|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."
|Repeaters||KPLX 99.5 HD2|
|First air date||May 2, 1922|
|Class||A (Clear channel)|
|Callsign meaning||We Bring A Program|
The Weather Channel
(Radio License Holding IV, LLC)
|Sister stations||KESN (LMA with Disney), KLIF, KLIF-FM, KSCS, KTCK, KTCK-FM, KPLX|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)|
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.
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. As of September 16, 2011, WBAP is currently under ownership of Cumulus Media.
WBAP began broadcasting May 2, 1922 at a wavelength of 360 meters (about 833 kHz), changing to 400 meters (750 kHz) in August 1922. 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. According to Herbert Hoover, the station's call letters stood for "We Bring A Program".
On May 15, 1923, the Federal Radio Commission expanded the broadcast band, and WBAP and WFAA moved to 630 kHz. 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. Station owner Amon G. Carter was unhappy with having to share time on 800 kHz with WFAA. In May 1938, 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. On March 29, 1941, as a consequence of the Treaty of Havana, WBAP and WFAA moved one last time, to 820 kHz.
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. 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.
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. Ironically, with Cumulus Media's recent acquisition of Citadel, WBAP and KTCK are now sister stations.
Sister station KPMZ (now WBAP-FM) has commenced simulcasting WBAP on March 15, 2010. 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.
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.
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"
"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.
- Andy Rooney (commentator for 60 Minutes) (Performed by Eric Harley) (asks questions such as "Ever notice that . . . " or "Have you ever..."; Rooney always answering "I know I have").
- Gene Robinson (Performed by Eric Harley) (often features homosexual stereotyping of a high pitched male voice and an elongated "S" pronunciation, similar to a slithering snake).
- "Harry Caray" (Performed by Eric Harley) (the late Major League Baseball broadcaster, who usually gives updates from Heaven about famous people who have recently died and regularly mentions his love for beer).
- "Elvis Presley" (Performed by John Hanson) (asks the morning crew to guess where he is – the running gag is they always answer either Graceland or Las Vegas but neither are correct; he then usually discusses food in reference to the overweight Elvis of later years).
- Former President George W. Bush (who usually makes up a nonsensical word)
- Former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton (often featured together, Clinton will usually make a sexually suggestive reference, whereupon Bush responds by calling him "perv boy")
- Jackie Stewart (usually featured around when Texas Motor Speedway is having a race, generally refers to others as "crack smokers" and signs off with "stand on it until you smell stink")
WBAP Unique Characters
- "Sam from Sales" (Performed by John Hanson) (a high-pressure salesman, Samuel Poteet--Esquire—with humorous stories about his very large family of cousins; this was the original WBAP character; he is not featured at the 7 AM broadcast).
- "Breakfast with Betty" (Performed by Eric Harley) (a sex-crazed wannabe chef who repeatedly hits on sportscaster Steve Lamb, encouraging him to divorce his wife – KXAS-TV reporter Deborah Ferguson – or, at the least, have an affair with her).
- "Leif Raker" (Performed by Eric Harley) (a stand-up comedian/gardener featuring corny jokes).
- "Mystic Chuck" (Performed by Eric Harley) (an alleged psychic who has "visions" but never answers the initial question as posed by Hal Jay; instead, Mystic Chuck gives an unrelated answer to a question, and then follows it with the question as the Punch line; the bit is a spoof of the Johnny Carson sketch Carnac the Magnificent).
- "This Reporter" (Performed by Eric Harley) (a news reporter who always gets confused or terribly off subject; the name "This Reporter" spoofs the fact that reporters often refer to themselves in third person while reporing a news story).
- "Shorty Lavender" (Performed by Eric Harley) (the adventures of a jockey from nearby Lone Star Park who proclaims himself the crew's "Four Feet of Fun Guy" and associates with a similarly named jockey, "Thigh High Johnson").
- "Professor Lester T. Besterfester" (Performed by John Hanson) (a fictitious professor at Texas Christian University, Hal Jay's alma mater, is billed as the Chairman of the Speech Therapy department – despite his own slurred speech, specializing in "16th century grammar appreciation").
- "Rusty Springs" (Performed by John Hanson) (an auto mechanic operating "Rusty Springs House of Pings", the alleged repair shop for WBAP's fleet, who creates nonsensical mechanical terms supposedly involved in auto repair – while charging outrageous prices).
