According to a longtime WSB transmitter engineer, this frequency was originally licensed to Atlanta at 50 kW. Its licensee moved up the dial and the frequency was moved to Gainesville.
Before swapping frequencies, Gainesville's WGGA was on 550 kHz and WDUN was on 1240 kHz. The two stations were under the same ownership at the time of the swap and still are today. They even simulcast some of their programs.
ABC Radio, Inc., New York. call letters changed from WKHX in mid 1997. One of Atlanta's oldest radio stations. call letters were WAGA (the call letters of TV's Foxy 5) when it was a CBS network affiliate. Became WPLO when acquired by Plough, Inc. In the very early '60s, WPLO was a rock station. The format was converted to country, and in the late '60s the station was one of the biggest country music stations in the US. Now owned by Disney's CapCities. In fall of 1996, format converted from satellite fed country classics to Disney kid's network. Former transmitter site in NE Atlanta is now occupied by a large apartment complex. New site is in Cobb County which makes reception difficult in Atlanta.
When Plough acquired 590, WPLO was a very good rocker. It was very popular at night when one could not receive the other rock stations (WAKE at 250 W, WQXI at 1 kW directional, and WFOM at 250 W in Marietta). 590 was home to Big Hugh Baby Jarrett (formerly of WLAC and The Jordanaires, "Give 'Em a Hugh Baby Bird"), Tom & Paul Collins (later the Tiger Twins at WQXI), Bobby (then Bob) Harper, and John Fox (who stayed on when WPLO went to country). DKM Broadcasting, headed by former Cox VP, Jim Wesley, purchased WPLO AM-FM from Plough in the '80s. DKM (which later became Summitt) sold 590 to CapCities but retained V103 until Summitt was bought out.
Simulcast with AM 1080. Adopted WPLO call letters after former WPLO 590 became WKHX-AM (now WDWD) in the early '80s. CQUAM stereo. Tried to make it with a full service country music format. Sold in June 1996 and converted into a Foreign Language music format. This left Atlanta with no outlet for the syndicated Ludlow Porch home-spun talk show.
In the '60s, there was a WLAW (LAWrenceville) on 1360 kHz that was "shoe-horned" between Atlanta's 1340 and 1380. This frequency is no longer licensed to Gwinnett County. It could be that the 610 frequency was an upgrade for the former 1360.
Clear Channel Communications, Covington, KY. Formerly owned by Jacor. In November 2006, Clear Channel terminated all local programming and replaced it with satellite delivered programs. Rush Limbaugh, and his reruns. Formerly featured advice-dispensing physiologist Laura Schlessinger (as Howard Stern has said, "She is no doctor. She is a gym teacher."), but no one was listening to her, Phil Hendrie, Art Bell, Rick Roberts, Gary Sullivan, Cigar Dave, Dr. Dean Edell, Paul Harvey, ESPN radio, and lots of taped reruns. Signal in the mid-latter '90s was simulcast on FM 105.7 which always sounded distorted. The Vice Chair of Clear Channel is Tom Hicks, who is a member of Governor George Bush's Pioneer club for elite donors. Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers from Bush, including a new stadium that was partially financed by taxpayers. Bush's appointee to FCC chairman has pushed to reduce the barriers to media consolidation to the benefit of Clear Channel, which is already the nation's largest owner of radio stations.
Laura Schlessinger moved to WGST from WSB-AM in spring of '99. The fall '99 ratings show that Cruella's ratings fell from number one in her time period before the move to number 11 after the move. The Atlanta Falcons moved to WGST in 1998 after being on WZGC for several years. The last time the Falcons were on WGST was in the '70s. Georgia Tech football moved to WGST in 1998 after the Cox/WCNN contract was canceled. Since then, Gerogia Tech football has disappeared from WGST. Georgia Tech sports is such a minor nitch player in Atlanta that I don't know if any station has picked up the contract since it left WGST.
In November 1998, WGST fired program director Mike Rose and news director Tammy Lloyd. This came on the heels of the resignation of promotions director Anda Camp and the retirement of marketing director Arnie Katinsky. Atlanta newspapers quoted head of WGST operations, Gabe Hobbs, that the changes occurred because "We're in the process of returning WGST to its former glory as a dominant force in the market." Rose had been with WGST for 13 years. Rose resurfaced at WGKA-AM. Lloyd had recently won the Achievement in Radio award for best news coverage at the annual industry ceremony at the Atlanta Ritz Carlton Hotel in Buckhead.
Formerly AM 920. In the late '80s, the owners of WGST purchased the license for 50 kW AM 640. This frequency had been assigned to Atlanta by the FCC in a program to promote minority ownership of stations. AM 640 operated as a minority station owned by defunct Air Atlanta founder Michael Hollis for less than a year before the frequency was acquired by WGST. After simulcasting for a time on both frequecies, WGST sold the AM 920 license. The 640 kHz frequency allowed daytime power increase to 50 kW but resulted in very poor night time coverage. The power increase made a questionable increase in coverage. A former student from Warner Robins, GA, said that he listened to WGST in Warner Robins when it was on 920 kHz but he could no longer pick it up it after the frequency change.
In March 1998, long time program director Nancy Zintack left WGST. Although it was announced that she left of her own accord, Zintack was responsible for the failed Planet Radio format.
In January 1998, WGST gave local psychologist Dr. Buff the pink slip and replaced him with Dave Stone who Jacor brought to the Atlanta market from Alabama in 1997 as part of its Planet Radio lineup. Dr. Buff accused Jacor of "putting testosterone ahead of intelligence" with this move. In spring of '99, Stone left WGST.
