Broadcast areaWashington Metropolitan Area
Frequency105.9 MHz
Branding105.9 FM WMAL
FormatConservative talk radio
NetworkFox News Radio
AffiliationsCBS News Radio
Westwood One
First air date
December 25, 1958; 65 years ago (1958-12-25)
Former call signs
WBVA (1959–60)
WWCN (1960)
WBVA (1960–61)
WXRA (1961–80)
WVKX (1980–81)
WPKX-FM (1981–86)
WCXR-FM (1986–94)
WJZW (1994–2009)
WVRX (2009–11)[1]
Call sign meaning
Martin A. Leese, founder of WMAL (630 AM), now WSBN
Technical information
Facility ID70037
ERPHorizontal: 28,000 watts
Vertical: 25,000 watts
HAAT198 meters (650 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
38°52′28.4″N 77°13′22.9″W / 38.874556°N 77.223028°W / 38.874556; -77.223028

WMAL-FM (105.9 MHz) – branded 105.9 FM WMAL – is a radio station licensed to Woodbridge, Virginia, serving the Washington, D.C. Metro area. WMAL-FM airs a talk radio format and is owned and operated by Cumulus Media.[2] The station's studios are located at 4400 Jenifer Street NW in Washington, two blocks from the city's border with Maryland, and the transmitter site is in Falls Church, Virginia, off Lee Highway. WMAL-FM is co-owned with sports radio station WSBN at 630 kHz; the WMAL call sign and talk format originated on that station, and the two stations simulcast from 2011 to 2019.


Weekday mornings on WMAL-FM start with O'Connor & Company with Larry O'Connor. At 9 a.m., Chris Plante hosts a nationally syndicated show, based at WMAL-FM. Vince Coglianese is heard in afternoon drive time. The rest of the schedule features nationally syndicated programs: The Dan Bongino Show, The Mark Levin Show, The Ben Shapiro Show, CBS Eye on the World with John Batchelor and Red Eye Radio.

Weekends feature shows on money, health, real estate and gardening, many of which are paid brokered programming, along with repeats of weekday shows. Most weekday hours feature local news at the beginning of each hour. Fox News Radio is carried at the beginning of most hours during nights and weekends.


Early years

Before the current station was founded, an earlier station, called WHIP, existed on 105.9 FM in the Washington area. The station was on the air between 1948 and 1950 and licensed to Silver Spring, Maryland; therefore it is unrelated to the current station, which is licensed to Woodbridge.[3][4][5] The call sign WMAL-FM was also used in the Washington market on the 107.3 MHz facility, known today as WLVW, from 1948 through 1977.

On December 25, 1958, the station that would become today's WMAL-FM first signed on as WBVA.[6] After several callsign changes, this station became known as WXRA, and during most of its early history it ran a mix of country and Southern gospel music daily from 6 a.m. until midnight. Beginning in September 1967 it simulcasted with WPIK, a co-owned station on 730 AM. Although WXRA was run from the same Alexandria studios as WPIK, WXRA's city of license has always been Woodbridge.

Country music and classic rock (1967–1993)

On December 31, 1967, WXRA began to run a full-time country format in response to listener requests.[7][8] The station was assigned the call sign WVKX on September 9, 1980, followed by WPKX-FM on December 9, 1981. It kept the country format but began calling itself "Kix 106". On January 27, 1986, the station changed its call sign to WCXR-FM and instituted its first classic rock format, known as "Classic Rock 105.9".[9] The classic rock format, which was just beginning to take hold in 1986, was considered experimental and debuted to high interest and ratings before eventually falling to more normal levels.[10] The simulcast with 730 AM, now known as WCXR, was broken off around this time.

In 1989, WCXR's owners, the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation, sold ten stations including WCXR to Group W.[11] Just four years later, in mid-1993, Group W sold WCXR to Viacom. This fueled rumors of a format change. Viacom elected to keep the format but fired the station's entire air staff, with company officially taking control on November 1, 1993.[12][13]

Smooth Jazz 105.9 (1994–2008)

A new smooth jazz format, called "Smooth Jazz 105.9," debuted on September 30, 1994. This was spurred on, at least in part, by the format changes of WLTT (now WIAD) to classic rock and of WJZE (now WBIG-FM) to oldies.[14][15] The call letters became WJZW on October 17.

In February 1997, Viacom sold 10 stations, including WJZW, to Chancellor Broadcasting. To comply with FCC limits on the number of radio stations that can be owned by one company, Chancellor sold WJZW on April 14, 1997, to ABC Radio, which was part of the Walt Disney Company.[16] Citadel Broadcasting bought ABC Radio from Disney in 2007.

True Oldies 105.9 (2008–2009)

At 3:00 pm on February 29, 2008, after a brief statement was read thanking the staff and listeners of "Smooth Jazz 105.9", Citadel Broadcasting changed the format of WJZW to oldies. All on-air employees were fired as a part of the format shift.[17][18][19] The first song on the new format was "Respect" by Aretha Franklin. Initially, no local live on-air talent was utilized, with the station instead relying on a satellite delivered service, Scott Shannon's The True Oldies Channel.[20] Imus in the Morning was added as the new morning show.[21] However, the ratings for True Oldies were not satisfactory enough to justify continuing the format.

