WHTG went on the air on October 11, 1961, originally on 105.5 FM.
This was in addition to their AM counterpart on 1410 (see below).
Because of interference issues with WDHA in Dover (Morris County), the station moved to 106.3 in 1965, displacing Red Bank station WFHA, which had forfeited its license in late 1963 (see below).
WHTG stood for owners Harold & Theo Gade.
In it's early days, WHTG simulcasted the Adult Standards format from its AM station.
Then in 1982, the format shifted to an adult contemporary format.
By 1983, the adult contemporary was dropped in order to debut an alternative rock format, with the emphasis on showcasing local and unsigned bands.
The station was now called "FM 106.3" and had a very loyal following.
Probably the most famous DJ from this era of the station was Matt Pinfield, who later went on to MTV.
In 1984, Kevin Dunn did mornings, before being promoted to PD for WHTG-AM, where he stayed until 1986.
Newspaper articles on WHTG can be seen (here).
On November 14, 2000, the format was tweaked a bit when Press Communications bought the station and made it more advertiser-friendly, as "G-106.3."
On February 18, 2005, WHTG started simulcasting on its sister station, 98.5 in Ocean Acres.
On January 19, 2009, 106.3 switched to a Top 40 format as "Hit 106."
On September 15, 2010, 106.3 & 106.5 (see below) switched to "Thunder 106" (previously on 98.5 as "Thunder 98.5").
Call letters changed to WKMK on September 16, 2010.
(Thanks to Donald Blesse, Doug Douglass, Kevin Dunn, Ed Montgomery & Rich Robinson for some of this information)
(Some info also taken from the WHTG-AM profile in "The Airwaves Of New York" book)
** WFHA - 106.3 FM, Red Bank **
WFHA stood for owner, Frank Hamilton Accorsi.
This station went on the air on October 1, 1972 as WSLT on 106.3, licensed to Ocean City.
107.1's origins go back to 1947 when it was licensed to Asbury Park as WCAP "City of Asbury Park."
The station was located on a building on Broad St. in Red Bank, in the block near Front St.
The antenna was on a short mast on the top of one of the buildings - couldn't have been more than 50 feet high.
Frank was a real one-man band, and in the pre-automation days, he would sell advertising during the day and then sign the station on around 3 or 4pm and be the DJ until 11pm or so.
If he was running behind, the station didn't go on the air at all.
By 1963, WFHA forfeited its license - and eventually was replaced by WHTG (see above).
(Thanks to Donald Blesse & Ed Montgomery for some of this information)
** WTHJ - 106.5 FM, Bass River Twsp. **
According to the 1975 FM Atlas, WSLT was doing an MOR-type format.
The "Broadcasting Yearbooks" of 1976 and 1980 also listed WSLT as having a "beautiful music" format.
In October 1989, WSLT switched to a classical music format.
Then, in September 1992, classical was dropped in favor of country, with calls changing on September 28, 1992 to WKOE.
Phil Galasso, who was a frequent contributor on the original Garden State Radio message board, started up a group at the time called the "Friends Of WSLT Classical Music Radio," in order to put classical music back on the dial in South Jersey.
The group was somewhat successful, as WWOC 94.3 in Avalon tried classical for about a year.
Then in June 1998, the country format was moved over to new sign-on WZZP (later WPUR) in Atlantic City and 106.3 became Modern AC as "106.3 The Shore."
On March 15, 2002, WKOE started to simulcast the Modern AC format of 97.3 in Vineland.
Shortly thereafter, the station "stunted" with a loop of, among other things, "One-Oh-Sex-3".
Then, on April 1, 2002, WKOE debuted themselves as a CHR station as "Hot 106.3: Today's Top 40".
Just days after its debut as a CHR station, 106.3 re-imaged themselves on April 4, 2002 as a Dance CHR station as "The Beat Of South Jersey."
On February 1, 2003, WKOE started simulcasting WKXW "New Jersey 101.5".
