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City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Delaware Valley
Branding 102.9 MGK
Slogan Philadelphia's Classic Rock
Frequency 102.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date November 2, 1941 (as W69PH)
Format Analog/HD1: Classic Rock
HD2: Oldies
ERP 8,900 watts (analog)
155 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT 350 meters (1,150 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 25094
Transmitter coordinates 40°02′21.00″N 75°14′13.00″W / 40.0391667°N 75.2369444°W / 40.0391667; -75.2369444 (NAD27)
Callsign meaning W MaGiK (Magic was the name of a former adult contemporary format)
Former callsigns W67PH (1940-1941)
W69PH (1941-1943)
WPEN-FM (1943-1975)
Former frequencies 46.7 MHz (1940-1941)
46.9 MHz (1941-1945)
102.7 MHz (1945-1950)
Owner Beasley Broadcast Group
(Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC)
Webcast Listen Live or
Listen via iHeart
Website www.wmgk.com

WMGK (102.9 FM, "102.9 MGK") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group and broadcasts a classic rock radio format, the broadcast tower used by the station is located in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia at (40°02′19.7″N 75°14′12.8″W / 40.038806°N 75.236889°W / 40.038806; -75.236889),[2] while studios are in Bala Cynwyd. The station features popular Philadelphia radio personalities John DeBella and Andre Gardner.


Early Years as W67PH/W69PH/WPEN-FM[edit]

On November 26, 1940, the Federal Communications Commission granted WCAU Broadcasting Company a construction permit for a new FM station on 46.7 MHz on the original 42-50 MHz FM broadcast band with the W67PH call sign.[3] The construction permit was modified on January 28, 1941 when the FCC reallocated the station to 46.9 MHz with a corresponding call sign change to W69PH.[3] The station began regular broadcasts on November 2, 1941,[4] and was granted its first license by the FCC on November 18, 1942.[3]

On November 1, 1943, the station was assigned the WPEN-FM call sign,[3] after the FCC created the current FM broadcast band on June 27, 1945,[5] the commission granted WCAU Broadcasting the authority to begin operating WPEN-FM on 102.7 MHz on December 17, 1945.[3]

The station's license was voluntarily reassigned to Philadelphia Record Company on October 17, 1946,[3] on June 27, 1947, the FCC reallocated the station to 102.9 MHz.[3] On November 28, 1947, the FCC voluntarily reassigned the station's license to William Penn Broadcasting Company,[3] the new owners filed an application for a construction permit to move the station to the new frequency on July 12, 1948. A new license for operation on 102.9 MHz was granted by the FCC on August 17, 1950.[3]

WPEN-FM was one of the first two FM stations to be licensed for SCA (subcarrier) service, the station filed an application for the SCA on October 12, 1955, with the FCC granting the authorization on July 1, 1956.[3] Subcarriers could be used to send special programming to subscribers, such as background music for stores and restaurants.

From its earliest days until the 1960s, WPEN-FM mostly simulcast 950 WPEN; in 1966, when the Federal Communications Commission no longer allowed most FM stations to simulcast their AM counterparts full-time, WPEN-FM carried a middle-of-the-road format, similar to the AM station, but with fewer interruptions and with mostly pre-recorded DJ comments.[6] Some hours were still simulcast.

First logo for WMGK

Switch to Soft Rock[edit]

On October 16, 1974, the station's license was voluntarily transferred by the FCC to Greater Philadelphia Radio, Inc. (a subsidiary of Greater Media[7]), with an effective date of January 6, 1975.[3] On September 2, 1975, the station's call sign was changed to WMGK,[3] the station adopted a soft rock format and changed its slogan to "Magic Music" with the Magic 103 branding. The first song aired under the new call sign was "Could It Be Magic" by Barry Manilow, the music on Magic 103 was mostly album cuts from singer-songwriters of the 1960s and early 1970s, presented in four-song blocks with minimal talk. The station would not play artists primarily found on the Top 40, such as The Carpenters or Anne Murray, the playlist was made up of softer songs heard on album rock stations, from artists such as Elton John, Carole King, Billy Joel and Carly Simon. The format was quite successful, with Greater Media putting "Magic Music" on its other FM stations, along with call letters referring to "Magic," WMJC Detroit, WMJX Boston and WMGQ New Brunswick, New Jersey.

