WMXD ("Mix 92.3") is an urban adult contemporary-formatted FM radio station in Detroit, Michigan, United States, that broadcasts on the frequency of 92.3 MHz. The station operates with 45,000 watts of power from an antenna located on the Cadillac Tower building in downtown Detroit. WMXD is licensed for HD Radio operations and plays contemporary Christian music on its HD-2 side channel. The studios were housed for years at Detroit's Penobscot Building until November 2009, when Clear Channel moved them to their corporate owned studios in Farmington Hills.
Detroit’s 92.3 FM begins with a construction permit with the call letters WIPE, originally granted in 1960, held by jazz disc jockey Sleepy Stein and Henry Mancini. The FCC Construction Permit specified a power of 10 kW from a transmitter location atop the Cadillac Tower Building in downtown Detroit. In 1961, David Kelly formed Downriver Broadcasting and purchased the construction permit for WIPE from Stein and Mancini. Downriver Broadcasting was signed on by morning man Bill Hennes on November 2, 1962 from the transmitter site, with the call letters WLIN, and studios on Fort Street at LaBlanc Ave. in Lincoln Park. The studios were built and transmitter installed by chief engineer Art Lebermann. WLIN’s original aim was to program a full-service variety format for the downriver Detroit area. The original staff consisted of Morning man Bill Hennes, a two-hour talk show, Afternoon drive with Dave Kelly, and Ron Rose and Don Haney. However, in 1963, the station relocated its studios to the Lafayette Plaisance high-rise apartment complex in downtown Detroit, and the format became all jazz music.
In 1964, Hy Levinson, owner of successful “good music” outlet WCAR (1130 AM), purchased WLIN and rechristened it WCAR-FM on December 8 of that year. WCAR-FM initially broadcast from 6 a.m. to midnight and simulcast its AM sister’s conservative MOR format 100% during that time. In 1969, Levinson hired consultant Ken Draper to modernize the music format for both WCAR-AM and FM, and the music mix was adjusted from conservative MOR to contemporary MOR. WCAR-AM eventually made a brief attempt at Top 40 in 1971-1972; by then, WCAR-FM was fully separately programmed, remaining a contemporary MOR outlet.
In February 1977, it was announced that Levinson was selling WCAR-AM/FM to Gene Autry’s Golden West Broadcasters, Inc., but staying on as a consultant. Golden West in October of that year changed WCAR-FM’s MOR format to the syndicated “Great American Country” package from Drake-Chenault. In the summer of 1978, the stations moved into new studios in the then-new Renaissance Center, and WCAR-FM’s country format was transplanted onto the AM station, which became WCXI, while the FM station adopted the calls WTWR and an Adult Top 40/Oldies hybrid format under the name Tower 92 (an homage to the station’s new digs). Tower 92 was partly live, partly automated, with the air staff including Jack Kirkwood, Joey Ryan, Kurt Kelly, Kevin Sanderson, Ron Tavernit, Russ Gibb, and Tom Shannon, and Steve Schram as program director. News team included Linda Ashley from WDEE-AM, Jim Lowlor from WDET-FM, John Bell and News Director Ray Cardoza. The station was only a moderate ratings success, but the most successful format on 92.3 FM to that time.
In late 1981, Tower 92 transitioned from its Hot AC/Oldies hybrid to full-out Top 40 under the guidance of programmer Todd Wallace, and saw a slight improvement in the ratings in the Winter 1982 Arbitron report. Nevertheless, Golden West wanted to strengthen its country-music position in the market against WWWW-FM "W4 Country" 106.7, and so Golden West pulled the plug on Tower 92 in May 1982, after only 15 weeks of the Top 40 format, and changed the station to WCXI-FM, programming a country music format separate from WCXI-AM in an effort to forge a two-pronged competition with the successful WWWW-FM "W4 Country" 106.7. WCXI-FM and WCXI-AM had distinct personalities, with WCXI-FM being a contemporary hit country format and WCXI-AM taking a more full-service approach and focusing more on traditional country.
In 1986, Fritz Broadcasting acquired WCXI-FM (pairing it with successful AM talk station WXYT) and changed the station to WNTM "92 Music," a satellite-fed adult contemporary format. Since Detroit already had four AC stations, "92 Music" sank to the bottom of the ratings, perhaps due to its lack of live and local air talent.