In November 2004, Press Communications took over operations of 106.3, and on November 10, switched to a simulcast of their popular "The Breeze" format from Monmouth-Ocean County.
In January 2006, 106.3's COL (city of license) changed from Ocean City to "Bass River Twsp.", in anticipation of the station changing frequencies to 106.5.
After testing for a couple of days, WKOE switched to 106.5 on June 22, 2006, featuring a simulcast of WHTG 106.3 in Eatontown (see above).
Calls changed to WBBO on July 5, 2006 as part of a switch with 98.5 in Ocean Acres.
On September 15, 2010, 106.5 & 106.3 (see above) switched to "Thunder 106" (previously on 98.5 as "Thunder 98.5").
First song played on "Thunder 106": "Country Done Come To Town" by John Rich.
On December 8, 2010, 106.5 switched calls to WTHJ.
** WWZY - 107.1 FM, Long Branch **
107.1, in its current form, went on the air on June 1, 1960, initially with a jazz format, with calls of WRLB "Radio Long Branch."
WRLB had the opportunity to increase to 50,000 watts when they signed on, but turned down the chance, feeling that it wouldn't make much of a difference.
Back in those days, FM had an uncertain future and wasn't a top priority for most station owners.
In 1969, Charlie Roberts became the first radio personality to play rock on a commercial FM station in New Jersey, when he debuted a program on WRLB called "Subway," which featured Top 40/Hot 100 songs, with selected album cuts.
In 1975, WRLB was doing a mix of MOR and adult contemporary music.
Later on, it became a mix of MOR and brokered ethinic programming.
Calls were changed to WWUU in the late 1970's.
Between 1979 and 1981, Dean Ceran handled the 10 to midnight slot (the two previous hosts in that slot were Rocky Zugarri and Steve Trevalese.)
On April 12, 1982, calls changed again to WMJY.
WMJY was, ironically enough, called "Y107" and featured a CHR format that went head-to-head with WJLK.
Lots of up and coming DJ's were involved at this time including "Hollywood" Hamilton (who went on to WHTZ "Z100",) his brother Tony "Wild Child" Hamilton (who went on to WBBM in Chicago,) Bo Richards (who went on to WAGO in Chicago,) and later on, the station featured Don Tandler (who went on to "NJ 101.5" and later "The Breeze") using the on-air name of "Don Tanner" and Paul Roberts (who previously worked at WDRC in Hartford.)
Other DJ's were Douglas B. Pritchett, Phil Brittan and "Shady Dan" (real name: Dan Schade), who by day was a bus driver for Murphy Bus Service, a large NJ bus contractor.
During this time, the station was owned by Mammoth Broadcasting, the principals of which were Jonathan and Elizabeth Hoffman.
Elizabeth also served as GM for a time.
The PD was Kned Xeader.
The format then eventually evolved into AOR by 1986.
The Hoffmans were divorcing, so Carl Deprospo (who worked at a car dealership) became GM and Ian "Case" (Punnett) was the new PD and also did AM drive.
Some personalities at this time included Matt Ward (now of Shadow Traffic fame), Doug Doyle with news (now at WBGO; previously at WOBM), Shady Dan (now at WRAT), John Ford (now with Walter Sabo Media), Ziggy (now on WCBS-FM) and later in the period, Lauren Pressley, who covered overnights and morning sports and continued on during the "Oldies 107.1" period for mid-days.
Others were Dave Mackey, "TJ The DJ" Brustowicz (who went on to become PD at WHTG for a while), news reporter Rhonda Schaffler (now on CNN), production director Chris Cavallaro - who hosted the Beatles Sunday Brunch (Chris is currently the Director of Broadcast Engineering at Monmouth University), Tom Lipke - who hosted a blues show, Will "Willobee" Carlin, Bob Marx, Mike "The Mudman" Alan, Bobbi Stewart, Vic Porcelli (who went on to KTRS in St. Louis), Linda Jordan, Thom "The Brique" Morrera (who was also moonlighting as the PA announcer for the New York Rangers at the time), Garrick Hart, Mike Cassady (who hosted the Psychedelic Sunday show) and "Jon Michaels" (aka Dave Servini, who did overnights and was Promotions Director - and later moved on to WYNY; prior to that, he was Promotions Assistant to Jack Quigley at WMMR in Philadelphia.)
