Previous Format: Modern Rock “103.9 DRE” WDRE New Format: Urban “Philly 103.9” WPHI Date & Time Of Change: December 18, 1996 More Info: Wikipedia Related Changes: 103.9 WDRE Flips From Modern Rock To Urban
In late 1996, Jarad Broadcasting sold off WDRE to Radio-One, who specializes in Urban based formats. With knowledge of a change coming, the station decided to go out with a bang. Sweepers promoted the days remaining until the death of ‘DRE, while an anything goes attitude prevailed at the station. On Valentines Day, 1997 WDRE presented Bitterfest, a concert to mark the demise of the station. As the clock prepared to strike midnight, 103.9 played Pearl Jam’s “Alive” while the concert’s crowd chanted “DRE, DRE, DRE”. At midnight the station began a weekend stunt of Old School R&B, until the sign-on of the “New 103.9” Urban format the following Monday.
The 103.9 frequency was one of the last remaining voids in the Philadelphia market. With a leased-time format under Fox Broadcasting, WIBF was an untapped goldmine in the world of formatted radio. Enter Jarad Broadcasting, owners of longtime Modern Rocker WDRE in Garden City, New York. Jarad was quickly developing a cluster of Modern Rock stations with the “Underground Network” moniker. Affiliates included stations in Albany, Memphis, Little Rock, and WIBF. Signing-On with Pearl Jam’s “Alive”, 103.9 would simulcast New York’s WDRE until the demise of the network. Around that time, the WDRE call letters were moved to 103.9, which went live and local until its death in 1997.