Infobox Radio station
name = WHFS
Baltimore, MD- Washington, DC
branding = "105.7 HFS"
slogan = "Baltimore's FM Talk"
airdate = November 11, 1961
share = 2.1
share as of = Sp'08
share source = R&Rcite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Baltimore Market Ratings | date= | url=http://www.radioandrecords.com/RRRatings/DefaultSearch.aspx?MarketName=Baltimore&MarketRank=%20 | work =
Radio & Records| pages = | date = | language = ]
frequency = 105.7 (MHz) HD Radio
format = Talk
erp = 50,000
haat = 150 meters
class = B
facility_id = 1916
sister_stations = WJFK,
WLIF, WQSR, WWMX
"under CBS Corp. cluster with TV station
webcast = [http://cbsplayer.streamtheworld.com/index.php?CALLSIGN=WHFSFM Listen Live]
website = http://www.whfs.com/
callsign_meaning = W High Fidelity Stereo|
WHFS (105.7 FM) is a
radio stationlicensed to Catonsville, Maryland, and broadcasting from studios in suburban Towson, Maryland. They originally stood for "Washington's High Fidelity Stereo." That station and its predecessor are owned by CBS Radio(formerly Infinity Broadcasting). WHFS has broadcast in the Washington, DC/ Baltimore, Marylandmarkets on various frequencies for over 40 years, usually referred to as HFS.
From the late 1960s until
January 12, 2005, WHFS broadcast a progressive rock format that gradually became an alternative rockformat. For many local residents, it was the first place to hear such bands as R.E.M., Pixies, and The Smiths. WHFS still hosts the HFStival, which began in 1990.
WHFS began broadcasting on
November 11, 1961, on a frequency of 102.3 FM in Bethesda, Maryland. It was the first station in the Washington, DC, area to broadcast in FM-stereo. It was originally located in a 20 × 20-foot space in the basement of the Bethesda Medical Building on Wisconsin Avenue with antenna on the roof. Its original format was a combination of MOR and classical, with jazz after 10 p.m. The original owners were considerably underfunded, and the station was sold in 1963. The station was initially moved to Norfolk Ave. in Bethesda and later to Woodmont Ave. All these locations are within a three-block area. When Einstein became general manager and part-owner in 1967, the station had a broadcast signal of 2,300 watts. "When Mr. Einstein became general manager of WHFS, the station had been on the air for six years and was lucky to draw 800 listeners a night with its format of pop, light classical and jazz. 'Then a guy named Frank Richardscame in one day wearing cutoffs and a leather vest, played me a tape of rock music from Los Angeles,' Mr. Einstein told The Washington Postin 1983. 'We were losing so much money that another couple of dollars couldn't hurt, right? So we put him on. My God, the calls! I never knew we had an audience!'". [cite journal | last =Schudel | first =Matt | title =Jake Einstein, 90; Took Area Radio From Pop to Rock | journal =Washington Post | publisher = | date =Sunday 16 September 2007| url = | accessdaymonth = | accessyear = | pages =C–7 ] "In 1969, three would-be DJs - Joshua Brooks, Sara Vass and Mark Gorbulew - approached Mr. Einstein with an idea for a free-form rock-and-roll program. They went on under the name Spiritus Cheese (derived from a cheese company in New York), and a new era was born. 'It was Jake's vision that FM radio and rock-and-roll were about to collide,' said Mr. Einstein's daughter Rose, who briefly worked at WHFS. 'He saw it as an all-night format that would sustain a station.' Within months, WHFS was drawing an average nightly audience of 32,700 listeners. Spiritus Cheese lasted just a year - someone complained about a four-letter word in a Firesign Theatreskit broadcast on the air - but by then the station had found its niche." [cite journal | last =Schudel | first =Matt | title =Jake Einstein, 90; Took Area Radio From Pop to Rock | journal =Washington Post | publisher = | date =Sunday 16 September 2007| url = | accessdaymonth = | accessyear = | pages =C–7 ]
By the early 1970s, the WHFS studios were broadcasting from the second floor of a luxury condo at 4853 Cordell Avenue, and were conveniently located directly across the street from the Psyche Delly, a venue for live performances by bands playing the club circuit, so many musicians, famous and not yet famous, traipsed across the street to do interviews and perform live at the station. Many cut WHFS-specific IDs. One classic example of a legal ID done by a bass-vocal centered rhythm & blues group went, "Of all the stations we like the best, it's W - Hhhhh---F-Sssss; we'll be rockin', we'll be rollin', on W - Hhhhh---F-Sssss - - - 102.3 - Bethesda." The enthusiastic and knowledgeable interviews by such deejays as Jonathan "Weasel" Gilbert, who held down the drive-time afternoon weekday slot - about the time that bands setting up across the street were ready for a dinner break before a performance - provided fascinating details about the artists' experience, as well as providing plugs for the upcoming appearance. Weasel's obvious friendship with many of his guests elicited striking candor from them.During the '70s, WHFS would broadcast music that other FM Rock stations normally would not, including cuts as long as 20 minutes. Artists like