Dan Finn (now a regional VP for Greater Media) was on the sales staff, and eventually rose to sales manager.
In the 1986-1987 time period, John Ford was the PD and also hosted the morning show with Matt Ward as "The Rock & Roll Awakening."
In May 1989, they switched to adult contemporary and switched calls to WZVU on June 28, 1989, as "Seaview 107."
This was under new ownership by K&K Broadcasting (Jerry Koeppel and Don Kelly).
The airstaff included Tom Beale (mornings, with Fran Harris handling news), Jeff Rafter (mid-days & WZVU's MD; now PD at WJRZ & WMGQ) and (the late) Cosmo Rose (afternoons).
The PD was Geoff Kelly (son of Don Kelly).
In February 1992, the format shifted to a satellite oldies format, but by October 1993, WZVU was a live and local operation as "Oldies 107.1."
Some Program Directors at this time included Jeff Clark, Bob Steele - and later, "Big Joe" Henry.
Weekenders included "Robin Banks" (aka Chris Van Zant - now at "Thunder 106.3") and Marc Lee (later at WJRZ.)
Mornings featured "Rocky D", then Steve Smith - and then John McGary and Judi Franco.
Evenings were handled by "boss jock" Rick St. James.
The station manager was Jim Davis.
Lots of DJ's on "Oldies 107.1" are still active now, such as "Big Joe" Henry (now on WKXW "NJ 101.5"), "Jersey Judi" Franco (also on "NJ 101.5"), "Captain Jack" Aponte (who went on to WJRZ, WHTG-AM and WBHX & "Thunder 98.5/106.3") and Tripp Rogers (who went on to WNJO and WPHY, among others).
In December 1996, Big City Radio (owners of what was to be "Y107" in Briarcliff Manor NY) bought WZVU and began a multicast of their country format.
"Big Joe" Henry was the last DJ on the air at "Oldies 107.1" the day of the switch.
Newspaper articles on WZVU can be seen (here).
Calls were changed to WWZY on June 13, 1997 when the sale became finalized.
The initial lineup included PD Darrin Smith, MD Taylor Brien, Bob Kane and Amy Paige, along with Larry Bear and "Skip Church" on Sunday mornings.
Later on, other personalities joined the station including Alan Ross, Adrienne Austen, Eric James, Ray Rossi, Jim Kerr, Karen Stewart, J. Cruze, "Cousin Vinny", Dennis Falcone and Brian Brittain.
On May 7, 2002 at 5pm, Big City dropped the Country format on all its simulcast stations and debuted a Spanish CHR format as "Rumba 107.1".
Last song played was Garth Brooks', "The Dance."
In late 2002, Big City Radio went bankrupt and sold all of its radio properties.
In April 2003, Nassau Broadcasting acquired 107.1 and took it off the air in anticipation of moving the transmitter back to its original location in downtown Long Branch.
On April 14, 2003, it was announced that Nassau had "spun-off" 107.1 to Press Communications for $20 million.
On May 14, 2003, 107.1 came back on the air as "107.1 The Breeze", a soft adult contemporary format, similar to Press' "99.7 The Breeze" in Tuckerton.
On June 30, 2003, 107.1 began a simulcast with "99.7 The Breeze", with Captain Jack doing mornings, along with Donna Rose handling news.
In April 2004, veteran radio personality Tim Downs replaced Captain Jack for mornings.
Scott Edwards, an evening personality on The Breeze, was also on 107.1 during its "Seaview 107" and "Oldies 107.1" incarnations in a similar capacity.
