WKXW

WKXW
City Trenton, New Jersey
Broadcast area Central Jersey
Branding New Jersey 101.5
Slogan "Not New York, Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey 101.5"
Frequency 101.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date August 27, 1962 (1962-08-27)
Format FM/HD1:News and talk/Classic Hits
HD2: "Radio Zindagi" Indian Talk/Music (WWRL simulcast)
Language(s) English
ERP 15,500 watts (analog)
617 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT 275 m (902 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 53458
Transmitter coordinates 40°16′58.0″N 74°41′11.0″W / 40.282778°N 74.686389°W / 40.282778; -74.686389 (NAD27)
Callsign meaning Two W's bookending "KiX" (former branding)
Former callsigns WBUD-FM (1962-late 1960s)-WBJH until (1977) WTRT (1977-1980)
Owner Townsquare Media
(Townsquare Media Trenton License, LLC)
Webcast nj1015.com/listen-live/
Website nj1015.com

WKXW (101.5 FM, "New Jersey 101.5") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Trenton, New Jersey. It is owned by Townsquare Media. Its studios and offices are located in Ewing[2] and its broadcast tower is located near the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township in Mercer County, New Jersey at (40°16′58.0″N 74°41′10.0″W / 40.282778°N 74.686111°W / 40.282778; -74.686111).[3]

History

The station went on the air on August 27, 1962, as WBUD-FM. Its call sign subsequently changed to WBJH, which stood for Bill and Joy Hardin, the son and daughter-in-law of the owner. About 1977, the station changed calls to WTRT and called itself "The New T-101 FM". In 1980, the station became WKXW, under its new owner Fidelity Communications. It was playing a hot adult contemporary format as "The All New Kix 101 & A 1/2 FM" and later "Kix 101.5". By the late 80s, the station evolved into more of a gold-based adult contemporary format. Its weekend Saturday oldies show evolved into an all oldies format from the 50's through early 70s on overnights and weekends before the change to its current weekday talk format, which came in 1990 when it was sold to Press Communications. The sale to Millennium Radio Group took place in 2001.

On March 1, 1990 at 5pm, “New Jersey 101.5”, conceived by Sabo Media CEO, Walter Sabo, became the first full-time FM Talk station in America targeted for a younger audience. Mark Sheppard, who later went to middays, kicked off the format playing Bill Haley & The Comets' "Rock Around The Clock".

Since the 1990s, the station has a talk and news format during the week, with oldies music on the overnights and weekend. Initially, the oldies format was 1960s-based with a few pre-1964 oldies and a 1970s oldie or two each hour. By the early-to-mid-1990s, more 1970s music was added and by the early-2000s, 1980s music from 1980-1982 was added occasionally. Between 2000 and 2005, music from between 1986 and 1989 was added to the lineups. Gradually, at the same time, songs from 1964 and older were gradually reduced in the late-1990s and gone by 2000. In September 2007, 1960s music was removed from the "60s, 70s, and 80s" weekend music programming ID, and nearly all 1960s music had been removed from the playlist. However, in May 2012, "60s" was added back to the weekend music programming ID, coinciding with a limited but steady increase in music airplay focusing on select titles by well-known artists.

In the mid-to-late-1990s, music was ended on weekday overnights and now airs strictly on weekends and maybe some holidays.

The station has, at times, provided a simulcast on various AM and FM stations in the Atlantic City area, beyond the reach of its main transmitter. The most recent simulcast ceased in June 2009 when then-WXKW changed formats to ESPN Sports Radio.

In 2011, California-based Oaktree Capital signed a deal to buy Millennium Radio Group; after taking over, Oaktree transferred the Millennium stations to Townsquare Media.[4]

On July 26, 2018, two WKXW radio show hosts were suspended for using a racial slur against Attorney General Gurbir Grewal by calling him "turban man" while on air.[5][6]

New Jersey-centric branding

The station has strongly branded its New Jersey-ness, with its announcers frequently self-identifying "New Jersey 101.5" and with its bumper message intoning "Not New York. Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey!", as well as its branded New Jersey Fast Traffic and New Jersey Instant Weather. The New Jersey-centric nature of the station is emphasized in the traffic reports, in that they refer to traffic direction on bridges and tunnels as "entering New Jersey" or "leaving New Jersey" instead of the more traditional designations of "into the city" or "out of the city". As well, current temperatures of different samples of towns in New Jersey are given after the weather reports. Despite the station's branding, the 101.5 signal does not reach the majority of Cape May, Salem and Sussex Counties while the signal's coverage of Atlantic, Bergen & Cumberland Counties is poor at best.

