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WDC-FM

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WDC-FM
City of license Washington, DC
Broadcast Washington, DC
Baltimore, MD
Northern Virginia
Shenandoah Valley
Virginia Piedmont
Central Maryland
Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia
Branding "WDC NewsRadio"
Slogan "Washington's 24-Hour BREAKING NEWS, Emergency Traffic & Severe Weather Station"
Frequency 103.5 MHz
(also on HD Radio)
103.5 HD-2 WDC 980 (ESPN 980)
First air date July 10th, 1926
Format All-News
Callsign meaning Washington, DC
Sister stations(s) WDC 7, WDC ESPN 980 & NewsChannel 6
Former callsigns WBMA (1926-1927)
WMVH (1927-1943)
WDCN (1943-2006)
Affiliations WDC 7's StormTrack 7 HD & TrafficTrack 7 HD Updates
Owner WMFL Corporation
(WMFL Radio)
Sister Stations WDC 7, WDC ESPN 980 & NewsChannel 6

WDC-FM is an All-News formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Washington, DC serving the Metropolitan Washington, DC area. WDC-FM is owned by WMFL Corporation.

WDC-FM is 1 of 3 stations, owned by WMFL Corporation in the Washington, DC area, the other 2 are sister station WDC-AM, which is a All-Sports Station, branded as "ESPN 980" & WDC-TV Ch. 7, an Independent Station.

The station's primary signal is @ 103.5, with simulcasts on WBHF 103.9 FM from Braddock Heights, Maryland & on WMVA 107.7 FM from Manassas, Virginia. WDC is also carried on Leesburg, Virginia full-power translator WLVA broadcasting @ 104.3 FM. All stations in the "WDC NewsRadio Network" broadcast in monaural to increase their coverage areas

HistoryEdit

1920s: Born in BostonEdit

WDC's origins trace back to Boston, MA as station WBMA (Boston, MAssachusetts), going on-air on July 10th 1926 @ 1250 AM with a power of 200 watts. Ironically, the station moved to the federal government's backyard & on August 2nd 1927, WBMA migrated to Mount Vernon Hills, Virginia as WMVH (Mount Vernon Hills) @ 1470 AM. In November of 1927, the power of WMVH was increased to 10,000 watts & the frequency changed to 1480 AM.

1940sEdit

In 1940, WMVH's operating power was increased to 50,000 watts, with a new transmitter site built in Wheaton, Maryland. (That site is still in use today) On March 29th 1941, with the implementation of NARBA, WMVH moved it's broadcast frequency from 1480 to 1500 AM.

On March 16th 1943, after paying the Tiffin, Ohio police department $50,000, the calls were changed to WDCN (Washington, DC 's News).

1960s & 70s: All-NewsEdit

In the 1960s, after a series of failed music formats, WDCN phased out it's music programming for a combination of newscasts & phone-in talk shows; eventually the call-in shows were dropped in favor of an All-News format.

1990s & 2000s: The BIG Move to FMEdit

During this period, WMFL Corporation (who was WDCN's owner @ the time & still is as of today) started WDCN's move to the FM dial in May of 1997, when WMFL Corporation's newly acquired 94.3 FM facility in Warrenton, Virginia began simulcasting the WDCN signal for better coverage in the sprawling Northern Virginia suburbs.

On April 1st 1998, that frequency was swapped for a stronger signal @ 107.7, also licensed to Warrenton. (The 94.3 facility now relays the air feed for sports station WDC-AM) Then in December of 2000, WDCN gained another simulcast in Frederick, Maryland with WFMD @ 820 AM, establishing the "WDCN NewsRadio Network"

In 2004, the station began providing podcasts of selected broadcast programs & in 2006, WDCN began broadcasting in digital "HD Radio", utilizing iBiquity Digital Corp.'s IBOC (in-band on-channel) technology.

On January 4th 2006, WDCN's station owner WMFL Corporation announced that the station would move to a new primary frequency of 103.5 FM (+ changing the call letters to WDC-FM), then held by classical station WCDC (which would move to 103.9 & 104.1 FM). The frequencies long-used by WDCN & 1500 AM & 107.7 FM (& the full-powered 104.3 FM translator in Leesburg), would be reassigned to the new "Washington Herald-Tribune Radio" for a April 2nd, 2006 launch date. Fittingly, this new partnership also signaled the Herald-Tribune's re-emergence into the radio scene on the very same dial spot WDCN once held.

