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City of license Detroit, Michigan
Broadcast area [1]
Branding 96-3 WDVD
Slogan "Today's Best Hits Without the Rap"
Frequency 96.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)
96.3 HD-2: Planet 96.3
Alternative rock
First air date June 1, 1948
Format Hot AC
Power 20,000 watts
HAAT 240 meters
Class B
Facility ID 8631
Transmitter coordinates 42°27′13″N 83°09′50″W / 42.45361°N 83.16389°W / 42.45361; -83.16389
Former callsigns WPLT (6/30/97-3/14/01)
WHYT (8/16/82-6/30/97)
WJR-FM (6/1/48-8/16/82)
Owner Citadel Broadcasting
(Radio License Holding I, LLC)
Sister stations WJR, WDRQ
Webcast Listen Live

WDVD is a hot adult contemporary radio station in Detroit, Michigan, broadcasting at 96.3 MHz on the FM dial. WDVD's studios and offices are located in the Fisher Building near downtown Detroit. WDVD's transmitter is located in Oakland County in Royal Oak Township at 8 Mile Road and Wyoming Avenue. WDVD broadcasts with an Effective Radiated Power of 20,000 watts from an antenna that is 787 feet in height. WDVD transmits its signal from the same tower that five other Detroit FM radio stations broadcast from. 96-3 WDVD is currently owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting.

WDVD is licensed for HD Radio Operations with its secondary channel known as "Planet 96.3", "Modern Alternative of the 80's 90's and Beyond" with an Alternative Classics format, which was used from 1997 to 2001.




WJR-FM/California Radio

On June 1, 1948, the station signed on as WJR-FM, simulcasting WJR-AM. Eventually the station moved into a beautiful music format separate from its AM sister. In 1970, the station adopted the "Solid Gold Rock and Roll" automated format from Drake-Chenault, which played oldies from the 50's and early 60's with a sprinkling of current hits. For a time, WJR-FM used the on-air moniker "California Radio" with this format. By 1973, however, the station had reverted back to the beautiful music format, with which it was quite successful for a time.

Hot Hits WHYT

In June 1982, Billboard Magazine reported that WJR-FM's owner, Capital Cities Communications, had hired consultant Mike Joseph to implement his widely successful "Hot Hits" format on WJR-FM by the fall of that year, taking note of the success the format was having in Philadelphia (WCAU-FM) and in Chicago (WBBM-FM). In July 1982, WJR-FM applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a call letter change to WHYT. The call letter change was approved late in the summer of 1982 and, oddly, the new calls coexisted with the station's Beautiful Music format for a few weeks. On September 15, 1982, at 5 p.m., WHYT signed off the Beautiful Music for good with "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra, followed by the first song of the new format, "You Dropped a Bomb On Me" by The Gap Band.

"Hot Hits," which had already proven an immense success in Philadelphia for WCAU-FM and in Chicago for WBBM-FM, was a fast-moving, jingle-intensive format that featured a tight rotation of 50 current hits (no recurrents or oldies). The station's on-air name was "96 NOW" (the same slogan used by WBBM-FM which operated on the same 96.3 frequency in Chicago). "96 NOW" was a moderate ratings success but did not approach the popularity that WCAU-FM or WBBM-FM were enjoying with Hot Hits, probably due in part to heavy competition from Detroit's urban contemporary and album oriented rock stations. In response, WHYT's CHR format went through several metamorphoses in the next few years, dropping the Mike Joseph formatics (though they continued to use the slogan "Hot Hits" on the air through 1986) and adopting several different on-air monikers, including "96 Hit FM" (1983) and "Hitradio 96" (1984). In 1985 the station retooled itself as "Power 96 FM" and added more dance music and urban contemporary product to its CHR playlist, and listenership increased (perhaps due to urban powerhouse WDRQ's switch to an adult-contemporary format earlier that year), leading the station to be a regular top 10 ratings finisher through the end of the decade. In 1989, the station dropped the "Power 96" name and became simply known as "96.3 FM," taking on even more of a rhythmic contemporary lean.

For much of the 1980s, WHYT was Detroit's local affiliate for Casey Kasem's (and then Shadoe Stevens') American Top 40. Legendary personality Joey Reynolds, last heard from in Detroit radio in 1966 at WXYZ-AM 1270, hosted WHYT's morning show for a time in 1984.

WHYT's major competitors from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s were Z95.5 and 99.5 The Fox, as well as urban-contemporary powerhouse WJLB-FM. The station's peak of popularity came during its days as "Power 96" and then "96.3 FM" from roughly 1986 to 1991, when the station moved its music mix toward rhythmic CHR (while not totally abandoning mainstream pop and rock), frequently racked up top five Arbitron ratings 12+, and was one of the top stations in the 12-24 age demographics (often neck-and-neck with WJLB, with Z95.5 coming in a distant third despite often beating WHYT 12+). Michael J. Foxx was a popular draw in the mornings. In 1991, however, the debut of 89X, as well as Foxx's departure, took substantial market share away from WHYT as teens and young adults flocked to the "cutting edge" modern rock format of 89X.

In 1992, the station delved even farther into rhythmic CHR territory, becoming known as "96.3 Jamz." WHYT eliminated most of the mainstream pop and rock from its playlist and began to focus almost exclusively on hip-hop, R&B and dance hits as well as some dance remixes of mainstream hits.

The WHYT calls are now used at a contemporary Christian music station near Lapeer, Michigan.

