|City of license||Washington, D.C.|
|Broadcast area||Metro Washington|
|Repeaters||1250 WKDL Warrenton, VA|
|First air date||November 11, 1928|
|Power||25,000 watts day
5,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||W-"Washington-Radio Corporation of America"
(founders of the original WRC)
|Former callsigns||1999–2001: WGAY
(Salem Media of Virginia, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WAVA, WAVA-FM, WKDL|
WWRC (1260 AM)—branded 1260 WRC—is a news/talk radio station licensed to Washington, D.C. and serving the Washington metro area. It operates with 25,000 watts during the day and 5,000 watts at night with studios and transmitters both located in the city proper. The station is owned and operated by Salem Communications.
Its callsign is a four-letter version of the famous WRC callsign in Washington, and is a name-only descendant of the former NBC Radio Network owned-and-operated station.
The station was the original home of WOL, and signed on in 1928. A station/callsign swap with WWDC (1450 AM) on February 20, 1950 landed the WWDC call letters on 1260 kHz for the rest of the century. During the 1960s, radio personalities such as Jimmy Dean and Fred Fiske had programs on this station. The format was middle-of-the-road. It staked out a place in radio and music history by being the first station in the U.S. to air the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in December 1963, effectively kickstarting "Beatlemania" in America.
During the 1970s, WWDC was a moderately popular Top 40 station. In 1981, the station began simulcast of the morning and afternoon drive shows on sister FM Rock station WWDC-FM ("DC101"), with separate shows in the same music format during other dayparts. A few years later, it broke off the simulcast and became an Adult Standards station.
WWDC changed call letters to WGAY in 1999, following the dropping of the long-time beautiful music format that was WGAY-FM (which became WJMO-FM and then WIHT). WGAY kept its adult standards format nonetheless until Clear Channel Communications bought the station with the AMFM merger in 2000. In 2001, the standards format was dropped, and the business news format and WWRC callsign were moved from 570 AM to 1260 AM. Even still, there were difficulties finding a format for the station that was different from the other Clear Channel stations in the Washington metropolitan area.
Until 2005, the station carried the business talk format, a full-time audio relay of CNN Headline News, and sports talk programming (as "Sports Talk 1260", a supplement to sister station WTEM), then switched to progressive talk and became an Air America Radio affiliate. Hosts under the station's progressive talk format included Lionel, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Bill Press, Rachel Maddow and Ron Reagan.
While the progressive format initially suffered from low ratings (The Washington Post reported their ratings in December 2006 as being "an almost imperceptible audience"), WWRC would eventually book a .4 rating in Summer 2008 and a .1 rating in Winter 2008.
Red Zebra Broadcasting purchased WWRC, WTEM and WWRC from Clear Channel in a deal announced in 2008.
On September 15, 2008, WWRC was branded as "Obama 1260" while maintaining its progressive talk format, plus news coverage from CNN and CNBC. The temporary branding was a stunt coinciding with conservative-oriented sister station WTNT (branded "McCain 570"), and was expected to last throughout the 2008 Presidential Election. While WTNT was re-branded "Freedom 570" right after the election, WWRC retained its Obama 1260 branding until and beyond Illinois senator Barack Obama's Presidential inauguration on January 20, 2009.
In January 2009, WWRC launched their new website http://www.obama1260.com/ (the domain expired September 11, 2009). However, The Washington Post reported on February 2, 2009, that the station would be changing to a business talk format the following week (although the Ed Schultz Show was moved to sister station WTNT, he would eventually be dropped from that station's lineup as well).
Starting on February 9, 2009, WWRC broadcast a syndicated business talk format under the brand, "Money 1260." Chiefly an outlet for the Business Talk Radio Network, the station also carried Ray Lucia and Clark Howard.
WWRC was sold to Salem Communications in April 2010. Upon taking control on May 15 (initially via a local marketing agreement before completing its purchase on August 3), Salem relaunched the station with its conservative talk format, once again reviving the "WRC" branding as "1260 WRC."
Prior to Salem's purchase of WWRC, the station aired Washington Redskins & Notre Dame football games as an affiliate station. WWRC also had carried sports broadcasts dislodged from WTEM and WTNT by schedule conflicts.
- Fisher, Marc (December 10, 2006). "Air America, in the Throes of Victory?". The Washington Post.
- "Deals," Broadcasting & Cable, June 16, 2008.
- "Red Zebra does "Obama 1260" and "McCain 570"". Radio-Info.com. September 15, 2008.
- Kurtz, Howard (2009-02-02). "Liberal Flameout". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Red Zebra sells D.C.'s "Money 1260" WWRC to Salem". Radio-Info.com. April 17, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
- "Salem adds AM in Washington DC". Radio Business Report. April 22, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WWRC
- Radio-Locator Information on WWRC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WWRC
- FCC construction permit