|City of license||Detroit, Michigan|
|Broadcast area||Metro Detroit|
|Branding||101 WRIF: The RIFF|
|Slogan||Everything That Rocks!|
101.1 HD-2: RIFF2
|First air date||February 14, 1971|
RIFF2: Local rock/hip-hop
|Callsign meaning||W-"guitar RIFf"
|Former callsigns||1948-1971: WXYZ-FM|
|Affiliations||United Stations Radio Networks|
|Owner||Greater Media, Inc.
(Greater Boston Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WCSX, WMGC-FM|
WRIF (101.1 FM) — branded 101 WRIF: The RIFF — is a commercial active rock radio station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate in Detroit, Michigan serving surrounding Metro Detroit. The station is currently owned by Greater Boston Radio, Inc. WRIF is a grandfathered Class B station with a signal equivalent to 92,000 watts at 500 ft. As such, the signal can be heard as far North as Lexington, MI http://en.wikipedia.orgLexington,_Michigan ; Jackson; Chatham-Kent and Lambton County, Ontario; North Baltimore, Ohio; and occasionally as far south as Delaware, Ohio. The station transmitter is located in the Detroit suburb of Southfield near the intersection of Ten Mile and Northwestern Highway. WRIF transmits its signal from the same tower as WXYZ-TV Channel 7.
101.1 FM signed on in 1948 as WXYZ-FM Detroit. For most of the station's early years, the station was simply a simulcast of WXYZ AM 1270 (now WXYT AM). That changed in 1966 when the FCC decreed separate programming for at least half of the broadcast day on FM stations that had previously been simulcasts of their AM sisters. WXYZ-FM separated programming and aired first a MOR/adult standards format, then later went to a rock-based Top 40 approach called "Boss 101," which featured mostly harder rock hits with little to no pop or soul product. Then in 1970, the station's then-owner, ABC made WXYZ-FM an affiliate of the "Love" network, a nationally syndicated underground rock format from ABC that predated today's satellite-fed radio formats (another "Love" affiliate was sister WLS-FM in Chicago). WXYZ-FM hired at least one local jock for this format - Arthur Penhallow.
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On February 14, 1971, the station changed its call letters to WRIF. ABC had originally applied for WDAI (for Detroit Auto Industry) for WXYZ-FM but the FCC assigned those to WLS-FM instead. The WRIF calls were originally requested for WABC-FM in New York.
WRIF was a pioneer in the album-oriented rock format, utilizing many elements of progressive rock radio while maintaining a tight, Top-40 style play list. Other ABC stations with a similar sound included WPLJ in New York and WDVE in Pittsburgh. WRIF was not a pure rocker in its early years - you could hear such artists as KC & The Sunshine Band and the Bee Gees alongside Alice Cooper, Traffic, and the Allman Brothers. After 1975, WRIF dropped most of the pop artists to concentrate on rock, but they would play a pop or disco song if it were extremely popular. "Stayin' Alive," for example, got many spins on WRIF in 1977-78.
The 1980s was probably the decade that saw the most change in the Detroit radio dial. Among other changes a new rocker was installed at 98.7, WLLZ "Detroits Wheels" and it proved so popular that it took out two other Detroit rock stations. 106.7 WWWW went country in 1980, and WABX as we knew it was gone in 1983 when it switched to a CHR format called "Hot Rock" and then went adult contemporary as WCLS. But WRIF soldiered on, even though it was sold twice in the 1980s and its rock format was on the chopping block more than once (rumors persisted in the late '80s that the station was to switch to an urban contemporary format, especially after the debut of classic rock WCSX in 1987, but it did not). In May 2006, WRIF outlasted yet another rock station but with a twist. 106.7 "The Drive" switched to country (this time as "106.7 The Fox") just as it did back in 1980 when it was known as "W4".
ABC continued to own WRIF until its merger with Capital Cities Communications in 1986. At that time, the station was spun off to Silver Star Communications. The next year, WRIF was sold to Great American Broadcasting (the former Taft Television and Radio, Inc.) Great American Broadcasting declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1993 and subsequently reorganized as Citicasters Communications.
In the early 1990s, the FCC began to permit one entity to own two stations on the same band in the same market for the first time. As a result, in 1994, Greater Media, who already owned Detroit's classic rocker 94.7 WCSX, purchased WRIF from Citicasters. They own the station to this day.
