|Broadcast area||Metro Detroit |
|Frequency||105.9 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Subchannels||HD2: Detroit Praise Network (Urban gospel)|
|WCSX, WMGC-FM, WRIF|
First air date
|May 26, 1960|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|We're Detroit, Michigan's Kiss-FM|
|HAAT||221 meters (725 ft)|
|Repeater(s)||HD2: 105.1 WMGC-HD2 (Detroit)|
Listen Live (HD2)
WDMK; (105.9 FM, "105.9 Kiss-FM") is a radio station in Detroit, Michigan. Owned by Beasley Broadcast Group, it broadcasts an urban adult contemporary format.
The station broadcasts from an antenna 725 feet (221 m) 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 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. WCHD distinguished itself from its R&B-formatted sister station, WCHB, Detroit's first Black-owned-and-operated radio station (then at 1440 AM before moving to 1200 AM, now at 1340 AM), founded by Dr. Haley Bell and Dr. Wendell Cox (hence the call letters WCHB), by playing Jazz. Early jazz announcers on WCHD included Ken Bradley, Jo Ray, and Ed Love (who continues to host a weekend jazz program on public radio station WDET).
On March 18, 1974, WCHD changed its call letters to WJZZ to emphasize its musical format. The station played a mix of traditional and contemporary jazz along with some soft R&B artists such as Sade and Anita Baker, becoming a precursor of the format later known as smooth jazz. During the 1980s and early 1990s, WJZZ was one of the nation's most successful commercial jazz outlets and a reporter to Radio and Records magazine's Jazz and later NAC/Contemporary Jazz airplay panels. By this time, WJZZ and WCHB were owned by Bell Broadcasting. WJZZ was 1 out of the 4 radio stations in the Barden, MI area (along with WMXD, WMUZ and WRIF) that was used on Barden Cablevision's character generated line-up throughout the 1980s and 1990s (which would later become Comcast). The station is best known for playing smooth jazz and soul jazz songs.
By 1996, WJZZ had gained a competitor in the former rocker WLLZ, which had changed format to Smooth Jazz as WVMV "V98.7" 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.
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 a.m., Radio One made a major change in its Detroit cluster. The company moved the "Old School" rhythmic oldies format of WDMK (102.7 FM) 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 would add the show for afternoons.
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.
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 WDKL). 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. In April 2018, after a four-year hiatus, WDMK returned to the Tom Joyner Morning Show after the cancellation of Mason and CoCo in the Morning. Mason moved to the midday slot, hosting the only locally originating weekday daytime airshift. WDMK aired syndicated programming (Joyner, Hughley, and "Love and R&B" evenings with recording artist Al B. Sure!) in all other dayparts except overnights, which were locally automated. Joyner retired in December 2019, with Mason being moved back to the morning slot hosting "Mason & Starr" with Angie Starr.
On June 10, 2019, Beasley Broadcast Group announced that it would acquire WDMK and the three Detroit Praise Network translators for $13.5 million. The purchase will make the station a sister to Beasley's classic hip-hop outlet WMGC-FM. The stations will continue to carry Urban One's syndicated programming under an agreement with the broadcaster. The sale closed on September 4, 2019. WDMK has retained its Urban AC format since the sale, but with a few tweaks during locally originating programming, with many hip-hop titles removed to avoid overlap with WMGC and a greater emphasis on R&B hits and "slow jams" from the 1980s and 1990s.
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, and began airing a simulcast of then-sister station WCHB AM 1200, used to feed translator 99.9 W260CB. The HD2 sidechannel has continued to feed the 99.9 translator since WCHB-AM was sold to Crawford Broadcasting.
In May 2018, Urban One announced that they would be selling then-sister WPZR to the Educational Media Foundation, who would flip the station to their K-Love contemporary Christian network. In return, EMF would sell three translators to Urban One. At that time, WDMK-HD2 dropped its "Soul 99.9" urban oldies format and began simulcasting WPZR. On August 9, 2018, the urban gospel format from WPZR officially moved to WDMK-HD2 and rebranded as Detroit Praise Network, which is simulcast on translators W228CJ 93.5 FM Detroit, W228CU 93.5 FM Riverview, and W252BX 98.3 FM Detroit, as well as W260CB. W228CU flipped to sports on August 30, 2021.