On October 5, 1942, Westinghouse radio station W57PH began broadcasting on 45.7 MHz from studios located at 1619 Walnut Street. Eventually, the station was renamed KYW-FM and assigned to the 92.5 frequency. KYW FM left the air for "undisclosed reasons" on August 18, 1953. (The FM listening audience at this time was negligible)
In 1958, Mel Gollub, former WIP radio personality known as "Mel Stewart" founded WIFI-FM on the 92.5 frequency. Although licensed to Philadelphia, the station was located in Norristown and played an MOR format that included some talk and sports. WIFI was an early stereo pioneer, initiating almost 18 hours a day of stereo programming in 1961. Progressive rock arrived at the station in the late 1960s with host Johnny Devereaux and others.
FM Top 40
In 1970, Gollub sold WIFI to General Cinema and studios were moved to 555 City Ave. For a few years, various automated formats were utilized, including one called "Hit Parade '70." Eventually, an AM-style Top 40 format emerged with high-energy live jocks. Although the station's signal was only fair, and it took Philadelphia longer than most markets to accept FM radio, the station had some success with the format. At one point in the late 1970s, with WIBG and WFIL no longer playing Top 40, WIFI was the only true Top 40 station in Philadelphia. A popular morning show, "Byron and Tanaka" was one of the early FM "personality" teams.
Rock Of The 80's
When WCAU FM debuted their "Hot Hits" format in 1981, they grabbed most of the teen audience from WIFI. In response, WIFI briefly attempted an adult contemporary format in 1982 but it failed almost immediately due to stiff competition and a diluted audience as a result of three other AC stations (WMGK, WSNI, WWSH). In early 1983, the station called in consultant Rick Carroll who had transformed Los Angeles' KROQ into a Southern California ratings success. With much fanfare and press coverage, Carroll attempted to replicate his "Rock of the 80's" New Wave format in Philadelphia by dramatically changing the station's sound and bringing in DJs such as Mel Toxic and Lee Paris. The station was referred to as "i92."
After less than six months, "Rock of the 80s" was dumped on August 1, 1983. New owner Beasley Broadcast Group changed the call letters to WXTU and the format to Urban Contemporary. By March, 1984, the format was changed to country and the station finally found a successful format that continues to this day.