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WPGC-FM is one of the most popular radio stations among Washington, D.C.'smarker urban format radio stations, and has been ranked as one of its top rated radio stations for over 20 years, according to the Arbitron ratings. It has a city of license of Morningsidemarker (its studios are located in Lanhammarker) at the 95.5 MHz frequency on the FM dial. Its tower operates at an effective radiated power of 50 kilowatts (kW) and is located in Capitol Heights, Maryland. It also formerly shared the WPGC calls with sister station WPGC-AMmarker, which once played Urban gospel music (the AM station is now talk as WHFSmarker). In 2005, WPGC began broadcasting in IBOC digital radio, using the HD Radio system from iBiquity.

WPGC-FM is the station home to several personalities including:
  • Donnie Simpson — a DC morning show veteran with over 20 years of on-air experience. Simpson also hosted BET's Video Soul.
  • Big Tigger — another BET personality who started as an intern for Albie Dee. He worked his way up to become DC's #1 night-time DJ, and now hosts a syndicated weekend radio show through CBS Radio.


History

The station that later became WPGC-FM signed on as on January 18, 1948, on the 96.7 frequency with the WBUZ call letters. WBUZ was owned by Arthur Baldwin Curtis, president of Chesapeake Broadcasting Company, Incorporated, and was located in Bradbury Heights. WBUZ-FM was broadcasting at 420 watts effective radiated power. The call letters was a play on the word "bus," as WBUZ broadcast background music for a Prince George's County, Marylandmarker based bus company.

WBUZ-FM raised power to 6.3 kilowatts and its city of license was changed to Oakland, Maryland in May 1953. Then on June 8, 1953, the FCC granted a permit to the station to raise power from 6.3 to 18 kilowatts. WBUZ-FM changed frequency from 96.7 to 95.5 megahertz and power was reduced to 16.5 kilowatts from a new transmitter & tower site on Walker Mill Road in Oakland (near District Heightsmarker). The calls were changed to WRNC on March 30, 1956. By the end of the year, WRNC was simulcasting the WPGC-AM programming. The ERP was reduced to 15.7 kilowatts while the power increase authorized for the WPGC-AM in 1955 to 10,000 watts daytime only.

WPGC-AM, Inc., purchased WRNC in 1956. The calls were changed to WPGC-FM in March 1958. WPGC-FM temporarily goes silent until February 1959 as new studios were being constructed for the top 40 format. The call letters stands for We're Prince Georges County, the county in which the station is actually located, but at one time in the 1970s and early 1980s, it was referred to in on-air promos as "Where People Get Cash".

WPGC-FM maintained some form of the top 40 format (skewed from rock 'n' roll-based to Adult Contemporary) until 1984, when it flipped to easy listening/adult contemporary WCLYmarker, "Classy 95."
WPGC logo from 1996 to 2009


The format failed and First Media decided to sell all of its properties for $177 million to a minority interest in early 1987. New owners, Cook Inlet Media, a group of Alaska Natives, promptly rebuilt the station as a Rhythmic and reclaimed the legendary call letters, WPGC on May 30, 1987. The station flipped to a successful music format with the brandname "WPGC, 95 Jams". Also in the early 2000s, the branding reverted to simply "WPGC 95.5", dropping the "Jams" moniker from the brand although it still visibly remained on the station's logo and is used in the slogan. In August 2009, the station rebranded again to "95-5 PGC " and changing their slogan from "DC's #1, Blazin' At Least 18 Jamz in A Row" to "DC's Hip Hop and R&B". The "Jams" moniker was also removed from the station's logo and replaced with "wpgc.com" & "955 FM".

Controversy

WPGC-FM also has been a debated topic amongst radio experts about its format classification as a Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio station even though it really operates musically as a Mainstream Urban. In 1987, when the current format on WPGC was introduced it was actually a mix of R&B, hip-hop, dance and pop titles. Many critics say the ability to attract more mainstream advertisers as Rhythmic, rather than Urban, is the real reason.

In June 2009, speculations began circulating that WPGC might be evolving towards a Top 40/CHR direction or back to their former urban-leaning Rhythmic format similar to sister stations WZMX and WMBX. The move might have been fueled by the recent drop in the ratings and in part due to the introduction of PPMs in the market, where it has hurt them audience-wise.However, they have remained a Mainstream Urban that focuses primarily on the current urban hits with some recurrents and throwbacks mixed into their playlist.

Sale

Infinity Broadcasting acquired the station and sister station WPGC-AM from Cook Inlet in June 1994 for $60 million. The stations moved to new studios and offices at 4200 Parliament Place, Suite 300 in Lanham, Marylandmarker in the summer of 2000. In January 2006 owner Viacom split into two companies, Viacom and CBS, and Infinity Broadcasting was dropped in favor of CBS Radio.

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