WIP was the randomly assigned call letters for a 500 watt station on 833 kHz that began broadcasting on March 17, 1922. The owners were the Gimbel Brothers, with studios above the Gimbels department store at Ninth and Market Street. Two steel towers supported WIP's inverted "L"-type antenna on the roof of the store. For a few years, as radio broadcasting was in its infancy, the station jumped around on the dial and/or shared a frequency with other stations: 750 kHz with Wanamaker's WOO, 590 kHZ in 1923, 860 kHz in 1927, and finally the familiar 610 kHz shared with WFAN in 1928 under the calls WIP-WFAN. (WFAN was part of a Haverford radio-enthusiast club.)
In 1931, WIP purchased WFAN and consolidated all broadcasting at the WIP studios. In 1932, the station was transferred to a newly formed company, the Pennsylvania Broadcasting Company, in order to separate ownership from the department store since WIP was now a successful broadcast enterprise in its own right. In 1935, the studios were moved to 35 South Ninth Street and two years later the transmitter was moved to 21st and Hamilton Streets.
In 1938, the station began a full 24 hour a day broadcast schedule and used the slogan "Philadelphia's Pioneer Station." In 1940, the station was granted a power increase to 5,000 watts and the transmitter site was moved to Bellmawr, NJ. The previous tower at 21st and Hamilton was dismantled and the property sold.
From the begining, one of the most popular personalities on the station was children's show host "Uncle Wip." While Uncle Wip was portrayed by several people, one of the longest running was Wayne Cody. By 1933, Uncle Wip's "Kiddie Club" had over 500,000 names on its list, and over 750,000 by 1941. In addition to making numerous appearances, some of Uncle Wip's other activities included an Aviation Club, a "Toyland Parade" and a "Drum and Bugle Corps."
In 1958, WIP AM and FM were sold for $2,500,000 to WIP Broadcasting, Inc., a new syndicate headed by Benedict Gimbel, Jr., the station's former General Manager.
In 1960, the Metropolitan Broadcasting Division of Metromedia, Inc., owned by John W. Kluge, purchased WIP AM and FM for $2,700,000. This essentially ended any connection the station had with the Gimbel family or retail concern. On May 11, 1961, WIP's licensee name was changed to the parent company name, Metromedia, Inc. The following year, offices and studios were moved to more modern and larger quarters in the Wellington Building, overlooking Rittenhouse Square at 19th and Walnut Street. The format was MOR, a mix of 50s and 60s pop music with a heavy emphasis on newscasts. Instead of chasing the younger audience of rock station WIBG, WIP targeted a slightly older 25 - 49 year old crowd with music from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, and Stan Getz. This was similar to the direction taken by New York sister station WNEW. Pivotal to the station's success was long time announcer Joe McCauley, known as the "Morning Mayor" for 14 of his 26 years at WIP. Other announcers during this period included Ned Powers, Tom Brown, and Chuck Daugherty. At one point, the station called itself "Channel 61 color radio" and later "The big W."
The station gradually added more soft rock to the mix and evolved into an adult contemporary format by the 1970s, a format it would keep for the most part through its gradual change to sports talk in the late 1980s. The station had great popularity with the AC format in the early and mid 1970s and boasted a strong news department with frequent newscasts. Some of the announcers included Ken Garland, Bill Webber, Tom Moran, and Tom Lamaine. In the mid-1970s, Eagles football play-by-play begain airing on WIP and brought a whole new audience that often stuck around after the game was over. As FM radio began to steal the music audience from WIP in the early 80s, more talk programming was added. (Such as "Telephone Talk" with Jack Ellery and Steve Martorano overnights) By the mid 80s, as the amount of music decreased even further, most of the new talk hosts brought in featured sports programming. By 1988, the change to all sports programming was complete.
A management buyout group, known as the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation became WIPs owner on November 18, 1986, and they subsequently sold the station to a division of Specatcor Inc. on December 8, 1987 for $6 million. In 1989, studios were moved to newer facilities at 441 North Fifth Street. In 1993, WIP was sold to Infinity Broadcasting for $2 million, and when Infinity merged with CBS in 1996, CBS became the new owner. In 2004, studios were moved to Two Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd.