WWPR-FM (105.1 MHz), better known by its branding slogan Power 105.1, is a mainstream urban radio station located in New York City. WWPR-FM is owned by iHeartMedia and broadcasts from studios in the AT&T Building in the Tribeca district of Manhattan; its transmitter is atop the Empire State Building. The station is the flagship station of the nationally syndicated morning show, The Breakfast Club.
The first station to sign on to this frequency was WWRL-FM in 1953. It became WRFM in 1957, breaking away from simulcasting its AM sister station with a diversified and classical music format. Bonneville International, the broadcast arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, purchased WRFM in 1967.
In 1968, WRFM, billing itself "Stereo 105", adopted a beautiful music format. The format was mostly instrumental with about one vocal every 15 minutes. Their music featured the works of such artists as Mantovani, Henry Mancini, Ferrante and Teicher, John Fox, Percy Faith, Hollyridge Strings, Leroy Anderson, Frank Mills and Richard Clayderman. Mixed in were vocals by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Peggy Lee, Lettermen, Nat King Cole, Barbra Streisand, and others. Ratings for the station were high, and a couple times, they hit number one overall. A pair of rival stations, the simulcast of then-co-owned WPAT-AM-FM, tended to do slightly better in the ratings, but both outlets held their own. In the course of the 1970s, WRFM began mixing in slightly more contemporary artists for vocals such as Carpenters, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers, and others. In 1984, the station increased vocals slightly to six per hour and cut back the Standards-type songs, and began playing some soft songs by Hot AC artists such as Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Chicago, Elton John, as well as softer songs by oldies artists like The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five.
Soft Rock 105FM
The station's ratings would continue to be strong through the years, but by 1985, the station's management noticed that their demographics skewed old. So, on April 17, 1986, the station switched to a gold-based adult contemporary format with the call letters WNSR (for "soft rock"). With this new format, the station would mainly play pop songs from the 1960s and the 1970s, with 1980s and a moderate amount of then current adult contemporary songs included as well. Initially, the station's ratings were mediocre but beating competition, but once competitor WYNY (the present-day WQHT, the main rival of today's 105.1 frequency) went to a country format, their ratings went up.
By 1990, the station became known as "Mix 105", and shifted to more of a hot adult contemporary format, cutting back on (but still playing) 1960s music, focusing on 1970s, 1980s and current hits. By April 1992, when the station changed its call letters to WMXV, the 1960s hits were gone, and more recent music was added. By 1995, the station was only playing hits of the 1980s and 1990s, and even mixing in some lighter alternative rock songs, as many other hot adult contemporary stations were doing at this time.
105.1 The Buzz
On November 13, 1996, the Hot AC format at WMXV abruptly ended, and after a day of playing music from Broadway musicals, the station switched formats to an adult-friendly modern rock (technically called "Modern AC") format as WDBZ ("The Buzz"). On August 5, 1997, with ratings on the decline, the call letters would change back to WNSR. The original plan was for the station to drop the "Buzz" format in favor of a gold-based AC format playing songs from 1964 through then-current product. The station was to have launched on August 18, 1997, with television commercials set to air. Their owners, Bonneville, instead decided to sell the station to Chancellor Media (which owned WHTZ, WLTW, WKTU, and WAXQ).
Cancelled re-launch of WNSR
As a result, the format change for 105.1 was canceled and the station would remain "The Buzz" for a while longer with the reverted WNSR call letters. Gradually, from September through November 1997, the station would return to Hot AC, and then Mainstream AC. For the next few months, the station would simply be known on-air as "FM 105.1", and would only use the WNSR callsign for legal station IDs.
On January 21, 1998, at 6:30 p.m., the station relaunched as "Big 105", with the call letters WBIX (which took effect on April 13, 1998). The first song on "Big 105" was "Big Time" by Peter Gabriel. Despite this relaunch, the station played basically the same music as they did in the months before, and could not compete with highly rated WLTW ("Lite FM"). Initially, Big 105 was musically very close to WLTW, but evolved to a Hot AC format by that May, similar to what WPLJ was playing at the time. They also added Danny Bonaduce as their morning show host and added Casey Kasem's American Top 20 countdown program on Sundays, coinciding with Kasem's move to Chancellor Media from Westwood One earlier in the year. Ratings continued to fail, and by October 1998, Big 105 was sounding more like a Modern Rock-based Hot AC, similar to their former "Buzz" format, but not as deep.
