|City of license||Tiffin, Ohio|
|Branding||AM 1600 and Cool FM 93.3 WTTF|
|Slogan||News, Sports, Oldies|
|Translator(s)||93.3 W227BJ (Tiffin)|
|First air date||1959|
|Power||500 watts (daytime)
19 watts (night)
|ERP||W227BJ: 55 watts|
|Callsign meaning||"We're Talking TiFfin"
|Owner||Tiffin Broadcasting LLC
(LMA'd by BAS Broadcasting)
WLEC, WCPZ, WOHF, WMJK, WFRO (with BAS)
WTTF (1600 AM) — branded AM 1600 and Cool FM 93.3 WTTF — is a commercial radio station licensed to Tiffin, Ohio broadcasting a full service oldies format, along with an emphasis on local news, talk and high school sports. The station serves Tiffin and much of surrounding Seneca County. WTTF is owned by Tiffin Broadcasting, LLC (headed by station alumnus Doug Stephan) and managed by preceding owner BAS Broadcasting under a reverse LMA.
WTTF was founded by Robert G. Wright and Milton Maltz, who joined forces to form Malrite Communications (the name "Malrite" being a combination of the two surnames), ultimately owning a chain of radio station in the Great Lakes area, including WTTF-AM-FM. By the 1970s, WTTF and its FM sister station, WTTF-FM (known today as WCKY-FM), had split from Malrite into its own entity, completely independent of Malrite, and taking the corporate name WTTF, Inc.
For much of its existence, WTTF-AM-FM was a 100 percent simulcast operation under the ownership of WTTF, Inc. This was highly unusual for a 50,000 watt FM station, with a signal that reached two other states (Michigan and Indiana), and a full-service news and talk-intensive format, even after WTTF had received nighttime power in the late 1980s. It became a family-owned business in every sense of the word. Robert G. Wright served as the station's general manager until the mid-1970s, when he retired and his younger son Richard J. "Dick" Wright, who also served as the station's chief engineer, assumed those duties. Wright's elder son, Robert E. "Bob" (but answered to his middle name Ed in order to avoid confusion with his father) Wright, served as station program director and promotions manager.
Not much of the WTTF operation had changed over the course of Wright ownership. For years, even after the advent of magnetic tape and then compact disc, WTTF didn't fully make the conversion for its music. However, Dick Wright built a live-assist automation system in the mid-1980s consisting of four reel-to-reel tape players controlled by the operator in the studio. This would supply the regular weekday music programming up until the station's sale in 1997. Records were still played from the longtime turntables in the studio for its Saturday music programming called "Saturday at the Oldies". Another program, "Sunday Gold" featured music from a different reel-to-reel tape library.
The station also aired "Tradio", a buy-sell-trade program three times a day. The program had started originally as a longform one, but was shortened to about five minutes each broadcast, to avoid possible listener tuneout. The incredibly popular program jammed the phone lines each day with listeners offering items for sale, or wanting to buy.
WTTF, known for its thriftiness over the years, also became recognized for its engineering ingenuity. When the FCC mandated EBS monitoring by all licensed radio stations, requiring the purchase of special reception equipment, Dick Wright built WTTF's EBS receiver himself. The unit, called the DW-76 (meaning Dick Wright and its 1976 manufacture date), was field tested and granted FCC type approval for legal use only at WTTF.
Wrights Die: Stations Sold
Robert G. Wright died of lung cancer at the age of 67 in July 1983. Ownership of the station was passed on to his sons and his wife Florence. This ownership arrangement continued for many years until February 1996, when tragedy struck the Wright family.
Robert E. Wright died in a car accident in his Jeep Wrangler while traveling northbound on Ohio Route 53 during a heavy snowstorm. His vehicle went left of center and struck an oncoming pickup driven by a 65-year-old woman, who also perished in the crash. Wright was 56.
Dick Wright and his mother, as the two surviving owners, decided to sell the station the following year to Jacor Communications, which would also gradually be absorbed into the Clear Channel Communications corporate structure. Following the takeover by Clear Channel, WTTF-FM was rechristened WCKY-FM, with separate programming from the AM station and taking a country format under the "Buckeye Country" banner. Florence Wright died at age 84 on May 11, 2000.
