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Radio 103.9 New York Debuts

Radio 103.9 WFAS-FM Bronxville New York Urban AC Tom Joyner DL Hughley Jolana Westchester CumulusUpdate 7/4: Urban AC “Radio 103.9” WNBM Bronxville made its debut at 1:03pm this afternoon.

Launching with an hour-long preview of the station’s playlist, WNBM will then air 64 straight hours of mixes for the July 4 weekend. Regular programming led by The Tom Joyner Morning Show will kick off on Monday, July 7.

Listen to the launch of Radio 103.9 at FormatChange.com.

The former AC format of WFAS-FM signed off just after 12am following a block of goodbye songs ending with Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)”. Its format will continue to be heard online and via 95.5 WPLJ-HD2 New York. The new Bronx transmitter for WNBM signed on around 9:00am and stunted with a ticking clock leading into the launch of the new format.

Update 6/26: Following their launch party in Harlem last night, Cumulus has officially revealed announced the launch of “Radio 103.9“. Despite what’s stated in the Press Release, the station will be launching on Friday, July 4 at 1:03pm.

Northeast Radio Watch’s Scott Fybush reports that Cumulus has applied for new WNBM call letters for the station.

Cumulus announces the launch of “Radio 103.9” featuring New York’s best mix of R&B with an urban adult format that extends the station’s signal to reach listeners across the New York metropolitan area, including 80% of the region’s African American population. The station launches on July 7.

“Radio 103.9” will include a heavy focus on community engagement, with the station’s on-air talent participating in local events and collaborating with leading community service organizations.

Cumulus celebrated the launch of “Radio 103.9” last night at world famous Sylvia’s in the heart of Harlem. Guests included Tom Joyner and D.L. Hughley, as well as community leaders including Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson, New York Urban League President and CEO Arva Rice and Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook. The event featured performances by Calvin Richardson and Eric Benet.

“Radio 103.9” joins the Cumulus New York cluster of popular stations including 77 WABC, 95.5 WPLJ and NASH FM 94.7, New York’s only Country music station. The station’s star-studded lineup includes the nationally syndicated morning drivetime program “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and the afternoon drivetime program “The D.L. Hughley Show” that are both part of the Cumulus partnership with Reach Media.

The station’s local shows include “LaLoca” with host Sharon “La Loca” Montero, who joins “Radio 103.9” from Power 95.3 in Orlando, and “Hanging Downtown” with Marc Clarke, a host widely known for his three years hosting the popular “Hang Suite” on WHUR 96.3 in Washington, DC. The “Radio 103.9” lineup will be:

6am – 10am: “The Tom Joyner Morning Show”
10am – 3pm: “LaLoca”
3pm – 7pm: “The D.L. Hughley Show”
7pm – 12am: “Hanging Downtown”

“Women ages 35-44 who enjoy urban format music and stars from the last few decades through today are underserved in the Big Apple and we’re changing that now with an urban radio renaissance,” said Kim Bryant, Vice President/Market Manager for Cumulus New York.

“New York is the greatest city in the world and the radio programmers and personalities that came before me are a part my philosophy on radio today,” said Ken Johnson, Program Director of “Radio 103.9.” “The only thing greater than my love for New York radio is my respect for its listeners.”

Update 6/25: As Cumulus prepares to promote the launch of their new New York station this evening, the company has launched the web properties for the station. “Radio 103.9” will be positioned as “New York’s Best Mix of R&B” with Tom Joyner in mornings and DL Hughley in afternoons as expected. The station’s Facebook page confirms WHUR Washington’s Marc Clarke will be heard on the station as will current “Power 95.3” WPYO Orlando middayer Sharon ‘La Loca‘ Montero.

The station’s launch will take place on Friday, July 4 at 1:03pm.

Update 6/23: At this point it is a foregone conclusion that Cumulus will be flipping 103.9 WFAS-FM Bronxville to Urban when it relocates its tower site to the Bronx around July 1.

All indications are the station will be branded as “Radio 103.9” as Radio1039NY.com was registered by a Cumulus employee on June 6 and since made private. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for the brand have been reserved. Additionally, Cumulus has sent out invitations for a launch party for “Radio 103.9” on Wednesday, June 25 at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem to promote the new format to potential ad buyers.

