|Broadcast area||Ashtabula, Ohio|
|Branding||ESPN 970 WFUN|
|Slogan||The Monster on the Lake|
|First air date||September 21, 1937
|Power||5,000 watts day
1,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||"The FUN spot on your dial!"|
|Former callsigns||1937–1960: WICA
|Owner||Media One Group/Sweet Home Ashtabula|
WFUN is an AM radio station in Ashtabula, Ohio, USA broadcasting at 970 kHz with a sports radio format. It is one of four stations in the Media One Group's Ashtabula cluster, the others being WZOO-FM, WREO-FM, WYBL (FM) and WFXJ-FM—all of which were sold off by Clear Channel in September 2007.
The station signed on the air in 1937 as WICA (its call letters having stood for "Industry, Commerce, Agriculture"). WICA started an FM sister station, WICA-FM, on 103.7 MHz around 1950. The dial position of WICA-FM soon moved to the current spot of 97.1 MHz, duplicating the programming of the AM station. Both AM and FM stations were owned by Richard D. and David C. Rowley since their inception.
WICA and WICA-FM later became WREO and WREO-FM, taking their calls from the company name Radio Enterprises of Ohio, Inc. (albeit being formally formed on October 7, 1986). WREO would change its call sign to WFUN on July 3, 1978, taking the call letters of a legendary AM Top 40 station in Miami, Florida while eventually adopting an oldies format. The call letters WREO were retained by the sister FM station, which continues today with a Soft AC format.
In May 2000 the Rowleys sold the stations and WZOO-FM to Clear Channel. WFUN's oldies format was dropped in February 2001 for a standard news/talk format (Rush Limbaugh's show was the only one retained, as WFUN aired it since the early 90s), adding Dr. Laura, Jim Rome, Coast to Coast AM and Fox Sports Radio. Morning drive on the station remained local throughout this time, evolving into basic a local news and political talk show hosted by Roger McCoy and later by John Broom.
Clear Channel sold their Ashtabula cluster, including WFUN, in September 2007 to Media One Group (headed by Embrescia and dubbed "Sweet Home Ashtabula" as a placeholder). WFUN's programming changed on November 3, 2007 over to a sports/talk format affiliated with ESPN Radio, dropping all political talk programming and electing to go for a smaller, male dominated, core audience.
Richard D. and David C. Rowley, the founders of WICA AM/FM, also started WICA-TV on channel 15 in the 1950s. Hampered both by broadcasting on the (then relatively unknown) UHF dial, and with no network affiliation of any sort, WICA-TV had limited broadcast hours, a sparse and often overused film library, and a heavy amount of local programming (usually filmed with only one camera). WICA-TV started broadcasting on September 19, 1953, but quietly signed off around June 21, 1956.
The Rowley family then reactivated WICA-TV on April 4, 1966, with an intent of donating it as a non-profit educational license. As was in its first incarnation, WICA-TV was again hampered with no network programming, an often overused and limited film library of mediocre and low rental fare. In addition, WICA-TV still broadcast only in black-and-white when most stations already converted to color (WQEX in Pittsburgh was the last licensed television station to convert in 1986.) and still filmed local programming with only one camera.
WICA-TV signed off forever on December 26, 1967, with its license returned to the FCC. The UHF antenna is the sole remaining element of WICA-TV's existence, still affixed to the WREO-FM tower.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WFUN
- Radio-Locator Information on WFUN
- Query Arbitron's AM station database for WFUN
- WICA-TV at the UHF Morgue