WTOC (AM)

WTOC (AM)

Infobox Radio station
name = WTOC
city = Newton, New Jersey
area = Sussex County, New Jersey Skylands
branding = "True Oldies Channel"
slogan = "New Jersey's Greatest Hits"
airdate = 1953
frequency = 1360 kHz
format = Oldies
power = 2,000 watts (day) 320 watts (night)
class = B
callsign_meaning = W True, Oldies Channel
owner = Clear Channel Communications
webcast = [http://www.1360wnnj.com/pages/listenlive.html Listen Live]
website = [http://www.1360wnnj.com/ 1360wnnj.com]
affiliations = The True Oldies Channel (ABC Radio)|

WTOC (1360 AM) is a radio station licensed to Newton, New Jersey. They offer an oldies music format with songs from the 1960s and some 1970s along with a small amount oldies from 1955 to 1964. They are a full-time affiliate of ABC Radio's and Citadel Broadcasting's True Oldies Channel. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications. From the station's 1953 sign on until July 1, 2008, the radio station was known as WNNJ. [ [http://www.radio-info.com/news/index.php?date=2008-06-26 Radio-Info.com News for June 26, 2008] ]

The station has no local air personalities. The True Oldies Channel actually uses Scott Shannon for voiceovers the entire time through voicetracking. WTOC will continue to have ABC News and local news. Core artists include Beatles, Supremes, Four Seasons, Elvis Presley, Three Dog Night, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Temptations, Monkees, Stevie Wonder, Righteous Brothers, Buddy Holly, Beach Boys, Carole King, Herman's Hermits, Young Rascals, Chuck Berry, among others.

History

The station was known as WNNJ when it signed on as a daytimer in 1953 and had a full service middle of the road music and news format. In 1961, WNNJ FM signed on as well and broke away as WIXL in the mid 1960s. By 1971, 1360 WNNJ would evolve into an adult contemporary music format with a slight lean on Top 40 music. The station was also news intensive. WNNJ was also allowed to sign on at 6:00 a.m. even if it stayed dark after because they had a pre sunrise authorization. In the Fall of 1978, WNNJ modified their music to more of a Top 40 format adding more rock music.

In 1979, Group M Communications headed by Marvin Strauzer & Mike Levine purchased WNNJ and WIXL. WNNJ stayed with top 40 until October 1981, when they evolved into an Adult Standards format, mixing in some Adult Contemporary hits. In the Fall of 1982 though the station dropped the baby boomer pop and became a Big Band and Standards station only playing music from the 30's to the 50's. By the Spring of 1983 the station evolved back to a Middle Of The Road format blending standards and soft AC cuts. This format failed, and in February 1984, WNNJ became a soft adult Contemporary station. At that point WNNJ got a post sunset authorization to stay on the air until 6 p.m. even in the months that dusk occurred before 6. That summer they modified into more of a contemporary hit radio station mixing in a few oldies. In the Winter of 1985, under new program director William Cox, and after a few false starts, WNNJ settled on an Adult Contemporary/Oldies hybrid format under the name "Solid Gold 1360 WNNJ". The format did well through the late 1980s. In 1989 WNNJ got 24 hour a day authorization to broadcast. WNNJ now could stay on the air during the overnight but still signed off at 10:00 p.m.

By 1990, though the current product was dropped and the station had evolved into a broad based 1955-1989 oldies format still known as Solid Gold 1360 WNNJ. Unfortunately, the owners focused more on 103.7 WNNJ FM, and WNNJ 1360 began to suffer in terms of ratings and sales. In January 1994, some of the full time airstaff was laid off while other full timers and part timers were folded into 103.7 WNNJ FM. WNNJ 1360 became a satellite oldies station playing the oldies from 1955 to 1975. The station was still called Solid Gold 1360 WNNJ but was automated the whole time. The station also began broadcasting 24 hours a day.

Late in 1996, Nassau Broadcasting would buy WNNJ along with WNNJ FM. Early in 1997, they took over management of the stations. WNNJ FM was switched from Adult top 40 to Classic Hits while WNNJ 1360 would drop the Satellite Oldies in favor of ABC's Stardust satellite format featuring an eclectic blend of standards, soft rock oldies, soft AC cuts, and some big bands. The station remained automated full time. The station became known as "Unforgettable 1360 WNNJ". Ratings by now were non existent.

Then in the Summer of 1998 WNNJ added a live morning show from 5:30 to 10 a.m. weekdays. This was hosted by Chris Debello. The show consisted of a few adult standard songs along with news and phone call ins by people of various types. They ranged from government officials to political candidates to musicians to artists to writers to other professional people. Some are very famous while others are lesser known.