On December 10, 1998, at 6 p.m., after playing "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day, the station flipped to the then-popular "Jammin' Oldies" format, branded as "Jammin' 105." The first song on "Jammin'" was "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang. On March 1, 1999, WBIX would change call letters to WTJM, in order to match the "Jammin'" branding. The station, which would play popular urban, dance, and rhythmic pop music of the mid-1960s through the 1980s, did better in the ratings than the previous format, and WTJM's results initially challenged those of longtime oldies station WCBS-FM. Chancellor merged with Capstar Broadcasting to form AMFM Inc. in 1999. Then, in 2000, Clear Channel Communications merged with AMFM Inc., giving this and the other four stations a new owner. Under Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), WTJM would evolve into an urban oldies format, and then an urban adult contemporary format, while keeping the "Jammin' 105" moniker. Frankie Blue was brought in to program the shift to the urban adult contemporary format. He immediately brought in Jeff Foxx (formerly of WRKS and WBLS) and teamed him with comedian George Wallace to form the "Jammin' New York Wake-up Club". The morning show was a hit and the rest of the station benefitted; however, it did not warrant keeping the format due to the station's low ratings in other dayparts.
At 6:05 AM on March 14, 2002, the station would abruptly change, as it shifted to its current mainstream urban format as WWPR-FM ("Power 105.1"). A speculated reason for the format change is that while they could not beat competitor WQHT ("Hot 97"), they could take enough ratings away from them to keep them from being number one, which would leave Power 105.1's sister station WLTW with a comfortable lead in that race (prior to the change, WQHT and WLTW had alternated at the top spot).
By 2004, WWPR-FM became the market's only urban contemporary station because of the transition of WBLS from urban contemporary to urban adult contemporary. WQHT is closer, but they report as rhythmic contemporary per Mediabase & Nielsen BDS, although WQHT was an urban reporter on Nielsen BDS from 2006-2007 despite Mediabase continuing to report WQHT as a rhythmic.
WQHT had been the only New York station featuring current hip hop and R&B since its owner, Emmis Communications purchased WRKS in 1994 and moved that station towards an adult R&B format. In an effort to build an audience, WWPR-FM brought in former Hot 97 personalities and Yo! MTV Raps hosts Ed Lover and Doctor Dré to anchor their morning show. The station then entered into the top five of the Arbitron ratings, a position it maintained for several years.
The station terminated Doctor Dre's contract in December 2003 and gave Ed Lover a new co-host in rapper-turned-radio personality Monie Love, which would last for about a year. By the end of 2004, WWPR decided to heat up their rivalry with WQHT by bringing in ex-Hot 97 morning show hosts Star & Buc Wild as their new morning drive team, as well-known disc jockeys were deemed critical to their success.
The "Star and Buc Wild Morning Show" was replaced in 2006 by Live With Big Tigger and Egypt which would be replaced by a returning Ed Lover, who would later be joined by Malikha Mallette. This last show incarnation ended on November 19, 2010, when Ed Lover was released from the station and Mallette was reassigned to the midday shift, replacing De Ja.
Troi Torain (born May 3, 1964), who previously worked at Power 105's rival hip-hop station WQHT with his half-brother Timothy Joseph (born January 3, 1979) who took Torain's old stage name "Buc Wild" until he switched to Power 105, is known as "Star" from the Star & Buc Wild morning show. Star stands for "Strange Thoughts And Revelations". He had a running on-air feud with Power 105.1's DJ Envy, whose real name is Raashaun Casey.
In a May 3, 2006 broadcast, Torain mentioned DJ Envy's wife and child. Torain said he would pay $500 to any listener who told him where the girl attended school. Torain, who is bi-racial, also used racial and sexual epithets about D.J. Envy's wife, Gia Casey, who is part Asian.
New York City Council members called for an investigation by law enforcement and the Federal Communications Commission. After the protests, Clear Channel Communications, the corporate owner of Power 105, suspended Torain. After reviewing transcripts of the broadcast, New York City law enforcement officials called Torain to police headquarters in Lower Manhattan to surrender his target pistol license and 9-millimeter handgun. Detectives from the Hate Crimes Unit charged him with endangering the welfare of a child.