On December 22, 1976, the FCC granted Greater Philadelphia Radio, Inc. a construction permit to relocate the station's transmitter and antenna to the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.[3] The station's license was renewed by the FCC with the new facilities on July 12, 1978.[3]

Over time, WMGK began to lose listeners to 98.9 WUSL, known as "US 1." WUSL had switched from easy listening to a soft vocal format similar to WMGK, but with a shorter playlist of more familiar songs. Eventually WMGK replied with an even tighter playlist, moving from soft rock to a soft adult contemporary sound and rebounded past WUSL in the ratings, the station was programmed by the late Dave Klahr and signed on by its first midday host Pete Booker who later programmed Greater Media sister station WMJC in Detroit and who recently retired as CEO of the Delmarva Broadcasting Company.

Move to Adult Contemporary[edit]

In the mid 1980s, Magic 103 leaned soft, but played several uptempo songs an hour, along with more current product; in the spring of 1986, WMGK started a contemporary jazz show called Sunday Morning Jazz, later renamed Sunday Evening Jazz in early 1987. The show was hosted by Bob Craig and ended in October 1988 when Craig left the radio station. Craig returned in the spring of 1990, and again hosted a contemporary jazz show, this one running on both Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 pm to midnight. Along with the jazz, some soft rock songs were mixed in as well, the show lasted one year and ended in the early summer of 1991. Eventually Philadelphia got its first full-time smooth jazz station in 1993, 106.1 WJJZ, which made its debut two years after WMGK's contemporary jazz show had ended.

WUSL, the chief rival to WMGK, switched to country music in 1981; in 1989, 101.1 WEAZ, an easy listening outlet known as "Easy 101," made the transition to Soft AC. It later changed its call sign to WBEB, calling itself "B-101." Easy 101 had a large number of listeners, and most of them stayed with the station when it became B-101, causing WMGK to slip in the ratings. In addition, Sunny 104.5 WSNI (now WRFF) was also playing adult contemporary music, giving Philadelphia three stations in the AC format.[8]

All 70s Music[edit]

In the summer of 1994, feeling that Philadelphia could no longer support three AC stations, Greater Media decided to make changes to WMGK, on July 11, 1994, WMGK dropped the long time AC format and changed it to an all-1970s sound. The 70s hits included classic rock, soft rock, disco and R&B.[9] By 1995, the station added a few big 1960s and 1980s hits, no longer used the term "Magic." By the Fall of 1995, WMGK played mostly classic rock with some rock-friendly classic hits thrown in, but not much of the harder material.

Classic Rock[edit]

In 1997, Greater Media acquired two more Phialdelphia FM stations, album rock 93.3 WMMR and modern AC 95.7 WXXM (now WBEN-FM).[10] WMGK continued to position itself as a Classic Hits station, but when 94.1 WYSP changed its format from classic rock to modern rock, WMGK began to describe itself as classic rock, eliminated non-rock 70s songs altogether. Still, with rocker WMMR in the cluster, playing plenty of harder-edged classics, WMGK leaned softer than most classic rock stations.

On November 17, 2006, at 6 p.m., former New Jersey-based classic rock station WTHK became "The New Smooth Jazz 97.5 WJJZ." WJJZ was once a popular smooth jazz station broadcasting on 106.1 MHz. With WTHK no longer airing classic rock, WMGK became the Philadelphia region's only classic rock station, the station on 97.5 is now co-owned with WMGK and carries a sports radio format as WPEN-FM, which was once WMGK's call sign.