In late May 1997, 'The News Monster' became 'Planet Radio' when the locally produced morning and afternoon news programs were replaced with talk shows. In the fall of 1997, the Planet Radio moniker was dropped. At the same time, Foxy 5's sportscaster Jeff Hullinger was brought in to host the 6:00 - 9:00 AM block in an effort to shore up the sinking station. Hullinger's program sort of imitates the Don Imus program on rival WQXI where someone says something and everyone laughs.
In the mid to mid-latter 90s, WGST tried split programming on its AM and FM frequencies during the weekends. On the AM side, gardening, home fixup, car repair, etc., programs were aired. On the FM side, talk programs that would appeal more to a younger male audience were aired. The experiment was a flop and the split programming was replaced mainly with satellite fed simulcasts and reruns of the same.
WGST became an all news station in 1978 when it was owned by Meredith, converting to a news-talk format in the mid '80s after being acquired by Jacor. Most of its veteran news and sports staff were fired when the Planet Radio format surfaced. Many of them resurfaced at WSB, WCNN, WABE, WPBA-TV, WXIA-TV, and CNN. Tom Hughes, longtime WGST morning news anchor, became anchor of the morning news on WCNN. He was quoted in the Atlanta papers that he never listens to his former employer. Dennis O'Hair, Hughes' afternoon counterpart, landed at WPBA-TV and WXIA-TV.
WGST was once the home of the Falcons, the Hawks, and the Braves. Had abandoned sports broadcasting except for stock car racing until the winter of 1998 when it was announced that that the Falcons would move from WZGC-FM to WGST. Lost Neal Boortz and Clark Howard to WSB-AM in the early '90s. In 1995, declared by Atlanta newspaper columnist Colin Campbell to be "one of the trashiest and rudest stations in this neck of the woods - one of the most vulgar, least serious, most partisan and most offensive to minorities."
Once owned by the Atlanta Constitution. Was donated to Georgia Tech where the call letters became WGST, standing for 'Georgia School of Technology,' Georgia Tech's former name until around 1948. Once transmitted from an antenna on campus near the Georgia Tech power plant. An old tower once near the current coliseum held a sign with the WGST call letters that was clearly visible from I-85.
Dancer Arthur Murray started his career on WGST with the "Radio Dance" in the '20s.Georgia Tech sold in WGST the late '70s to Meredith Broadcasting. Meredith unsuccesfully attempted to operate the station with a top-40 format. In an attempt to attract listeners, the morning DJ did his show from a booth atop a billboard on Peachtree St. while bunnies from the now defunct Atlanta Playboy Club went from car to car in traffic stopped at traffic lights asking commuters to tune to AM 920. Soon WGST changed to all news. Under Meredith, the all-news format was a class act of Atlanta broadcasting. One of the stars was Forrest Sawyer, who moved to WAGA-TV (now Atlanta's Foxy 5 TV) and is now with ABC TV news.
Under Jacor, WGST has tried hard to compete with WSB-AM, even copying WSB promos. In the mid-'90s, WSB legally succeeded in preventing WGST from using the WSB 'Sports Voice of the South' promo. When WSB abandoned its 'When News Breaks Out, We Break In' promo, WGST started using it, despite the fact that WGST talk hosts used to make fun of WSB by misquoting their promo as 'When News Breaks Out, We Break Wind.' Now, both stations are using the promo.
The 640 frequency was put on the air with the call letters WPBD by minority entrepreneur Michael Hollis, owner and founder of the now defunct Air Atlanta airlines. The format was satellite delivered urban music with no local content. When Hollis went bankrupt in 1988, Jefferson Pilot attempted to purchase and move WQXI to 640 before WGST acquired the license.
Dickey Broadcasting. After simulcasting urban rimshot WEKS-FM, an Athens frequency, for several months, became "Sports Radio The Fan" on September 3, 2000.
The Atlanta newspapers incorrectly reported that Dickey would convert WCNN to a "black news/talk" station on April 3, 2000. Formerly leased to Cox Radio. Simulcasted CNN Headline News cable audio, Ken Hamblen, and Gordon Liddy. Formerly owned by Ring Radio. Managed and programmed by WSB since April 1995 when WSB negotiated a 5-year lease managment agreement with Midwestern to operate WCNN. In 1994, with a sports talk format, WCNN generated only $1.5 million in revenues. In less than one year after the agreement, WSB sold $13.5 million in ads before the sports talk format was abandoned.
In early August 1997, WSB converted WCNN from sports talk to a 'news-talk' format so that "the station would better complement the operations of WSB-AM." This ended the 4-year run of WCNN as 'Sports Radio 680 the Fan' and its ESPN affiliation. Was the home of Georgia Tech sports from the mid '80s until 1998. Since then, WCNN has become one of the lowest rated stations in the market. One wonders why it just doesn't go dark. Perhaps Cox is willing to pay the power bill to prevent this once mighty station from competing with WSB-AM?
WSB appears to be using WCNN to put the final nail into the coffin of WGST. Some of the news staff which WGST fired in 1997 was reassembled at WCNN. Tom Hughes, 20 year veteran morning anchor at WGST, and former WGST sports person Steve Holman are now doing the morning news on WCNN. Holman also is the morning sports guy on WSB and the voice of the Hawks on WSB.
