WZAK (93.1 FM) – branded 93.1
WZAK – is a commercial urban adult
contemporary radio station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, serving
Cleveland and much of surrounding Northeast Ohio. Owned by
WZAK is a local affiliate for The
Tom Joyner Morning Show
and nationally syndicated personality D. L. Hughley. The
are located in Downtown Cleveland, while the station transmitter
resides in Brecksville. Besides a standard analog transmission, WZAK
broadcasts over three
HD Radio channels, and is available online.
2 Current programming
4 External links
WZAK began as an ethnic radio station, signing on the air on May 26,
Ohio Music Corporation, the local franchise for MUZAK, had
the original construction permit to build the station.
Corporation, Xen & Lula Zapis, Joe & Betty Bauer and Bob
Stumpf formed Trans World Broadcasting to put
WZAK on the air.
Zapis and the Bauers had been previously involved with WXEN, an
earlier ethnic programmer in Cleveland, which Zapis also was
associated with (and which had call letters derived from Zapis' first
WZAK was Cleveland's first full-time ethnic radio station,
presenting programming in 17 foreign languages, including programs in
Hungarian, German (hosted by the Bauers and a second show hosted by
Bob Stumpf), Italian, Slovenian, Greek (hosted by Zapis and his wife
Lula), Irish, Arabic, Lebanese, and Hindi. Some groups had multiple
different programs; there were, for example, five different programs
offered in Spanish and five different German programs.
Most programs were brokered, that is, the program producers were not
station employees, but independent producers who put the program on
the air determined program content, and sold the advertising for the
program. Although the program content varied, most programs primarily
featured music from the homeland, along with some news or discussion.
Although foreign languages seemed to dominate, English was actually
used about half of the time during the station's broadcasts. Owing
to this practice, one of the more popular programs that aired on WZAK
was not ethnic at all, but was an early progressive rock show hosted
by Barry Weingart and Steve "Doc Nemo" Nemeth in 1967.
WZAK's only competition in the
Cleveland market came from WXEN which
also featured ethnic programming for a portion of its schedule. WZAK
was the city's only full-time ethnic station – and its last. By
1979, the station, then owned by Trans World Broadcasting Corp. of
Cleveland whose president was Zapis, found it difficult to maintain
its ethnic format. The number of listeners was declining, several of
the program hosts had died or retired, and the overall financial
situation was discouraging. In 1980, Zapis bought out his partners to
become the majority owner of the station, forming Zapis
Communications. The station began straying from its all-ethnic format,
as Wayne Mack began programming beautiful music on the station.
On March 2, 1981, at 6 AM, the station adopted a black-oriented urban
contemporary format, continuing its ethnic programming only on Sundays
(for a while). Ratings improved with the arrival in May 1982 of
program director and DJ Lynn Tolliver, Jr. and general sales manager
Mike Hilber. Several controversial promotions also drew media
attention to the station. Over the next few years, the station's
ratings climbed, and it finished first in the Arbitron ratings on
April 5, 1990. Critical opinion also improved. In 1993, for example,
it won three Billboard magazine awards. Zapis Communications
purchased and operated radio stations in Atlanta, Boston (WWTM, WAAF),
Akron and Youngstown (WPAO, WICT, WWSY).
WZAK faced stiffed
competition from Beasley Broadcasting's "Disco 108" (WDMT), which at
the time played club mixes and more disco and urban music in
In 1997, the station replaced its popular Three's Company morning show
with the syndicated
Tom Joyner Morning Show. The January 16, 1997 and
January 15, 1998 Arbitron ratings again showed
WZAK to be the number
one station in Cleveland.
On August 12, 1998, Chancellor Media Corporation of Texas announced
its purchase of
WZAK from Zapis Communications, along with its
purchase of five other
Cleveland radio stations, WZJM, WDOK, WQAL,
WRMR and WJMO, for $275 million. It was, at the time, the largest
radio deal in
Cleveland broadcasting history. On July 13, 1999,
Chancellor Media merged with Capstar Broadcasting to form AMFM Inc.,
at that time the nation's largest radio station owner with 465
stations. AMFM sold
WZAK to Radio One on July 20, 2000 as part of a
required divestiture when AMFM merged with Clear Channel
Communications. Shortly after the sale,
WZAK shifted to
Urban AC to
avoid overlap with new sister station (and younger-targeting)
WZAK features nationally syndicated hosts
Tom Joyner and D.L. Hughley
in morning and afternoon drive respectively (both via Cumulus Media
Networks). Local DJ Sam Sylk is heard middays, and Radio One DJ John
Monds is heard evenings.
HD2 digital subchannel simulcasts the urban gospel format of sister
HD3 subchannel simulcasts the news/talk format of sister station
^ "Encyclopedia of
Cleveland History: WZAK". Ech.cwru.edu. Retrieved
^ Olszewski, Mike (2003). Radio daze: stories from the front in
Cleveland's FM air wars. [Kent, Ohio]: Kent State University Press.
pp. 4–7. ISBN 0873387732.
^ Adams, Deanna R. (2002). Rock 'n' roll and the
[Kent, Ohio]: Kent State University Press. p. 103.
^ "WZAK-FM is recipient of 3 Billboard awards (in CLENIX)".
Catalog.cpl.org. 1993-09-11. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ "Company News; Chancellor Media To Buy Six
Stations". The New York Times. August 13, 1998.
^ "#415: 07-20-00 JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REQUIRES CLEAR CHANNEL AND AM FM
TO DIVEST 99 RADIO STATIONS IN 27 MARKETS Required Sale is Largest
Radio Divestiture Ever". Usdoj.gov. 2000-07-20. Retrieved
^ "Show Schedules 93.1 WZAK". Wzakcleveland.com. Retrieved
^ "Station Guide: Cleveland, OH". HDRadio.com. HD Radio. 2015.
Retrieved January 15, 2011.
^ Lance Venta (2013-03-27). "RadioInsight — Skip Murphy To Replace
Michael Baisden". Radioinsight.com. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ "Sam Sylk Moves to Middays At WZAK". AllAccess.com. 2013-04-03.
Query the FCC's FM station database for WZAK
Radio-Locator information on WZAK
Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WZAK
Cleveland History: WZAK
Cleveland Broadcast Radio Archives:
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Cathy Hughes (Chairman and CEO)
Tom Joyner Morning Show (via Reach Media under contract)
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Yolanda Adams Morning Show
Donnie Simpson Show
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1 Owned by International Free and Accepted Modern Masons and operated
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