92-3 The Wave/WVAE
92.3's next format was new-age (a precursor of today's smooth jazz format, mixing contemporary jazz with new-age instrumentals and soft soul vocals) in December 1987 as WVAE, "92-3 The Wave," modeled after Los Angeles' successful KTWV. Much of the programming on WVAE was satellite-fed, and the station also featured comedy bits at the top of each hour to introduce the new hour. "The Wave," an attempt to appeal to the "yuppie" audience, never achieved high ratings, but did have a loyal audience, though it was in competition with beautiful music WJOI and longtime jazz station WJZZ, which began to play more contemporary jazz, new age and fusion material around that time.
In 1989, the station became "The Mix" as WMXD. Originally starting out as a Rhythmic Adult Contemporary outlet and playing a wide variety of adult R&B and pop music, WMXD would evolve into its current Urban AC format by late 1991 under the guidance of operations manager Kris McClendon. Ratings success came quickly after the station tapped the then-underserved Detroit audience for classic soul music (the audience had been served by WMTG, a monaural AM station, whose directional signal could not be heard in the city's East Side at night) along with current adult R&B product. By 1993, the station was showing up regularly in the top 10 of Detroit's Arbitron ratings, and the format has endured since, surviving several ownership changes. In 1994, the station was sold from Fritz Broadcasting to Booth American, which merged with Broadcast Alchemy shortly afterward to become Secret Communications. WMXD and longtime Detroit urban contemporary powerhouse WJLB were now - and still are - sister stations. Just a few months later, Secret sold the stations to Chancellor Media, which later merged with Evergreen Media to become AMFM, which was swallowed up by Clear Channel in 1999.
The Steve Harvey Morning Show
Until late June 2005, Mix 92.3 was Detroit's outlet for the popular syndicated Tom Joyner morning show. In June 2005, Radio One relaunched its "Kiss FM" gold-based Urban AC format on the 105.9 frequency (now WDMK), moving 105.9's hip-hop format to 102.7 (now WPZR) and grabbing Joyner for mornings on 105.9. WMXD subsequently brought in a parade of celebrities such as soul singer Kenny Lattimore to host the morning show until a permanent replacement could be found. The station finally signed on as an affiliate of the Steve Harvey Morning Show, syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks out of WBLS in New York City (although WBLS itself was Black-owned by Inner City Broadcasting Corporation), and the station's morning and overall ratings have remained strong. Soon enough, WMXD also became the afternoon home to the Love, Lust and Lies Show with Michael Baisden, as well as the home of "The Sweat Hotel" with Keith Sweat. Although the addition of Love, Lust and Lies and The Sweat Hotel made Frankie Darcell's midday show the only local daypart on WMXD during weekdays, the station's ratings did not suffer.
Mix 92.3 currently ranks at #6 (5.0) in the Detroit market according to the March 2012 PPM ratings release.
Mix 92.3 is licensed for HD Radio operations. The station featured an Urban Gospel format (provided by Clear Channel's iHeartRadio) on its HD2 side channel until August 2010, when Clear Channel entered into an agreement with Educational Media Foundation, operators of the K-Love format of contemporary Christian music, to program WMXD-HD2. K-Love programming has been heard on WMXD-HD2 since. WMXD-HD2 also feeds four translators around the Detroit metro area - 98.3 W252BX and 93.5 W228CJ, both licensed to Detroit; 105.5 W288BK, licensed to Rochester Hills; and 106.3 W292DK, licensed to Westland - which are owned outright by EMF.
The current lineup (as of December 6, 2012) is as follows
- Mornings (6am-10am): The Steve Harvey Morning Show - Steve Harvey, Shirley Strawberry, Thomas “Nephew Tommy“ Miles
Carla Ferell & Tracey McCaskill (News)
- Middays (10am-3pm): Mr. Chase of sister station WJLB
- Afternoons (3pm-7pm): The Afternoon Mix - Frankie Darcell
- Evenings (7pm-12am): The Sweat Hotel - Keith Sweat
- Overnights (12am-6am): No Jock
- Friday Nights (7pm-12am): Back Jam Live - Donafey
- Weekends/Fill-ins: Chris Boyd, Foody & Gerald McBride