rock WJLK". Slightly more than four years later, in May 1997, after being sold to Nassau Broadcasting, the simulcast was dropped and the station went towards the format it has today, broadcasting under "94.3 the Point".
From 1997 through May 2002, 94.3 The Point was one of the five stations referred to as Nassau Broadcasting Partner's "Shore Group." The sound of WJLK was polished up and the station became a true leader in the market. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 the station became very active in helping the community heal. A significant amount of money was raised for the families of Trade Center victims. The Old Mill School in Wall, New Jersey (K-5) had a walk-a-thon and donated all the money to the Nassau charity. As a result, the Point rewarded the kids by having Michelle Branch perform in the auditorium of their school in late 2001.
The Point and Jersey Shore Medical Center also organized "Kites Against Cancer" to benefit the breast care center at JSMC originally and eventually all of "The Breast Care Centers of The Meridian Healthcare." This successful event got the Point into the Guinness Book of World Records for flying the most kites at one time in a single location.
In June 2002, the sale of the "shore group" was completed and Millennium Radio Group took over WJLK and its sister stations, B-98.5 (See WHTG), WOBM and 92.7 WOBM-FM, WADB and eventually WCHR-FM, 105-7 The Hawk.
In July 2007, WJLK began broadcasting in HD Radio. In October 2007, WJLK launched an HD2 channel, which is a simulcast of the classic rock format from sister station 105.7 The Hawk (WCHR-FM). In 2009, WJLK-HD2 launched S*ALT ("ShoreAlternative.com") in response to WHTG's departure of the alternative format, attempting to fill the void left in the Monmouth/Ocean market.
In February 2009, WJLK started using new station IDs and branding, referring to itself as "The Jersey Shore's Hit Music Channel", despite still mostly playing adult contemporary music, in response to WHTG rebranding itself as "The Jersey Shore's Hit Music Connection" and adopting a Top 40 format the previous month. The sound of WJLK has an emphasis on hits from today.
Also in 2009, WJLK lost much of its Ocean County signal coverage due to the power increase of co-channel radio station WIBG-FM from Upper Township. Since this time, WJLK's signal has become mostly un-listenable south of Forked River while WIBG-FM serves the Manahawkin, Long Beach Island and Tuckerton areas.