The stations' respective call signs were changed as of January 11th, 2006: the former WDCN pair became WHTR (Washington Herald-Tribune Radio) & WDCN's new primary station (formerly WCDC & WFMD) assumed the WDC-FM calls. HD Radio digital subchannels of the 103.5 carrier originally had broadcast WMFL Corporation's "iMusic" Top-40/AC Music format, which features Easy Listening & AC Singers on the HD2 channel & the HD3 channel aired continuous traffic & weather updates. Later iChannel was dropped for a simulcast of WDC-FM's sister station WDC-AM ESPN 980 on HD2 & on June 14th 2009, the HD3 channel dropped the traffic & weather programming & dropped the HD3 channel completely, even though the HD3 channel may come back in the future.

In 2006, WDC-FM dropped it's long-standing association with The Weather Channel & began airing weather reports exclusively from WDC 7 (7 News) all day long. Previously, WDC had used weather reports from WDC's StormTrack 7 HD weather team during morning & evening rush hours & The Weather Channel all other times. WDC-TV's "LIVE StormTrack 7 Radar" has & continues to be featured in weather reports as necessary.

In 2007, the WDC Radio configuration was realigned once again. WBHF @ 103.9 picked up the WDC simulcast on June 6th, 2007.

Also in 2007, WDC-FM began broadcasting on WDC-TV's "StormTrack 7 NOW" DT sub-channel, which is carried on cable systems well beyond WDC's broadcast area.

WDCN-AM (which was now on 820 in Frederick) changed it's calls to WHT & switched to the Washington Herald-Tribune Radio simulcast on June 16th, 2007. On September 20th 2007, the 1500/107.7/820 multicast changed the format over to a general talk format as "Talk Radio DC" under the WTRD/WMVA/WFMD call letters, which was cancelled on August 11th, 2008. WTRD & WFMD took over the "Federal News Radio" format (& for the 1500 AM facility, the WFNR calls), while WMVA went back to simulcasting WDC-FM. The former WFNR took over the WDCN callsign on the AM dial & became a simulcast of WDC-FM, with preemptions for sporting events. On June 13th 2009, the 1050 AM frequency changed to a separate news/talk format, operated by Air America Radio as WAAR.

In March of 2008, WDC completed a year-long, $2.5-million state-of-the-art renovation of it's newsroom & studios, the 1st since 1989 when the station moved into the building it presently occupies in northwest Washington.

In 2008, WDC generated $52-million in revenue, the 5th-highest total for any radio station in the United States & the only station not based in NYC or LA to crack the top 10.

Station profilesEdit

Callsign Frequency City of license ERP Class Former Callsigns
WDC-FM 103.5 MHz (also on HD Radio) Washington, D.C. 50,000 watts B WBMA (1926-1927)
WMVH (1927-1943)
WDCN (1943-2006)
WBHF 103.9 MHz (also on HD Radio) Braddock Heights, Maryland 30,000 watts A none
WMVA 107.7 MHz (also on HD Radio) Manassas, Virginia 30,000 watts B none
WLVA 104.3 MHz Leesburg, Virginia 10,000 watts B none

Programming/ratingsEdit

WDC carries "Traffic & Weather Together" every 10 minutes "on the 7's", Business News @ :25 & :55 & Sports reports @ :15 & :45 minutes of each hour. Weather & Traffic information on WDC comes from sister station WDC-TV in Washington, DC.

WDC's basic format & hourly broadcast schedule, as noted above, is similar to that used by the WMFL Corporation-O&O all-news stations, such as WMFL 980 in Miami.

WDC is also affiliated with NBC & the Associated Press.

As of January 2010, WDC is ranked #1 in the Arbitron ratings among radio stations in the Washington, DC area & is ranked #1 in most of the age demographics as well. WDC has been the #1 station in the DC area for several years, partly due to it's Traffic & Weather Together reports around the clock. It leads in both drive times, as well as the day as a whole

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