WJFK-FM (106.7) is a talk radio station located near Washington, D.C., licensed to Manassas, Virginia with studios in nearby Fairfax. The station is owned by CBS Radio (formerly Infinity Broadcasting), which is a division of CBS Corporation. WJFK focuses on personality, humor, sports, and lifestyle based talk radio. Its lineup features a mix of high profile local and national personalities like The Junkies, Mike O'Meara, Big O and Dukes, Jim Rome, and Loveline with Dr. Drew Pinsky. It is also the D.C. home of University of Maryland football and mens basketball.
The station,which was the one time flagship station of the EZ Communications chain during their 1970's company wide "Easy Listening" days, which signed on in the late 60s was a one time sister station to then-Top 40 powerhouse WEEL-AM. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, as WEZR, it targeted Northern Virginia with an easy listening format (during the 1970s, WEEL-AM, by this time with falling ratings due to new competition in the contemporary music format from several rising FM stations, was sold off). In the early 80's WEZR joined the tide of stations switching to the Soft Adult Contemporary format. The station later became a CHR format in 1985 becoming WBMW "B-106.7" and shortened its logo to "B106". In 1985, it moved its transmitter from Fairfax Station to a newly-built tower next to the Beltway at Merrifield, the better to cover metropolitan Washington. To distinguish itself in a crowded field, with high-powered competitors WAVA and Q107, it built on the slogans "Four in a row with no talk" and "The B stands for the Best new music first" (a response to its competitors' notorious slowness to pick up on hit songs).
Perhaps the greatest long-term stumbling-block to success for the 106.7 frequency in Washington has been the limitations imposed upon its broadcast signal. Due to the presence of full-powered FM stations at 106.5 Baltimore, 106.9 Hagerstown, and 107.3 in Washington (the former which is now WJFK's sister station), it's required to beam a sharply-reduced signal towards the north and east to protect the Baltimore station. This results in spotty reception in parts of Montgomery and Prince George's counties, often with interference from 106.9 and 106.5, and it can't be picked up in many of downtown Washington's office buildings. Even the transmitter move didn't much help matters for B106. While it gained great popularity in Northern Virginia, where its signal was strong (it reportedly beat out its two format rivals in that area in audience share), the signal limitations kept it from really breaking through to the wider DC-area audience. Further hurting matters was the arrest of one of its star DJs in 1987 for having sex with an underage girl in a station van.
In 1987, WBMW was sold by Fairfax-based EZ Communications to Infinity Broadcasting, which dropped the CHR format and B106 moniker and, starting with an A-to-Z Beatles marathon, switched the station to adult rock - along with "temporary" morning drive DJ Richard Belzer. This turned out to be a short-lived transitional format, leading up to the debut of the in-vogue New Age format on 106.7. Its success, too, was limited, and after 18 months it was replaced with a retooled rock format, and the return of Howard Stern in mornings. (several years after purchasing WBMW from EZ Communications, Infinity, now CBS Radio, ended up with what was left of the old EZ Communications chain when it purchased the assets of ARS Broadcasting, which had purchased several other radio groups ,including EZ Communications, in the early 90s.)
Since being fired from DC101 in 1981, Stern had gone on to great success in New York, and eight years later was in the process of syndicating his WXRK morning show out to other stations across America. After WYSP Philadelphia, WBMW was the third station in the nascent Stern network -- only with a new change of calls. On his first show on 106.7, Stern welcomed his Washington listeners, with his dependable tastefulness, to "WJFK -- your assassination station" (punctuated by gunshots). The Stern show was to be the cornerstone of a daylong block of male-oriented talk shows that defined the hot talk format of "Washington's Superstation"; soon arriving on board were G. Gordon Liddy in middays, Don and Mike in afternoons, and The Greaseman, lured from DC101, in evenings. Other shows included Scott Ferrall's fast-paced sports talk show, "Ferrall on the Bench", which aired for a time after the Greaseman, and "Capitol Radio", a Saturday-night rock show that made use of the FCC's post-10 p.m. "safe harbor" period to feature uncensored punk and hardcore music. Overnights and weekends were given over to music, which evolved from rock to "cool jazz" (a mix of smooth jazz with what today might be termed "chillout" music).
Several major programming changes in the talk area occurred over the years. In early 1997, the Greaseman moved to mornings on classic rock sister WARW (the site of his infamous Lauryn Hill/James Byrd gaffe), and was replaced by the Sports Junkies, whose weekend WJFK show had become a surprise hit. Meanwhile, WJFK had become the Redskins' flagship station in 1995, thus solidifying its male target audience, and its remaining weekend hours had become mostly the domain of infomercial shows. In 2001, Liddy was canceled and Don and Mike were moved to middays to make way for New York's Opie and Anthony, who had begun syndicating their show. They lasted there until August 2002, when Infinity cancelled their show due to their ill-fated "Sex for Sam" stunt. Don and Mike then returned to the afternoon slot, where they remained till Don's retirement. Several months later, the Junkies left WJFK for mornings on 99.1 WHFS, with Ron and Fez taking over evenings. Middays went through several different programming combinations, including Bill O'Reilly's radio show, which was added in October 2002. After WHFS switched to a Spanish-language music format in January 2005, the Junkies returned to WJFK, initially in middays between Stern and O'Reilly.
