WPLJ/95.5 FM, the once-powerful station that brought rock and pop to the metropolitan area for 48 years through its famous DJs, including Jim Kerr, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill, will shut down permanently Friday, and be replaced by K-LOVE, a contemporary Christian music broadcaster, starting at 7 p.m.
Hosts from throughout the station’s storied history have returned to pay tribute, reminiscing about how it introduced artists from Led Zeppelin to Elvis Costello to broader audiences.
“It’s been a tough thing to understand,” WPLJ morning drive time host Jayde Donovan said when the decision was announced. “PLJ is such a legendary station. … That it’s ending this way is sad.”
WPLJ parent company Cumulus sold it and five other stations to Educational Media Foundation in February for $103.5 million, which the company plans to use to repay debt and fund other acquisitions. Educational Media Foundation president Alan Mason said the company was thrilled to purchase the stations “and for the opportunity to continue to bring people closer to Jesus.”
“Our mission,” Mason said in a statement, “is to create compelling media that inspires and encourages listeners to have a meaningful relationship with Christ.”
Kerr, who is now Q104.3's morning drive-time host, told Billboard that part of his former station’s success was in connecting fans of established rock artists to new ones and vice versa. “It was possible to really like Elvis Costello and really like Heart,” Kerr said. “You didn't have to hate something in order to like something else. There was no reason why you couldn't play Devo and Supertramp on the same station. … Radio is still alive, and it's going to stay alive for a long time because it's a very special and personal medium.”