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History of Philadelphia radio station 900 WURD (Levas Communications)

  • In 1956, 900 AM was founded as the sister station to WFLN-FM, Philadelphia's classical music station. Most of the time, the two stations were a simulcast of each other, with occasional separate programming.

    Talk 900 logoIn 1985, legendary talk radio personality Frank Ford and former WWDB salesman Jon Harmelin bought 900 AM and renamed it "Talk 900" with call letters WDVT and studios at the NewMarket shops in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. The station went on the air August 5, 1985 at 6AM. Large windows allowed shoppers and passers-by to watch the announcers in the air studio, and outdoor speakers allowed the programming to be heard. (Much to the annoyance of some other tenants.) Even though the station was practically invisible in the Arbitron ratings, (it registered a zero for five consecutive ratings periods) it boasted a strong lineup of talent, including Carol Saline and former WCAU-AM hosts Maxine Schnall and Ron Eisenberg. Ford himself was on the air daily from 12:30PM to 4:30.

    The station's major drawback was the fact that it was licensed for daytime operation only, which meant that each day at sundown, WDVT had to go off the air to avoid interfering with stations in other parts of the country. Competition from two other major all-talk stations, WWDB-FM and WCAU-AM, did not make things any easier. It also suffered from a relatively weak 1,000 watt signal, 1/50th the strength of competitor WCAU-AM!

    WDVT signed off for the last time on July 25, 1988. Marlin broadcasting, which purchased WFLN-FM, also purchased the IOU for WDVT. Marlin gave WDVT the choice of buying the note (IOU) or turning over the station. In view of the severe decline in the market value of AM radio stations at the time, the management of WDVT elected to turn over the broadcast license to Marlin.

    After a few months of simulcasting WFLN-FM, the station was sold to Willis Broadcasting Corp., headed by the Rev. L. E. Willis, a bishop in the Church of God in Christ and total or part owner of 22 religious-oriented stations throughout the South and Midwest. A religious format called "LOVE 900" was programmed under the call letters WURD.

    Mega 900 logo

    In July, 1996, WURD was sold to New Jersey-based Mega Communications, an owner of a number of Spanish- formatted stations. The format was changed to "hot" Spanish music under the name "Mega 900" and calls WEMG. In 2002, Cody Anderson (former owner of WHAT-AM) returned to the local radio scene to help program a community oriented talk format for the station. In 2003, the station was sold to Levas Communications, a group associated with Anderson, in a gradual spin-off of Mega's non-core properties. Mega moved the WEMG calls to 1310 AM and the new owners reinstated the WURD call letters. The format jumped between various types of music and CNN Headline news before settling into the current talk format.

    According to the WURD website, "WURD Radio is the only African-American owned and operated talk radio station in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." The station's studios and offices are located on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia.

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  • Discuss 900 WURD Philadelphia

    Comments? Corrections? Worked there? Please let us know!

    1. Posted at 10:47 AM on 4/29/2013 by Ron:
    Goodmorning, I am looking for the theme song of the host that came on after Fatima Ali?

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