In March 2005, veteran personality Al Brooks (from WOBM fame) joined for news, replacing Donna Rose.
In early 2006, Mike Fitzgerald (of WCBS-FM fame) replaced Tim Downs for mornings.
After downplaying the "Breeze" name for a couple of weeks, 107.1 became simply "107.1 FM: A Music Radio Station", with more of a Hot AC presentation, on April 19, 2013.
On July 1, 2014, 107.1 was renamed "Fun 107.1"
(Thanks to Chris Cavallaro, Dean Ceran, Scott Edwards, Dave Mackey, John McGary, "Jon Michaels", Vic Porcelli, Lauren Pressley, Charlie Roberts, Rich Robinson, Rick St. James, Marty Siegel, Arthur Vergara & Kned Xeader for some of this information)
This station went on the air on October 1, 1972 as WSLT on 106.3, licensed to Ocean City.
107.1's origins go back to 1947 when it was licensed to Asbury Park as WCAP "City of Asbury Park."
** WMDI-LP - 107.9 FM, Lakewood **
This station, owned by the American Institute For Jewish Education, was granted a CP in March 2003; it was originally allocated to Lakewood on June 12, 2001.
The WMDI-LP calls were assigned on May 12, 2003.
The station, serving the Lakewood area, was first noted on the air in August 2003.
WMDI-LP programs a Jewish religious format.
This station, originally on 1170 as a daytime-only operation, signed on November 20, 1970 as WHLW with an MOR format.
Del Sharbutt of the Mutual Broadcasting System was one of the owners.
The original air staff was John Colure in the mornings, Jack Tracksler in middays and Paul Irwin in afternoon drive.
Later in the 1970's, Joey Reynolds was brought in as PD and WHLW switched to a Top 40 format.
One slogan that comes to mind during this time is "Sunrise, Sunset 11-7".
Some notable personalities included Jay Sorensen, Charlie Roberts, Harry Kalish, Bob Sorrentino, "World Famous", Hal Murray, Tom Rivers (real name: Bob Heiney), Marcia Knicely, Steve Martin (not the comedian), George Benson, Gary Waite & Joyce Renaud.
The Sunday morning gospel show was hosted by Brother Arce Brown.
Some notable newscasters were Garret Glaser & Patrice McCarron.
In 1976, WHLW's lineup included Tim Downs (his first NJ radio gig) in mornings, Bill Bang (10am-1pm) and John DeMasi (1pm-sunset).
Mike Boyle did the extra hours in the summer when daylight lasted longer.
John Giase was WHLW's newscaster at this time.
John left WHLW in 1977, but later returned in April 1978, until leaving for WOBM-FM in July 1979.
1170 changed calls to WOBM on November 30, 1981.
Soon afterwards, they were granted full-time status and moved to 1160.
In the early 1990's, WOBM featured a country format.
In the early 2000's, the format was Adult Standards, featuring a local morning show with Bob & Marianne Levy.
In 2003, WOBM-AM acquired the rights to the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball game broadcasts, previously on WHTG-AM in 2002 and WPDQ-FM in 2001.
On February 9, 2009, Kevin Williams & Steve Paul were reunited after a 12 year hiatus and were featured on weekday afternoons from 3 to 6pm.
However, the show only lasted a few months because Kevin got promoted within the company with more responsibilities and Steve has since moved out to California.
Kevin Williams & Steve Paul were long a mainstay in the mornings at WOBM-FM, until Steve left in 1996, partly due to the sale of the station to Nassau Broadcasting.
On September 3, 2010, 1160 switched to a "good-time oldies" format, and began simulcasting on WADB 1310 (see below).
On May 19, 2014, 1160 (and 1310) switched to a news/talk format, featuring Bob & Marianne Levy in the morning, and syndicated shows to round out the schedule.
On January 2, 2017, 1160 (and 1310) debuted a classic hits format as "Beach Radio."
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher, John Giase, Mike Lennen & Bob Sorrentino for some of this information)
(Thanks to Steve Biro for providing an old WHLW sticker/logo)
** WADB - 1310 AM, Asbury Park **
This station dates back to December 1926 when it signed on as WDWM, licensed to Newark on 1070 AM.
Calls stood for founder Donald W. May.
Original studios were located at 20 Central Ave. in Newark.
Then, early in 1927, the station moved to 1270 AM and was forced to share time with Trenton station WAAT.
In June 1927, May found a way to avoid sharing time.
The FRC (Federal Radio Commission) gave him the option of moving his station out of Newark, so in the summer of 1927, WDWM moved to Asbury Park and contracted the station over to the Asbury Park Chamber Of Commerce.
The station was now located at 1250 AM.
Their first temporary studios were located at Asbury Park's Isolation Hospital.
In December 1927, permanent studios were established in the chamber of commerce building at 525 Bangs Ave.
In June 1928, calls were officially changed to WCAP "City of Asbury Park." and moved to 1280 AM, sharing time with Camden station WCAM and Trenton station WOAX.
In March 1929, studios were moved to the Electric Building in downtown Asbury Park, with the transmitter at the Isolation Hospital site.
In January 1931, the station was officially purchased by the chamber of commerce - with Chamber executive secretary, Thomas F. Burley Jr. as station manager.
Later that year, studios moved to Asbury Park's Convention Hall.
Because of the move to Convention Hall, the chamber of commerce transferred ownership of the station to Burley d/b/a Radio Industries Broadcasting Co.
The station was briefly affiliated with the CBS network starting in 1932.
In 1941, WCAP moved to 1310 AM, still sharing time with the aforementioned Camden & Trenton stations.
On April 28, 1943, WCAP's transmitter was damaged in a brush fire, but was back on the air by that November, despite wartime equipment shortages.
In November 1944, the Charms Candy Company and Walter Reade Theatres bought controlling interest in Burley's Radio Industries Broadcast Co. and moved the studios back to the Electric Building.
Then, in 1948, WCAP moved to Charms Candy's own building on Bangs Ave.
The time-sharing arrangement with WCAM and WOAX/WTNJ continued until January 1949, when the Trenton station (WTNJ) was moved to a new frequency (1300) and WCAP and the Camden station (WCAM) agreed to reduce their power in return for full-time status on their current frequency.
In April 1950, WCAP was sold to the Asbury Park Press for $75,000 and on May 1, 1950 the station became WJLK, named after the Press' FM counterpart on 94.3.
Studios were established at "Press Plaza", 605 Mattison Ave. in downtown Asbury Park.
WJLK's schedule included hourly 5 minute newscasts, plus 15 minute summaries at 1pm, 6pm and 11pm, prepared by the Press.
The 1pm newscast was one of the most listened to programs, since it included the daily obituary column.
Each day began with the "Alarm Clock Club", a program hosted by Dick Lewis and originally established on WJLK-FM, and ended with George Hudson's "Downbeat Club", a holdover from the WCAP days.
The original GM was Thomas Tighe, replaced by Ernest Lass, and later in 1954 PD Everett Rudloff became GM.
Some of WJLK's air personalities in the mid-1950's included Bill Bransome, who went on to major stations in Philadelphia, as well as newsmen Lincoln Harner, who left for New York's WNEW, and John Wheeling and Andy Parish, who graduated on to CBS News.
By this time, 15 minute news reports were featured every hour, with headline summaries on the half-hour, which nearly gave the station an all-news format.
In between the news, an MOR music format was featured.
In 1970, longtime air personality and programmer Dick Lewis was promoted to station manager.
Lewis hosted the morning show, adapting it to a 3½ hour "Newsmorning Radio" format, featuring reports from news director Jack Christie, interviews on Larry Brennan's "Coffee Break," and Phyllis Kessel's "Woman Talk."
An aircheck of Dick Lewis' show can be heard (here).