Frank Zappa, Yes, Genesis, Roxy Musicand other non-commercial artists, at that time, would be the normal format. The station made a policy of never playing a "hit" and broke with precedent by leaving the playlists strictly up to the DJs. Once in a while the DJ's would, as a joke, throw in a Top 40 hit just to throw the listeners off. "It furthered the careers of then-undiscovered stars Bruce Springsteen. George Thorogoodand Emmylou Harris, who sometimes showed up at the studio. WHFS played the records of many local groups as well, including The Diversions, Tru Fax & the Insaniacs, the Bad Brainsand Root Boy Slimand the Sex Change Band." [cite journal | last =Schudel | first =Matt | title =Jake Einstein, 90; Took Area Radio From Pop to Rock | journal =Washington Post | publisher = | date =Sunday 16 September 2007| url = | accessdaymonth = | accessyear = | pages =C–7 ]
In addition to the station's progressive rock and alternative music, jazz, and even bluegrass was prominently featured on their format. One of the show's features was "Thor's Bluegrass" hosted by DJ Thor. Local bluegrass band
The Seldom Scenewould sometimes perform live from the station.
Fans of the station came to expect certain "regular" features. Listeners were treated to Weasel playing "
I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramonesevery Friday towards the end of the work day. Weasel also filled his playlist with requests like local DC near hit "Washingtron" by Tru Fax & the Insaniacs. Weasel answered the telephone himself when requests were called in. WHFS made Root Boy Slim's "Christmas at K-Mart" a holiday standard. Weasel was the first to play The Diversionsfirst single "Get Up" backed with "Lil Lovin' Baby" which was aired only moments after the record was hand delivered to the station upon its release in 1982.
Among the station's more endearing traditions was the broadcasting of the entire "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" suite that makes up the bulk of the first side of
Frank Zappa's " Apostrophe" LP, when the Washington area would experience its first snowfall of the season. And every Thanksgiving, 'HFS listeners could count on Arlo Guthrie's " Alice's Restaurant Massacree" being played, usually by Bob "Here", all 18:20 of it.
According to the Washington Post, the 1978 DJ lineup at WHFS was: Damian Einstein, John "Weasel" Gilbert, David Einstein, Bob "Here" Showacre, Diane Divola, and Tom Grooms. Adele Abrams held weekend slots from 1974-1988 (and held a full-time shift for nearly two years following Damien's accident). She and Weasel also hosted a live show featuring local band performances called "Take One," which broadcast from the Sounds Reasonable studio in Washington, DC, during the late 1970s. Suzanne Gordon was the progressive format's first news director, hosting five "News of the Universe" segments, and various public affairs features, daily from 1975-1977.
1980s and 90s
At its peak on 102.3, the station was owned by Jacob Einstein. It was then sold to the owners of WTOP (AM) for $2 million which Einstein used to purchase WNAV AM and WLOM FM
Annapolis, Marylandin 1983. WNAV-AM was sold to Pat Sajak, the game-show host. Einstein took the 'HFS call letters with him and WLOM-FM 99.1 became WHFS (FM) with much higher power than the 102.3 facility. Eventually Einstein's group sold WHFS. When the station switched formats, it was located at the Infinity Broadcasting Center in Lanham, Maryland. The 102.3 frequency is now occupied by an Urban AC station in Washington, using the call letters WMMJand nicknamed "Majic 102.3".
A daily topical humor "news" show, "The Daily Feed", aired for much of the 1980s on WHFS. It featured the sarcastic "Max Nobny" exchanging wit with straightman and nominal narrator, the Baltimore-accented "Frank Benlin", discussing current issues and using classic passion plays such as
Star Trekparodies (during the Gulf shipping crisis of the mid-1990s when the U.S. reflagged Middle Eastern tankers) as a comedy vehicle. During Washington Mayor Marion Barry's drug case, a faux-Washington, D.C. tourism promo by the Feed referred to the mayor for life, adding that he "is featured on a totally hidden federal video program."