Radio 103.9 Cumulus New York WFAS-FM Bronxville Launch Party Tom Joyner DL Hughley

AllAccess reports that the station’s staff will include current Cumulus Birmingham OM Ken Johnson as Program Director, Reach Media’s syndicated Tom Joyner and DL Hughley in mornings and afternoons respectively, and WHUR Washington DC’s and former WERQ-FM Baltimore morning host Marc Clarke in nights.

The new format will launch somewhere around July 1. We’ve heard the launch could be as early as June 27 and as late as July 4. We expect a launch date could be announced at the launch party on Wednesday. The staff of the existing AC format will be exiting as of June 30, although a few could be transferred to other Cumulus stations in other markets or remaining to operate sister Talk 1230 WFAS White Plains.

Original Report 6/18: Cumulus AC 103.9 WFAS-FM Bronxville, NY will complete its relocation to a new tower site in the Bronx by the end of the month.

The move will coincide with the station ceasing to target the suburban Westchester County and joining the rest of the Cumulus New York operations at 2 Penn Plaza in Manhattan with Country “Nash-FM 94.7” WNSH, Hot AC 95.5 WPLJ, and Conservative Talk 770 WABC. WFAS-FM will operate with 980 watts at 162.1 meters from its new location in the Bronx where it will put a city-grade signal over all of Manhattan and The Bronx along with parts of Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, and Westchester (Coverage Map).

Rumors are running rampant across the market that the move of WFAS will be accompanied by a flip to some form of Urban. Such a move would place the station in competition with Clear Channel’s Urban “Power 105.1” WWPR and Emmis’ duo of Urban “Hot 97” WQHT and Urban AC 107.5 WBLS.

At one point last year, it seemed likely Cumulus would restore the Alternative format and WRXP call letters to the New York market with the 103.9 signal. That no longer appears to be the case.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

13 Comments

  1. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    I thought that WFAS-103.9 might have gone alternative.

    Going Urban might be a mistake, since there are two Urban Contemporary and one Urban AC station in the market already, all of which are successful.

    A Wild Card: Could it mend up simulcasting WABC-770 instead??

    Such a move could give WABC’s talk a clear FM signal in much of New York City, especially downtown buildings where AM signals could be a problem, even 50,000 watt ones.

    • Profile photo of Nathan Obral


      First of all, outside of the domain squatting of 1039wrxp.com and the parking of the callsign on a Minneapolis gunshot, nothing ever suggested that 103.9 was going alternative. Nothing. Not a thing.

      The inner city scope of the 103.9 signal would be more condusive to an urban format. It will bill waaaaaaaaaay more than alternative would ever bill.

      And as for simulcasting WABC on 103.9, Joseph, that may be the dumbest idea I’ve heard in a long time.

  2. Profile photo of seana


    This station is probably gonna flip to Urban AC or Adult leaning Urban Mainstream. WBLS is a terrible radio station and only does well because over 30 African Americans have no place else to turn. Hope this station doesn’t 1970s New York to death the way WBLS does. No ghetto air personalities like a few of the WBLS djs. Some local music would be nice (just like WHUR in Washington, DC).

  3. Profile photo of RBRadioWaves


    Yeah, if they do flip to Urban, I’ll be scratching my head. The only reason why NY has two Urban stations (Hot 97 and Power 105.1) at this point is because Power was put there to secure Lite’s #1 spot in 2002. I’ve heard that Urban is a weaker biller, although I might be wrong on that.

    The only reason I can think of for flipping to Urban is if Cumulus is doing a Nash-FM type thing with Mainstream Urban.

    Wildcard prediction: they flip to a Rhythmic Oldies format. Stranger things have happened in the market.

  4. Profile photo of only1moore


    For one, WQHT is billed as a Rhythmic (as BDS and Mediabase has the station listed on their Rhythmic reporting panels). WWPR is pure Urban.

    Second, with Angie Martinez leaving WQHT, one can suspect that she will be headed for WFAS as reports suggest. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cumulus attempts to lure talent from WWPR to their newly planned station as well.

  5. Profile photo of Bizzle


    Whose to say it won’t be alternative rock with the name radio 103.9?

  6. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    Maybe it will be the beginning of a national Urban Contemporary network of Cumulus stations under the branding “Radio (with the local frequency following the word “Radio”)”.

  7. Profile photo of joseph_gallant


    Might the station launch on the 4th but the DJ’s don’t start ’til the 7th??

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