The notorious "wardrobe malfunction" incident at 2004's Super Bowl set into motion a chain of events that would forever change WJFK and hot-talk stations like it. Overnight, purveyors of "indecent" content on broadcast TV and radio found themselves under scrutiny as never before from the federal government. The fact that the halftime show was produced by MTV and aired on CBS, both units of Infinity parent Viacom, was not lost on Congress, which called then-Infinity and CBS president Mel Karmazin on the carpet over the incident, and demanded that he make immediate moves to clean up his stations' programming. (One pivotal event in the course of the hearings had directly to do with WJFK, which broadcasts to the federal government's backyard. On February 3, Don Geronimo was complaining about the purported double standard that allowed the word "bullshit" to be aired on that morning's Don Imus show, and in so doing, uttered the word himself, twice. This was not edited from the broadcast [the reasons why remain murky], and that day Karmazin was blindsided by a question from a Congressperson asking to explain why such language was allowed to be heard on "The Don and Mike Show". The duo were suspended for two weeks and nearly fired over the incident.)
Shortly thereafter, Karmazin instituted a zero-tolerance policy on indecency on all Infinity radio stations. Congress also quickly voted to drastically raise FCC fines to up to $375,000 per violation and $3 million per day. This proved too much to take for Howard Stern, who had been dropped from Clear Channel's stations shortly after the furor began. In October 2004, he announced that he had signed a five-year contract with Sirius Satellite Radio, where he would be allowed to do his show free of FCC content constraints beginning in January 2006. Likewise, in early August 2005, Ron and Fez left WJFK for XM, and were replaced by The Peter Rosenberg Show.
Faced with the departure of its top star, and the cornerstone for many of its talk and rock stations, Infinity (now CBS Radio) began casting about for a new programming strategy. On October 25, 2005, WJFK was among eleven CBS stations which changed their branding to "Free FM", a name meant to signify that unlike Stern's new home, their shows would remain free of charge to listeners. Chosen to assume Howard's longtime slot on WJFK were The Junkies, who moved from middays to mornings immediately following the holiday vacation in January 2006. The remainder of the day's schedule became a mix of shows ranging from traditional "guy-talk" (Don & Mike) to both conservative and liberal political talk. Rosenberg was moved to middays, Penn Jillete's 1 hour show was added at 2 p.m., and newly syndicated conservative talker Jay Severin took over nights.
The other major change in WJFK's programming around this time occurred when the station opted not to renew its contract with the Redskins after the 2005-06 season. This was remedied by the addition of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races to the weekend schedule.
On June 2, 2006, Opie and Anthony officially announced their return to WJFK effective June 26. The Junkies were kept in the morning-drive slot with Opie and Anthony airing middays on a tape-delayed basis. Peter Rosenberg's show was dropped from the station.
In September 2006, Jay Severin's show was canceled by syndication company Westwood One Radio, and dropped by all affiliates, including WJFK. WJFK filled the programming hole with replays of The Junkies and The Don and Mike Show, and then began auditioning new shows. WJFK eventually settled on "Unzipped with Michelle and Checkoway," with the new show starting in January of 2007. Unzipped's run would also prove to be short-lived, when it was replaced by Big O and Dukes on July 16, 2007. At the same time, WJFK replaced Bill O'Reilly with Jim Rome's syndicated sports talk show from 1-3 p.m.
On January 18, 2008, Opie and Anthony announced that they will no longer be featured in the station's midday slot. Later that night, Big O and Dukes announced that they would be moving to middays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., replacing Opie and Anthony and displacing Jim Rome to tape delayed airing from 7-10 p.m. This move makes WJFK the only talk radio station in the Washington, D.C. market that has live, local talk shows from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On weekends, WJFK features local programs Joe Radio, The Hideout, Goss' Garage, MMA Nation, and Big Daddy Kev's Movie Show, plus infomercials such as IBM Business of Government, Contractors.com Home Show, On the Money, and the Ashcraft and Gerel Legal Hour. Weekends also feature various sports programs, replays of the weekday lineup, and syndicated programming like Sporting News Radio, and The Tasting Room w/Tom Leykis.
'Don and Mike' Revive WJFK's Afternoon-Drive Ratings; Duo's Return Lifts Winter Ranking by Arbitron from 14th to 5th
Apr 24, 2003; Byline: Chris Baker, THE WASHINGTON TIMES The return of mischievous hosts Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara brought talk-radio...