WCNN was 'Ring Radio' WRNG, Atlanta's first talk station where Neal Boortz and Ludlow Porch got their starts. San Francisco's Ron Owens was a host at WRNG in the '70s. call letters became WCNN in the early '80s when Charles Smithgall, III, took over the station when his father retired, marking the start of the slow death of one of Atlanta's most innovative stations. At that time, the station dropped its all talk format and began simulcast of audio from CNN Headline News cable channel. Smithgall III was quoted in the newspaper as saying he had tried out the format by covering his TV screen with a towel so that he could hear the CNN audio without the picture. (Apparently, he was unaware that he could just turn his back or turn the brightness down.) Converted back to talk with Ludlow Porch as station manager, then to adult standards "Stardust 680," to all news, back to CNN audio, to all sports, and now back to CNN audio. Once home of the Braves for a short time. Midwestern acquired WCNN from former Ring Radio, which is now defunct. However, the Ring Radio name is still used by Midwestern.
In its heyday, WRNG was also home to Bob Mohan (now at KFYI Phoenix), ultra-conservative Harry Davey (now at KGO San Francisco), Hank "the Prank" Morgan with sports, Ben Baldwin, the Don Hastings garden show, the female duo Mickie and Teddie, and Peg Nugent. Braves announcers Skip Caray and Jiggs MacDonald had their first radio Atlanta talk shows on Ring Radio. The station is licensed to North Atlanta, which no longer exists, if it ever really did, except in the eyes of the FCC. Efforts to change to Atlanta have failed many times.
After a locally produced all-news format failed in the mid to latter '80s, the format was changed to big band and adult standards. The station billed itself as "Stardust 680" with the call letters WGTW (?). When that format failed after about two years, the call letters were changed back to WCNN and the format changed to the audio feed from CNN.
The transmitter is located off Spalding Drive in Norcross Peachtree Corners near the intersection with Winters Chapel Road. Around '93-'94, studios were located with those of WALR-FM in the lobby of the CNN Center when the station was 'Sports Radio 680 the Fan.'
Cox Radio, Inc., Atlanta. 50 kW clear channel with no local programming. Michael Weiner's "The Savage Nation," Sean Hannity, reruns of Weiner and Hannity, Hawks Basketball, and University of Georgia sports. When not broadcasting sports at night, WSB broadcasts taped reruns. Weekend programming consists of reruns and satellite delivered programs. WSB is one of the most annoying to listen to stations in the area. It promotes itself continuously with far too many station IDs. Loud electronically generated sound effects and thumping sounds seem to always dominate over the the voice of news, weather, traffic, and commercial readers. At the same time, the readers seem to be shouting into the microphone, making the station irritating and difficult to listen to. A 50 kw clear channel station with no local content. Elmo Ellis, where are you?
It was announced on June 27, 2005 that Elmo Ellis died. From the early '50s until his retirement in '82, he served as program director and general manager of WSB. He was the "gold standard for broadcasting excellence" in Atlanta for over 30 years. It was reported incorrectly in the Atlanta newspapers that Ellis was forced to retire in '82. After his retirement, he used the recording facilities of radio station WGST to record "Life Management" commentaries that were syndicated to radio stations all over the country, including WGST. Since he retired, 50 kW WSB has become nothing more than a sattelite relay station. On 02/14/05, Ellis wrote a letter to the Atlanta newspapers where he commented that during a local ice storm when large areas of the city lost power, he was unable to find a single local radio station that was concerned with what was happening weatherwise. The lights were surely out at WSB where the audio feed was nothing more than computer controlled pre-recorded irrelevant rant by Michael Weiner.
From the May 14, 1962 issue of Broadcasting Magazine: WSB Atlanta, Ga. - Signifying "Welcome South, Brother," WSB went on the air on March 15, 1922, and was licensed in April. The Atlanta Journal Co., licensees from the beginning, operated the station with 200 watts on 360 and 485 meters. In 1949, James M. Cox assumed control of the licensee, which became known as Atlanta Newspapers Inc. Ownership was transferred to the Cox family group in 1953. It is on 750 kc with 50 kw.
In the early '90s, WSB broadcast in CQUAM stereo. The stereo produced an interesting effect when listening to the local talk shows, e.g. Ludlow Porch, in a car. It was almost as if the host was in the car with you.
Cox also owns the Atlanta Journal, the Atlanta Constitution, WSB-FM, WJZF-FM, and programs WCCN-AM. Shuffles its sports between the frequencies it controls when conflicts arise, sometimes putting the same sports program on two stations. Cox has deep pockets and has been known to "buy out" its competition, e.g. Cox bought the Gwinnett Daily News from the New York Times and immediately closed it when it infringed on their subscriber base in Gwinnett County. Newspaper reports implied that Cox outbid WGST for Neal Boortz (the bass boost on his voice makes him sound like he is talking from the bottom of a well) and the Braves by very wide margins. Boortz since then has been practicing his brand of vaudeville on WSB. Does CNN's Candy Crowley, look like Neal Boortz wearing a wig? I think so.
Atlanta'a first radio station. Once the NBC (Red) affiliate. The NBC chimes were originally the WSB chimes. Once had studios in the old Biltmore Hotel on West Peachtree St. It has been long rumored that the WSB call letters originally stood for "Welcome South Brother." When he was behind the mic at WGST, Neal Boortz said that it stood for "We Suck Butts."
WSB operated with lower power at 740 kHz until sometime in the '40s. It was bought by Cox and moved to White Columns (demolished in 1999 after new studios were built at the same site) in late '50s. Cox and GE announced a merger in the late '70s. The FCC required divestiture, so Cox sold off Cox Cable (the major cable system in Atlanta) and announced that WSB-AM was being sold to MetroMedia and WSB-FM to minority broadcaster Ragan Henry. Henry owned WAOK at the time and was a lawyer in Philadelphia by profession who got bit by the radio bug. Cox would keep channel 2. WSB-FM would become WEZA and channel 2 would also acquire new call letters. The FCC approved the merger, but it was called off by Cox whose stock had become a lot more valuable than GE's. Cable was gone, but Cox retained AM-FM-TV.
