WGAR-FM logo.png
Broadcast area
Frequency99.5 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding99.5 WGAR
FormatCountry music
SubchannelsHD2: The Breeze (Soft adult contemporary)
First air date
August 1952
(69 years ago)
Former call signs
  • WGAR-FM (1952–70)
    WNCR (1970–75)
  • WKSW (1975–84)
Call sign meaning
"George A. Richards", founder of WGAR (1220 AM), now WHKW
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID47740
ERP50,000 watts
HAAT152 meters (499 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
41°22′18.00″N 81°43′4.00″W / 41.3716667°N 81.7177778°W / 41.3716667; -81.7177778
Translator(s)101.1 W266CJ (Beachwood)
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via iHeartRadio)

WGAR-FM (99.5 FM) is a commercial radio station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, and features a country music format. Owned by iHeartMedia, the station serves Greater Cleveland and surrounding Northeast Ohio as the local affiliate for The Bobby Bones Show. WGAR-FM's studios are located in the Cleveland suburb of Independence and the transmitter is in nearby Parma. Along with a standard analog transmission, WGAR-FM broadcasts over two HD Radio channels,[1] and is available online via iHeartRadio.


WGAR-FM (1952–70)

WGAR-FM began broadcasting in August 1952, simulcasting the programming of its AM sister station, WGAR (1220 AM), as was the case for most FM stations at the time. Hours of operation were very limited, usually at the bare minimum of two hours per week.[2]


In 1970, WGAR-FM underwent several massive changes. It started broadcasting in stereo that April 1, and became WNCR (which stood for either Nationwide Communications Radio or North Coast Rock) on July 2.[3] The original air staff was Mitch Michaels-mornings, Chris Gray-midday, Steve Scott-afternoons, Ginger-evenings and David Elmore-overnight. By mid September, all of the air staff, at odds with management about the huge amount of commercials and attempts to commercialize the station sound, went on strike. All were fired after a midnight meeting with the GM Jack Thayer, mediated by WGAR morning man Don Imus. Ginger went to Columbus, then to WMMS. Michaels followed him in a short time later and then moved to Chicago. This ushered in the Second Era of WNCR. While a considerable success at first, conflicts between management and staff prompted key members to jump over to WMMS.


On January 1, 1973, WNCR gave up the progressive rock format and changed to an automated country format. In 1975, the format was changed to beautiful music/easy listening using Jim Schulke's format. A few months later, the call letters changed to WKSW and the station's slogan became, "WKSW, FM 100. All music. All the time." For a brief period, no local announcers were used. Instead, recordings of Philadelphia announcer Nelson Hobdell were used for all station breaks. Eventually, WKSW went to all local personalities, including David Mark (who had the highest ratings the station ever achieved), Tom Mart, Jim Field and Ted Lux. With the lone exception of David Mark, whose ratings in Cleveland were bested only by Cleveland Indians baseball on WWWE and rock music on WMMS, the station was never quite able to equal or better the ratings at competitors WQAL and WDOK, and the format was switched back to country by 1980.

WGAR-FM (1984–present)

On July 15, 1984, it switched its calls to WGAR-FM. It has continued its country music format since then. The country music programming was simulcast on the AM outlet for a time during 1986 before WGAR (AM) was sold off and became WKNR (1220 AM).

WGAR-FM was sold to Jacor Communications in 1997 as part of a $620 million purchase of Nationwide Communications and its 17 stations by Jacor. In May 1999, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) completed its $6.5 billion purchase of Jacor and its 454 stations, including WGAR-FM.

From 1992–2010, the WGAR-FM morning show starred longtime personality Jim Mantel, along with various sidekicks and co-hosts through the years. In addition to the morning show, the on-air staff included the noted Marconi Award winning Chuck Collier, whose broadcast career extended over four decades in Cleveland between radio stations WGAR-FM (1986–2011), WGAR (AM) (1970–90), and WMJI. In March 2009, Chuck Collier was inducted into the Country Radio Hall Of Fame in Nashville. Collier was the music director/afternoon host until his death on September 22, 2011 due to a heart attack.[4]

FM translators

Broadcast translators for WGAR-FM
Callsign Frequency City of license Facility ID ERP HAAT Class Transmitter coordinates
W266CJ 101.1 MHz Beachwood 144180 250 watts 0 meters D 41°26′32.00″N 81°29′29.00″W / 41.4422222°N 81.4913889°W / 41.4422222; -81.4913889

Current programming

Local WGAR-FM personalities include Steve Wazz and Carletta Blake (mornings) and LeeAnn Sommers (afternoon drive). The midday and weekend music shifts are either voice-tracked out-of-market specifically for WGAR-FM or programmed via Premium Choice.

Syndicated programming includes The Bobby Bones Show evenings and After MidNite with Granger Smith overnights - both via Premiere Networks,[5][6]

The HD2 digital subchannel broadcasts a Soft AC format under the brand "The Breeze".[7][8]


  1. ^ "HD Radio Guide for Cleveland WGAR - HD Radio.com". Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  2. ^ WebMasters, Mike Olszewski (March 4, 2002). "Cleveland, Ohio Broadcast Radio Archives Project". Cleve-radio.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  3. ^ WebMasters, Mike Olszewski (March 4, 2002). "Cleveland, Ohio Broadcast Radio Archives Project". Cleve-radio.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  4. ^ Collier passes away - WTAM.com
  5. ^ "99.5 WGAR Live On-Air Schedule - CMT Cody Alan, LeeAnn and Wazz & more". 99.5 WGAR. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  6. ^ "CMT After MidNite, All Access, and Radio Live with Cody Alan Radio Stations". Aftermidnite.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Washington, Julie E. (May 16, 2009). "Broadcast blues: Clear Channel does some clear-cutting of on-air radio talent". The Plain Dealer. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. p. E1 - Arts & Life. Clear Channel... is rolling out Premium Choice, a menu of national formats chosen by headquarters. There is no local programming on Premium Choice stations except for commercials...
    • "Corrections and Clarifications". The Plain Dealer. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. August 1, 2009. The Cleveland Clear Channel stations using the Premium Choice programming package are WAKS, WGAR, WMJI and WMMS. Each station uses it overnight on weekdays, and for selected hours on weekends.
  8. ^ "Local HD Radio Stations". HD Radio. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
FM translators