WRNB is an urban oldies station broadcasting at 100.3 FM. Licensed to Media, Pennsylvania, it serves the Philadelphia market and is owned by Radio One. It has studios located in Bala Cynwyd and broadcasts from a transmitter site in Philadelphia's Roxborough section. The station is severely short-spaced due to co-channel interference from WHTZ in New York City and WBIG-FM in Washington, D.C. (a similar situation occurs with WBEB (101.1 FM) being short-spaced with WCBS-FM and WWDC).
100.3 FM history
100.3 FM first went on the air in the 1940s as KYW-FM, and was changed to WXUR-FM in the 1960s, and simulcasting its sister station, WXUR 690. The station was owned by Carl McIntire, a Bible Presbyterian minister; it ran a religious format. In 1973, the FCC revoked the station's license for violating the Fairness Doctrine, refusing to air competing viewpoints. The frequency then went dark. The WXUR call letters are now used by a classic rock station in Herkimer, New York.
WKSZ as Kiss 100
In 1981, after a seven-year comparative hearing, the FCC award the license to Greater Media, owned by Daniel Lerner. The name referred to the city of license and was not associated with the company Greater Media that owns WMGK and other stations. On November 8, 1982, 100.3 signed on again as WKSZ, "Kiss 100", with an adult contemporary (AC) format. By 1987, Kiss 100 was the number 1 Arbitron-ranked station among women ages 25 to 54. In the early 1990s, however, the battle for AC listeners heated up, and Kiss lost ground in the ratings, falling to 17th place in 1992 behind three other AC stations. They tried to mix AC and oldies with what they called the "50/50 mix", but it didn't work, and in 1993, returned to just a contemporary mix of love songs.
WPLY as Y100
On March 15, 1993, with the station still struggling, WKSZ became "Z100", playing a Top 40 format, filling the void left by Eagle 106, which had switched to a smooth jazz format on March 12. New York's WHTZ, also on the same frequency, and also called Z100 since 1983, demanded that WKSZ drop the name to avoid listener confusion. After a brief legal battle, the call letters and name were changed to WPLY, "Y100". The station initially did have a slight alternative rock leaning, but still played a decent amount of non-rock music. In early 1995, WPLY evolved into an alternative rock format, which lasted nearly ten years. From 1996 to about 1999, like most alternative stations at the time, Y100 leaned towards Modern AC, and would shift towards an active rock lean in 2000. Also in 2000, the station was sold to Radio One, which focuses mostly on urban formats.
Radio One tried to make a deal to swap formats with Greater Media's 95.7 FM, which at that time ran an urban oldies format called "Jammin Gold", but the deal fell through. Radio One continued to run Y100 as a modern rock station for nearly five years. While ratings had gone down, the station still was moderately successful.
100.3 debuts as WPHI-FM
On February 24, 2005, at 11 PM, Y100 ceased operations, and 103.9 FM's urban contemporary format (known as "103.9 The Beat") and WPHI call letters moved to 100.3 FM. 103.9, in turn, would flip to urban gospel as "Praise 103.9". The last song on "Y100" was "Alive" by Pearl Jam (which was also the first and last song on WDRE). By 2006, Nielsen BDS/Radio & Records moved WPHI to the urban contemporary panel; Mediabase followed suit in 2011, completing the shift to urban contemporary, and now closely competing with WUSL. It was the last of Radio One's rhythmic stations with an -FM suffix after switching to urban.
In fall 2005, former rival personality Colby Colb was hired as the Program Director and afternoon host. For the next few years, the Beat enjoyed the highest ratings in its history helped by Miss Jones in the morning and Colby Colb in the afternoon. Monie Love and Pooch took over mornings in 2005, some of the other talents on the station was Micheal Shawn, DJ Touchtone, DJ Jay Ski, Megatron, DJ Bent Rock, Moshay, Toshamakia, DJ JDS, Laiya and Hansoul. In late 2010, it became the home of the Star and Buc Wild Morning Show, in spite of the radio team's previous controversies during its tenure as a syndicated show (it previously aired on WUSL in early 2006). Under Radio One ownership, and prior to 2011, WPHI was one of three stations not to convert to a syndicated morning show; KBXX in Houston and WCKX in Columbus are the other two such stations.
Move to 107.9
On August 27, 2011, WPHI dropped its "Beat" moniker for 100.3 Philly in preparation for WRNB to move to 100.3 on September 1. 107.9 simulcast WRNB until September 2, when the WPHI call letters and property moved to 107.9 and began stunting as "Michael Vick 107.9". On September 6, it became "Smiley 107.9", introducing radio personality Rickey Smiley to Philadelphia radio for the first time. Two days later, at 5 PM, the station officially debuted as Hot 107.9 with an urban contemporary format.
Switch to urban oldies
On March 29, 2013, WRNB dropped all DJs and began promoting a "big announcement" on April 1 at 5PM. At that time, after playing "Keep Your Head to the Sky" by Earth, Wind, & Fire, WRNB flipped to urban oldies as "Old School 100.3". The first song on "Old School" was "Atomic Dog" by George Clinton. The format is very similar to that of the defunct WEJM, playing Motown, disco, funk, new jack swing, freestyle, and early hip hop from the 1960s to the 2000s. The reason behind the switch is the station being behind WDAS-FM in the Philadelphia Arbitron ratings. With the November 2014 flip of sister station WPHI to Classic Hip-Hop, WRNB has re-added some current music, though the station continues to focus on old school.
History of WRNB call letters
Beginning in the 1950s, the call sign WRNB was licensed to North Carolina's first full-time rock 'n roll radio station, the 1000-watt AM station in New Bern located at 1490 on the dial, also famous for being one of the very first radio stations to play Carolina Beach Music.