In the '80s, Cox sold the property around the WSB transmitter on Lavista Road near Northlake Mall to a developer who built a shopping center over and around the site. Because of the power (50 kW), the contractors had to tie almost everything metallic to the WSB ground system to prevent shock and/or burns. All structures had to be limited to certain heights to prevent accidentally causing WSB to become directional. The property reverts back to WSB around 2050. The barrels on the WSB tower were put there in the '40s to make the structure more visible to student pilots when the Peachtree Dekalb Airport was a Naval Flight Training Center.
Jefferson-Pilot Communications, Greensboro, NC. In early April of 1997, WQXI dumped its short-lived Business News Network affiliation to become a leased all-sports station, dubbing itself "790 - The Zone." When WCNN abandoned its sports format that summer, WQXI expanded its sports talk. The "in your face" format is headed by Boston native Steak Shapiro who has a five-year lease with the station. Syndicated programs include Don Imus in the AM. Local hosts are Shapiro, Beau Bock, and A.J. Cannon, all alumni of WCNN who were fired after WCNN was leased by Cox. Newspaper reports contained warnings to parents about profanity on the station. Mix of brokered non-sports local talk and Sports Fan network on weekends.
The demise of WCNN 680 'The Fan' in the summer of 1997 left 'The Zone' as Atlanta's only sports talk station which has tried to pattern itself after New York's WFAN. Unlike WFAN, which is the flagship station of 4 professional teams, WQXI broadcasts neither professional nor college sports.
In the fall of 1996, WQXI dumped its mixed brokered format and temporarily replaced it with the broadcast of the satellite delivered Business News Network. Format was to be converted to satellite delivered KidStar Network in early 1997. However, KidStar ran out of money. Before the fall 1996, format consisted of a weird mixture of brokered infomercial talk shows, sports talk, and Foreign Language music. Most brokered programs had a short life. Failed talk shows from other stations moved to WQXI to die.
WQXI was the first AM station in Atlanta to broadcast in AM stereo. In the early '80s, the technology was promoted by the station with a remote broadcast from the Atlanta Arts Festival at Piedmont Park. Not long after that, WQXI abandoned the top-40 format and adopted an automated oldies format. At the same time, WYAY-FM changed from oldies to country, advising their oldies listeners to tune to the new WQXI. The automated format on WQXI was said to be one of the first in the US to be run by an IBM PC. Announcements were programmed to mesh with the music in a way that made the programming sound "live." The stereo stopped in the early '90s, but the pilot tone continued to be broadcast for several years, making stereo tuners think the signal was in stereo.
Once was the top-40 giant of the Atlanta airwaves. Changed to automated oldies in the early '80s, then to satellite delivered adult standards in the latter 1980's, then to brokered format. The WQXI call letters were once shared by WSTR-FM and WXIA-TV. WQXI was the inspiration for the TV show 'WKRP in Cincinnati' and the show's creator, Hugh Wilson, once worked there. Many of the show's characters were based on real people. Dr. Johnny Fever was based on Skinny Bobby Harper and Mr. Carlsom was based on WQXI's retired station manager Gerry Blum.
In the mid '50s, there was a WQXI-TV on channel 36 with about 1000 watts from a tower on Northside Drive. It is rumored that the radio station was classical and the DJ also switched the TV station. Once a force in Atlanta broadcasting, 'Quixie in Dixie' is now 'Gone with the Wind.'
WQXI Played country music in very early '60s. It was a great rock station in the '60s, complete with background reverb. Did live remotes from Misty Waters Roller Rink with appearances by local stars like Ray Stevens, Mac Davis, and Brenda Lee. Quixie was home to Tony "The Tiger" Taylor, Patrick Aloyisius Hughes, Tom & Paul, The Tiger Twins (see 590), Mike Shannon, Paul Drew (submarine races at Piedmont park) and many more. Paul Drew later moved on to CKLW and bigger and better things as a consultant with Drake-Chenault (see 1340). Quixie held free summer concerts at Broadview Plaza with acts like the Four Seasons, Tony Orlando, Lou Christie, etc. WQXI was the first home of the Falcons as well as Beau Bock and Bob Neal. When the Falcons were on, there was no top-40 music in Atlanta.
In its earlier days, WQXI was owned by Esquire Broadcasting, and later by the Rounsaville chain.
Beasley Broadcast Group. Was gospel WERD around 1970. Atlanta's first black station and at one time the only black owned one. Its studios were on Auburn Ave, the "main street" of Atlanta's black community. As a daytimer, it later lost out to fulltime WAOK and WIGO, although it was still a contender as late as 1967. In the early '70s, it had the call letters WXAP.
In summer 2004, Edward Atsinger acquired AM 920 from Moody Bible Institute. Atsinger moved his neocon religious talk format and call letters from AM 1190 to AM 920 on August 2, 2004. After ending his religious talk format on AM 1190, Atsinger converted the 1190 format to continuous play of recorded speaches of former president Ronald Reagan. After several weeks of the recorded speeches, Atsinger converted his 1190 format to religious programs. Atsinger now broadcasts a foreign language format on 1190.
Formerly WAFS-AM owned by the Moody Bible Institute with a religious format.
Former long time frequency of WGST-AM which moved to AM 640 in the late 1980s.
