Last updated
City Washington, D.C.
Broadcast area Metro D.C.
Frequency 96.3 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding96.3 WHUR
Slogan Sounds Like Washington
The Adult Mix
Format Urban adult contemporary
Owner Howard University
First air date
1939 (experimental)
March 31, 1948
Former call signs
W3XO (1939–1948)
WINX-FM (1948–1949)
WTOP-FM (1949–1971) [1]
Former frequencies
43.2 MHz (1939–1947)
44.7 MHz (1947)
92.9 MHz (1946–1948) [1]
Call sign meaning
Technical information
Facility ID 65707
Class B (Non-commercial)
ERP 16,500 watts
HAAT 244 meters
Transmitter coordinates
38°57′01″N77°04′46″W / 38.950389°N 77.079417°W / 38.950389; -77.079417 Coordinates: 38°57′01″N77°04′46″W / 38.950389°N 77.079417°W / 38.950389; -77.079417
Webcast Listen Live
Listen Live (HD2)
Listen live (HD3)
Listen Live (HD4)
Website whur.com
thequietstormstation.com (HD2)
whbc963hd3.com (HD3)
dcradio.gov (HD4)

WHUR-FM (96.3 FM) is an urban adult contemporary radio station that is licensed to Washington D.C., and serving the Metro D.C. area. It is owned and operated by Howard University, making it one of the few commercial radio stations in the United States to be owned by a college or university, as well as being the only independent, locally-owned station in the Washington, D.C. area. Also, the staff of the station mentors the students of the university's school of communications. The studios are located on campus in its Lower Quad portion, and the transmitter tower is based in the Tenleytown neighborhood. It is also co-owned with its television partner, WHUT-TV, one of D.C.'s PBS affiliates.


WHUR is also the home of the original Quiet Storm program, which longtime D.C. listeners have rated number one in the evening since 1976, and which spawned the namesake music genre that now airs on many radio stations across the United States. Jeff Brown hosts The Original Quiet Storm weeknights beginning at 7:30 p.m. In 2005, it also began broadcasting in IBOC digital radio, using the HD Radio system from iBiquity.


Station W3XO was signed on by radio engineering consultants C.M. Jansky and Stuart Bailey [2] under an experimental license in 1939, broadcasting on 43.2 MHz in the original FM band from Washington. [3] The station was purchased by the Washington Post in the summer of 1945, [4] after which it began to simulcast co-owned WINX (then-1340 AM). That same year the FM band was moved to the present-day 88-108 MHz; stations already broadcasting on the 42-50 MHz band were given three years to relocate. W3XO commenced simultaneous operations on 43.2 and 92.9 MHz in 1946. On March 31, 1948, W3XO moved to 96.3 MHz, converted to a standard license, and took the callsign WINX-FM. It had the slogan "Sounds like Washington" to reflect the station's local ownership, which is still in use today. In 1949, the Post sold WINX and purchased WTOP (1500 AM), and the FM station became WTOP-FM. [1] [5]

The Post later donated WTOP-FM to Howard University "to stimulate the intellectual and cultural life of the whole community and to train more people for the communications industry." On December 6, 1971, the station changed its call letters to WHUR-FM. WHUR became a jazz-formatted radio station, which it remained until the 1990s, when it switched to an urban adult contemporary format.

In 1977, WHUR-FM reporter and student intern Maurice Williams was killed during the Hanafi Siege in Washington, D.C. [6]

By 1995, WHUR became one of the highest-rated radio stations in the market, right behind WPGC-FM. Also that year, WHUR became the Washington radio and flagship affiliate of the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS). However, in 1999, ABC Radio Networks did not renew its contract with WHUR and moved the show to WMMJ, thus ending its four-year relationship with the station. WHUR was forced to produce its own locally-based morning drive show. This initially affected the station's dominance over rival WMMJ. WHUR, in 2002, acquired The Michael Baisden Show and later, in 2005, The Steve Harvey Morning Show. The station regained its top two spots in the market to date, pacing number two in the 12+ demographic and number one in the 25–54 demographic and the number one urban formatted station in D.C. In 2013, The Michael Baisden Show was cancelled due to its distributor, Cumulus Media and Baisden failing to reach an agreement; WHUR has since replaced its P.M. drive with former Baltimore and Atlanta radio personality Frank Ski, former host of the morning show on WVEE in Atlanta (where Ski still resides).

The quiet storm format of mellow, rhythm and blues and soul music, smooth jazz and love songs often played at night on many radio stations started at WHUR. The format originated when then intern Melvin Lindsey played a soothing string of songs during a particularly bad storm in the mid-1970s, even as power was cut to most of the other radio stations in the Washington, DC area. The quiet storm nighttime format has since been replicated in other major cities that have R&B station formats, such as San Francisco-based KBLX (which formerly utilized a 24-hour quiet storm format for three decades).

Bob "Nighthawk" Terry (real name: Bobby Joe Horn), a former WHUR personality, disappeared in August 1977 under mysterious circumstances. [7]

In September 2016, the station was awarded "Urban Station of The Year" by the National Association of Broadcasters'. [8]

HD and satellite radio

WHUR-FM produces several ancillary programming streams, variously available over its HD Radio signal and SiriusXM satellite radio:


WHUR-HD2 is simulcast in analog on an independently-owned translator. [12]

Call sign Frequency
City of license Facility
(m (ft))
Class Transmitter coordinatesFCC infoNotes
W252DC98.3 Reston, Virginia 13873715079 m (259 ft)D 38°53′45.4″N77°08′6.9″W / 38.895944°N 77.135250°W / 38.895944; -77.135250 (W252DC) FCC Owned by Reston Translator, LLC

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 FCC History Cards for WHUR-FM
  2. "Collection: Oscar Reed, Jr. Papers | Archival Collections". archives.lib.umd.edu. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  3. "Actions of the Federal Communications Commission" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 1, 1939. p. 80.
  4. "Capital FM Outlet is Bought by 'Post'", Broadcasting, July 2, 1945, page 20.
  5. O'Neal, James (February 4, 2010). "The Inside-Out Antenna Installation". Radio World.
  6. Theresa Vargas (March 12, 2007). "'Some Things You Never Forget': Thirty years ago, gunmen stormed three D.C. buildings, taking 150 hostages and one life". Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  7. "Bobby Joe Horn – The Charley Project".
  8. "Newsroom". Howard Newsroom.
  9. WHUR Launches The Quiet Storm Station Radioinsight - December 16, 2020
  10. "H.U.R. Voices". Sirius XM Radio. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  11. "HBCU". Sirius XM Radio. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  12. Venta, Lance (3 March 2021). "WHUR Adds Translator For The Quiet Storm Station". RadioInsight.