From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see WFTL (disambiguation).
City of license West Palm Beach, Florida
Broadcast area South Florida
Branding "Big Talk 850"
Frequency 850 kHz
First air date 1948
Format News/Talk
Power 50,000 watts day
25,000 watts night
Callsign meaning ForT Lauderdale
Affiliations NBC News Radio, ABC News Radio, Seminole ISP Sports Network
Owner James Crystal Radio Group
Webcast Listen Live
Website 850 WFTL

WFTL (850 AM) is a radio station with studios in Pompano Beach, Florida, and licensed to West Palm Beach, Florida. WFTL serves Fort Lauderdale, Miami and The Palm Beaches. The station broadcasts with live local personalities daily, 6-9a Live local news, traffic and weather, 9a-Noon Geraldo Rivera, 12-3p Joyce Kaufman Show, 3p-5p Steve Malzberg, 5p-7p Rich Stevens Show, and then 7p-Mid Michael Savage and then continues with syndicated talk programming from 12a-6a. WFTL is also home to the longest-running "Oldies" specialty show "Ken Held's Doo-Wop Shop" each Sunday evening at 6pm. It is currently operated by the James Crystal Radio Group. The station is the South Florida home to Florida State Seminoles football broadcasts.


For many years prior to October 1, 1982, the station was owned by billionaire John D. MacArthur and was paired with WEAT-FM (Easy 104.3). In October, 1986 sportscaster Curt Gowdy sold the station to J.J. Taylor Companies Inc. of North Dartmouth, Mass., for an undisclosed price.[1] In October, 1995, it was sold with WEAT-FM to OmniAmerica Group of Cleveland for an estimated $18 million.[2]

In May, 1996, WTFL was sold with seven other stations for $178 million to Chancellor Broadcasting Co.,[3] and WTFL was sold again in June of that year, along with WEAT-FM 104.3 and WOLL-FM 94.3 to American Radio Systems of Boston.

In April, 1998, the station was sold to James Hilliard's James Crystal Enterprises for $1.5 million and changed its call letters to WDJA. (Dow Jones Averages) to which respectively, the station became a moneytalk station.[4]


1948 – originally an NBC affiliate, airing everything from NBC Theater to Eddie Cantor.[5]

prior to October 1, 1982 – format was country music.

October 1, 1982 – became news/talk radio

April 16, 1984 – became adult contemporary WCGY, 60's and 70's music with 25% current music.[6]

prior to April 1985 – station was once again known as WEAT and simulcasting WEAT-FM's Easy 104 format.[7]

March 1992 – WEAT-FM switches to adult contemporary. According to the Sun-Sentinel, on the AM side, WEAT (AM 850) has adopted a more conservative easy listening format to keep the station's 45-and-older listeners. The studios have been re-equipped for digital sound, with all the music on compact disc and all the commercials run from a computer hard drive.[8]

July 1994 – switches to all-news format[9]

November 2000Jack Cole, formerly of WJNO, begins a daily hour long show.[10]

October 2001 – Jack Cole leaves the air becauise of a brain tumor.[11] He died three months later.[12]

October 2003 – becomes "Live 85" with call letters WFTL, swapping with a Ft. Lauderdale station at 1400. Live 85 was an all-news format.[13]

August 2005 – becomes NewsTalk 8-5-oh WFTL after a failed all news format. New slogan adopted as "Bigger, Better, Smarter"


  1. ^ Pounds, Marcia H., "Curt Gowdy Sells Two Radio Stations", Sun-Sentinel, October 11, 1986
  2. ^ McKenney, Mitch, "A Wave Of Radio Sales Echoes The Sound Of Money", The Palm Beach Post, October 23, 1995
  3. ^ McKenney, Mitch, "Firm Buys 8 OmniAmerica Stations", The Palm Beach Post, May 16, 1996
  4. ^ Waresh, Julie, Fairbanks Selling Six Local Radio Stations", The Palm Beach Post, April 22, 1998
  5. ^ Passy, Charles, "Live From Belle Glade It's Sweet 'Sugar 900'", The Palm Beach Post, October 4, 1997
  6. ^ Thornton, Linda, "Radio Station Does It With Doo-Wop Ditties", The Miami Herald, December 6, 1984
  7. ^ "TV, Radio To Offer Multitude Of Games", The Miami Herald, April 7, 1985
  8. ^ Curry, Pat, EAT Changes Format, Pursues 25-To-54 Market", Sun-Sentinel, March 26, 1992
  9. ^ Curry, Pat, "WEAT Changes to News Format", Sun-Sentinel, July 30, 1994
  10. ^ Smith, Thom, "Dershowitz Finds Recount Saga Positively Biblical", The Palm Beach Post, November 14, 2000
  11. ^ "Boss Called, and Clemonds Went - to N.Y.", Palm Beach Post, October 2, 2001
  12. ^ Smith, Thom, "Jack Cole Reigned Over Local Radio Since the '80s - 1938-2002", Palm Beach Post, January 9, 2002
  13. ^ Betcher, Bob, "WFTL shifts to all news", Fort Pierce Tribune (FL), October 9, 2003

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°32′30″N 80°44′30″W / 26.54167°N 80.74167°W / 26.54167; -80.74167