About WJBR Radio
WJBR-FM 99.5 was founded in 1956 by a father and son team of John B. Reynolds, Sr., and John B. Reynolds, Jr. John, Sr. was co-owner of a local service station. It was John, Jr. that had a history in broadcasting and music, hosted a local TV dance program (before American Bandstand), and was a recording pianist in the late 1940s. John Sr. began the radio station because John Jr. was a strong believer in the future of FM.
The station operated with only five employees for the first few years. John Sr. did some selling and John Jr. operated as General Manager, and Program Director and voiced many of the commercials. The other employees were booth announcers who also played the music.
The first offices, studios, and transmitter site for WJBR-FM were on Ebright Road in North Wilmington. The tower is located at the highest elevation in the state, approximately 400 feet above sea level, with the building rising another 317 feet further. Offices and studios were moved to Philadelphia Pike in Claymont, in 1993, although transmitting equipment and tower remained at Ebright Road. In 2000, the studio and offices simply moved further along Philadelphia Pike and now reside in Bellefonte.
WJBR-FM began broadcasting as a classical and light music format. Coining the phrase “Just Beautiful Radio”, the ‘JBR’ actually stands for the founder's initials. By 1985 Beautiful Music was a fading format and new owners, CRB Broadcasting, believed the Adult Contemporary format would produce the audience makeup needed to maximize profit potential. They created “Bright 99-5”, which was renamed “Mix 99-5” approximately three years later. The “Mix” handle was phased out in 1993 and the station returned to identifying itself simply by the call letters that have become legendary in the Mid-Atlantic, 99.5/WJBR-FM. Currently, the station uses the slogan “99.5 WJBR, The 80s to Now” to identify its format. Many listeners also know WJBR-FM as the station that plays “The Most Music For Your Workday”.
WJBR-FM has also been a pioneer technically, recognized as one of the first to broadcast a 24-hour stereo format in the late ’50s, and the first station to broadcast an all-CD. The format in the late ’80s. WJBR used the slogan “The Nation’s Pioneer FM Stereo Station” for years because it was indeed THE VERY FIRST station in the country to broadcast in stereo under an experimental license assignment from the FCC, which wanted to test this new-fangled thing called stereo before they approved it universally. That was 1957. With FCC adoption of stereo as a standard technology for the industry, ‘JBR then went 24 hours in stereo routinely. At about that same time, 99.5 switched from Classical to Beautiful Music. Interestingly, the “Just Beautiful Radio” slogan wasn’t used until the late 70s.
John Jr. sold the stations in 1985, several years after his father passed away. The new owner, CRB Broadcasting, was a trio of men using their initials to name the company. The “B” in CRB belonged to Carter Burden, an heir to Commodore Vanderbilt’s family. CRB started to aggressively seek acquisitions in other markets such as Allentown, Pa., White Plains, NY, Norwalk, Connecticut, Charlotte, N.C., Huntington, W.VA, and Port St. Lucie, FL. These stations had a variety of formats from Rock to Country to Adult Contemporary, depending upon each market’s needs. CRB eventually grew to about 20 stations before being sold and renamed Commodore Media (ironically, soon afterward, the “Commodore” was bought out).
Progressive sales led to an eventual purchase by Capstar Broadcasting, of which Atlantic Star was a subsidiary. In September 1997, due to FCC restrictions, WJBR-FM was once again sold. In March 2000, WJBR-FM was sold to NextMedia Group. NextMedia is an out-of-home media company that owns and operates radio stations and outdoor advertising properties in mid-size markets throughout the United States.
Early personalities associated with the station include local celebrities: Del Parks, Ed Hunt, and Howard Gesner, all three during the “Beautiful Music” years. Doug Weldon was the Morning show host and Operations Director from 1985 to 1993 when Michael Waite joined WJBR-FM as Morning Show Host and Program Director. In 2003, Jane Bartsch was named Vice President and General Manager.
WJBR was purchased by Beasley Media Group on February 1, 2007. Beasley Media Group (BMG) is a company that owns 47 other radio stations across the country in markets like Tampa, Las Vegas, and Charlotte. The Beasley headquarters are located in Naples, Florida.
WJBR-FM remains a full-service adult contemporary station and is a perennial rating leader with adults 25-54 and women 25-54.