After the sale, Dick Wright was retained with the title of Assistant Engineer, largely due to the close proximity of the transmitter facilities to his home, thus making him able to quickly fix any transmitter problems. Wright continued in this capacity until his death on January 1, 2008 at the age of 66.
Facilities and Programming
1600 WTTF operates with a daytime power of 500 watts and a nighttime power of 19 watts audible within Seneca County. Its transmitter is located adjacent to the CSX tracks off of Center Rd, known also as County Road 26. In 2003, Clear Channel moved both stations from its longtime location at 185 South Washington Street into a new location further down the street at Washington Town Square, where it remained until December 2010.
Previously, WTTF (under its previous ownership by Clear Channel Communications) aired the programming of Fox Sports Radio with a mix of adult contemporary and oldies as indicated by its tagline "Music and More." Fox News Radio was aired at the top of the hour in addition to local news and sports coverage. It remains a locally originating full service station serving Tiffin and Seneca County in addition to the Findlay, Carey, Fostoria, Fremont, Bucyrus, Norwalk, Bowling Green and Sandusky areas within its west to northeast direction pattern.
Clear Channel initially was selling their Findlay cluster, along with other small market clusters, over to Florida based GoodRadio.TV LLC in May 2007, but the deal soon collapsed prior to FCC approval. Clear Channel ended up spinning off WTTF, along with the Sandusky cluster and WPFX over to Fremont-based BAS Broadcasting on January 15, 2008. BAS took over WTTF on February 1, and as WCKY-FM is not included in the deal, this ended 45 years of common ownership between the two stations. WTTF switched to an oldies format took place in the latter part of August 2008, before settling on ABC/Citadel's "Timeless" channel (which sister stations WLEC and WMVO also carried). With the demise of "Timeless" in February 2010, WTTF moved to Waitt Radio Networks' The Lounge programming service. The station now airs Citadel Media's True Oldies Channel, hosted by Scott Shannon, for much of its programming day. ABC News Radio airs at the top of the hour. WTTF's high school sports coverage is now networked with sister stations WFRO, WLEC and WMJK as the BAS Sports Network.
WTTF was recently spun off by BAS Broadcasting to radio talk show host (and Heidelberg College graduate) Doug Stephan's company Tiffin Broadcasting LLC. BAS will continue to operate WTTF via an LMA(local marketing agreement) until late 2009. Naturally, Stephan's syndicated weekday talk show Doug Stephan's Good Day is now carried on WTTF.
According to the October 25th issue of the Advertiser-Tribune, WTTF will soon be donated to Heidelberg College as a gift by Stephan. Though Stephan still owns the station, WTTF's studios moved from Washington Town Square into Heidelberg's new Adams Hall School of Business (the former Laird Hall of Science) in December 2010, teaming it with Heidelberg's existing campus station WHEI, while still operating as a commercial entity. Heidelberg's plans for programming WTTF have continued to emphasize local programming.
WTTF has enjoyed a history of tenured personnel over the years. Former news director Frank Barber (1940 - 2013) held this position when joining WTTF-AM-FM in 1994 until the sale to BAS Broadcasting in February 2008 (although he still was employed by Clear Channel until a nationwide downsizing effort on April 28, 2009). Barber replaced Jack Kagy, who had held the position for 22 years until leaving the station to take a job with Seneca County.
Account executive Conrad (C.C.) Hufford is also a longtime fixture of WTTF, having first joined the station in the late 1960s. Also, John Buccigross, of ESPN, and well known standup comic Brian Regan each worked one season with Kagy as color announcers for WTTF's coverage of Heidelberg college football while they were students at Heidelberg.
- http://www.advertiser-tribune.com/page/content.detail/id/502511.html Richard J. Wright obituary - The Advertiser-Tribune
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to WTTF.|
- Official 1600 WTTF site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WTTF
- Radio-Locator Information on WTTF
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WTTF
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W227BJ
- Radio-Locator information on W227BJ