|City of license||Baltimore, MD|
|ERP||50,000 watts (day)
20,000 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||Chateau Baltimore Maryland|
|Owner||WCBM Maryland, Inc.|
WCBM first went on the air in the 1920s when it was based in the Hotel Chateau, located at the northwest corner of Charles Street and North Avenue. The building's name inspired the call letters - Chateau Baltimore Maryland. The Chateau was also home to the drugstore where Dr. George Bunting first produced and marketed Noxzema. Originally a low-powered local station, WCBM moved from 1400 kHz to 680 kHz in 1949 and increased its power from 250 to 10,000 watts.
WCBM gradually became a full service free-flowing Middle of The Road music and personality station by the early 1960s. The station was sold in 1963 to Metromedia radio. By the 1970s, WCBM evolved into more of an Adult Contemporary music format and in 1981 began running talk programming in the evening and evolved to all talk by 1983. The station would be sold in 1986 to local owners known as WCBM Inc. They then returned to an adult contemporary format, dropping talk abruptly. Then in March 1988, WCBM became an oldies music station playing the hits of 1955 to 1969. In May, after financial difficulties, the station filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and went silent soon after. WCBM surprisingly had outbid rival WBAL for the Orioles radio broadcast rights that previous year, considered a coup at the time, bringing back some of the old WFBR Orioles Magic years personnel. But WCBM did not get the return on investment expected, and as part of the bankruptcy, had no choice but to sell the rights back to WBAL the following year. Later in the summer, WCBM returned to the air with its current format, running only syndicated talk shows.
WCBM originally had The Rush Limbaugh Show as part of their lineup, but lost it to competitor WBAL in 1994 due to the lack of transmitter power. At the time, WCBM was broadcasting at 10,000 watts, which was dramatically reduced after 6 p.m. each night. So WCBM had to scramble to put a lineup together to compete with WBAL.
Despite having a following, Zoh Heironimus didn't capture the listenership as well as Limbaugh. So WCBM added Dr. Laura Schlessinger to the 12-3 spot; this actually had negative results. After WJZ-AM AM 1300 (then WJFK-AM) dropped his show, WCBM added The G. Gordon Liddy Show. Liddy revived numbers for WCBM, although not as successful as Limbaugh.
By the end of 2001, The Sean Hannity Show was added to the 3-6 p.m. lineup, replacing Bob Scherr. By this time there were rumors of a new omnidirectional transmitter being built in Carroll County, Maryland. WCBM went to 50,000 watts in 2004. By the end of his contract with WBAL, on July 1, 2006, Limbaugh returned to WCBM after WBAL moved towards offering more local programming.
Limbaugh replaced G. Gordon Liddy in the noon slot, and The Mark Levin Show debuted on the same day as Limbaugh's return, taking the 7-9 p.m. slot.
Recent changes in programming and station sound
As of the fall of 2009, WCBM dropped ABC News Radio network news and now airs Fox News Radio at the top and bottom of the hour. This change coincided with rival competitor station WBAL's morning show's switch to all news. For both stations, new station sweepers, imaging, station ID's and music accompanied the changes in programming, with WBAL adopting an all news imaging package and WCBM adopting a new imaging sound to accompany the switch to Fox news.
However, WCBM still airs their classic "WCBM" jingle before and after breaks in programming and more recently WBAL's station ID's were redone with a lighter announcing style.
WCBM and WQLL are owned by M-10 Broadcasting and the Mangione Family. The former Nick Mangione Sr., a World War II veteran aboard the U.S.S Caperton, purchased the station in 1988. He brought over many talents from the old WFBR such as Tom Marr, who was a Baltimore Orioles play by play announcer, and Les Kinsolving. Sean Casey is currently the Program Director. He hosts the Morning Show with Frank Luber, a former reporter with WJZ-TV. Joe "Hosni" Armacost is their co-broadcaster and call screener. Bob Pettit has been General Manager of WCBM and sister station Fox 1370 Sports Radio since January 2000.
- WCBM website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WCBM
- Radio-Locator Information on WCBM
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WCBM