Rock 101-9 WRXP New York: Farewell, Part 1 – The Rock Show with Steve Craig | July 14, 2011

After a year spent attempting an FM News format, Rock is back in New York City on 101.9. When it ended back in 2011, we posted this to commemorate the end of what was then known as WRXP – “The Rock Experience”

The history of 101.9 dates back a long time, to 1948 to be exact. The first call letters were WGHF. It wouldn’t be until 1963 that 101.9 FM would adopt the WPIX-FM call letters, and from then on, it was a rotating wheel of different formats. It seemed that WPIX could never figure out just what it wanted to become, although it could be argued that the station was loosely defined as a Top 40 station for much of the years between 1965 through 1985, though at times it was distinctly Disco, AOR, Soft Rock, Soft Oldies and even for a time, a ground breaking Punk Rock station.

On August 22, 1987, 101.9 flipped to Smooth Jazz, as WQCD, or “CD101.9”. Some thought it to be a wonderful format, others weren’t so enthusiastic, although it billed well and performed well to adult demos. This lasted for several years. In November of 2004, the station began airing ‘Chill’ music. This lasted till August of ’05, when management, noticing a continuing ratings drop, pulled the plug on Chill and returned to the ‘traditional’ Smooth Jazz format.

February 5, 2008 saw the end of Smooth Jazz and the beginning of a new Rock station – 101-9 RXP, “The Rock Experience”. By all accounts, the format looked to do well and given that New York was a city that essentially no longer represented the Rock audience, it out performed expectations. Inevitably, in a city where minorities are the majority, Hip Hop and Hispanic are quite popular and Rock is essentially out, the time came when upon the sale of 101.9 from Emmis to a new company called Merlin Media headed by the onetime head of Clear Channel Communications, it was time to put the Rock format out of its misery.

Just a few days before this aircheck was recorded, the staff was informed of the sale and of the format change that would claim all but ONE of the airstaff’s jobs. That format change, as of this writing, is a closely guarded secret, but it’s widely believed that 101.9 will become a mostly News station with weekend music, programmed to be female friendly. Its believed that this will shake up New York’s already large News and Talk radio community in a big way.

This is the first of an eight part series which documents the final day’s broadcast of Rock 101.9 WRXP, then the beginning of Merlin Media’s control of the station and it’s format stunting. We hope you enjoy and stay with us for all eight parts!