Leaving the precinct house, Torain leaned back and grinned for television cameras, saying "You're looking at the new Lenny Bruce." Torain's lawyer's defended his broadcasts on first amendment grounds.
Star and Buc Wild were replaced with Live With Big Tigger and Egypt on May 4, 2006.
DJ Carl Blaze's death
DJ Carl Blaze, who was a popular DJ at Power 105.1 for over three years, was fatally shot outside an apartment building near Manhattan's Inwood section on December 7, 2006 about 4:30 AM and his $20,000 diamond chain was stolen from him. He was taken to Harlem Hospital Center, where he died Saturday, December 23. No arrests have been made and the investigation into the shooting was ongoing.
The Breakfast Club
WWPR is the flagship station of the nationally syndicated The Breakfast Club in the mornings, hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God. It debuted in December 2010 and grew to be one of the most popular morning programs in New York. The program also gained popularity outside New York nationally long before syndication took place by way of the internet and television. The Source named The Breakfast Club the #1 radio program in the nation. All three DJ's have experience in radio and television. DJ Envy is the host of MTV2 shows Sucker Free and The Week in Jams. Angela Yee is a correspondent for Sucker Free and is one of the stars on the VH1 series The Gossip Game. Charlamagne Tha God is the co-host of MTV2's Guy Code and was a former co-host of The Wendy Williams Experience.
In April 2013, Premiere Networks (WWPR's corporate cousin) launched a weekend version of the show Weekends with the Breakfast Club, which is a Top 20 Countdown. Four months later, The Breakfast Club on the weekdays went into national syndication. The show is heard in Tucson, Milwaukee, Charleston, South Carolina, Birmingham, New Orleans, Waco, Montgomery, Jacksonville, Miami, Norfolk, Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Detroit, Columbus, Georgia, Atlanta, Lexington, Kentucky, Dayton, Charleston, West Virginia, Boston, Las Vegas, Champaign, Illinois, Valdosta, Georgia, Beaumont, Texas, Wilmington, Louisville, Cincinnati and Orlando.
Around 2008, the HD2 channel started broadcasting Clear Channel Premiere's "Mia" channel, a Spanish language music channel featuring tropical music.
Around 2011, the HD2 channel started broadcasting the feed from "One Caribbean Radio", featuring news, features and music from Caribbean countries and territories along with Caribbean-influenced artists. This feed has gone silent at times, possibly due to financial problems at One Caribbean Radio or technical difficulties transmitting the signal from One Caribbean Radio to WWPR's HD2 channel.
- DJ Envy
- Angela Yee
- Charlamagne Tha God
- Angie Martinez
- DJ Prostyle
- DJ Clue?
- Kim Kane
- Curtis Flirt
- Honey German
- DJ Cre8
- DJ First Choice
- DJ Flipstar
- DJ J-Star
- DJ Rey-Mo
- DJ Self
- DJ Suss-One
- DJ Will
- DJ Whutevva
- DJ Norie
- DJ Ty-Boogie
- Big Tigger (now at V-103 in Atlanta)
- Borasio (now at Pulse 87.7 (WNYZ-LP) in New York)
- DJ Rasheed (now at (TheNewMixtapefm)
- Cherry Martinez
- DJ Tony Touch
- DJ Carl Blaze (Deceased)
- Star And Buc Wild
- DJ Yonny (now at 92.3 AMP (WBMP) in New York)
- DJ Spinbad
- Egypt (now at HGTV in Atlanta, Georgia)
- DJ Doctor Dré
- Colby Colb (now an Executive at Radio One)
- Jay Wright
- Chuck Dogg
- Big R.
- Jayson Fox
- Anthony "Tony Caiazzo" Cruz
- Stephanie "Steph Lova" Saunders (now at WPGC-FM in Washington, DC)
- Ed Lover (now hosting a nationally syndicated morning show for Radio One BackSpin)
- Lady O.
- Lady Chellez (now at 92.3 AMP (WBMP) in New York)
- Q. (now at KMEL in San Francisco)
- Déjà Vu (now on WBLS as co-host of "The Quake's House Afternoon Show")
- Malikha Mallette
- Star And Buc Wild In The Morning
- Ed Lover And Doctor Dré In The Morning
- Colby Colb Show
- Tony Touch's Reggeatony Show
- The Jayson Fox Show
- The Ed Lover Morning Show
- The Steph Lova Program
- Middays with Déjà Vu