AM 920 was once the frequency of WGST. The old WGST received its license the day after WSB received its license in 1922. The original call letters are said to have been WGM. WGST played the first rock 'n roll in Atlanta in the '50s. It was Paul Drew's debut with a weekend show "The Big Record." Drew later moved over to WAKE (see AM 1340). Meredith Broadcasting purchased 920 from Georgia Tech in the latter '70s. It tried to compete with WSB by hiring big name personalities (Chuck Daugherty, Sam Holman from WABC, Tony Taylor from WNBC, and Skinny Bobby Harper who was in Kansas City), and becoming full-service. They acquired the Falcons from WQXI and hired Bob Neal to do play-by-play. Neal was followed by Brad Nessler. In the early '80s, the music format was converted to all news, calling itself "Newsradio 92."
Owned by R. F. Christian and once was the AM sister to WFOX-FM. Was the flagship station of UGA sports until the mid '80s. Training ground to many Atlanta broadcasters. Call letters once stood for 'Radio's First Choice.'
Edward Atsinger. Signal simulcast on AM 1400. Former congressman, disbarred lawyer, and convicted felon Pat Swindall is talk show host.
Once was WIIN where the format was beautiful music in the mid '60s, then top-40 in the late '60s where Skinny Bobby Harper did his 'Laverne the Lunch Lady' impersonations, underground rock in the early '70s, adult standards and easy listening in the latter '70s, and WKLS-AM in the early '80s where the format was album rock.
50 kW daytime power. Has returned to brokered religious programming after failing with a news-talk format in the early '90s. Changed its calls from WEAS to WGUN in November 1959. Shortly after that, Robert Corley and James Davenport used the WEAS calls on the College Park station WCPK. In August 1960, the owners of WGUN filed a $500,000 lawsuit against Corley and Davenport for unauthorized use of the calls. Once WEAD, a Rivers station, sister to WEAS in Savannah.
Was once a rocker in the old days.
Simulcasts AM 610. Was Owned by the Rev. Nelson Price's Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta and featured religious programming. Was WBIE-AM in the late '60s (the AM side of WBIE-FM 101.5, now WKHX) with MOR format, adult standards WCOB in the '70s, and and big-band WJYI ("Joy 1080") in the '80s. The WJYI signal was simulcast for a time on WJYF-FM 104.1 which is now WJZF.
In April 1997, added the syndicated Ludlow Porch home-spun talk show. Ludlow was on WRNG (now WCNN) and on WSB-AM from the early '70s to the early '90s where he was one of Atlanta's most popular talk show hosts until WSB replaced him with Neal Boortz. Ludlow's show moved to WGUN and then to WPLO which stopped broadcasting it in June 1996 when it converted to a Foreign Language format. In early 1998, Ludlow was replaced on AM 1080 with more preaching.
Was like a minature WSB in the '60s when Marietta was still consided a Sunday drive away from Atlanta. Aired CBS, the Braves, and UGA. WSB later put "the squash" on the latter as WBIE's 10 kW signal began to infringe on the growing northern suburbs.
Had religious format run by Beasley Broadcast Group before converting to Foreign Language.
In the summer of 2006, the call letters were changed from WMLB to WCFO and the format became all business. The programs on all sound like infomercials for products hawked by snake oil doctors. Formerly Atlanta's "Voice of the Arts." Sounds as if someone dumped a large stack of old LPs on a table and put a monkey in charge of selecting what will be played next. In summer 2005, changed call letters from WKGE back to WMLB and converted format from Adult Standards to "The Voice of the Arts in Atlanta." That slogan was used by former 1190 WGKA before it was acquired by Edward Atsinger. Converted from classic oldies to adult standards in early 2002. The station is now managed by John Lauer who made WPCH the most listened to FM station in the '70s. Converted from classic country to classic oldies in spring 2001, simulcasting with AM 1170. Certainly not the usual fare for an oldies station, the format was completely new for the Atlanta market. It featured oldies that were seldom if ever heard on other stations. General manager Ron McCarter was said to have a WMLB/WKGE music library of 8,009,000 titles. Owner of WKGE, local radio entrepreneur Billy Corey purchased WMLB on April 2, 2001 and flipped the formats of the two stations. In mid July '98, Atlanta Area Broadcasting, led by Atlanta businessman Darrell Spann, returned former WERD to the air as WKGE with a classic country music format after being dark for one year. The programming consisted of continuous music with no commercials. In the summer of 1996, WERD converted from a long time R&B/Blues format to a fledgling sports talk format with Prime Sports Network, going dark in early 1997.
As of September 2003, AM 1170 went dark. The WMLB call letters are now used by AM 1690 in Atlanta. Not known if the station is back on the air with different call letters. Converted from alternative country to classic oldies in spring '01, when it began simulcasting with AM 1160 in Atlanta. Before '01, format featured cuts from a mix of left-wing country, contemporary folk, and rural rock artists. It was the only "Americana" format in the Atlanta area.
Formerly religion until around 01/01/06. Edward Atsinger moved the former WGKA call letters and his fundamentalist religion talk format to AM 920 on August 2, 2004. On 1190, continuosly recorded speeches of deceassed former president Ronald Reagan followed the switch until the end of the 2004 Republican Convention. At that time, Atsinger converted 1190 to a religious format.
