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History of Philadelphia radio station 92.5 WXTU (Beasley Broadcast Group)

  • KYW-FM

    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)

    AS WIFI

    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."

    WXTU

    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.

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  • Discuss 92.5 WXTU Philadelphia

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

    1. Posted at 12:27 PM on 10/21/2011 by Gary Bundy:
    I did news at WIFI, when it moved to One Decker Square, Bala Cynwydd. I was hired by John Teneglia of General Cinema Commuications. I worked there for 10 months from (I believe) 1973 to 1974 with such notables as Hy Lit, Bobby Walker and Scott Taylor. I returned to a teaching and coaching position in public schools and retired as an elementary principal in the Wissahickon School District (PA). I am currently an adjunct faculty member at Cabrini College, Radnor, PA. Gary Bundy

    2. Posted at 12:05 PM on 5/5/2012 by Angel :
    any way I can get lists of music that was played on I-92 back during those awesome 6(?) months?? Man. I think of those mornings getting ready for school, hearing DaDaDa, old XTC and the more obscure new wave that you STILL don't hear in those stupid clothing stores targeting my age peeps. I remember sneaking into the Kennel Club underage -- c'mon...help a girl out, will ya??

    3. Posted at 12:06 AM on 6/12/2012 by Craig Baker:
    Worked at WI-FI from '61 until '70. What memories and what a great training ground ! I can still hear Mel Gollub saying: "If we could just get an AM license, we'd have it made."

    4. Posted at 4:49 PM on 8/10/2012 by Steve :
    Worked there around 1980, my first job in radio. I was a lowly copy writer for Byron & Tanaka's news and entertainment reports. It was a blast and I was treated with respect by both those guys especially Tanaka who was a pleasure to know. I think their show was followed by Allison ?. I also remember a sales guy named John Rafal, also very friendly to me. As a result I had a 20 year career in Philly radio sales so thanks WIFI! I would shutter to think how somebody as green as I was would be treated in today's corporate radio world.

    5. Posted at 5:01 PM on 12/11/2012 by Johnny Devereaux:
    I loved all time I spent working on WI-FI 92.5 MEL Gollub was good to me.. from sept 1961 till may 1970 then worked for Gen.Cinema for a while...I then worked for KOME FM 98.5 (SanJoseCa.)and I'm retired now living in Sunnyvale Ca.and in good health I also worked at WNAR AM I Missed freeform radio, I Played everthing no restrictions.

    6. Posted at 11:10 AM on 12/13/2012 by Johnny Devereaux:
    WIFI was my Ist job and it was a great experience of 10 yrs from 1961 to 1970 Mel was a kind and generous boss........Johnny Devereaux

    7. Posted at 10:15 PM on 12/20/2012 by Rab Terry:
    I remember listening to John Devereaux in bed with "earphones" when I was in junior high ( when the station wasn''t playing high school sports). Think I still have a tape that has ... And I am trying to remember back many years, Led Zeppelin..unknown in the US, CTA, Genya Raven, things that me and my listening friend would take the train to center city to try to find in the import bin. Kind of my intro to music that wasn't in the mainstream.

    8. Posted at 9:44 PM on 2/2/2013 by LLOYD ROACH:
    WIFI-92 pretty much launched my management career. I participated in all of it from 1971 to the end of the decade. Contrary to the description, WIFI was not in 555 but rather One Decker Sq. The station's 50KW transmitter was West of Norristown,so the station was marginal in Center City but huge in the suburbs. Managers included, Dann Lerner (Later owner if KISS-100) Jeff Poll, Bill Parke and Frank Tenore. John Tenalia, group VP, always said the station had more guts than the others. Many an evening spent at the library.

    9. Posted at 10:33 PM on 3/25/2013 by Craig Baker:
    Good to see so many people remember WI-FI or what ever the call was when you listened. When Johnny and I worked there, the entire station was located on Potshop Road, East Norriton Twp. (legend has it that there had been an old pottery shop nearby) If memory serves me, the frequency had been allocated to Glenside and Mel had it switched to a Philadelphia license. I must assume the signal now comes from the antenna farm in Roxboro. As Johnny mentioned, Mel was a kind and generous man and very, very funny. Today I operate two AM stations in Georgia and there are many days when I wish I had a station on that new FM band.

    10. Posted at 6:36 AM on 7/5/2013 by Bob Wade:
    I was part of the team that worked at WIFI when Mike Joseph Brought in the HOT HIT'S format to WCAU that started the demise of WIFI...I can remember the first day we listened to Terry Young, the motormouth, and talking amongst ourselves we thought, 'this will never work' 6 months or so later, CAU was #1 music station in the city and WIFI92 was scrambling for it's life...at which point, it became the dismal 'rock of the 80's. I was lucky to work with some great people, Byron and Tanaka, Liz Kiley, Andre Gardner and the guy who gave WIFI it's last hurrah, Tom Bigby.

    11. Posted at 5:26 PM on 11/12/2013 by Donald S. Browne:
    I first heard WIFI/92.5 MHz in September 1963, while a sophomore at Drexel. The station aired unique (and unusual for the times) "specialty" programs which sounded "brokered": 50s Rhythm and Blues (Five Keys, etc.). When I returned to Philadelphia from the Army in February 1971 (Vietnam era), WIFI had been sold by Mel Gollub to General Cinema, and they were playing the syndicated automated format "HitParade '71".

    12. Posted at 2:33 PM on 12/24/2013 by Ted Taylor:
    Buzz Allen brought me to WIFI in 1965 to handle high school sports play-by-play and we did an ambitious schedule of games. At the station I did a nightly talk show from a restaurant in King of Prussia, became "The Ultra T" and did a weekend lat evening rock show, also did a Saturday AM "Beatles" show that kicked butt in the ratings. We broke "Long & Winding Road" one Saturday morning - we got a reel-to-reel copy from England. Back on the air again at WRDV FM 89.3 doing a morning show.

    13. Posted at 11:49 AM on 2/5/2014 by Joy:
    Whatever happened to the Radio Station that would play Soft Instrumental Music (Elevator type music) from the 70's and 80's at night during the 80's. The name of the station was WWSH (Wish)

    14. Posted at 4:02 PM on 4/2/2014 by Steve Kelly:
    WIFI fm-January 1st, 1973 I flew into Philadelphia and met with John Tenaglia of General Cinema and George Burns (consultant). I was hired to come in and turn the station from an automated oldies format to live jock top 40. At the time we were only the 3rd Fm top forty in the country I believe. I had come up with the Boogie format, which consisted of top 20 hits and oldies rotated in a very repetitive rotation. In one book we recorded a 2.1 which was damn good at the time considering we had basically no signal into downtown Philly. We went onto get high 3's in the ratings and became very competitive. The same format was then used on KRBE in Houston, WGCL in Cleveland and Z93 in Atlanta, all of which had great signals. They became the top 40 leaders in their respective markets. I see Lloyd Roach had posted a comment here earlier. He was on the sales staff at WIFI while I was there along with Dan Lerner, GM and Jeff Poll was sales mgr. We actually had the great Hy Lit on in the mornings for a while, plus Bill Figenshu in mid-days, Bobby Roberts at night (Fritz Coleman, KNBC TV Los Angeles weather man) Jon Rivers, Tom Dooley and many more that I can't remember. Great staff, Great times in radio. Thank you Jon Tenaglia for bringing me to Philly

    15. Posted at 3:06 PM on 5/26/2014 by Buzz Allen:
    Worked for Mel Golub from 1959 until stsion was sole in 1970. Mel was the best boss. Solid jazz programing with Ted Taylor Dave Solomon and myself. Known as the friends with pleasure. Made many great friends and still in touch with Ted, Dave and Craig Baker. Far from retired, running two full time businesses in Pompano Beach, FL.

    16. Posted at 7:20 PM on 6/3/2014 by Dave Hall:
    I began my teenaged years listening to WIFI. A graduate of WFIL, and being fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how you saw it) enough to be less than a mile from the transmitter, I could hear the station on practically every electronic radio project I tried to build. When I got older, I hiked up to the transmitter site and peered into one of the windows and could see wood paneling and what looked to be the remains of what was probably the original studio, before it became remote. When I got a little older and started to get into "harder" rock, the once advantageous strong signal from WIFI made it almost impossible for me to pick up WMMR, which was close at 93.3. So I had to settle for WYSP and their newly experimental "Quad" transmissions. One of the short-lived WIFI jocks in the 1975 time frame was Jerry Kane, who I had the pleasure of meeting thanks to a mutual interest in CB radio. Jerry invited me and a couple of other CB guys down to the studio to see how his show was produced, and for a long while becoming a radio DJ was my dream job. Unfortunately, the rise of mega-corporate cookie-cutter formats dashed that dream, and I ended up becoming an engineer in the cable TV field instead. I lost track of Jerry and never knew what happened to him after he left WIFI

    17. Posted at 2:24 PM on 6/22/2014 by Hank:
    Unfortunately, I don't have the same fond memories of WIFI 92. I heard the station through out the years I was attended High School durring the late 70's. My memories dictate too much repeat of the same artists and songs. I just got tired of hearing so little variations of music, especially Peter Frampton's Live Album. Granted, I do prefer Blue Grass Genre over all other types of music, the same 12 artists in a day & the same 40 songs played several times a day was not my taste at all. By 1977, I acquired a 1957 Grundig Majestic Console AM/FM/ Shortwave Radio Receiver which really opened my eyes & ears to other music & information which was more favorable. Eventually I became an Amateur Radio Operator in 1978 then Electronics School & then some Radio Station Design & installation.

    18. Posted at 1:56 PM on 6/27/2014 by C. J. Jones:
    I was Vice President and General Manager for WXTU as we at Beasley built a very successful Country Music station for Philadelphia. One of the first things I did was hire WABC-NEW YORK program director RICK SKLAR as programming consultant and RUSTY WALKER of Mississippi as Music Consultant. Within our first full year WXTU grew to be the second most popular station with MEN age 25 and older in the Arbitron Ratings and that resulted in a great improvement in revenue and profits. We had some great talent and sales executives at WXTU and amazed just about everyone in Philly by making Country Radio a big success, which it remains today. George Beasley was a great supporter of his largest market station, eventually buying WTEL-AM to add a second station to his Philadelphia cluster. I eventually left and built my own radio station company with a number of stations in 7 Southeastern cities. WXTU was a great place to work.

    19. Posted at 9:18 PM on 9/21/2014 by Lou Kolb:
    I discovered Wi-Fi when i got my first fm radio in the late 60s. Having grown up on AM-top 40, I was ready for something new when "underground" radio came along and Wi-Fi was the first in philly to do it beside the college stations. Eventually, I got into radio myself, spending almost 40 years in the business, mostly in Williamsport, Pa. Craig Baker helped me out in 1969 and 1970 as I took my first steps in ham radio. Today I'm retired from Broadcasting but still active in ham radio. Fond memories reading these posts. WA3MIX

    20. Posted at 1:03 PM on 4/30/2015 by Tim Dougherty :
    I worked as part on air and production from the introduction of rock of the 80s in spring of 1983 through 3 formats. I did overnights weekends and short stint on mornings, It was the best time ! I was hired by Roy Laurence , a great man.....Art Camilo was the station manager through rock go the 80s and new 92 format featuring Dr Perry Johnson. Dennis Dougherty took over as station manager when the flipped the switch to wxtu, as college student working philly radio I was proud to be apart of this historic switch but wasn't for me. Fortunately wxtu picked Villanova basketball in the fall of 1984, I took a job as an onsite producer for the network........it was the right move being won the NCCA Championship, I still didn't get my ring. Dennis Doigherty stayed there after I left in 85, my oldest brother. He suddenly passed away April 29 2015 and has 2 daughters Rachel and Merrie who I love very much......he touched a lot off lives in radio world and will sorely be missed.

    21. Posted at 11:22 PM on 6/10/2015 by Craig Baker:
    Great reading these comments and finding out that so many folks are still fond of the old WI-FI 92.5. Spoke with Mel Gollub's son Mark this week and I'm happy to report that all of the Gollubs are doing well these days. Anybody out there know where Stan Snyder is? I hear from Les Crist, Dovrini, and Johnny Devereaus now and then, but can't find a number for Buzz Allen. Perhaps he'll see this and contact me. All the best to all of you. Write if you get work. Sincerely, Craig Baker WKVQ, WYTH, and WLRR FM

    22. Posted at 6:24 PM on 7/11/2015 by Doug Harms:
    I listened to Johnny Devereaux as a teenager in the late '60's. Great memories. I remember his introduction of phase delay that he called his "unigue-Q technique-Q" I would then move down the dial to MMR for the Marconi Experiment in the evenings. Interesting that I went to school with one of the Deckers and Rod Phillips, another local radio personality.

    23. Posted at 8:05 AM on 8/22/2015 by Glenn:
    I have one, pristine (collective) memory of WIFI 92 in the early '70s of listening to the esoteric selections of Bill Figenshu. What stuck with me most was a song of which I could not recall the title nor artist. A fragment of the lyrics knocked about in my subconscious for over 40 years. Finally, this morning, I got a 'hit' on Google for "Meat" rendered by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Listened to the song on YouTube and the actuality of it was very close to how I'd enshrined it. Those times I'd listened were after school, reclined and wearing my Dad's padded headphones. All of the sunlit memories of a seemingly simpler time came back in a rush. Thank you for reading. I've enjoyed reading everyone's recollections here this morning.

    24. Posted at 9:16 PM on 1/23/2016 by Craig Baker:
    An update: Recently I've heard from Buzz Allen, Johnny Devereaux, "Dovrini the Hit Spinning Genie" aka Nick Whittier, Ralph McKee, and I often visit with Les Crist. If there are other WI-FI folks out there, I hope you'll get in touch. A reunion would be stretching it, but it would be nice to say hello. Recently, I visited Philadelphia and had lunch with Bill Wright Sr. of Wibbage fame. Great trip back home, renewed some old memories. All the best to all readers. Craig

    25. Posted at 4:05 PM on 7/24/2016 by Paul Troy:
    Worked at WIFI in news and production in 1970. Trained Tony Bruno when he graduated broadcasting school. Scott Taylor was there as was George Bailey. Think about the irony on two notes. First, this was KYW at one time. Wouldn't they wish they had all news on FM now! And what great call letters before changed to WXTU. WI-FI!!! Crazy! I am an active voiceover artist and member of The Broadcast Pioneers.

    26. Posted at 1:58 PM on 8/5/2016 by Michelle Levine of Gaithersburg, Maryland:
    The WIFI 92 FM station in Philadelphia, Pa. is what I used to listen to when I was teaching at a College in upper Philly back in 1973 but I am getting old now but I am still interested in songs saved on a tape and now put on a CD to listen to which is VINTAGE WIFI92. I want to hear the same format as played back in 1973 and 1974. Music meant well back then instead of school kids doing things for the money as nowadays here in Rockville, Maryland at IHeart Radio and Clear Channel Communications such as DC101 and MIX 107.3 FM. Contact WUSA9 News and speak to Ellison Barber and have her mention this on the 9News station. Thank you for your service! 202-895-5999 to speak to 9News.

    27. Posted at 10:30 PM on 1/27/2017 by Eric Bradway:
    Jerry Kane at WIFI 92 was my friend as well He used to do those Sunnnnnnnnnnnday at Atco Dragway Commercials

    28. Posted at 8:41 PM on 4/7/2017 by Gary Hendler:
    I worked at Universal record distributors from the 60s through the 70s and was very friendly with Johnny Deverauex does anyone know how I can get in touch with him. My number is 610-715-1953

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