Ratings

The way WKXW has been able to maintain a strong listener base can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Radio stations in New York City and Philadelphia tend to only mention New Jersey issues, news, politics, etc. in short regional rundowns outside of the most high-profile stories, if at all (for instance, state weather is mentioned by some New York and Philadelphia stations under the vague terms "The Beaches" or "The Jersey Shore" without delineation of location for those observations). For decades the station was the highest rated FM Talk station measured, according to Arbitron/Nielsen Media.
  • New Jersey has only two English speaking commercial television stations: Secaucus-licensed WWOR-TV (channel 9) and Wildwood-licensed WMGM-TV (channel 40), an NBC affiliate until the start of 2015 (currently a Justice Network station owned by Univision). Both stations no longer have news departments or local newscasts. WMGM-TV covers the outer fringes of the Delaware Valley and Philadelphia, while WWOR-TV primarily serves the New York Tri-State Area. On July 2, 2013, traditional newscasts (which were nominally focused on New Jersey issues) on WWOR were discontinued for an outside produced interview program called Chasing New Jersey, which later took on a generic social media focus under the title Chasing News with only a vague focus on New Jerseyan issues. WMGM-TV ended their NBC affiliation on January 1, 2015 due to NBCUniversal parent Comcast exercising territorial exclusivity for the Philadelphia/Atlantic City market with their O&O WCAU. The news department was also terminated, though it remains under contract to the owners which sold off the station license, and they may relaunch it on another station. PBS member network NJTV is the only remaining television operation with a New Jersey-focused newscast, but was converted to private ownership from state backing in July 2011 under Chris Christie's campaign promises to cut state expenses, and is currently operated by Newark-licensed WNET (operating from a New York City base), which also airs the NJTV newscasts on WNET itself for Northern New Jersey. Smaller independent stations such as WMBC-TV and WACP also have newscasts to serve local audiences of Northern and Southern New Jersey, respectively, except WMBC-TV's news also focuses on New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Townsquare News Network

The station is the flagship broadcasting arm of the Townsquare New Jersey News Network as heard on twelve radio stations throughout the state. The network consists of WOBM-FM in Toms River, WOBM-AM in Lakewood, WCHR-FM in Manahawkin, WJLK-FM in Asbury Park, WADB-AM in Tinton Falls, WFPG-FM in Atlantic City, WSJO-FM in Egg Harbor City, WPUR-FM in Atlantic City, and WENJ in Atlantic City. Various bureaus throughout the state share stories with the Ewing headquarters.

Format

The station's proprietary format was created in 1990. It was idea of Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo. Sabo, a former NBC and ABC executive, branded the station, built its approach to call-in radio and gave the station its Jersey-centric point of view. His initiatives were carried out by Jay Sorensen and Perry Michael Simon, with the help of Press Broadcasting chief Bob McAllan and general manager John Dziuba. Subsequent program directors include Leigh Jacobs and Eric Johnson.

On-air personalities

Current

  • Eric Scott – host of the early morning news show New Jersey's First News With Eric Scott as well as the monthly "Ask the Governor".
  • Bill Spadea – host of the morning show; took over hosting duties from the original and longtime host, populist Jim Gearhart, in December 2015.
  • Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco – hosts of the mid-day show, The Dennis & Judi Show, which mixes a variety of topics from New Jersey politics the mundane, irreverent issues; the show first aired in 1997. In July 2018, Malloy and Franco received 10 day suspensions after calling America's first Sikh state attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, "turban man" during a segment of their show. [7]
  • Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle – hosts of The Deminski and Doyle Show which returned on July 5, 2011 after leaving for the Detroit market in 1999.
  • Steve Trevelise – host of the evening show, a mix of comedy and current events.
  • Big Joe Henry – host of the weekend music shows, showcasing a mix of oldies retro and more modern music, together with a retro DJ style featuring reverb, Big Joe Jokes (often revolving around his own prodigious weight), and sound effects. "Livin' large and lovin' life." Also on-site hosts a Sunday-evening talent show in Point Pleasant, New Jersey during the summer.

Supporting personalities include Dan Zarrow[8] on weather, David Mattau [9]and Patrick Lavery [10] on news, Bob Williams, Jill Myra, "Tom Rivers" (aka Matt Ward from 1010 WINS), and Bernie Wagenblast for traffic.

Alumni

Notable radio personalities who have worked at the station include:

  • Philadelphia radio Hall of Famer Hy Lit and his son Sam Lit, who anchored the air staff in the early 80s
  • John and Ken (John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, now at KFI Los Angeles)
  • Scott and Casey (Scott Hasick, currently at WMVN/WARH St. Louis)
  • Tommy G (named to Talkers Magazine Frontier 50)
  • Paul "PJ" Cunningham worked on-air at KIX 101 1/2 from 1987–1989. Has been host of The Bender Nation morning show on KBKS-FM in Seattle since 2001.
  • Jeff McKay – traffic reporter
  • Two incarnations of the Jersey Guys, first with Craig Carton and Ray Rossi (in summer 2002) and second (in summer 2007) with Casey Bartholomew and Ray Rossi:

References

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