City of license Washington, D.C.
Broadcast area Washington, D.C.
Branding DC101
Slogan DC's Rock Station

101.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)

101.1-HD2 for New Rock
First air date 1947
Format Alternative rock
ERP 22,500 watts
HAAT 232 meters
Class B
Facility ID 8682
Callsign meaning W Washington
District of
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations WASH-FM, WBIG-FM, WIHT, WMZQ-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.dc101.com

WWDC is a commercial radio station in Washington, D.C., broadcasting to the Washington, DC-Baltimore, Maryland area. WWDC airs an alternative rock format on 101.1 FM branded as DC101.



WWDC-FM signed on in 1947 as a beautiful music station. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it simulcast with its (slightly more contemporary than) MOR AM sister station on weekdays, and played oldies at night and on weekends. In the mid-1970s, it attempted album rock at night for a few months and then flipped full-time to an album rock music format. Its AM counterpart (now WWRC) was the first American radio station to play a Beatles song when it played "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in December 1963.[1]

DC101's most successful era in terms of ratings and revenue was 1987-1990. The station was #1 in Men (Arbitron) and was a printing press when it came to money. One of the premier Album Oriented Rock stations in the country, the air staff featured Greaseman in the morning, Dusty Scott in midday, Steveski in afternoons and Kirk McEwen in the evening. With this lineup and format, DC101 consistently ran in the 6s, dominating Men in the nation's 7th largest market. The sound was a combination of new and classic rock.

DC101's rock playlist typically swings toward the hard rock end of the rock spectrum, playing acts like Foo Fighters and Metallica. Early on, though, pop-oriented acts including Elton John and Rod Stewart often cropped up on-air. During the 1990s, DC101 interspersed more modern and alternative rock acts including Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots into its rotation to compete with its chief rival, WHFS-FM. Originally a mainstream rock station, WWDC changed to their current alternative rock format by 2005 because of WHFS-FM flipping to tropical music as WLZL, but Mediabase & Nielsen BDS had them on the alternative rock panels prior to the WHFS-FM flip. This left the hard rock/active rock playlist for the Washington/Baltimore area to continue on rival WIYY (98 Rock) in Baltimore.

Until 1998, DC101 was among the last independently-owned radio stations in the Washington, D.C. market. The station's parent company, Capitol Broadcasting, sold DC101 and its AM sister station, WWDC 1260 (now WWRC), to Chancellor Media, later AM-FM. Eventually, AM-FM was acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which now owns and operates a total of five radio stations in Washington, D.C. Like many other Clear Channel radio stations, DC101 has been criticized for having a limited play list. Listeners can hear the same songs several times throughout a 24-hour period.

DC101's facilities were once located on Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square in downtown Washington, D.C. They later moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, and are now located in Rockville, Maryland.

DC101 is known for its prize giveaways. They give tickets most commonly, but also (more-rarely) give away larger prizes such as stereos, cars, boats, or trips.

By 2011, DC101 added Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd back on the playlist, although they are played sparingly and the station is still not considered as active rock. DC101 still remains the Washington/Baltimore area's only alternative rock station. Also in 2011, WWDC changed their logo.

Shock jock springboard

DC101 advanced the careers of several famous – and arguably notorious – morning radio personalities. Howard Stern was the morning man from March 1981 to June 1982. When Stern left the station on June 29, 1982, it was falsely reported that he was fired because of his on-air prank of pretending to call Air Florida airlines to book a flight to the 14th Street Bridge only one day after 78 people died when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River at the bridge.[2] There is a large amount of time between these milestones, as the crash of Air Florida 90 occurred on January 13, 1982, and the firing didn't come until late June. It is probably more accurate[3] to state that Stern was fired because of an impasse met on his compensation, and the fact that he signed with WNBC during the latter part of his WWDC contract. DC101 is featured prominently in Stern's 1997 bio-pic Private Parts.

Stern was replaced by Doug Tracht, better known as the GreaseMan, who spent over ten years at the station, from August 2, 1982, to January 22, 1993, and returned to the station in April 2008, but eventually was laid off again in October 2008 so the station can focus solely on music on weekends without his comedy bits.

DC101's current morning program is Elliot In the Morning, led by Elliot Segal. Since beginning his tenure at DC101 in the late 1990s, Segal has been suspended and fined on several occasions for the show's sometimes controversial content.

Annual events

  • Chili Cook-Off: Day-long festival featuring live bands heard on DC101 and a chili cook-off competition; held in downtown Washington, D.C. every spring to benefit the National Kidney Foundation.
  • Kegs & Eggs
  • Shantytown (cancelled 2006)
  • Non-denominational Christmas Party (cancelled 2009)
  • Downtown Countdown
  • The Easter Keg Hunt (cancelled 2010)
  • Beef, Bullets, Beer, and Butts
  • Elliot's Big-Ass Football Bash (cancelled 2010)
  • Polar Plunge
  • Elliot's Daytona 500 Party
  • Big-Ass Halloween Bash
  • Last Band Standing
  • Roche's Water Wars
  • The Thousand Dollar Thong Competition


Elliot in the Morning v. Bishop O'Connell High School

The morning of May 7, 2002, on D.C. metro area shock jock Elliot Segal's radio program, DC101's "Elliot in the Morning" was conducting a contest. The winners of this contest would be cage dancers at an upcoming Kid Rock concert at George Mason University's Patriot Center. Wanting to be contestants, two sixteen-year-old O'Connell students, claiming to be eighteen, called the show. Instead of discussing the contest, the students, goaded by Elliot, discussed alleged sexual activity at O'Connell.[4] The students, who had used false names on air, were suspended the same day for their comments.[5] The principal addressed the student body over the PA system and criticized the immoral content of that morning's show. The following day (May 8), Mr. Segal, angered by the students' suspension, personally insulted the principal on air, making lewd insinuations about his family. He also mocked the school's mission statement.[6] The two days of broadcasting were ruled indecent by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a result, in October 2003, sixteen months after the incident, DC101's parent company Clear Channel Communications was fined $55,000.[7]


In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets Alternative station of the year award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WBCN in Boston, Massachusetts, KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, KTBZ-FM in Houston, Texas, KITS, in San Francisco, and KNDD in Seattle, Washington.[8]


  1. ^ CBS (2004-01-16). "Beatles' 'Helping Hand' Shuns Fame: Fab Four Fan Want To Find Teen Who Helped Launched Beatlemania". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/16/entertainment/main593654.shtml. Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  2. ^ Answers.com
  3. ^ MarksFriggin.com - Stern Show News - Archive
  4. ^ Atlantic Magazine Article on Elliot in the Morning [1]
  5. ^ FCC Transcript of Elliot in the Morning's offensive material from May 7th and 8th, 2002 [2]
  6. ^ Mission Statement: "Our mission is to provide students an education rooted in the life of Christ and to foster the pursuit of excellence in the whole person." (quoted from O'Connell Website)
  7. ^ FCC Announcement of Fine (Released October 2, 2003)
  8. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. http://www.radioandrecords.com/Conventions/con2007/awards/indexFinal.asp. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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