WNIC is an American radio station serving Detroit, broadcasting at 100.3 MHz FM. Owned by iHeartMedia and licensed to Dearborn, Michigan serving the Metro Detroit area, WNIC broadcasts an adult contemporary format. WNIC's transmitter is located near Schoolcraft and Livernois Avenue in the City of Detroit on the near west side. WNIC broadcasts with an effective radiated power of 32,000 watts from an antenna 600 feet in height.
WNIC's studios and offices are located in Farmington Hills.
WNIC went on the air around 1950 as WKMH-FM, sister to WKMH/1310. Both stations were, and still are, licensed to Dearborn, Michigan.
WKNR-FM and top 40 format
On Halloween 1963, WKMH became WKNR, and legendary Top 40 radio station "Keener 13" was born, beginning a three-and-a-half-year reign at the top of Detroit's radio ratings until it was toppled by Windsor, Ontario's CKLW in 1967. WKMH-FM similarly became WKNR-FM, and chiefly simulcast Keener AM (with automated Top 40 programming during non-simulcast times) until 1969, when, inspired by the success of groundbreaking progressive rock station 99.5 WABX, the station adopted its own progressive rock sound. "Uncle" Russ Gibb was the WKNR-FM personality who helped to spread the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead. According to Gibb, a college student in Ann Arbor called him on the air one Sunday afternoon and explained the theory to him. The rumor took off from there and generated lots of publicity for Gibb and WKNR-FM. It was air personality Chris Randall who phoned WABC New York personality Roby Yonge, who put the rumor on the air in New York and was responsible for it spreading nationwide.
"Stereo Island" easy listening to WNIC adult contemporary
WKNR-FM dropped its progressive rock format in 1971 to become "Stereo Island," a cross between Beautiful Music and Middle of the Road that could be described as an early form of what would be later be called Adult Contemporary. "Stereo Island" was successful and spawned imitators such as WFMK in Lansing, but in 1972, both WKNR and WKNR-FM were sold and became WNIC AM & FM, simulcasting a straightforward Beautiful Music format. The WNIC calls were meant to denote the station's "NICe" music. In 1976, WNIC adopted a more up-tempo sound called "Rock 'n' Easy" and has been successful with that AC format ever since. WNIC scored its first number-one placing in the monthly Arbitron ratings in Detroit in 1998, although the station's ratings have since dropped, due largely to competition from Greater Media-owned Magic 105.1. The ratings drop was also blamed on the departure of popular morning show host Jim Harper to Magic (he has since retired).
Fresh 100, return to WNIC
On December 27, 2010, the station rebranded as Fresh 100.3, "Detroit's Fresh New Sound". With the change, the station dropped all 1960s music, 1970s music and a lot of 1980s music from the playlist, focusing on upbeat music from the 1990s through the present, but retained some 1980s songs. The station made the switch at 4:00 PM (EST) after running its annual Christmas music and an on-air music test for two hours. The surprise flip caught listeners off guard, but according to Clear Channel/Detroit OM Todd Thomas, he noted that the target audience will remain the same, adding that "This is the music that radio listeners in Detroit told us they wanted to hear. With their help, we’ve created a unique sound on 100.3 for 2011 and beyond." WNIC also began airing the American Top 40 show (the adult top 40 version) on Sundays.
In December 2011, WNIC began to backtrack on its format changes, reflected by the amended slogan "Variety From Today & Back In The Day". The station also adjusted their on-air lineup adding Billy The Kidd for nights. WNIC once again became the only Adult Contemporary radio station in Detroit on August 12, 2013, when long time competitor WMGC-FM dropped the AC format for a Sports radio format. This was the first time since 2001, that the Metro Detroit area had only one Adult Contemporary radio station. On November 7, 2013, coinciding with the start of the station's annual shift to all Christmas music, WNIC dropped the "Fresh" branding and returned to using its call letters as its on-air brand. While the station continues with its more upbeat format, WNIC has added an increased amount of older music, but still does not play 60's and 70's music. ("The 80's Till Now").
The current lineup (as of November 2015) is as follows
- Morning Show (5 a.m.-10 a.m.): Jay Towers In The Morning - Jay Towers, Chelsea Kivell, Kam Carman & Bridgette "Bri" Woods
- Mid-Days (10 a.m.-3 p.m.): Theresa Lucas
- Afternoon Drive (3 p.m.-8 p.m) Dave Kent
- Nighttime (8 p.m.-12 a.m.): On With Mario Lopez
- Weekend/Fill-in: Lori Bradley, Chris Edmonds
- Program Director: Tony Travatto
- Assistant PD/Music Director: Theresa Lucas