Ratings for the station climbed to decent levels. In 2000 the satellite format was switched to Westwood One's standards format which was a blend of soft rock oldies, easy listening standards, and soft adult contemporary hits. By now the station was known as simply "1360 WNNJ". Sadly demographics for this format made WNNJ a tough sell and advertising was almost non existent by October of 2002.

Then at 3 p.m. on November 27 WNNJ dropped the satellite soft hits format. Chris Debello continued hosting public affairs shows on all the stations with similar types of phone call ins. The station then took an 80's and 90's based Country format with a few new songs. The station was entirely automated with in house voicetracking except for overnights where they ran "After Midnight". Now the station's calls were only identified with top of the hour id's. The station was known as "Bear Country 1360". Ratings for this station were non-existent. The logic of the format change was that Sussex County people missing WHCY's former country format lost 2 years earlier would listen. But 96.1 WCTO known as Cat Country has an excellent signal in most of WNNJ's listening area. In the northern end of WNNJ's listening area, WRWD in Poughkeepsie (also owned by Clear Channel) has a good class B signal. So Country fans had an FM station or two (in northern Sussex county sister station 107.3 WRWD-FM also came in easily) to listen to. So "Bear Country 1360" failed miserably.

In September 2004 Clear Channel lost the local marketing agreement with locally owned 96.7 WTSX (known as Fox 96.7) which played 60's and 70's oldies. At the end of the month WTSX went their separate way. Most of the airstaff though would stay with Clear Channel. They opted to move aspects of the Oldies format over to 1360. They moved airstaff from WTSX to WNNJ. They also dropped the country format and switched to oldies from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The station became known as "Oldies 1360". The WNNJ calls are still only mentioned on the top of each hour and on the half hour during drive time newsbreaks. In the Spring of 2005 Oldies 1360 added former WCBS FM personality Max Kinkel to mornings. Late in October of 2006, Max Kinkle suffered debilitating injuries in an automobile accident in which the other driver was clearly at fault. Ratings were still low, but it was hoped that when WCBS FM dropped the 60's/70's Oldies format for Adult Rock "Jack" that Sussex listeners would switch to Oldies 1360 but this has not seemed to happen though in the fall of 2006, the station showed up with some measurable audience. Ratings stayed the same in the spring of 2007. Unfortunately, with no additional progress made and the fact that Max Kinkle would not be coming back, it was decided that the oldies format as we knew it would be ended.

After the low ratings for the Spring Book in June, 2008, rumors of a format flip occurred. Many thought a sports talk format of some sort would be put on the station. A format change became imminent on July 31, when all the air personalities were taken off the station. None lost their jobs because these people also worked live shifts on other Clear Channel stations and their WNNJ shift was voicetracked and not live. By mid August, several station promotional ads began referring to the station as 1360 WNNJ rather than "Oldies 1360". The station still continued with the automated oldies format until Noon on August 27.

At that time the station began to run a "classic adult contemporary"/Middle Of The Road format from ABC Radio's "Timeless" satellite feed. They dropped the "Oldies 1360" name. The station continued to run local sports as well as NASCAR racing and local news. The station featured non rock and soft rock hits from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980's. Artists included Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, Buddy Holly, Kenny Rogers, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, softer Beatles, Elvis Presley, Fifth Dimension,Barbra Streisand, Association, Platters, Neil Diamond, Nat "King" Cole, Simon & Garfunkle, Ray Charles, Carole King, Connie Francis, Dean Martin, Barry Manilow, and many more. The station even played moderate amounts of Motown and British Invasion music. It sounded like adult contemporary stations used to sound like in the late 1970s. Although the imaging of the station was abruptly changed, the music of the "timeless" format overlapped the prevous (and the next) oldies format by about two thirds.

On June 26, 2008, it was announced that WNNJ was dropping their call letters on July 1, 2008 and would be known as "WTOC" at that time. The station itself would be returning to an oldies format using True Oldies Channel. Classic Rocker WNNJ-FM will then be known as WNNJ. On the evening of June 30, 2008, the change was carried out. WTOC shares call letters with a CBS Television Affiliate in Savannah, Georgia. That station is owned by Raycom, known as WTOC-TV, and is in no way affiliated with 1360 WTOC.

References

External links

* [http://www.1360wnnj.com/ WNNJ official website]
*AMQ|WNNJ
*AML|WNNJ
*AMARB|WNNJ



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