Philadelphia Radio Archives
History of Philadelphia radio station 104.5 WRFF
104.5 signed on in 1965 as WRCP-FM, the sister station to WRCP-AM, owned by Rust Craft, a greeting card company. 104.5 simulcasted the MOR format of the AM station and continued to simulcast when the station switched to a country format in 1967. In 1971, the station commenced stereo operation and simulcasted WRCP AM during the day and separately programmed country music at night.
As WSNI (the first time)
In 1977, WRCP became WSNI and began completely original programming with a unique “beautiful country” format, while the AM continued with traditional country. Beautiful country was a mix of original soft country hits and specially customized instrumental covers. By 1979, the country music was phased out for traditional beautiful music via the syndicated FM 100 Plan. In 1980, the station switched to an adult contemporary format, interspersed with occasional pop standards, using the “Sunny 104” name for the first time. By 1982, WSNI evolved into a more gold-based AC featuring Hy Lit and using the new slogan “Sunny 104 and a half - it’s the half that makes the difference.” In 1983, Hy Lit moved to the AM operation and was replaced by Don Cannon in the morning. Cannon and sidekick Dennis Malloy hosted the long- running “Cannon and Malloy” morning show. Other WSNI announcers in the early 1980s included Chris Guetta, Tony Mann, Viv Roundtree, Andre Gardner, Joe Simone and Vernon McKay. By the late 1980s, the station changed its name to “Sunny 104.5,” retaining the adult contemporary format, but increasing the amount of current songs while severely limiting the oldies. By 1990, Cannon, Lit and Malloy had left. In April, the station dropped the softer ’60s and ’70s music from its playlist to concentrate on ’80s artists. The “Sunny” name was also dropped.
On December 10, 1990 the call letters were changed to WYXR in an attempt to distance the station further from the “Sunny” image and softer music. The station was now known as Hot AC “Star 104.5” In 1996, the station leaned CHR (contemporary hit radio) still retaining the Star name but was back to Hot AC by 1997. From 1998 to 1999, television host, writer, and producer Nancy Glass hosted the female-focused Nancy Glass Show on weekday mornings.
On November 18, 1999, the station became known as “Alice 104.5” with new call letters WLCE. The new format was described as “Rockin’ Hits” of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s in an attempt to challenge classic rock WMGK. By 2001, more current hits were added to the mix, and the station leaned more towards a rock/hot AC sound. Also in 2001, after a series of earlier mergers, the station came under the ownership of Clear Channel Communications. Initially the Alice format was designed to “appeal to women 25 - 49 years of age.” (Born 1950 - 1974)
As WSNI - again
On July 31, 2002, after stunting with a 24 hour loop of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” 104.5 flipped back to soft AC, reinstating the “Sunny 104.5” name (and eventually the WSNI calls) abandoned 12 years earlier. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the new Sunny name was leaked a day early when Mix 95.7, located in the same building, recieved a misdirected box of promotional “Sunny 104.5” pens. This incarnation of Sunny was an AC oldies format focusing on the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Barry Manilow voiced a liner for the station stating that “now Philadelphians can finally hear my music on the radio again.” The new Sunny lasted just over four years. On August 10, 2006, Sunny’s sister station WJJZ 106.1 flipped from smooth jazz to a rhythmic AC format. The Sunny format was dumped and 104.5 began a simulcast of this new station. (Since 104.5 was delayed by several seconds from 106.1, this simulcast has been referred to as a “shadowcast.”)
As WUBA, WRFF
After 13 days of shadowcasting 106.1, 104.5 flipped to a Spanish language station known as “Rhuma 104.5” with call letters WUBA. This was the first Spanish language station on FM in Philadelphia. Due to low ratings, the format and calls were moved to 1480 AM on May 16, 2007. At that point, 104.5 became known as “Radio 104.5” with a rock format centered on modern rock from the 1990s, along with some ’70s, ’80s, and current product. New calls WRFF (“Radio one o Four Five”) were assigned on May 23, 2007.
- Kevin L. Carter, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/5/1999, E18
- Michael Klein, “INQlings”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/1/2002, E5
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