Sunday broadcasts featured paid foreign language/culture specialty shows in the morning. In the afternoon in the 1980s,
Tom Terrellwould host Sunday Reggae Splashdown.
Since 1990, WHFS has hosted an event called the HFStival, an annual (sometimes semi-annual) day-long (sometimes two-day-long) outdoor concert. The concert, often held at Washington's
RFK Stadium, features a variety local and national acts; for example, the 2004 lineup included The Cure, Jay-Z, Modest Mouse, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Cypress Hill. Robert Benjamin, Bob Waugh and Bill Glasser took the HFStival from a small yearly concert in Fairfax, Virginia, to a large festival in Washington DC that was headlined by major acts and was surrounded by culturally significant booths, games, food, and rides, as well as an outdoor second stage. Amongst others, Billy Zerowas instrumental in growing the HFStivalLocals Only Stage where bands like Good Charlotteand Jimmie's Chicken Shackgot their big break. The term Locals Only stuck and is still used today and the Locals Only Stage was copied by Modern Rock Stations across the Country.
In the mid-1990s, Liberty Broadcasting published a quarterly magazine titled "WHFS Press" that was mailed to listeners and available in local music outlets. ["WHFS Press", Liberty Broadcasting, Winter 1994]
2000 to Present
Though becoming famous as a cutting-edge station playing the latest underground music (and often beating the mainstream to the punch by months and even years), the station, under Infinity Broadcasting's
ownership, became the local modern alternative station in the mid 90s. In this period, WHFS featured a specialty show called "Now Hear This", hosted by Dave Marsh, that highlighted indie and local music. Though, in the few years before the infamous 2005 format switch the station did begin to combine more underground programming with its modern rock format, it never fully reverted to its prior all-indie status. In 1999, WHFS released a New Music New Video Compilation Volume 1 on VHS that was distributed free at Washington area Tower Recordsoutlets. It featured tracks by Cyclefly, Fuel, Fastball, Elliot Smith, Kid Rock, Eve 6, 3 Colours Red, Puya, and Joydrop.
No longer playing rather obscure progressive rock, nor the classic and hard rock of its Baltimore competitor
WIYY, HFS was now formatted more towards a younger set of fans who were more apt to listen to Green Dayand Fuelthan less mainstream artists such as Fugazior Lou Reed. The station played much of the alternative hits that were touted by the mainstream press and MTV, turning off many old-school HFS listeners, but in turn gaining many listeners in the 18-24 age demographic.
Abrupt format switch to tropical Latin music
, and the station was rebranded as "El Zol 99.1 FM". Although a format change had been rumored to some extent for years—due to slipping ratings (22nd) in its primary market of Washington (although its ratings in Baltimore remained high)--the switch was not publicized beforehand and took many long-time fans, and even most of the station's staff, by surprise. Most of the station's staff were not told of the change until less than an hour before it happened, and new management presided in the air studio as the former format was playing its last few songs. Though nearly always met with harsh criticism, such abrupt format changes are a common practice in the radio industry.
AOL, which had a partnership with Infinity Broadcasting and recognized that many people would miss the old WHFS format, quickly launched an internet-only streaming radio station with a playlist much like that of WHFS. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7886-2005Jan13.html WHFS: For Many, The Only Alternative] ] .
Live 105.7 and revival of WHFS
In September 2001, 105.7 FM in Baltimore became the home of WXYV, a hip-hop station called "X105.7," when
WQSR, an oldiesstation, moved to 102.7 FM(now JACK FM) to broadcast a better signal in the Baltimore area. Both stations were owned by Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio). Although X105.7 had taken a small share of listeners from rival station WERQ-FM, WXYV later changed to a more lucrative talk radioformat. During the morning hours, the station simulcasted the Howard Sternprogram. In the afternoons, the Don and Mike Showwas simulcast for the Baltimore area. The station adopted the name "Live 105.7".
Meanwhile, Infinity Broadcasting saw an unexpected public reaction to their decision to change the format of 99.1 FM in Washington. The story was covered by local TV stations for many days afterwards, and mentioned nationally by
The Washington Post, the Howard SternShow, and The Today Show. The corporate offices of Infinity Broadcasting in New York Citywere flooded with phone calls and e-mails from irate listeners. An online petition protesting the format change gathered tens of thousands of signatures in only a few days. Media attention was attracted by a public protest in downtown Washington, outside a skate shop where WHFS maintained a remote storefront studio in its last few months. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv-pB5J5ftU] WHFS' main competitor, DC101, paid tribute to the station, airing many memories of WHFS from its DJs and listeners.