The 1980s saw the Morning Crew—Jim Johnson ("JJ") and Dick The Bruiser (AKA George Baier)—in their prime, spoofing songs with hits such as "96 Beers," "Beer Frame," "I Can't Drive .25," and "Bars," and lampooning Meet the Press with "Meet the Bruiser." Despite WRIF's playing of disco songs, JJ and the Morning Crew created DREAD: Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco. Johnson would go on to along tenure co-hosting a popular morning show on sister station WCSX.
In 1991, WRIF hired a new morning team from Phoenix, AZ - Drew & Zip. Zip was gone by 1994 and was replaced by local personality Mike Clark. Drew and Mike went on to become the #1 rated morning show in Detroit. In September 2007 Drew Lane left WRIF for an indefinite length of time to take care of his girlfriend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In April 2008, it was announced that Drew would not be returning to WRIF. The show was then renamed "Mike In The Morning" and was hosted by Clark, Marc Fellhauer, and features Trudi Daniels with the "WRIF Rock & Roll Radio News," and Jamie Samuelsen reporting the local sports. On July 13, 2009 Drew Lane returned to the morning airwaves of WRIF to once again team up with Mike Clark. The show's name is once again "Drew and Mike In The Morning," sometimes referred to as "The Drew and Mike Show," but is mostly just shortend to "Drew and Mike." Lane now does sports news for the show, as well. Fellhauer, Daniels, and Mike Wolters still remain with the show. In May 2013, it was announced that WRIF had not renewed the contract for Drew and Mike in the Morning, with the final Drew and Mike show airing on Friday, May 17, 2013.
In the November 2010 PPM rating release, WRIF ranks as the #11 (PPM rated) radio station in the Detroit market. WRIF's format, according to Arbitron, is Active Rock, and includes a wide variety of modern rock and classic hard rock.
In 2007, the station was named Active Rock station of the year in a top 25 market award by Radio & Records magazine. Other nominees included WIYY in Baltimore, WAAF in Boston, KBPI in Denver, WMMR in Philadelphia, and KISW in Seattle.
WRIF's HD Radio multicast signal is called "RIFF2" and features a modern spin on the old progressive-rock format, with a mixture of underground alternative rock and metal and local Detroit artists.
The current lineup (as of July 13, 2009) Starting out the day on the morning drive is Drew and Mike with Drew Lane, Mike Clark, Trudi Daniels, Mike Wolters and Mark Fellhauer. During the workday it's Anne Carlini. On the ride home it's Meltdown and "Rock Girl" Juliet with three "Rock Girl Updates" at 2:00, 5:00 and 8:00 featuring daily entertainment and rock news. Wrapping up the day is Screamin Scott Randall on nights and Allen "Slayer" Beck on overnights.
Weekends/Fill-ins include Ron Crichton, Jade Springart, James "Hightower" Siffin, Steve Black, and Lynn Koon.
The syndicated radio show Chop Shop originates from WRIF and airs on Sunday mornings. Other shows that air on WRIF during the weekend include the nationally syndicated Dee Snyder-hosted The House of Hair, The sideshow countdown hosted by Nikki Sixx and Kerri Kasem it comes on Sunday nights 9:00-11:00, and Nightcall, hosted by Peter Werbe and Juline Jordan. Nightcall can be heard live on Sunday nights and are streamed on WRIF's website.
WRIF's Program Director is Mark Pennington.
The WRIF stickers are almost as iconic as the station itself. The stickers are given out at many of the station's sponsored events. Many are unique to that event. Stickers have been made for bands including: Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and OZZFEST, Mötley Crüe, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Disturbed, YES, Journey, KISS, Santana, REO Speedwagon, Triumph, U2, Huey Lewis and the News, Loverboy, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Korn, Linkin Park, Velvet Revolver, The Romantics and David Bowie. WRIF has also made stickers for appearances by comedians George Carlin & Rodney Dangerfield and the rock festival Lollapalooza. Stickers have also been made for non-concert events such as the Drew and Mike radio show, Harleyfest, former DJ Arthur Penhallow's famous saying, "BABY!", as well as the major Detroit sports teams - the Detroit Pistons, Tigers, Red Wings, and Lions. Since nearly all of them are the same basic size and design (an oval with flat top and bottom with the same size border ring), they are highly collectable. Since 1971 over 700 different stickers have been made.
Due to complaints of vandalism, WRIF has switched from stickers to window clings.
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