WRAT (95.9 FM, “95.9 The Rat”) is a commercialFMradio stationlicensed to serve Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group through licensee Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC. It airs a mainstream rockradio format. The studios, offices and transmitter are located on Main Street at 18th Avenue in the Borough of Lake Como, New Jersey at (40°10′15.3″N74°01′40.3″W).
WRAT has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 4,000 watts analog and 400 watts digital. It broadcasts using HD Radio. The station’s programming is simulcast on the HD2 subchannel of sister stationWJRZ-FM, which feeds FM translatorW300AO in Manahawkin, New Jersey, on 107.9 MHz.
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.
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 Mi Kitchen” by UB40 was aired continuously, WADB flipped to an active rock format on Labor Day Monday, 1996. The call sign switched to WRAT. The first song was AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You). “ 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.