Infinity Broadcasting responded by resurrecting the WHFS format on nights and weekends at 105.7, beginning at 7 p.m. on
January 21, 2005with former WHFS afternoon DJ Tim Virgin. The station rebranded itself as "The Legendary HFS, Live on 105.7", Infinity Broadcasting moved the WHFS call letters to the station days later. 105.7 HFS ceased broadcasting mainstream music on February 1, 2007immediately before KMS on HFS premiered, yet retained the WHFS call letters traditionally associated with the music the station used to broadcast. Currently HFS2 and Locals Only with Neci remain WHFS's only ties to its original format.
When Radio One flipped Rocker Y100 in Philadelphia, former DJ's and staff used the success of the HFS listeners to rally their listeners to try and bring back its station to the air. Although it wasn't as successful in the end, Y100rocks.com was launched as an online station maxing out its bandwidth within hours of launching.
In 2006, WHFS began to broadcast a digital signal for radios using the new
HD Radiotechnology, and launched an all-music station named "HFS2" on its second HD Radio channel. The station focuses primarily on new alternative rockand indie rock, and currently has no DJs or commercials. On January 19, 2007the online stream of "HFS2" was launched with the slogan "What You've Been Missing" hinting at the death of HFS music on the regular 105.7 frequency.
November 1, 2007Neci Crowder began broadcasting on HFS2 from 8am to 1 pm. This marked the first time a live DJ has been heard on HFS2.
The Ed Norris Show
WHFS airs its flagship afternoon show on weekdays from 3PM - 6PM. The "Ed Norris Show," hosted by former Baltimore City Police Commissioner
Ed Norris. The "Best Of Ed Norris" airs Saturdays from 2PM-5PM.
KMS on HFS
February 1, 2007, Kirk McEwen and Mark Ondaykotook over the coveted morning drive slot formerly occupied by the Junkies. Called KMS, listeners speculated who the "S" would be while the duo was off air, serving part of their non-compete clause from WIYY(98 Rock). It turns out the acronym stands for Kirk and Mark Show, but their News Anchor and Executive Producer Jeff Shamrockfills what they call the "s-hole". The show also features Joanna Campbell with traffic, Colleen the Diva of the Dial Tone and Dave Gegorek the Board-Op. KMS starts at 5:30 AM with a segment from the previous day. Kirk and Mark sign on around 5:50, and off at 10AM, re-airing the first hour of broadcast in the 10 o'clock hour.As of September 19th 2008 according to dcrtv.com, Jeff Shamrocks' contract has not been renewed.
February 1format switch brought the Backroom to HFS. The show is hosted by Troy Johnson, and Jon Boesche.
Locals Only with Neci
Neci Crowder hosts the only show left on HFS still with music, focusing on the local bands of the Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas. The show has its roots back on 99.1 when Neci hosted the show. There is a stage at the annual
HFStivalthat sports the same name, with local bands performing all day. HFS has always supported the local bands which can be credited for helping launch such bands as Good Charlotte, SR-71, and Jimmie's Chicken Shackto stardom.Fact|date=August 2008
(The station of their final appearance)
*Jacob Einstein Jr., born in
Baltimoreon August 5, 1917, grew up in Catonsville, Maryland, one of 13 children. He died September 12, 2007, at his home in Potomac, Maryland, from emphysema and complications from an aneurysm. He was 90.
*After passing ownership of WHFS to other hands, Jake Einstein formed a new company named
Cardinal Broadcastingand considered buying the former Washington, D.C. Top Fortypowerhouse WEAM-AMin Arlington, Virginia(the Cardinal is the Virginiastate bird) for conversion to an 'HFS format. When this fell through, he was a partner purchasing WLOM-AMand FM in Annapolis, Marylandin 1983 and changed the FM side over to a reborn WHFS. In 1989 when Duchussois Broadcastingpurchased the station, Einstein departed, and in 1993 he bought WNAV-AM and FM, transmitting from Grasonville, Maryland, across the Chesapeake Bayfrom Annapolis, and recast the FM side as a reborn 'HFS securing the call letters WRNR ( Rock & Roll) for it and hiring some of the old Bethesda staff. However, it had a limited throw of 6,000 watts and only reached the eastern edge of Washington, D.C.
