WPOW is a Top 40/CHR station serving the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. CBS Radio owns the station, which operates at 96.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts and is licensed in Miami, Florida. Its studios and transmitter are located separately in Miami Gardens.
96.3 before 1985
WGBS-FM was on 96.3 by 1948.
In the early 1970s, the 96.3 signal was home to a Top 40 CHR station, known as 96 WMYQ (the successor to WGBS-FM, then WJHR), which became 96X (and a call letter change to WMJX) on October 1, 1975. The station briefly changed to an all-disco format in February 1979 (Disco 96), but returned to its prior Top 40 format in November 1980.
The station's license was revoked by the Federal Communications Commission due to the station presenting a series of fraudulent contests during its days as WMYQ and then-owners Charter Broadcasting signed off the station on February 15, 1981. After a statement by vice-president and general manager Bob Allen, WMJX signed off with "The Long And Winding Road" by the Beatles. After the song, the last DJ on 96X, Stuart Elliott, could audibly be heard trying to hold back his tears as he spoke the final words: "96X is WMJX Miami." The station was then taken off the air.
A new license and a power station is born (1985-present)
On June 15, 1985, 96.3 MHz was reactivated by Wodlinger Broadcasting as a non-stop Top 40 countdown station (The Super 16) under the same 96X name, this time with the call letters WCJX. The Program Director was , who evolved the station to a more CHUrban format. However, after the station was sold in May 1986 to Beasley-Reed Broadcasting, they would change format on August 4, 1986 at 7 a.m., when the station flipped to a Dance Top 40 format under the name "Power 96, Miami's Fresh New Music Mix" (with a change in call letters to WPOW), playing mostly dance, freestyle, new jack swing, and early hip hop. Power 96 embraced the regionally blossoming Miami bass sound as well, mixing it into their playlist. The name Power 96 was the idea of new owner/General Manager Gregory Reed, because he felt that 96.5 has so much energy, so much music, and so much fun, that it somehow unleashes the true but raw pure energetic hit music power within the city of Miami, henceforth he christened it the official nickname of this new station and a new format as Power 96.
By Winter 1987, WPOW had become the top station for its format in Miami, a position that WPOW continues to hold.
The founding general manager, Greg Reed, was originally a part-owner of Beasley-Reed Broadcasting. Later Reed sold his share of the station to Beasley Broadcast Group, but remained as Vice-President and General manager. The original programming team - Program Director Bill Tanner, Music Director Colleen Cassidy and consultant Jerry Clifton, continue to consult Power 96.
Today, Power Jocks broadcasting on Power 96 include The Power 96 Morning Show hosted by JP, The Big Lip, and Lucy Lopez. After that, WPOW presents midday host William Calder, afternoon hostess Afrika Perry, evening hostess Ya Chica Ivy Power, and late night host Cato K.
Past Power Jocks broadcasting throughout the 1980s, the 1990s, & the 2000s on Power 96 were Bonita "Bo The Party Animal" Griffin, as well as Donnie "Cox On The Radio" Cox, Cramer Haas, Mindy Frumkes, Bill "Tanner In The Morning" Tanner, Mark Moseley, Dimas Martinez (who would go on to work at WKTU New York in 1998), Dennis Reese, Kim "The Kid" Curry, Tony The Tiger (who became PD after Kid Curry), Joe Nasty (who would go to KPWR, another "Power"-branded station in Los Angeles, a year later), Robert W. Walker, Gino Latino, E.Z Street, Billy "DJ Ballistic" Miller, Alonzo "DJ Little Laz" Prieto, Eric Ward, Baby Bree, and in the early days, former I-95/WINZ-FM music director Marcus "Mark In The Dark" Shands, who also served as Power 96's assistant program director.
In an era where several of its competitors carry mostly syndicated programming, WPOW continues broadcasting live from its studios with a mix of Dance, urban, hip-hop and pop rhythmic music. Spanish-language content was later added to cater to the station's Latin and Spanish audience. This stemmed from Ivy Queen's 2003 hit "Quiero Bailar" (I Want To Dance) becoming the first fully Spanish-language song to reach #1 on a Rhythmic Top 40 station. WPOW's audience continues to strive to cater to all elements of its Miami audience - Hispanic, Caucasian and African-American. However, after the ownership change, the station began shifting to a Top 40/CHR direction with the increasing amount of Pop product, resulting in Mediabase moving the station to its Top 40/CHR panel in November 2015. The station continued to report to Nielsen BDS' Rhythmic chart until they were moved to the Mainstream Top 40/CHR panel in June 2016.
On October 2, 2014, Beasley Broadcast Group announced that it would trade 5 radio stations located in Miami (including WPOW) and Philadelphia to CBS Radio in exchange for 14 stations located in Tampa, Charlotte and Philadelphia. The swap was completed on December 1, 2014.
WPOW is currently managed by CBS Radio's Miami market manager Steve Swenson. The present VP of Programming is Rob Morris. Previous program directors included Kim "The Kid" Curry, Frank Walsh, Tony The Tiger, Tom Calococci, Jill Strada and Pio Ferro. Will Calder also currently holds the title of assistant program director.