WFED

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WFED
WFEDradio.jpg
City of license Washington, D.C.
Broadcast area Washington, D.C.
Branding "Federal News Radio"
Slogan Your source for federal news... now.
Frequency 1500 kHz
(also on HD Radio)
First air date September 25, 1926 (in Brooklyn; moved to Washington in 1927)
Format News Talk Information
Power 50,000 watts
Class A (clear-channel)
Facility ID 74120
Transmitter coordinates 39°02′30.0″N 77°02′45.0″W / 39.041667°N 77.045833°W / 39.041667; -77.045833 (WFED)
Callsign meaning FEDeral News Radio
Former callsigns WWWT (2007-2008)
WTWP (2006-2007)
WTOP (1943-2006)
WJSV (1929-1943)
WTFF (1927-1929)
WTRC (1926-1927)
Affiliations Associated Press
NBC News Radio
Voice of America
Owner Hubbard Broadcasting
(Washington DC FCC License Sub, LLC)
Sister stations WBQH, WTOP-FM, WWWT-FM
Webcast Listen Live page
Listen Live player
Website FederalNewsRadio.com
WWFD
City of license Frederick, Maryland
Branding The Gamut
Frequency 820 kHz
Repeaters 103.5-3 WTOP-HD3
First air date December 15, 1960 (as WMHI)
Format Eclectic
Power 4,300 watts Day
430 watts Night
Class B
Facility ID 74104
Transmitter coordinates 39°24′42.0″N 77°28′20.0″W / 39.411667°N 77.472222°W / 39.411667; -77.472222 (WWFD)
Former callsigns WWWB (9/2007-2008)
WTWT (5/2007-9/2007)
WTOP (2006-5/2007)
WXTR (1996-2006)
WQSI (1988-1996)
WZYQ (1975-1988)
WMHI (1960-1975)
Former frequencies 1370 kHz (1960-1987)
Affiliations Associated Press
Owner Hubbard Broadcasting
(Washington DC FCC License Sub, LLC)
Sister stations WTLP

WFED (1500 AM) is a 50,000 watt Class A radio station in the Washington, D.C. region, broadcasting from just outside the District line in Wheaton, Maryland. The signal is relayed on WWFD on 820 kHz in Frederick, Maryland. The stations broadcast a news, talk and information format targeted towards U.S. government employees under the moniker Federal News Radio.

WFED transmits with a power of 50,000 watts continuously. While it is the most powerful AM radio station in the city, WFED has a nighttime signal oriented north-south to avoid interference with sister station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota; KSTP is also a 50,000 watt Class A station on 1500 AM. WFED's signal can be heard reliably on the East Coast of North America and is often heard by radio enthusiasts in Europe. In 2006, the station began broadcasting in digital "HD Radio", utilizing iBiquity Digital Corp.'s IBOC (in-band on-channel) technology.

Both stations are currently owned by Hubbard Broadcasting and its programming originates from Hubbard's broadcast complex in northwest Washington, D.C.

History[edit]

Formation of Federal News Radio[edit]

The format itself was launched by Bonneville International, owners of terrestrial-based all-news station WTOP, as FederalNewsRadio.com - the first Internet-only all news station, and the first Internet station to make the jump to terrestrial radio - on February 22, 2000. The programming concept has changed little to this day, except that the Associated Press' All News Radio service originally filled in during the overnight hours, as a complement to WTOP.

Federal News Radio is one of a few radio stations that originated on the Internet prior to moving onto a traditional broadcasting signal. It first found a home on the radio dial in 2004, on the 1050 kHz frequency licensed to Silver Spring, Maryland; that station was founded in 1946 as beautiful music station WGAY, but had become business radio station WPLC by 2004, when Bonneville bought the station and converted it to Federal News Radio and the WFED call letters.

When AP All News Radio was terminated, the station began an affiliation with CNN Headline News, which itself was phased out in 2007 by provider Westwood One. In November 2007, the 1050 frequency increased its daytime power from 1 kW to 3.5 kW in order to better reach the government office workers in Washington, D.C. who comprise its core audience.

The 1050 frequency is now used by Hubbard as regional Mexican station WBQH.

"Washington Post Radio"[edit]

The current WFED, along with WWFD and WWWT-FM (107.7) and W282BA (104.3), were former frequencies and simulcasts of WTOP. WFED and WWWT-FM were spun off of the WTOP simulcast on March 30, 2006 with the sign-on of "Washington Post Radio" as WTWP AM/FM. The primary AM station had been WTOP since 1943 (and dates its history back to Brooklyn, New York station WTRC in 1926), while WWWT-FM had operated as a simulcast of WTOP since 1998. WWFD had simulcast WTOP since 2001 (and carried the WTOP calls on the AM band following the sign-on of WTWP) before switching to a simulcast of WTWP as WTWT on June 28, 2007. Since the late 1990s, W282BA has been run as a low-power FM relay of 107.7 for the Leesburg, Virginia area.

