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WBAP (AM) logo.png
City of license Fort Worth, Texas
Broadcast area Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
Branding WBAP News/Talk 820 AM
Slogan "The News and Talk of Texas"
"The World Is Changing. Are You Listening?" (Current Promotional Campaign)
"The 50,000 Watt Blowtorch of the Great Southwest."
Frequency 820 kHz
Repeaters KPLX 99.5 HD2
First air date May 2, 1922
Format News/Talk
Power 50,000 Watts
Class A (Clear channel)
Facility ID 71200
Transmitter coordinates 32°36′38″N 97°10′0″W / 32.61056°N 97.16667°W / 32.61056; -97.16667
Callsign meaning We Bring A Program[1][2]
Affiliations ABC News
The Weather Channel
Owner Cumulus Media
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
Sister stations KESN (LMA with Disney), KLIF, KLIF-FM, KSCS, KTCK, KTCK-FM, KPLX
Webcast Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)
Website wbap.com

WBAP is a news and talk formatted-AM radio station in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. WBAP broadcasts on 820 kHz with 50,000 watts from a transmitter site in the northwest corner of Mansfield. Its nighttime signal can be heard throughout the Southern, Central, and Midwestern states, while its daytime signal provides at least secondary coverage from Oklahoma City to Austin. The station's studios are located in the Victory Park district in Dallas just north of downtown.

WBAP is one of many Disney/ABC Radio stations that was transferred to Citadel Broadcasting in 2007; and remains an affiliate of ABC. Despite different owners, WBAP and WFAA-TV maintain a strong partnership (as WFAA is the local ABC television affiliate). WBAP and sister station KSCS are responsible for activation of the North Texas Emergency Alert System when hazardous weather alerts, Disaster area declarations, and child abductions are issued.[3] As of September 16, 2011, WBAP is currently under ownership of Cumulus Media.

This is one of the few U.S. stations west of the Mississippi River that carries a "W" as the first letter in its call sign.

Station history[edit]

WBAP began broadcasting May 2, 1922 at a wavelength of 360 meters (about 833 kHz),[4] changing to 400 meters (750 kHz) in August 1922.[5] The station shared time with Dallas stations WFAA and WRR. It was the first station in the United States to have an audible logo signal similar to the NBC chimes, the WBAP cowbell.[2] According to Herbert Hoover, the station's call letters stood for "We Bring A Program".[6]

On May 15, 1923, the Federal Radio Commission expanded the broadcast band, and WBAP and WFAA moved to 630 kHz.[7] Another expansion moved WBAP to 600 kHz effective April 15, 1927, and this frequency was shared with WOAI in San Antonio. On November 11, 1928, WBAP moved to 800 kHz, and on June 1, 1929, WFAA also moved to 800 kHz, sharing time (and NBC Red network affiliation) with WBAP.[7] Station owner Amon G. Carter was unhappy with having to share time on 800 kHz with WFAA. Carter Publishing purchased KGKO Wichita Falls (570 kHz) and moved it to Fort Worth as an affiliate of the NBC Blue network (which became ABC), and more importantly as a second frequency to be used when 800 kHz was not available.[8] The sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission September 24, 1935.[9] On March 29, 1941, as a consequence of the Treaty of Havana, WBAP and WFAA moved one last time, to 820 kHz.[10]

Carter eventually sold half of KGKO to A.H. Belo, owners of WFAA, and on April 27, 1947, KGKO was replaced by a second shared frequency between WBAP and WFAA.[11][12]

The dual frequency sharing arrangement between WBAP and WFAA continued through the 1950s and 1960s, with the stations switching frequencies several times a day. When WBAP changed frequencies, it signaled the change with a cowbell, which became widely associated with the station.

Even though the stations swapped frequencies several times each day, the network affiliations remained constant: NBC network programming stayed on 820 kHz and ABC network programming stayed on 570 kHz. This frequently proved confusing for announcers and listeners alike.

On May 1, 1970, the unique dual split-frequency lives of WBAP and WFAA ended when WBAP paid $3.5 million to WFAA in exchange for sole occupancy of 820 kHz (and the NBC affiliation). WFAA took on 570 kHz (and the ABC affiliation) full-time.[12] Once the frequency-sharing with WFAA ended in 1970, both stations were free to program musical formats, and WBAP began programming country music. It also gained the added benefit of 820's clear-channel signal; previously WFAA controlled it during these prime nighttime hours. After a series of network affiliation changes in the late 1970s among WBAP, KRLD and WFAA, WBAP switched affiliations to ABC.

Logo prior to adding a simulcast on 96.7 FM in 2010

WBAP changed to a news/talk format in 1993. It was also the former broadcast home of the Texas Rangers.

Local television station KXAS channel 5, currently part of the NBC network, was also originally known as WBAP-TV.

Morning show host Hal Jay recently celebrated his 25 year anniversary with WBAP by organizing a charity fund-raising event for Cook Children's Hospital ("Hal Jay's Celebrity Roast"). Among those who attended were Baseball Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan and syndicated radio talk show host Sean Hannity.

According to the Arbitron Ratings, WBAP remains the top news/talk station in the DFW area to this day.