David Einstein, former program directorof WHFS-FM Bethesda, probably has all of the old "102.3" jingle spots in his archive. On his last morning on the air at the station in the fall of 1989, he aired a number of retro ID spots, even though the station was now broadcasting from a frequency of 99.1 FM. He has moved on to other music industry-related jobs.
Damian Einsteinsuffered serious head injuries on December 13, 1975, when the pick-up truck he was in hit a low bridge while driving in Rock Creek Park, east of Bethesda. His two companions were killed. This accident left him with a pronounced condition of aphasia, noted by a slight delay in speech diction. Despite his thorough knowledge of music canon and intelligent interviews with visiting artists, new station management attempted to remove him from the air in 1989. This led to a support rally sponsored by Joe's Record Paradisein Silver Spring, Maryland, held at Plaza Del Mercado, also called the Del Mercado Shopping Center, on Bel Pre Road in the Aspen Hill area, in which bluesman Catfish Hodgeand musicians from Little Featand Bonnie Raitt's band played live for the protest benefit. An estimated 10,000 supporters showed up to hear Junior Cline and the Recliners, Jimmy Thackeryfrom The Nighthawks, Danny Gattonas well as the Rosslyn Mountain Boysand Freebo, among others, to protest the action of the new management. He filed a discrimination suit through the State of Maryland and it found that he was fired without cause. Damian was ultimately restored to the air.
*During the Einstein-owned era of the station, air personalities were allowed to play "theme" tunes at the start of their shows. This posed licensing issues with ASCAP/BMI as the tunes were played regularly.
Adele Abramswent on to host a cable television show, Takoma Tempo, that featured performances of Washington-area musicians from 1985-1989. She is now an attorney, practicing in Maryland and DC.
*When the original Bethesda WHFS ownership broke up in the 1980s, the station's extensive library of music was divvied up and thus only certain components accompanied the Einstein family onto their new enterprises. (This item of fact provided by an overnight deejay, circa 1989, in a phone call as to why he could no longer pull out a copy of
Keith Emerson's pre- Emerson, Lake & Palmerband, The Nice.)
*After an a cappella "Join The Band,"
Cerphe Colwellcan be heard leading the crowd in spelling out "F-E-A-T" on track one, side one, record one of Little Feat's live album "Waiting For Columbus" recorded largely at George Washington University's Lisner AuditoriumAugust 8–10, 1977 and released in 1978.
*The last song played on WHFS in its 102.3 incarnation was "After Hours" by the
Velvet Undergroundafter Weasel read the sign off.
*The first song on
October 20, 1983at 99.1 was at "After the Rain" by Bruce Cockburnby Diane at around 6am.
* When the station started up in Annapolis, it was known as 'Progressive 99 WLOM' until Jake Einstein got the WHFS calls around Thanksgiving of 1983.
*WHFS is featured prominently in the John Waters movie "
*In 1998, Mark "The Alien" Daley and Jonathan "Weasel" Gilbert created Zero24-7 Web Radio, the world’s first internet radio station to mix progressive music with a progressive "green" message. The station that "streamed globally and played locally" won the 1999 OMB Watch Innovation and Technology Award Grand Prize for its use of new media as an advocacy tool.
*The first song played by Tim Virgin on WHFS at 105.7 FM was "This Is Radio Clash" by
*Johnny Riggs closed out his final show hosting HFS music at midnight
February 1, 2007with, "I'll miss you little friend", thus ending the 3rd incarnation of HFS MUSIC.
*At 5:28 a.m. on Thursday,
February 1, 2007the last song played on 105.7 HFS was again, "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckleyand was programmed by HFS DJ Pat "Freeze" Ferrise who sneaked into the studio to change the playlist the Infinity Broadcasting managers had originally programmed. This was also the last song played on 99.1 before the format flip on January 12, 2005.
*Don Geronimo closed out his final show hosting the Don & Mike show at 6:01 pm on
April 11, 2008by being cut off by an Orioles pre-game show.
* [http://www.whfs.com/ WHFS website]
* [http://www.hfstival.com Unofficial HFStival website]
* [http://www.tangentsunset.com/whfs.htm "A Brief History of WHFS"]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4252-2005Jan12.html Radio: WHFS Off The Air (washingtonpost.com chat)]
* [http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Bungalow/5014/baltradio.htm Media World Baltimore Radio]
* [http://www.whfs2.com HFS2 (HD radio station) ]
*The Daily Feed [http://www.dailyfeed.com/home.shtml]
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