As WTWP, these stations provided news and commentary during the weekday hours in a long-form style similar to that of National Public Radio, but on a commercial station staffed and programmed jointly by the Washington Post and WTOP. From 8 PM to 5 AM ET, the station was programmed as a general interest talk radio station, featuring hosts such as Clark Howard, Larry King and Jim Bohannon. On weekends, WTWP rebroadcast programs produced by Radio Netherlands and George Washington University.

WWWT: "Talk Radio 3WT"[edit]

The Washington Post reported that they would discontinue the Washington Post Radio service after Bonneville decided to pull the plug, citing financial losses and low ratings.[1]

Bonneville International officially launched personality driven talk format Talk Radio 3WT, with the WWWT call letters on September 20, 2007 (with 820 using the call letters WWWB). The morning show with David Burd and Jessica Doyle was retained along with all live sporting events, The Tony Kornheiser Show and automotive commentator Pat Goss. Syndicated talkers Neal Boortz, Bill O'Reilly, Randi Rhodes and Phil Hendrie were initially added to the lineup, as was a simulcast of sister station KSL's Nightside with Michael Castner overnight program. Stephanie Miller was added in November after the Washington Nationals' season ended, and Glenn Beck was added, replacing Randi Rhodes on the 1500 and 107.7 frequencies, in January 2008. [1]

WWWT was one of the few talk stations in America, at least in major markets, in which the lineup is nearly equally divided among liberal and conservative hosts.

WWWT remained a member of the CBS Radio Network (WTOP was a charter affiliate and formerly owned by in the 1930s and 1940s, and WTWP was also an affiliate in its short life), and retransmitted the audio portion of the CBS television shows Face the Nation and 60 Minutes. Also surviving the change in format were Larry King and Jim Bohannon, who were carried in the late-night time slots, although King's show was phased out (as part of a nationwide phaseout of all CNN television simulcasts) by Westwood One in 2008.

On August 11, 2008, Bonneville announced the canning of 3WT. WWWT-FM began simulcasting WTOP-FM (which kept its two other frequencies), while WFED took over WWWT and WWWB's signals. August 11 was the last day for the morning show, The Inner Loop, with David Burd and his team. Sports that had been broadcast on 3WT continued on 1500 kHz and 820 kHz. The stations remained the flagships of Washington Nationals baseball until 2011, when the team signed a contract with The Fan. The two stations still serve as translators for the baseball team. [2]

Bonneville announced the sale of WFED and WWFD, as well as 15 other stations, to Hubbard Broadcasting on January 19, 2011; this put WFED under common ownership with KSTP, Hubbard's flagship station and the other clear-channel station on 1500 kHz.[3][4] The sale was completed on April 29, 2011.[5]

Cully Stimson controversy[edit]

On January 11, 2007, while being interviewed on WFED's morning program The Federal Drive, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Charles "Cully" Stimson criticized some major U.S. law firms for representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay free of charge. Stimson further suggested that U.S. corporations who retained these same U.S. law firms should reconsider their associations with those firms. His comments drew immediate criticism from legal scholars, professional legal associations and the ACLU, and even the Pentagon itself sought to distance itself and the Bush administration from Stimson's comments. Although he apologized a few days later, on February 2, 2007 Stimson resigned his position with the Pentagon, saying he believed the flap would prevent him from effectively doing his job. The controversy broadened the reputation of Federal News Radio, however, as the station's morning hosts and reporters were interviewed by news organizations around the world about the controversy.[6][7]

Programming[edit]

WFED's weekday programming consists primarily of original news and talk content for Federal government employees, the Senior Executive Service, and contractors. While most of this programming airs on a daily basis, various programming is rotated in the midday hours. This programming, in the past, has included several Voice of America programs, including Issues in the News, Press Conference USA, and Our World.

WFED also carries syndicated hosts Jim Bohannon and Phil Hendrie, both of which were carried over from WWWT after its discontinuation. WFED does not list either host on its program schedule, leaving the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. blocks in which the shows air blank.

Most weekend programming on WFED is a mix of brokered programming and replays of weekday programming.

WFED is the flagship station for Washington Capitals hockey, George Washington Colonials basketball, and American Eagles basketball. It also carries Washington Nationals baseball, Baltimore Ravens football and selected Navy Midshipmen football, basketball & lacrosse games as an affiliate station. WFED shares 1500-AM during the day time hours with WGHT in Northern New Jersey.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farhi, Paul (August 28, 2007). "With Low Ratings, Post Radio Venture To End Next Month". The Washington Post. 
  2. ^ Federal News Radio Expands to Full Market Signal (3wtradio.com)
  3. ^ "$505M sale: Bonneville sells Chicago, D.C., St. Louis and Cincinnati to Hubbard". Radio-Info.com. January 19, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ WTOP news radio to be sold to Minnesota broadcaster
  5. ^ "Hubbard deal to purchase Bonneville stations closes". Radio Ink. May 2, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Pentagon Official Who Criticized Detainee Lawyers Quits", The Washington Post (February 7, 2007), p. A06.
  7. ^ "'Cully' Stimson Stepping Down", Federal News Radio (February 2, 2007).]

External links[edit]