In fall 2003, Edward Atsinger converted the failed "gospel WGKA" into a right wing religious talk station which competed with AM 1340. After purchasing WGKA in 1997 for what was reported to be $2 million, bored cake frosting magnate Joe Weber proceeded to run the station into the ground with an unpredictable diversified format where rock, opera, classical, folk, jazz, and you name it, were played in what seemed to be random order. Now that the format was a flop, Weber sold WGKA to religious broadcaster Edward Atsinger for what was reported to be $8 million. The sale became final at the end of Feb. 2000. On April 4, the format became "gospel WGKA," with programming from the religious Edward Atsinger Radio Network. Atsinger also owns WNIV and WLTA, which simulcast in Atlanta. Atsinger, of the political steering committee known as the Council on National Policy, is said to have bankrolled Republican Party campaigns in California in the '90s, including over $528,000 in '98.
After years of broadcasting a high-quality signal in CQUAM stereo, WGKA turned the stereo off in mid 1997. At the same time, the audio signal became aggressively processed. Arbitron figures showed that WGKA's share dropped from 0.7 in the winter of '97 to 0.4 in the spring of '97.
In March 1999, WGKA hired Mike Rose, the fired former producer and program director at WGST. NBC radio news, formerly on WQXI-AM, appeared on WGKA at about the same time. In April, NBC was replaced with WCNN, making WGKA at least the 3rd station in Atlanta affiliated with WCNN. Others are WSB-AM and WCNN. (The once mighty NBC radio network was sold to Westwood One in the '80s, which was purchased by Infinity, which is now owned by CBS. Longtime NBC affiliate WSB-AM dropped its affiliation with the Westwood One acquisition.)
WGKA was sold to former Atlanta cake frosting business executive Joe Weber in early 1997. Announcers on the station have been heard to inform listeners that WGKA is not a non-commercial station.
Although it was announced that the format would remain classical, the station converted to an eclectic and quirky diversified format. A mix of classical, rock, jazz, folk, operatic, Broadway, country, pop, Motown, show tunes, movie sound bites, spoken word, and a lot of early recorded music is played in what often sounds like a random order. "The Spoken Word," Don Kennedy's syndicated "Big Band Jump," the "Spivey Hall Preview," and "The Jewish Perspective" have been added to the weekly fare. Since the sale, live voices can be heard on the air, probably for the first time in 25 years.
Until its most recent sale, WGKA was automated. Limped along with few sponsors and listeners. With studios in Peachtree Center in downtown Atlanta in the '60s, it was the AM side of the superbly programmed and engineered classical WGKA-AM/FM where the call letters stood for Glen Karen Associates. Was associated with Baker Audio at that time, which is now Baker Telecom. The WGKA-AM/FM of this era was probably the last real class act of Atlanta broadcasting.
In about 1969, the stations were sold to Strauss Broadcasting of Texas. Strauss converted the AM side to MOR to compete with WSB-AM. This caused a great swell of public opposition over the loss of classical music on the AM band at a time when most all car radios were AM. A committee was formed which petitioned the FCC to deny the sale. Strauss finally gave up and sold the stations. The FM side became WZGC with an automated rock format. The AM side went back to classical music, this time with an automated format. Sold in 1997 by Eathel Holley who purchased it after he sold WLTA-FM 99.7 (now WNNX) in 1974 to Susquehanna Broadcasting.
In the early '70s, after WGKA AM and FM split to become WGKA and WZGC, they were operated by General Cinema. Both stations were side-by-side in Peachtree Center West. The jock who rolled the classical music on WGKA also loaded the automation for solid-gold WZGC-FM. WGKA's tower was located at Peachtree and 14th as late as the '80s.
Dickey Broadcasting. In late 2001, began simulcasting AM 1340. In late spring 2001, WFOM began simulcasting WCNN-AM 680. In April 1998, the shortlived 'Info 1230' format was replaced with an urban gospel format, simulcast with AM 1340. From studios located on the courthouse square in Marietta, former format was 'Info 1230' during the day, featuring news snippets, weather updates, and traffic reports updated every 5 minutes for the northern metro area. Business News Network during other times and on the weekends. In May 1997, acquired by Midwestern, a family owned company run by David Dickey. Midwestern also owns WCNN-AM (which is leased to WSB), WALR-AM (formerly WIGO), and WALR-FM. Before Midwestern, was owned by Toccoa Falls College and catered to religious conservatives.
WFOM was once owned by Jimmy Davenport and was considered to be a major rocker by record promotors. It attracted major jocks from all over (Big Hugh Baby from WPLO and Red Jones from WQXI, just to name a few). It remained a hot spot until FM started to make inroads. Davenport became a record promoter. Jarrett operated the Big Hugh Baby Hop-a-Roonie on the corner of U.S. 41 and Terrell Mill Road in the late '60s.
Jimmy Davenport (the old bear) used to own WFOM (which stood for Fair Oaks-Marietta). He sold it to Jerry Crowe in the mid '70s. Some of the people who worked there include Gary Pearcy (now WSB-TV), Garry Kinsey (WSB and WKHX), Capt. Herb Emory (WQXI and now WSB), Rebecca Stevens (WSB-FM), Bill Duncan (WAPE and now WSB-FM) and Hugh Baby Jarrett (Mr. Baby, currently WWEV).
WFOM was still a cookin' top-40 station in 1974. It had Kasey Casem's American Top 40, Dick Clark, and Wolfman Jack (who visited the station and did a live show there one afternoon). Red Jones, the morning man, did his regular remotes from Pugmire Lincoln Mercury and there were many fun contests. "Diamond Girl" gave away a refrigerator with a diamond inside. "All Hands On Deck" gave away a boat, motor, and trailer to the last person to hold on to the boat inside Cumberland Mall. "It's Midnight" was an inside joke at the station that PD Greg McClure turned into a contest. "If anyone, anywhere asks you what time it is, tell them IT'S MIDNIGHT! and you will WIN!!"