For the remainder of the day, WJLK featured the syndicated "Hit Parade", with some of the best contemporary hits.
WJLK also featured play-by-play of local high school football and basketball games.
In the 1980's, WJLK changed its format to oldies.
Then, on March 9, 1988, WJLK was sold to former WOR manager Rick Devlin and adman Jon Ferrari for $12.5 million.
The format was changed to big band/nostalgia.
In 1991, the format changed again to country.
In 1996, Nassau Broadcasting bought WJLK AM/FM (and other Jersey Shore radio properties) and converted 1310 AM to WADB with an Adult Standards format in January 1997.
The WADB calls were originally on 95.9 FM in Pt. Pleasant.
Newspaper articles from this period are available (here).
On September 26, 2005, WADB switched to country as "Shore Country 1310."
On April 2, 2007, "Shore Country" was dropped in favor of "ESPN Deportes", a satellite-fed Spanish feed of ESPN Radio.
On January 7, 2008, Fox Sports (in English) replaced ESPN.
On September 18, 2008, 1310 changed calls to WBUD (long a mainstay on 1260 in Trenton.)
On June 4, 2009, calls reverted back to WADB.
On September 3, 2010, 1310 began simulcasting the oldies format from WOBM 1160 (see above).
On May 19, 2014, 1310 (and 1160) switched to a news/talk format.
On January 2, 2017, 1310 (and 1160) debuted a classic hits format as "Beach Radio."
** WHTG - 1410 AM, Eatontown **
WHTG first signed on November 1, 1957.
The station was owned by Harold & Theo Gade and in its early years, the station's studio was located in the Gade's home.
The format consisted of easy listening music and community announcements and at 4:55 each afternoon, there would be a newscast for personnel and dependents at Fort Monmouth.
In 1963, WHTG added an FM station (see above).
Dave Herman (who is best known for his stints on WMMR in Philadelphia, and later, WNEW-FM in New York) was the morning host on WHTG in the mid 1960's.
When Herman left in the late 1960's, he was replaced by Bob Jenkins (who was also a PR Director at Monmouth College at the time.)
Dave Kelber took over for Bob in 1973, and also assumed the PD position for the station, until he left in 1975 and was replaced by John McLearan.
WHTG's basic format continued until 1984 when the format shifted to Adult Contemporary.
In 1985, WHTG was transferred over to Harold & Theo Gade's daughter, Faye.
In 1989, the format switched to Adult Standards.
By the mid 1990's, WHTG was featuring a Soft AC format.
In 1999, WHTG started to simulcast the alternative rock programming from its FM station.
In 2000, both WHTG AM & FM were sold to Press Communications.
As a result, 1410 debuted an Oldies format as "Great Gold 1410" in late 2000.
In 2002, WHTG-AM was the home of the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball game broadcasts, however due to the station's poor signal at night, the games were moved in 2003 to WOBM-AM.
(Thanks to Dave Kelber for some of this information)
** WJRZ - 1550 AM, Toms River **
1550 was originally allocated to Seaside Park on July 6, 1984.
In March 1986, 1550 AM was owned by Sandpiper Broadcasting.
On August 7, 1986, the WNJO calls were assigned.
In October 1986, the CP was transferred over to Communications Technology in South Toms River.
On April 15, 1991, the CP was taken over by Knox Broadcasting, owners of WJRZ 100.1 and the WJRZ calls were assigned on May 15, 1991.
The original projected on-air date was Spring of 1992, however, the date was pushed back many times.
The format for WJRZ was originally intended to be an all-news format, featuring CNN Headline News via satellite and some local news segments.
In anticipation of signing on, studios were located at 22 W. Water St. in downtown Toms River, next to the FM station's sales office.
In 1994, WJRZ applied for an expanded-band AM allocation at 1620, which ultimately did not materialize.
With financial difficulties and zoning problems with their antenna system continuing, the station's CP was cancelled on September 14, 1995.