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|City||Point Pleasant, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||Ocean County/Monmouth County, New Jersey|
|Branding||95.9 The Rat|
|Slogan||The Rat Rocks!|
(also on HD Radio)
|Translator(s)||107.9 W300AO (Manahawkin) via WJRZ-HD2|
|Repeater(s)||100.1 MHz WJRZ-HD2|
|First air date||October 4, 1968 (as WADB)|
|ERP||4,000 watts (analog)|
400 watts (digital)
|HAAT||73 meters (240 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W RAT (Station uses a rat as its mascot.)|
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group |
(Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WJRZ-FM, WMTR, WDHA-FM, WCTC, WMGQ|
WRAT (95.9 MHz, "95.9 The Rat") is a commercial FM radio station licensed Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group through licensee Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC. It airs an active rock radio format. The studios and offices are located on Main Street at 18th Avenue in the Borough of Lake Como, New Jersey, while its transmitter is located behind the studios at ( ).
WRAT has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 4,000 watts analog and 400 watts digital. It broadcasts in the HD Radio hybrid format. The station's programming is simulcast on the HD2 subchannel of sister station WJRZ-FM, which feeds FM translator W300AO in Manahawkin, New Jersey, on 107.9 MHz. WRAT in turn, carries WJRZ-FM's programming on its own HD2 subchannel.
Beautiful Music WADB
On October 4, 1968, the station first signed on the air as WADB. It was a beautiful music station, owned by Pleasant Broadcasters, named after the city of license, Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The station played quarter hour sweeps of instrumental cover versions of popular songs and Broadway showtunes. The studios were on F Street in South Belmar. (The neighborhood is now known as Lake Como.) The station's call sign used the initials of its founder, Adamant Brown and his wife Dorothy.
WADB made use of early automation equipment for radio stations. Large carousels loaded with broadcast-spec tape cartridges were used for the majority of advertising messages. Large reels of taped music with cues to play the commercials allowed the station to run with minimal involvement from the staff. An SMC digital programmer controlled the operation. The station's easy listening format quickly proved popular in its coverage area of Southern Monmouth and Northern Ocean Counties, a region of New Jersey with a high percentage of well-off retirees, attracted to the beach and boating lifestyle.
Over time, more soft vocals were added to the playlist to the point where the station was 50% vocal and 50% instrumental in its later years. The easy format lasted nearly three decades, but over time, the nationwide audience for the format began to age, while advertisers usually sought younger listeners. Once Brown decided to sell the station, its days as a beautiful music outlet were numbered.
Rock Music WRAT
A group of investors, known as the New Jersey Broadcast Partners, acquired the station in 1996. After a Labor Day Weekend stunt during which the song "Rat in the Kitchen" by UB40 was aired continuously, WADB flipped to an active rock format on Labor Day Monday, 1996. The call letters switched to WRAT. The first song was AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock." The station quickly gained a loyal following, filling a void in the Monmouth/Ocean radio market, by providing a rock format which Jersey Shore listeners could previously only hear via stations broadcasting from New York City and Philadelphia.
WRAT's marketing efforts have been geared toward the target audience of young men. The station gained some notoriety in the late 1990s with a roadside billboard advertising campaign to promote its playing of nine songs in a row. The billboard photograph was captioned "WRAT 9 in a Row", and featured five large-breasted women in bikinis standing next to each other, cropped so that only their chests were visible, and also cropped on the side so that only half of the last women was visible... thus, nine breasts in a row. In early 2010, a billboard campaign was turned down by the managing authorities of a local outdoor advertising company.
Greater Media Ownership
In 2001, the station was acquired by Greater Media, a large national owner with its headquarters in New Jersey. In September 2006, WRAT celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Some of the station's success has been due to the longevity of the air staff. Many of the DJs who began on the station in 1996 stayed with the station for a decade or more.
Throughout the station's history, its biggest problem has been a weak Class A signal. Though the station added new transmitters in the summer of 2005 that improved the signal, the station still suffers significant interference in southern and central Ocean County due to adjacent-channel interference from WBEN-FM at 95.7 and WTTH at 96.1. WRAT was among the first radio stations in the market to carry its radio broadcasts over its internet website. The station started streaming to allow listeners in fringe areas to get the station on-line.
On March 9, 2014, WRAT extended its coverage to include southern and central Ocean County by adding a 250-watt FM translator at 107.9 FM. W300AO transmits from a 300-foot tower on Beach Avenue in Manahawkin, New Jersey. The 107.9 signal covers Long Beach Island, Tuckerton, Beach Haven, Barnegat and Manahawkin. Its coverage is limited to the west by co-channel 107.9 WPPZ in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
On July 19, 2016, Beasley Media Group announced it would acquire Greater Media and its 21 stations (including WRAT) for $240 million. It was also at this time WRAT joined the iHeartRadio streaming service.
- "Hybrid IBOC Digital Operation [WRAT]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. July 27, 2010. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1970 page B-130
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1997 page B-288
- "Billboard". 1996-09-14.
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2010 page D-363
- Beasley Acquires Greater Media
- Beasley Closes on Greater Media Purchase; Makes Multiple Staff Moves
- Official website of WRAT
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRAT
- Radio-Locator information on WRAT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRAT