The name of the station is a reference to the radio station Wave 102 in Dundee, Scotland, the original birthplace of the game's design company Rockstar North, and to the New Wave music on the station's playlist. There is another radio station named Wave 105 which broadcasts in Southampton, England.
Wave 103 is one of two preferred radio stations tuned in by the Streetwannabes, the other station being Flash FM. Wave 103 can be heard after Tommy or Vic carjacks their gangvehicles.
On the European version of the Wave 103 soundtrack CD, "Japanese Boy" by Aneka is included, even though the song instead appears on Flash FM.
The version of "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo that is played on the station is actually the instrumental "Midnight Mix" of the song.
"Pale Shelter" by Tears For Fears is also featured in the GTA clone, Sleeping Dogs. "I Ran (So Far Away)" by A Flock of Seagulls is also featured in the same game as a karaoke song.
"I Ran (So Far Away)" by A Flock of Seagulls was featured in the second trailer for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and the Vice City trailer for the Xbox version of Grand Theft Auto Double Pack.