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WENZ, also known as "Z107.9", is a Mainstream Urban radio station that features hip-hop and R&B and serves the Cleveland, Ohiomarker area.

History

The station, which debuted on April 5, 1958 as WNOB FM (Northern Ohio Broadcasting), was started by several people from WNEWmarker in New York. When the companion AM license was not granted, the station found itself in a precarious position, because stand alone FM stations in the 1950's did not make money.

In 1961, the station filed for bankruptcy and a machine operator, Mr. Phillip Kerwin, purchased WNOB for $16,000. In 1963, WNOB became one of the first FM stations in the country to broadcast in stereo.In 1968 the signal was upgraded, the station purchased a new transmitter and antenna system. Two years later, in 1970, Multicom Inc. (owner of WELWmarker AM 1330 in Willoughbymarker) purchased the station for $330,000. The call letters were then changed to WELW FM. WELW played a top 40 Drake type format for almost two years, then switched to country music.

In 1975, Beasley Broadcast Group purchased the station from Multicom for $550,000 and changed the call letters to WDMT (Dyno-mite).In 1976, the station switched to the then popular disco format and took the moniker "Disco 108". This is where the urban influence started, and in 1978, the station switched to an "Urban Contemporary" format, (WDMT-FM 108) one of the first Urban formatted stations in the USA . It is during this era that the popular "Club Style" show was initiated, where street jocks from Cleveland got the chance to mix live on the air.

In 1987 the call letters were changed to WPHR (Power 108) and in 1988, the station was sold to Ardman Broadcasting in Washington DC for $2.8 million. Then, in 1992, the format was changed to alternative rock as "The END" and call letters changed to WENZ (with 107.9 FM being the last frequency on the FM dial). Both the inception and the demise of 'The End' were stunted: Signaling the format change, the station broadcast an endless loop mix of R.E.M.'s song "It's The End Of the World as We Know It " which lasted over 24 hours.

On January 15, 1999, WENZ was purchased by Radio One, a company that owns and operates radio stations, most of which target African American communities. The station was relaunched first as Kiss 107.9 on May 14, 1999, but due to a legal action from Clear Channel Communications claiming rights to the "Kiss" name, on September 1, 1999, it was changed to Z107.9, targeting the Cleveland, Ohiomarker area with a Mainstream Urban format featuring hip-hop and R&B.

WENZ is the home of the syndicated Russ Parr Show In the Mornings.

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