105.9 The Edge (2009–2011)

105.9 The Edge logo used from 2009–2011

On August 26, 2009, at 10 a.m., WJZW changed its format back to classic rock, this time as "105.9 The Edge".[22] The last song played on "True Oldies" was "Windy" by The Association, while the first song on "The Edge" was "Livin' on the Edge" by Aerosmith.[23] The format shift made 105.9 as the DC market's only classic rock station, though WBIG-FM broadcast a lighter "classic hits" format. On September 17, 2009, the station changed its call letters to WVRX. On July 7, 2010, WVRX added a local morning drive program with Washington/Baltimore radio veterans Kirk McEwen and Mike O'Meara called Kirk and Mike.[24]

WMAL-FM (2011–present)

Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.[25] Three days later, on September 19, 2011, at noon, the station flipped to a simulcast of co-owned talk station WMAL.[26] With a media market as concerned with news and politics as Washington, management believed the AM station's news/talk format would be strengthened by simulcasting on the powerful FM signal of 105.9. Additionally, simulcasting on FM filled in a significant gap in the AM station's nighttime coverage; WMAL must power down to 2,700 watts at sundown. The last songs on "105.9 The Edge" were "The Song Is Over" by the Who and "Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles.[27] The station filed a request to change its call sign to WMAL-FM, which became official on September 26, 2011.[28]

Former logo

On June 13, 2019, it was announced that WMAL would switch to ESPN Radio on July 1, 2019, leaving the news/talk format exclusive to WMAL-FM.[29][30]

In April 2020, WMAL took the #1 spot in the ratings for the first time since the fall of 1986, beating competitors WAMU and WTOP-FM, while achieving a 10% audience share. The figure counts WMAL's history on 630 AM, then its transfer to FM, not the ratings on 105.9 FM at the time.[31]


  1. ^ "FCC History Cards for WMAL-FM".
  2. ^ "WMAL Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  3. ^ Cosper, Alex. "Washington, DC-Baltimore Area Radio History". Playlist Research. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  4. ^ "DC Area FM Stations: 1939, 1948 and 1950". Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  5. ^ "U.S. FM Stations, Summer 1958". Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  6. ^ "Broadcasting Yearbook 1963 page B-194" (PDF). Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  7. ^ "WXRA-FM on Full". Billboard. January 7, 1967. p. 26. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  8. ^ "Mid-September WPIK's Country Switchover Date". Billboard. September 9, 1967. p. 39.
  9. ^ Holland, Bill (February 8, 1986). "Metroplex Outlet Tries 'Classic Rock'". Billboard. Vol. 98, no. 6. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  10. ^ Freeman, Kim (October 25, 1986). "Classic Rock Thrives in 18 Months". Billboard. Vol. 98, no. 43.
  11. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (April 21, 1989). "Westinghouse Sets Deal To Buy 10 Radio Stations". New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Yorke, Jeffrey (July 13, 1993). "WCXR Clings to Classic Rock". Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  13. ^ Yorke, Jeffrey (October 26, 1993). "Staff Wipeout at WCXR-FM". Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  14. ^ Yorke, Jeffrey (January 17, 1995). "WJZW-FM: A Jump for Jazz". Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  15. ^ "R&R edition of October 7, 1994" (PDF). Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  16. ^ Fisher, Marc (April 15, 1997). "3 More Area Radio Stations Change Hands; Sales Will Add To Conglomerate Trend". Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  17. ^ Venta, Lance (February 29, 2008). "WJZW Washington Becomes True Oldies 105.9". radioINSIGHT. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  18. ^ Fybush, Scott (March 3, 2008). "This Week's Bloodbath: Citadel". NorthEast Radio Watch.
  19. ^ Fisher, Marc (March 9, 2008). "Smooth Jazz: Gentle Into That Good Night?; As the Genre Declines, Stations Switch To New Formats in D.C. and Nationwide". Washington Post. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  20. ^ "Radio Stations". Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  21. ^ Farhi, Paul (March 1, 2008). "Strapped Owner Fires WMAL Host Chris Core". Washington Post. Retrieved March 1, 2008.
  22. ^ Venta, Lance (August 26, 2009). "True Oldies 105.9 Washington Becomes Classic Rock 105.9 the Edge". radioINSIGHT. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  23. ^ "dcrtv.com - News Archive January 2009 to December 2009". Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  24. ^ "105.9 The Edge – Classic Rock That Rocks!". theedge1059.com. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  25. ^ "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  26. ^ Venta, Lance (September 19, 2011). "WMAL Washington Adds FM Simulcast". radioINSIGHT. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  27. ^ "105.9 The Edge Becomes WMAL-FM - Format Change Archive". September 19, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  28. ^ Call Sign – QueryFCC (accessed September 20, 2011)
  29. ^ "ESPN and Cumulus will launch a new D.C. ESPN Radio station". Awful Announcing. June 14, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  30. ^ "WMAL-A-F/Washington, D.C. To Split Simulcast, AM To Flip To Sports As ESPN 630, The Sports Capitol". All Access. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  31. ^ "WMAL, home to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, takes No. 1 in liberal DC market". Washington Examiner. May 13, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2020.