- "The Reverend Robert Jiltem" (Performed by John Hanson) (a parody of Robert Tilton, a televangelist promoting his latest scheme while claiming that the idea "won't cost much – no, only a tiny amount – simply send me your five, ten, fifteen, or twenty THOUSAND dollars" and offering a religious trinket in exchange).
- "Doctor Ben Golfin" (Performed by John Hanson) (a fictitious medical doctor – the name is a parody of the stereotype that doctors are more interested in golf than patients)
- "Chief Wilbur Wetfeather" (Performed by Eric Harley) (a Native American meteorologist, often apologizes for bad weather claiming that he accidentally performed a Native American dance which caused it, and warns the crew of what they believe to be bad weather – such as "Strong Wind", only to learn that Wilbur is warning them of one of his relatives).
- "Pedro from Payroll" (Performed by Eric Harley) (a Hispanic character who purportedly works in WBAP's payroll department, but is portrayed as anti-stereotypical – for example, he opposed the Great American Boycott).
- "Willie Landum" (Performed by John Hanson) (the self-proclaimed "Fishing Guide to the Stars"—the name is a spoof of "will he land them?"—who provides oddly-named, and sometimes sexually suggestive, fishing lure names; this character is featured exclusively on Fridays just prior to 7 AM so that the morning news crew may receive the "Weekend Fishing Report", though in recent periods does not appear every Friday as before).
- "Akmed Dangerfield, the 'Wacky Iraqi'", (Performed by John Hanson) who generally provides updates on the goings on in Iraq, and will often have to change his report in midstream due to the subject being bombed out of existence (once, Akmed complained that the bombings destroyed his country's main industry, the Seven-Eleven Training Center); and
- "Grit Sissle" (Performed by Eric Harley) (the "Great American Truck Driver", who does reports while on the road; he is known by his CB handle "Naner Puddin" and finishes every sentence with "come back?" and two short blasts of his air horn).
- "Tug McCord" (a cowboy character who reports on "life on the range", which usually involves exotic foods not normally found in traditional cowboy cuisine)
- "Captain Steve Lightning" (a fictitious pilot for American Airlines who, when he speaks, uses elongated "ahs", some of which get "stuck")
- "Natural Howard", (Performed by Eric Harley) a spoof of local "Dirt Doctor" weekend gardening show host, Howard Garrett, who believes all gardening issues are best handled with "natural" solutions and cannot pronounce the word "herb" (Garrett, whose show was a weekend fixture on WBAP, later moved his program to rival station KSKY and is thus no longer featured).
- "Ze Inspector", a spoof of Inspector Clouseau (Performed by John Hanson) who would insult the hosts regularly (his introductory line was "Greetings, you American swine"); no reason has been given for his departure.
- "Dusty Plains", would "guest host" a segment called "Tales of the Old West with John Wayne". Hal Jay would introduce the bit and inform listeners that "John Wayne couldn't be with us this morning" and give an often humorous explanation for what the long-dead Wayne was busy with that day (example: "John Wayne couldn't be with us this morning. He's out skiing with [the then recently deceased] Michael Kennedy.") He would then introduce "our guest host" Dusty Plains, who would spend the rest of the bit telling a story of the old west that took place "in the rootin' tootin' town of Dodge City." The story would usually involve Marshall Dillon, Miss Kitty, and other characters from the Gunsmoke series. The story would end with a violent confrontation between Marshall Dillon and another character, which would typically result in bloodshed and dozens, if not hundreds, of people laying dead "when the smoke cleared."
- "Heywood Yousueme" - a spoof of an attorney (the name is a parody of "hey, would you sue me?") who would provide (bad) legal advice to listeners.
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
- "About WBAP". WBAP website. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "Dallas Fort Worth Local Plan". Texas Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- DFW Radio History - AM Stations (retrieved June 25, 2008)
- 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.
- Stars Sign Five-Year Agreement with Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket - Dallas Stars Press Release (released January 16, 2009)
- WBAP/Dallas Gets FM Simulcast With Flip Of KPMZ - All-Access Music Group (released March 12, 2010)
- ‘SportsRadio 1310 the Ticket’ to also air on 96.7 FM - DFW.com (released October 7, 2013)
- Official website
- DFW Radio Archives
- DFW Radio/TV History
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WBAP
- Radio-Locator Information on WBAP
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WBAP
- Hal Jay Celebrity Roast