The Planet 96.3

With the emergence of alternative rock in 1994 the station dropped most of the hip-hop and R&B from its playlist and replaced it with alternative rock, redubbing itself "The Planet 96.3." For the first several months the station continued to play mainstream dance/pop artists such as Madonna, Real McCoy, and Ace of Base, creating a CHR/Alternative hybrid similar to the then-current sound of WHTZ in New York City. A short time later, the station evolved completely to alternative. In reference to the format shift, program director Rick Gillette, who had guided WHYT to high ratings during its "Power 96" and "96.3FM" days in the late 1980s, claimed that the station was merely responding to the popularity of the "hot" music of the time, which happened to be Alternative. In addition to Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, and the other popular rock bands of the day, the Planet played a number of local Detroit acts that never achieved major national stardom, such as the Suicide Machines and Charm Farm, as well as some non-mainstream dance and ambient artists such as Vanessa Daou.

After completing a deal with a college radio station in Plattsburgh, New York, the station's calls were switched to WPLT to match the "Planet" moniker in 1997. With the call letter change, however, the station tweaked its format to more of a Modern Adult Contemporary sound to distinguish it more from competing alternative-rock station CIMX (and, later in 1997, WXDG). The Planet dropped White Zombie, The Offspring and other harder-edged artists from its playlist and focused more on alternative pop-rock acts such as Jewel, Sheryl Crow, and Barenaked Ladies. The Planet also played Classic Alternative music heavily, with the hour-long "Flashback Lunch" middays at noon; "Saturday Night Flashbacks" with dance and extended versions of classic alternative and '80s songs, broadcast live from the club Clutch Cargo's in suburban Pontiac; and holiday-weekend countdowns of "The Coolest Flashbacks of All Time." During this time, the station identified itself as Modern Hits of the 80s and 90s. Another popular feature on Planet 96.3 was Big Sonic Heaven, a Sunday-night program of ambient, trance, chill and non-mainstream dance music hosted by DJ Darren Revell.

The Planet made some ratings headway with the Modern AC sound but was never a major player in the market. Over the Labor Day weekend of 1999, the station stunted by playing "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M., and then debuted "Alternative Classics", an attempt to convert the station's popular '80s "Flashback" shows into a full-time format by combining '80s new wave and punk with more recent (but non-current) '90s rock. Artists featured included U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Go-Go's, Peter Gabriel, Erasure, and Echo & the Bunnymen. The change failed to raise ratings, and within a year WPLT had begun to re-add current music into its rotation (such as "Smooth" by Santana and Rob Thomas) in the guise of "Future Alternative Classics." In response to continued low ratings the station changed its calls to WDVD on March 14, 2001, with its music gradually shifting in a more mainstream Hot Adult Contemporary direction. The "Flashback" programs and "Big Sonic Heaven" were cancelled shortly afterward.

As WDVD, 96.3 FM continued to flounder in the ratings for several years until the station added more pure pop music to its playlist to better compete with WKQI, raising its ratings to their best level in years.

The WPLT calls have been picked up by a country station in Spooner, Wisconsin.

In 2007, WDVD revived "Planet 96.3" and the "Alternative Classics" format as an offering on its secondary HD Radio channel.

96-3 WDVD Today

After the transition to Hot AC and the WDVD calls, the station continued to feature a heavy alternative-rock base for several years, while still playing "hair bands" such as Poison and Aerosmith and pop artists like Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, and while still remaining mired in the lower echelons of the Detroit ratings. In 2006, however, this began to change as WDVD freshened its presentation and began to evolve into more of an Adult Top 40, dropping most 1980s titles from its playlist, adding jingles, branding itself with the new slogan Today's Best Hits Without the Rap (and taking shots at longtime rival station WKQI for playing too much hip hop), and adding more pure pop music and light rhythmic material, from artists such as Justin Timberlake, Natasha Bedingfield, and Fergie, and more recently, Jordin Sparks, Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Leona Lewis, Jonas Brothers, Kevin Rudolf and Miley Cyrus. Generally, though, as per its slogan, the station avoids hip hop music except for those who cross over to the Hot AC charts, such as OutKast and Gnarls Barkley, and except for the occasional Hot AC hit with a hip-hop guest star, such as Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" (featuring Akon).

Former logo

WDVD also has pop-rock artists with hit songs not played on Channel 955 record brief promos which are inserted over the introductions to their records, saying, "Here's another hit the Rap Channel doesn't play," or some variant thereof.

On June 12, 2007, WDVD was taken over by Citadel Broadcasting. According to the Citadel page [2], Citadel considers WDVD an adult-leaning Top 40 station without rap. After a long time in the ratings doldrums, the station has seen its share of the Detroit market increase recently (see below) as they have added more pop music to their playlist to compete with Channel 9-5-5.

96-3 WDVD currently ranks at #6 (4.8) in the Detroit market according to the Holiday 2009 PPM Rating release.


The current lineup (as of February 15, 2010) Starting out the day on the morning drive is Blaine & Allyson with Blaine Fowler and Allyson Martinek with Dana Lundon filling in on an interim basis. During the workday it's Jake Edwards. On the ride home its Jesse Addy. Wrapping up the day on nights is Scott Vertical, and Jeanmarie Pavol on overnights.

Other notable programming is Allyson At Boogie Fever with Allyson Martinek on Friday nights. Weekends/fill-ins include Brent Carey, Jamie “James” Flanagan, Renee Vitale, Pat Tullio, Dana Lundon-Masucci, Richie Reames and J.P Wagner.

  • On February 12, 2010 morning co-host Lisa Jesswein parted ways with WDVD, there is no word on a replacement for her. Currently swing shifter Dana Lundon is filling in.


External links


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