WBAP transmitted iBiquity HD Radio (digital) during the daytime and when not airing sports programming, until abruptly ending the "HD" digital transmission in early December 2008.

For many years, WBAP was the flagship station for Dallas Stars hockey games, but relinquished these rights beginning in the 2009-2010 season, as on January 16, 2009, the Dallas Stars named KTCK Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket as its new flagship station for the next 5 years.[13] Ironically, with Cumulus Media's recent acquisition of Citadel, WBAP and KTCK are now sister stations.

WBAP News/Talk 820 AM & 96.7 FM ident used during simulcast with WBAP-FM.

Sister station KPMZ (now WBAP-FM) has commenced simulcasting WBAP on March 15, 2010.[14] Although broadcasting at a rimshot frequency, the staff at WBAP claims that KPMZ provides "crystal-clear FM fidelity" for their listeners within 96.7's pre-determined coverage area.

On October 7, 2013, Cumulus announced the discontinuation of the WBAP simulcast on 96.7 FM, and being replaced with a simulcast of KTCK (AM). Dan Bennet, the vice president/market manager of Cumulus, confirmed this move, citing they have "seen no ratings increase since adding the FM." Bennett added, "WBAP at 820 AM still covers 114 counties in the day and has been heard in up to 38 states at night and early morning before the sun comes up. WBAP at 820 is one of the biggest radio signals in America." The WBAP simulcast has moved to KPLX 99.5 HD2 (HD Radio needed), formerly The Ticket's radio spot.[15]

Current programming[edit]

The WBAP/KSCS shared facility in Arlington, Texas before they moved their studios to Victory Park in Dallas.

WBAP features local programming beginning with "The WBAP Morning News" during morning drive, 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M., and is hosted by Hal Jay and Brian Estridge, news anchor Carla Marion, Steve Lamb with sports, and husband and wife traffic reporters Monty Cook and Laura Houston. The 9:00 A.M to 11:00 A.M. time slot features Ben Ferguson, a political talk show. The station then relies on syndicated programming until 8:00 P.M. carrying The Rush Limbaugh Show (11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.), The Savage Nation (2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.) and The Mark Levin Show (5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.), all in their entirety and live. The final 4 hours between 8:00 P.M. to midnight is filled with a local talk show hosted by Chris Krok.

Overnights are locally originated as WBAP is the flagship station of the nationally syndicated Red Eye Radio (formerly Midnight Trucking Radio Network), a trucking show that traces its roots to Bill Mack's overnight show back in 1969. WBAP producer Eric Harley hosts the show along with political talker Gary McNamara and is heard live locally from 12:00 A.M. (midnight Central Time) to 5:00 A.M. on weeknights, and airs "Best Of" segments during weekend overnights with current weather and news information.

Weekends provide a combination of various local specialty programs along with a few nationally syndicated programs such as Bob Brinker, Dean Edell, and John Batchelor.

Prior to Citadel's takeover of the station in August 2007, talk show host Mark Davis's show was a full three hours, 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. As a result, Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin were all forced to air on a one hour tape delay; in the case of Limbaugh, this is especially rare. However, with Citadel's assumption of the station, Davis's show was both cut in length and shifted back by a half-hour, to carry the top-rated talkers live. With Cumulus taking over, Davis's show was discontinued when his contract ended in March 2012.

Live and local news/weather/traffic updates air from the "WBAP 24/7 Newsroom" at the top and bottom of every hour, with live traffic breaks taking place during afternoon drive commercial breaks, roughly at :20 and :50 past the hour from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.

In the fall of 2010, WBAP began an agreement with Texas Christian University to air live play-by-play of TCU Horned Frogs football and TCU Horned Frogs men's basketball. The station carried every game of the undefeated football team in that first season.

WBAP Morning News "Characters"[edit]

"The WBAP Morning News" featured several fictitious characters comedy bits during the 6:53 A.M. and 7:53 A.M until late 2008 for unknown reasons. The comedy bits were often written by Jay or producer Sean Chastain unless pre-empted by a major event. If Jay was off, the program often aired "Best Of" replays of previously aired segments.

The characters are divided into two main groups, each performed by a different individual. Some of the "parody" characters are performed by WBAP overnight host and producer Eric Harley, while the remaining characters were performed by staff member John Hanson.


  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web. 
  2. ^ a b "About WBAP". WBAP website. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Dallas Fort Worth Local Plan". Texas Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  4. ^ Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  5. ^ Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 34. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  6. ^ Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  7. ^ a b Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  8. ^ Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  9. ^ "KGKO Shift to Ft. Worth; Two NBC Outlets Planned". Broadcasting. October 1, 1935. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  10. ^ Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 69. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  11. ^ DFW Radio History - AM Stations (retrieved June 25, 2008)
  12. ^ a b Schroeder, Richard (1998). Texas Signs On: The Early Days of Radio and Television. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-89096-813-6. 
  13. ^ Stars Sign Five-Year Agreement with Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket - Dallas Stars Press Release (released January 16, 2009)
  14. ^ WBAP/Dallas Gets FM Simulcast With Flip Of KPMZ - All-Access Music Group (released March 12, 2010)
  15. ^ ‘SportsRadio 1310 the Ticket’ to also air on 96.7 FM - DFW.com (released October 7, 2013)

External links[edit]