WIBG was founded in 1924 as a 25 watt religious station for St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elkins Park. (WIBG apparently stood for "I Believe In God") Until the mid 1930s, the station only broadcast religious services on Sunday afternoons.
When the church was forced to broadcast on a daily basis by the Federal Radio Commission, the owners decided to sell the station to an electrical construction company.
The new owners immediately recieved permission to increase power to 100 watts, and new studios were built in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. In 1939 the station was sold to Seaboard Broadcasting with Paul F. Harron as president.
In 1941, the FCC approved the station's request to move to Philadelphia, and new studios at 1425 Walnut Street in Center City were constructed. Plate glass windows at street level allowed passersby to view the newsroom and celebrity interviews. In 1943, the station's power was increased from 1,000 watts to 10,000 watts. In 1957, WIBG was sold to Storer Communications along with sister station WPFH TV channel 12 which at the time was licensed to Philadelphia.
WIBG was best known for its wildly popular top 40 format that began in the mid 1950s when DJ Joe Niagara began slipping rock and roll songs into the station's pop standards format. By 1958, the station was playing rock and roll 24 hours a day, the only station in Philly to do so well into the 1960s. WIBG, known as "Wibbage," ruled Philadelphia radio, especially among teenagers. The station hosted local "record hops" and was the first to publish weekly "Top 99" surveys of the most popular music that could be found at local record stores. The jocks were known as the WIBG "Good Guys" and included Dean Tyler, Jerry Stevens, Frank X. Feller, George Gilbert, Jack Star, Don L. Brink, Bill Wright and Hy Lit. WIBG included songs with a "Philly" edge (such as R&B) that were not heard on similarly formatted stations in other cities. Some hits, such as Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and Martha and the Vandellas' "Heat Wave" actually got their early airplay in Philadelphia and then became hits nationwide.
In September, 1966, WFIL flipped to a top 40 format with the intention of dethroning WIBG. WFIL had a similar playlist but played 3-4 more songs per hour. WFIL soon passed WIBG in the ratings with their tighter, slicker presentation of the hits. WFIL also had a superior signal, especially in the suburbs where many young listeners were flocking.
WIBG spent most of the 1970s trying to regain their former ratings success but was hobbled by their "staid" image and the gradual shift of music listeners from the AM to the FM band.
In 1969 Buckley Broadcasting bought WIBG from Storer, brought in all new airstaff, and tried a newer, lighter take on top 40. Eventually, they experimented with "progressive rock" in the evenings. A brief and disasterous foray into AOR (album oriented rock) was attempted in 1972. Several other approaches on top 40 were tried as the station evolved into an adult contemporary format in 1975. More sports and sports talk was added into the mix, and WIBG was even the flagship station for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1975 and 1976. On April, 1, 1976, Fairbanks Broadcasting purchased the station and switched to a "Hot AC" format. In the spring of 1977, the station was back to top 40. In September 1977, it was decided that the WIBG name was no longer an asset, so the station held a week-long "Wibbage Wake," with guest jocks from the past and old jingles. The final hour of WIBG was hosted by Hy Lit and Joe Niagara on September 10, 1977.
Some of the many personalities heard on the station in the 1970s included Long John Wade, Don Cannon, Tom Rivers, Gary Brooks, Cat Martin, Doug James, Sean Casey, "Giant Gene" Arnold with his "Giant Gene's Electric Scene" program, Dick Clayton, Dennis John Cahill, Steve Hatley, Crazy Bob, Bill Gardner, Chuck Knapp, and J.J. Kennedy.
The station was renamed "Wizzard 100" - this was a rounding up of the 99, which was shorthand for the actual frequency of 990. (Many analog radios eliminated the last zero from their dials to save space.) The calls were changed to WZZD and a heavily researched adult top 40 format was adopted. Listeners did not respond, and the format evolved into disco and R&B, briefly competing with WCAU-FM's "Fascinatin' Rhythm" format.
In November, 1979, the station was purchased by Communicom Corporation for $4.5 million. By the spring of 1980, the format was switched to a religious format described as "Information, Inspiration and education" retaining the WZZD calls. About half of the programming consisted of music.
in 1986, the WZZD antenna array was redesigned which improved coverage to the north and west.
In 1994 Communicom sold WZZD to Salem Media. Initially, Salem retained the Christian music and teaching format. By the late 1990s, music was cut back to a couple hours a day. By 2002 WZZD ran nearly all teaching and almost no music at all. Since Salem already owned former rival WFIL, the two stations were eventually co-located at the former WIBG complex on Ridge Pike in Whitemarsh Township.
In 2004 WZZD and WFIL's programming was merged onto WFIL and WZZD dropped the Christian format in favor of conservative news-talk, changing its call letters to WNTP. WNTP sports coverage includes Saint Joseph's University Hawks college basketball, as well as college sports of Penn State University, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania.