WMMR (93.3 FM, "93.3 WMMR") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The station is owned by the Beasley Broadcast Group, through licensee Beasley Media Group, LLC, and broadcasts an active rock radio format. Studios and offices are located in Bala Cynwyd and the tower used by the station is atop One Liberty Place at ( ).
WMMR carries Philadelphia Flyers hockey games when its all-sports sister station 97.5 WPEN is airing another sporting event and cannot broadcast the Flyers game. WMMR is the home of Preston and Steve, heard weekday mornings, and midday personality Pierre Robert, heard on WMMR since 1981.
|Broadcast area||Delaware Valley|
|Slogan||"Everything that rocks"|
|Frequency||93.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||April 20, 1942 (as W49PH)|
|Format||Analog/HD1: Active rock
HD2: Live rock
|ERP||16,500 watts (analog)
165 watts (digital)
|HAAT||264 meters (866 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||MetroMedia Radio|
|Former callsigns||W49PH (1942 – 1943)
WIP-FM (1943 – 1966)
|Former frequencies||44.9 MHz (1942 – 1945)
|Affiliations||United Stations Radio Networks
Philadelphia Flyers Radio Network
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBEN-FM, WMGK, WPEN, WTEL, WTMR, WWDB|
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On April 20, 1942, the station signed on with the call sign W49PH, broadcasting at 44.9 MHz on the original 42-50 MHz FM band. Owned by Pennsylvania Broadcasting Corporation, it simulcast the programming of sister station AM 610 WIP. On November 1, 1943, the new FM station was assigned the WIP-FM call letters. The FCC created the current FM band on June 27, 1945. WIP-FM moved to 93.9 MHz, then 97.5 MHz, before finally moving to 93.3 MHz. In the 1950s and 60s, WIP-AM-FM carried a full service format of middle of the road (MOR) music, news, sports and talk.
In July 1966, the station's call sign was changed to WMMR. The call letters reflected the name of the station's owner, MetroMedia Radio. (The WMMR call sign had previously belonged to a student radio station at the University of Minnesota.) The MOR format was still being used, but with different programming than the AM side, although the AM disc jockeys' announcements were used for both stations.
Beginning in 1968, WMMR began adopting a progressive rock format, similar to that of several Metromedia-owned stations including WNEW-FM in New York City. WNEW-FM and WMMR had a close relationship, ran similar promotions, and sometimes featured each other's disc jockeys on the air. WMMS in Cleveland, KMET in Los Angeles and KSAN in San Francisco were also part of the Metromedia chain and also helped pioneer the progressive rock format in the 1960s.
Dave Herman was WMMR's first rock DJ. His show, dubbed The Marconi Experiment, debuted on April 29, 1968. Before Herman's arrival, WMMR ran an "MOR" format featuring programs such as "Sinatra and Company." The Marconi Experiment was very much an experiment for the station, with progressive rock still new to the FM band. The first song played on the show was "Flying" by The Beatles. Over the instrumental song, Herman recited these words: "Arise my heart, and fill your voice with music. For he who shares not dawn with his song, is one of the sons of ever darkness." This was known as "The Incantation" and continued as the regular show opening.
Michael Cuscuna, from the University of Pennsylvania's 88.5 WXPN, replaced Herman in 1970, but was quickly hired away by WABC-FM (now WPLJ) in New York. Michael Tearson, also from WXPN, replaced Cuscuna and remained a mainstay at WMMR for over 20 years. Herman went to 95.5 WABC-FM and then for a couple of decades on 102.7 WNEW-FM, and later on 92.3 WXRK. Tearson later worked at 102.9 WMGK in Philadelphia, from April 2002 until January 2013. He was also heard on Sirius XM's Deep Tracks channel.
Several Philadelphia FM stations tried to compete with WMMR in the late 1960s, including 92.5 WIFI and 105.3 WDAS-FM. Neither station stayed with the rock format for long. In 1970, WIFI switched to a Top 40 format. WDAS-FM changed format around 1971 to reflect its AM counterpart as an urban contemporary station.
One of WMMR's most influential disc jockeys during the 1970s was Ed Sciaky, who was known for playing and boosting the careers of new artists such as Billy Joel and Yes. Sciaky is credited with introducing Bruce Springsteen to Philadelphia, and decades later, the city remains one of Springsteen's strongest fan bases and the scenes of many of his best-received concerts. WMMR alumni include David Dye, host of the World Cafe on 88.5 WXPN and syndicated on many NPR stations. Another formar WMMR DJ is Nick Spitzer, now a New Orleans resident and host of "American Routes" on NPR. One-time WMMR midday DJ Dick Hungate later switched to 94.1 WYSP, pioneering the classic rock format in Philadelphia. John DeBella, now hosting mornings on co-owned 102.9 WMGK, was the morning drive time DJ for many years, alongside newscaster and sidekick Mark "The Shark" Drucker, who later was a reporter on all-news 1060 KYW. Some WMMR DJs such as Dave Herman and Carol Miller would later go onto longtime careers on New York stations.
In early 2006, WMMR launched its digital HD2 subchannel with the "WMMaRchives" format, airing the station's archive of live and studio performances.
On July 19, 2016, Beasley Media Group announced it would acquire Greater Media and its 21 stations (including WMMR) for $240 million. The FCC approved the sale on October 6, and the sale closed on November 1.
In 2007, WMMR was nominated for the Radio & Records Magazine Award for "Active Rock Station of the Year" in a top 25 market. Other nominees included WIYY in Baltimore, WAAF in Boston, KBPI in Denver, WRIF in Detroit, and KISW in Seattle. In 2010, the station was honored by the National Association of Broadcasters with the Marconi Award for "Rock Station of the Year." WMMR has also been honored as the Major Market Radio Station of the Year by the rock community "RadioContraband" in both 2011 and 2012. In the late 1980s, WMMR was recognized as one of best rock stations in America by Rolling Stone Magazine. In 2014 WMMR was inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" in the "Heritage Rock Stations" category.