Classic Hits 94.7 The Drive Debuts In Washington

94.7 The Drive Fresh-FM Tommy Show WIAD WashingtonEntercom indeed flipped Hot AC “94.7 Fresh-FM” WIAD Bethesda MD to Classic Hits “94.7 The Drive” positioned as “DC’s Greatest Hits” at 5:00 today.

The new format will be 1980s centric while stretching from the 70s to 90s with a mix of rock, pop and R&B. Commercials will be limited to eight minutes per hours with an on-air staff to debut in the coming months. Steve Davis will remain as Program Director with Taylor Shay as Assistant Program Director.

In the webinar it was noted that Classic Hits in the market was considered the biggest format hole in the country by Edison Research when they conducted the research project behind the launch. A marketing campaign for the station will debut later this month.

After signing off the Fresh brand with a farewell from afternoon host Darik Kristofer and Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”, the new format debut with a montage set to 1980s teen movie quotes and music and into Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. Those were followed by Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me”, YES “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, Michael Jackson “Wanna Be Starting Something” and Duran Duran “Hungry Like The Wolf”.

Listen to the launch of “94.7 The Drive” on FormatChange.com.

Entercom, the #1 creator of live, original, local audio content in the United States, today announced the launch of 94.7 The Drive (WIAD-FM) in Washington D.C. The station, formerly 94.7 Fresh FM, will provide the Capital Region with expertly curated Classic Hits, including rock, pop and R&B hits from the 1980s, as well as mass appeal titles from the 1970s and 1990s. The change is effective immediately.

“Washington D.C. is the only major market without a Classic Hits radio station,” said Phil Zachary, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Washington D.C. “With Entercom’s track record in the format from New York to L.A., we have the wherewithal to capitalize on this unique opportunity. It’s no stretch to launch with a high level of confidence when Pat Paxton, Jim Ryan and Jeff Sottolano are part of the brain trust.”

The station launched with limited commercial inventory and will announce programming updates in the coming months.

Update 11:00am: Entercom will host a webinar this afternoon to introduce clients to the new “94.7 The Drive“.

Emphasizing that most Washingtonians spend much time driving to and from work, the invitation states that it will “take you behind the research, analysis and brand development that led us to this new audio product.” With in-car one of the places where radio listening is strongest, it makes sense for Entercom to build a new brand around that in a market like Washington.

Each week, 92% of Washingtonians spend time listening to FM or AM Radio, and it’s fair to say most have at least one favorite station. In a market where so much time is spent driving, radio holds a unique and unchallenged position of dominance in the car. That’s why it’s such a privilege for us to announce a new listening—and advertising—choice uniquely created for the pace, preferences and people of the DMV.

We can exclusively add that anonymous registrations were made on Tuesday for 947TheDrive.com, 947TheDriveDC.com, and TheDrive947.com.

Original Report 10/2: Entercom is prepping a new format for its Washington DC cluster as the majority of the on-air staff has been let go at Hot AC “94.7 Fresh-FM” WIAD Bethesda MD.

Exiting the station are “The Tommy Show” morning hosts Tommy McFly, Jen Richer, and Kelly Colis, APD/MD//midday host Dana McKay, and night host Britt Waters. Afternoon host Darik Kristofer remains in place.

WIAD had fallen well behind Cumulus Media’s resurgent “Mix 107.3” WRQX registering a 2.7 share in the August 2018 Nielsen Audio ratings while WRQX held a 4.5 share. Rumors are quickly circling about WIAD filling the long vacant Classic Hits void in the Washington market.

16 Comments
  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says


    Phil Zachary talked with the Post’s “Reliable Source” column: The “changes” will be “unveil[ed]” tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, as part of a “webinar for advertisers”. If that’s indeed the case, the actual launch might not be right away.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2018/10/02/radio-host-tommy-mcfly-is-out-at-94-7-fresh-fm-as-station-owner-plans-changes

  2. maytableinc says


    In other words, they are basically putting their current HD2 programming onto their FM/HD1 station. I wonder if the Hot AC would go HD2 like sister WCFS in Chicago…

  3. Les Talk says


    Entercom could do a surprise and try a CHR format on 94.7. They still need something female friendly to compliment WJFK, etc. Hot 99.5 is a terrible CHR station. The morning show could be aired from Duluth, and nobody would know the difference. The voicetracking in all other dayparts make the station sound canned, and tired. Let’s face it – whenever someone speaks of great CHR’s in radio – I doubt many would mention Hot 99.5. Of course, one would expect the format tweak only on Fresh and the current airstaff to remain.

