WDMK is an FM radio station in Detroit, Michigan broadcasting at 105.9 mHz, owned by Radio One. The station is positioned as 105-9 Kiss, Detroit's Best R&B with an Urban Adult Contemporary format. The station broadcasts from an antenna 725 feet in height with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts. The station's transmitter is located in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Greenfield. Its studios along with those of WCHB, WPZR and WGPR are on Detroit's lower eastside.
The 105.9 FM frequency, from its inception in 1960, has had different variations of urban contemporary and jazz formats under different phases throughout its tenure.
105.9 FM went on the air on May 26, 1960, as WCHD. Originally, WCHD simulcast the R&B format of WCHB, Detroit's first Black-owned-and-operated radio station (then at 1440 AM, now at 1200 AM), founded by Dr. Haley Bell and Dr. Wendell Cox (hence the call letters WCHB). By the late 1960s, WCHD had programmed itself separately from its AM sister and was playing Jazz. Early jazz announcers on WCHD included Ken Bradley, Jo Ray, and Ed Love (who now hosts the long-running weeknight jazz program on public radio station WDET).
Eventually, WCHD changed its call letters to WJZZ to emphasize its musical format. As the 1980s wore on, WJZZ transitioned from playing traditional Jazz to playing more contemporary jazz (i.e. smooth jazz) along with some New-age and fusion. Jazz purists decried the format tweak, but WJZZ's ratings improved. By this time, WJZZ and WCHB were owned by Bell Broadcasting.
105.9 The Beat/105.9 Jamz
By 1996, WJZZ had gained a competitor in Smooth Jazz V98.7, the former rocker WLLZ, which had changed format to Smooth Jazz shortly before Christmas 1995. With WVMV taking a more mass-appeal approach to the smooth jazz format by playing more Soft AC and Urban AC vocals, Bell Broadcasting decided to take WJZZ in a different direction. On August 23, 1996, WJZZ shifted its format to Mainstream Urban and took the WCHB-FM calls and the slogan "105.9 The Beat," in an attempt to go after longtime urban leader WJLB. Radio One acquired WCHB-AM/FM in July 1998, and the following month, WCHB-FM became WDTJ, "105.9 Jamz." WDTJ aired the Russ Parr morning show syndicated from sister station WKYS in Washington, DC. "105.9 Jamz" did respectably in the ratings, but not respectably enough to beat WJLB.
105.9 Kiss FM
The station's current "Kiss-FM" format originated on 102.7 FM in 1999 where it aired the first six years. (It originally transitioned from an adult contemporary format after only a few months.)
On June 26, 2005, at 3 AM, Radio One made a major change in its Detroit cluster. The company moved the "Old School" Rhythmic Oldies format of WDMK (FM 102.7) to 105.9. 105.9 took on the WDMK calls and the "Kiss-FM" moniker, as the "Kiss" format was updated to a gold-based Urban AC. Detroit Pistons announcer John Mason (formerly of WJLB), who had done mornings at 102.7, was relegated to afternoon drive to accommodate the Tom Joyner morning show, previously heard on Clear Channel-owned WMXD, on the new "105.9 Kiss-FM." The "105.9 Jamz" mainstream urban/hip-hop format moved to 102.7, which took on the new calls WHTD and the moniker "Hot 102-7."
After WMXD dropped the Michael Baisden show in late 2009, WDMK picked the program up later on.
John Mason, WDMK's former afternoon drive personality, left the station in September 2006 and shortly afterward announced that he would be looking to syndicate his own morning show, most likely based at independently-owned Detroit urban AC outlet WGPR. After Radio One successfully took Mason to court to uphold a non-compete clause, Mason began broadcasting on WGPR. After that station was taken over by Radio One in 2011, Mason hosted early evenings on WCHB. In addition, the station reduced its heavy gold-lean by playing more currents and recurrents.
105.9 Kiss-FM currently ranks at #9 (4.4) in the Detroit market according to the November 2010 PPM Ratings release.
WDMK broadcasts in HD Radio. In November 2010, the station added an HD2 subchannel with a simulcast of sister station WHTD on its HD2, but this was soon dropped. In September 2011, the HD2 side channel returned, this time simulcasting talk sister station WCHB. The HD2 sidechannel is also being simulcast on low-power FM translator W260CB (99.9 FM) in Hamtramck.
WHTD format move
In August 2011, WDMK was the only Radio One FM outlet that was not affected by WHTD moving its format to WGPR (which Radio One began to operate via an LMA agreement with the Masons) in order to accommodate the launch of an urban gospel format on the former, now WPZR.
In August 2013, following the cancellation of the Michael Baisden show by his distributor, Cumulus Media that early March, and the interim of Skip Murphy, WDMK became the Detroit affiliate of The D.L. Hughley show.
In February 2014, WDMK moved the Tom Joyner morning show to WCHB and allowed John Mason to return to morning drive, and added former WJLB jock CoCo as well.
The current lineup (as of July 13, 2013): Weekdays:
- The Donnie McClurkin Show - 5 AM-6 AM
- Mason and CoCo in the Morning - Mason, CoCo, Foolish, Tune Up Man 5:30am – 10:00am
- Fantasee Blu - 10 AM-3 PM
- "The D. L. Hughley Show" - 3 PM-7 PM
- Kisses After Dark with Adimu- 7 PM-Midnight
Weekend's/Fill-ins: Tune Up Man (Saturdays 7 PM-Midnight), Inside Detroit w/ Mildred Gladdis (Sundays 5 AM-6 AM), Donnie McClurkin (Sundays 6 AM-9 AM), Al Sharpton (Sundays 9 AM-10 AM), Big Ron (Sundays 10 AM-3 PM), and Jay Black (Sundays 3 PM-7 PM).