Once WFOM had a contest to see which caller could be the best "DJ." A young fellow named Kerry Fink won and was invited into the studio to introduce records. After a few minutes he asked if he could run the board. A few days later, WFOM announced a new addition to the station, Stan Mason (Fink)! Stan later went to work for WQXI (top-40 Quixie in Dixie).
Falcon announcer Jack Hurst replaced Pepper Martin on WFOM as sports director. Herb Emory (as Jason Woodside) did a terrific job as news director. He took local news seriously and went after it. Even so, he had fun doing it. He still does as traffic man at WSB-AM.
WFOM had Eric Small (later with Modulation Sciences) fly in and demonstrate how to milk every last bit of modulation out of the Gates BC1T one kW transmitter. A tired Raytheon 250 W transmitter was the emergency standby. WFOM ran a CBS Audimax into both a Gates and a CBS Volumax limiter. Dual paths allowed different equalizations for microphone and music. An Avery Fisher/Hammond spring reverb was used for a while. To keep the jocks from getting sucked up into the microphone, an Allison Research Kepex/Gain Brain was used.
By the late '70s FM was king in Atlanta and AM was fizzling fast. WFOM's request callers were getting younger and younger. Public affairs committments were met by having a Burger King big wheel named Don Yow come in and do "Open Mike." Often, Don would appear as ficticous Senator Yow, who sounded remarkably like former Georgia US Senator Herman Talmadge. A psychic named Jane Hudson was often featured performing readings for callers. Don eventually left and was replaced by a young lawyer, Irv Goldstein, with a public affairs program called 'Dialog.'
By 1982, WFOM was winding down. The preachers started coming in on Sunday mornings and the promo budget was nil. The old studio/tower on South Cobb Drive was torn down and they moved to the old WYNX tower off Franklin Road.
Many of the old WFOM employees are still around. Several went to Cox stations, air personality Vic Jester is CE at WNNX, and former CE Jack Geisler is a police officer. "Marvelous Mark McCain" left in the late '70s to go to Charlotte and then later to Atlanta's WKLS. His deep voice can still be heard on commercials from time to time. Ross Brittan worked there for a while before leaving to do "Ross & Wilson" on WZGC, later moving to New York City.
One neat thing about WFOM... It had the famous Drake jingle package. It was real 'cool' to hear the Johnny Mann singers sing its name!
Had country format around 1970.
Ludlow Porch in the morning.
Formerly religious WXLL. In 1967, it was a MOR station with an automated format. When WGKA-AM abandoned its classical format in the late '60s, the station converted to a short lived classical format in an effort to capture the former WGKA audience. At that time, the call letters were WOMN.
Dickey Broadcasting. Sometime in 2005, flipped from neocon talk to what appears to be a foreign language ESPN sports format. Since 2002, the station has dropped its "Talk Radio 1340/WCNN" id, perhaps because its call letters have never been WCNN. In late 2001, converted to a satellite fed talk format. Simulcated on AM 1230. In early May 2001, WALR pulled the gospel format and replaced it with an Imus 24/7 format. The station will convert to syndicated talk with CBS radio news on the hour, being billed "Talk Radio 1340/WCNN." The call letters will remain WALR. The call letters of AM-680 are WCNN and will not be changed. In April 1998, replaced simulcast of rimshot FM 104.7 with an urban gospel format simulcast with AM 1230. Formerly longtime rhythm and blues WIGO. In the early '90s, Ron Sailor, a former news anchor on WSB-TV, acquired WIGO and converted the station to an urban talk format. When he couldn't pay the bills in the early/mid '90s, the station was acquired in a hostile takeover by Midwestern. The situation reached a climax when Sailor tried to block the takeover by locking the new owners out of the transmitter shack. Both the transmitter shack and antenna are located on the Clark Atlanta University campus. The antenna of Clark's WCLK-FM is located on the former WIGO tower.
In the '60s, Atlanta had four rock 'n roll stations: WPLO, WQXI, and 1340 WAKE. Operating from the Ponce De Leon lobby of the Georgian Terrace Hotel, WAKE was king. It's stars included Paul Drew, Buddy Moore, Bill Drake (of Drake-Chenault fame), Ricky Lane (Vic Adderhold). It was highly produced and the first Atlanta station to use reverb and pulsing oscillators during the news. For a long time there were no cart machines. All music and commercials were on disc, so the jocks really worked. WAKE was a Wyde-a-Wake station (WYDE Birmingham was its sister). As Atlanta grew, WAKE's 250 watt nighttime power couldn't reach the suburbs and it fell out of sight. But before it did, it was WSB's closest competitor ever in AM Drive (a record which held until WSB's plummett in the early '90s).
The old WAKE was owned by Bartell Broadcasting, at the time one of the leading top 40 broadcasters in the country. They also owned WOKY in Milwaukee, KCBQ in San Diego, and WYDE in Birmingham.
In 1967, there was a Tommy Goodwin on in the mornings on WIGO who may have been the same Goodwin who was on AM 1550 in 1965. Goodwin sounded white making it odd that the two leading R&B stations in town both had white morning drive DJs.
The 1340 frequency is a creative bit of "shoe-horning." It is jammed in between co-channel stations 60 miles to the east in Athens and 65 miles to the west in Cedartown.
Infinity Broadcasting, New York. In 2001, converted from religious to urban talk. Sister station to WVEE-FM. Formerly owned by Granum which was purcahsed by Infinity in March 1996. Had soul format for many years.