    Whatever they decide, I hope it is NOT news or talk. They already have a wasted signal on 99.1 FM. But as long as the checks keep getting cashed from Bloomberg, that format will remain. Soft a/c? Perhaps. But would it be enough to take down WASH before their annual Christmas music marathon? Probably not. Unless, they plan to strike doing just that – allowing an alternative to WASH’s usual yuletide yawn.

    1. pashtoon says


      I would hope they will give 99.5 some competition. HOT sounds canned and the jocks sound like they’re phoning it in. I would love to see a fun-sounding kickass CHR format like the old 105WAVA had up until 1992. please not another stale boring classic rock format for people 55+.

      1. Steve Varholy says


        To be honest, WIHT has always seemed a little astro-turfed and artificial. Perhaps that is just a characteristic of the CHR format these days or in iHeart/Clear Channel’s execution of the format.

        I can’t see anyone reminiscing about Hot 99.5 the way people still recall WAVA.

        1. Les Talk says


          … and perhaps that is why I am disappointed with the sound of 94.7 The Drive so far. Even without jocks, they simply could have created an upbeat sound similar to the old WAVA. Fun liners, upbeat jingles, etc. For right now, there simply is no reason for anyone that enjoys the music to switch from their own playlist. Yawn.

          1. radiogirldc says


            I’d agree great personalities are a good idea (and DC has plenty to choose from, including potentially from the days when 94.7 was classic rock The Arrow).

            But as it stands now I’d give it higher marks. It mimics in many ways the “80s on 8” on Sirius XM… so this is a good alternative for folks who enjoy that format but don’t subscribe to satellite.

            Baltimore has had “Jack FM” for a number of years running on a somewhat similar format and it’s still around.

            In fact, Jack exists largely without DJs.

            Its only personalities are a snarky announcer who basically personifies “Jack FM” itself and occasional spots by Captain John and his “guide to pleasant living.’

    2. Aaron says


      CHR is on the downswing right now- Hot isn’t one of the best sounding CHRs in the country, but they don’t sound any more canned than when they were a top 5 station in the market. CHR on 94.7 would be splitting a small pie, and give Entercom’s own WPGC, which isn’t doing that great either, more competition.

      With a number of their stations struggling (i.e. El Zol and the aformentioned WPGC), they’ll do the safe thing with 94.7 and go with some variation of Classic Hits or Adult Hits. Take some share from WASH and WBIG.

  4. nickp91 says


    This is a colossal mistake! The Tommy Show is a DC institution

    1. Eric Jon Magnuson says


      I wouldn’t call it an “institution”, but you’re right that the show does have quite a fanbase. (See, e.g., yesterday’s Washingtonian story about the station’s changes, at https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/10/02/the-tommy-show-is-over-at-94-7-fresh-fm.) There’ve indeed been a lot of folks disappointed by its departure, but not a lot of folks mourning the Fresh format.

      I agree with the conventional wisdom that Classic Hits is the probable new format. That said, I wonder if the morning show (and maybe some of the other dismissed airstaff) should’ve been kept.

  5. Eric Jon Magnuson says


    Ms. Waters now has a goodbye post on her personal blog…

    https://brittwaters.com/2018/10/03/goodnight-and-goodbye-94-7-fresh-fm

  6. Eric Jon Magnuson says


    The former Fresh account on Twitter has changed its handle/username to “947theDrive”; “947FreshFM” is now being used for a newly created placeholder.

  7. Aaron says


    Heartfelt goodbye from one of the Fresh-FM jocks into “Bittersweet Symphony” to end the old format. Top of the hour ID into a bunch of old movie and music clips with a voiceover about the evolution of music and the “greatest hits” being timeless. Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” is the first song on The Drive.

  8. Eric Jon Magnuson says


    There’s now a listener-targeted posting (at https://947thedrive.radio.com/blogs/enjoy-ride-947-drive) that gives a bit more flavor of the new format–and specifically namechecks WCBS-FM, KRTH, WOGL, and WOMC…

    “94.7 The Drive is perfect for the diverse tastes of the DMV, with an up-tempo energy ideally suited for the area’s notoriously long commutes.”

  9. Les Talk says


    Sounds really generic and very “safe” so far. Very similar to classic hits in Anytown USA. Unless they pull a hat trick and get a well known local personality to center the station around…. I don’t see this lasting. It will still be in the ratings cellar. For an area that has not had a classic hits/oldies station for awhile, this, as is, simply will not do. 95.9 in Fredericksburg….Baltimore”s Q1370 on the network/locally announced both sound much better. I’ll wait til the jocks come on. But for right now I give it a solid “D-“. Expected much more.

  10. Mark says


    And please–a different jingle package than yet another pre-fab Reelworld package.

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More