- Founded in October 17, 1922, a new Philadelphia radio station was authorized by the government to the Lennig Brothers Co, a radio supply company headed up by Frederick Lennig at 827 Spring Garden Street.
- WHAT-1340 AM went on air in 1925, and is one of the city’s oldest “legacy” radio stations.
- According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, WHAT was known for innovation. “In 1945, WHAT became the first U.S. radio station to hire a full-time black announcer, the first to program a regular show featuring a black woman as hostess and the first station in the city to hire black newscasters. It also was the first in the nation to feature a black as host of a daily talk show.”
- During the 1960’s, 1970’s, and the early 1980’s the station carried a traditional R&B
& Soul music format.
- In 1989, the station, now running an African American-oriented talk and Nostalgia format, was sold to Philadelphia radio veteran Cody Anderson. Anderson had been general manager of WDAS-AM/FM and his company “KBT Communications” paid $1.65 million to obtain WHAT-AM. Anderson moved the WHAT offices and studios on North 54th Street near City Line Avenue in nearby Wynnefield.
- During the 1980’s, 1990’s, through January of 2007 the station aired an “urban talk”
- In January of 2007 through August of 2007, WHAT aired an alternative rock music
format called “Skin Radio”.
- In September 2007, WHAT aired a full month of Frank Sinatra’s music before
launching the “Adult Standards” music format in October of 2007 bringing WHAT
back to its roots.
- WHAT is now owned by Aztec Capital Partners, Inc. (“Aztec”) In August 2011, Aztec signed a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement under which Aztec operated the station as El Zol Philly until the FCC approved the sale of the station to Aztec in November 2011. Aztec is owned by Philadelphia lawyer, Ken Trujillo. El Zol Philly broadcasts contemporary hit Spanish language music.