April Fools Joke[edit]

On April Fools' Day in 2015, WMGK pulled a joke on its listeners. Afternoon host Andre Gardner said the station would flip back to its previous adult contemporary/soft rock music format, he called WMGK "Magic 103" and even played the old Magic jingles. The whole joke was over when a listener called in to the station to complain about the loss of classic rock.

On July 19, 2016, Beasley Media Group announced it would acquire Greater Media and its 21 stations (including WMGK) for $240 million,[11] the FCC approved the sale on October 6, and the sale closed on November 1.[12]


WMGK had three major competitors in Philadelphia, on August 25, 2008, 94.1 WYSP switched from active rock to classic rock, with a harder sound than that of WMGK. But on September 2, 2011, WYSP switched to Sports Radio WIP-FM. WFKB 107.5 Frank FM, licensed to serve Boyertown, Pennsylvania, competed with WMGK in Philadelphia's northern and western suburbs and in the Lehigh Valley. But on March 30, 2009, WFKB switched to Christian programming and became WBYN-FM. Currently, listeners in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia can receive WODE-FM 99.9 The Hawk, licensed to serve Easton, Pennsylvania, and primarily focused on the Lehigh Valley.

Philly 500[edit]

Each Memorial Day Weekend, WMGK hosts the annual Philly 500, which is the top 500 classic rock songs of all time, as voted by the "MGK At Work Network." Every year, the countdown begins on the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend at 3 PM with afternoon host Andre Gardner starting with song number 500.

The countdown continues throughout the weekend, and the number one song is played every year by DJ Bubba John usually around 2:30 PM on Memorial Day. Below are previous number one songs.

Year Artist #1 Song Runner Up Artist/Song
2008 Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" Aerosmith/"Sweet Emotion"
2009 Pink Floyd "Comfortably Numb" Kansas/"Carry On Wayward Son"
2010 Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" Kansas/"Carry On Wayward Son"
2011 Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" The Beatles/"A Day in the Life"
2012 Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" AC/DC/"You Shook Me All Night Long"
2013 Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" Lynyrd Skynyrd/"Sweet Home Alabama"
2014 The Beatles "A Day in the Life" Led Zeppelin/"Stairway to Heaven"
2015 Eagles "Hotel California" Led Zeppelin/"Stairway to Heaven"
2016 The Beatles "A Day in the Life" Led Zeppelin/"Stairway to Heaven"
2017 Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" Eagles/"Hotel California"

The following songs are consistently in the top ten:

"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
"Carry on Wayward Son" by Kansas
"Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith
"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
"Hotel California" by Eagles
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
"You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC
"Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen

HD Radio[edit]

In early 2006, WMGK launched a digital HD2 subchannel with its "WMGK Deep Trax" format, it features "classic rock nuggets and 'oh wow' songs that may be a bit outside the radio norm."[13] The format has since been switched to oldies.


  1. ^ "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WMGK]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. September 19, 2013. Retrieved 2018-03-19. 
  2. ^ "FM Query Results for WMGK". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-04-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "History Cards for WMGK". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-04-07. 
  4. ^ Boris, Alan (2011). Images of America: Philadelphia Radio. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia. p. 88. ISBN 9780738575087. 
  5. ^ "In the Matter of Allocation of Frequencies to the Various Class of Non-Governmental Services in the Radio Spectrum from 10 Kilocycles to 30,000,000 Kilocycles (Docket No. 6651)" (PDF). fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. June 27, 1945. Retrieved 2018-04-07. 
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1973 page B-172
  7. ^ "Company Overview of Greater Philadelphia Radio Inc". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2018-04-07. 
  8. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1993 page B-307 and 308
  9. ^ "AC WMGK Flips To '70s Gold" (PDF). R&R The Industry's Newspaper (1052). 1994-07-15. p. 3. Retrieved 2016-05-10. 
  10. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 page D-382 and 383
  11. ^ Beasley Acquires Greater Media
  12. ^ Beasley Closes on Greater Media Purchase; Makes Multiple Staff Moves
  13. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 19, 2006). "Greater Media, Emmis Unveil HD2 Strategies". Billboard. Retrieved January 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]