Former 1340 WAKE disk jockey, Bob McKee was a morning drive fixture at WAOK through the '70s. He kept the R&B station consistently in the top 5 in AM Drive and was one of the best known urban djs of the time. McKee coincidentally was white. The station was owned by Ragan Henry for a number of years who almost acquired WSB-FM as WAKE's sister.
Like WERD 860, WAOK was one of the first black programmed stations in the country. For many years it was guided by Zenas Sears and Stan Raymond. Stan was part owner and GM for many years. He left and moved to Sarasota to become a media broker after Ragan Henry bought the station. The station has a great signal at night in the south half of Atlanta, but is inaudible from Buckhead north. The antenna site is a four tower array just off the intersection of I-285 and I-20 West, just east of Six Flags.
Edward Atsinger. Simulcasts AM 970.
Simulcasts FM 92.1.
After being sold in the summer of 1998, the format has changed from urban religious music to multicultural leased air time. Until the early '90s, was religious WAVO. Then it became WWEV-AM when it simulcasted non commercial religious WWEV-FM. Converted to urban gospel with simulcasts of WWEV-FM at night and on weekends. Until around 1970, had an FM side that is now WPCH-FM, and both stations simulcasted a religious format. Studio, transmitter, and antenna array are located on North Decatur Road just inside Interstate 285. In the early '90s, a "For Sale" sign was posted for a while on the property. Originally licensed to suburban Avondale Estates.
Simulcasts AM 1600. Was WDYX in 1967 and called itself "Dixie Radio," playing Dixie with their legal ID.
Had "Town and Country" format in about 1970. Was Atlanta's first "all-news" station in the early '70s. It was staffed by a number of very qualified newspeople, but expenses were greater than revenues.
Simulcasts AM 1520. The station's frequency is the 2nd harmonic of 50 kW WSB-AM, generally making reception impossible in Atlanta. The station went on the air in August 1979, with the call letters WKRP. The engineer who put it on the air was Tom Hayes, a student at Georgia Tech, who worked for a while for me as a lab assistant. The owner was a Dallas, GA, businessman. The original management hoped to penetrate the Atlanta area with a top-40 format. The station changed hands several times and then went dark. It is back today with a religious format. The original call letters were obtained only after it was pointed out to the FCC that Mary Tyler Moore Productions was neither a permittee, nor a licensee. Therefore, the 'hold' on the call letters WKRP, from the TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati", was null and void. None of the invited TV cast members accepted an invitation to the opening ceremonies where the first record was unintentionally played at the wrong speed.
Simulcasts AM 1500. The station was origionally WDGL and played old time Gospel. During the mid '70s, when owned by Howard Rowe and Associates, the station format changed to heavily processed adult contemporary music with many remotes, contests, and emphasis on serious local news with live west Atlanta traffic coverage. The team behind the format, Herb Emory, Greg McClure, Mark McCain, and Gary Pearcey all moved to Marietta's WFOM by the late '70s. "Captain" Herb ("first, fast, accurate") Emory is now WSB traffic reporter. McClure and Pearcey now work for WSB-TV.
A fire finally silenced WDGL's transmitter which arose from the ashes as WDCY.
Was WSMA, Smyrna, a MOR station. It hired away longtime WSB morning drive host Jimmy Dunaway in the early '60s. In 1965, the station increased its power to 10 kW and became WYNX, a top 40 station. Its big star was Tommy Goodwin, a younger, brasher Bobby Harper who pulled many on-air pranks and was eventually asked to leave conservative Cobb County. WSMA's simulcast sister was low power WDJK-FM which was sold to WQXI, which increased the power and changed the call letters to WKXI, then WQXI-FM, and now WSTR.
Ludlow Porch in the AM was replaced with Vietmanese religious programming in early 2001. Had country format around 1970. The station was WBAD in the mid '60s. It was a hard rocker with bad DJs and a bad signal. It was said to be really bad. In the summer of 1967, WBAD was playing psychedelic music and one correspondent wrote, "I remember it as being one of the worst stations I ever remember hearing." The WSSA call letters once stood for 'South Side Atlanta.'
The 1580 frequency was once held by WLBA in Gainesville which moved to 1130 kHz in 1967 and became "Energy Radio" WNRJ. The initials of the owner were NRJ.
Was Country-gospel WACX around 1970. Simulcasts AM 1460.
In the summer of 2006, call letters were changed from WWAA to WMLB after cake frosting magnate Joe Weber purchased the station for $16M and flipped the format from Air America Radio to his electic "Voice of the Arts" format. This is a free free form format where rock, opera, blues, classical, and other musical genres are played in a seemingly random and incoherent mix. If one likes the Beetles with Beethoven, this is the station to listen to. On 01/25/06, it was disclosed that JW Broadcasting, headed by Joe Weber, has agreed to acquire WWAA from Intermart Brodcasting of Georgia for $12M. JW also owns AM 1160 WMLB in Atlanta. WWAA briefly replaced CNN radio news with NBC radio news. However, it now is affiliated with CBS radio news. Also featured are CNBC financial news and Airloaf," which is produced by the weekly newspaper Creative Loafing. Intermart Broadcasting of Georgia. Air America affiliate. CNN Radio News on the half hour with CNN business reports and news updates in between. In September 2004, classic country WSWK became “Air Atlanta” WWAA, Atlanta's only non-neocon talk station. WSWK is on the extended AM band and began broadcasting on March 1, 2004. It remains to be seen if such a format can survive in a red neck market. It has a really good signal. When it reduces power at night, it can be picked up clearly north of I-285.
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