|Broadcast area||Nashville area|
|Frequency||1200 kHz AM stereo|
|Translator(s)||W254CK (98.7 MHz)|
|First air date||December 1968|
|Power||10,000 watts day
3,800 watts critical hours
250 watts (FM translator)
|Former callsigns||WQDQ (?-1984)
|Owner||Moody Bible Institute|
|Sister stations||WFCM, WFCM-FM|
WFCN is an AM radio station broadcasting at 1200 kHz. Licensed to Nashville, Tennessee, it airs a Christian radio format. WFCN is owned by the Chicago-based Moody Bible Institute and it simulcasts its sister station in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 91.7 WFCM-FM. Programming on WFCN is rebroadcast on FM translator 98.7 W254CK.
WFCN operates at 10,000 by day but because 1200 AM is a clear channel frequency, WFCN must sign-off the air at night to protect Class A station WOAI in San Antonio. The FM translator is permitted to operate 24 hours a day.
WFCN first signed on the air in December 1968 as 1190 WAMB. It was the brainchild of longtime Nashville broadcaster Bill Barry, who realized in the 1960s that the switch of most popular radio stations to the rock music format was alienating many older listeners, a large segment of whom were nostalgic for the big band sound of 1930s and 1940s popular music and a station which would play it. The station was originally licensed to the Nashville suburb of Donelson. Airing a format called "The Music of Your Life", it was a pioneer of Adult standards music. The format was eventually syndicated with hundreds of such stations carrying the Music of Your Life throughout North America.
From a small start, Barry began to attract advertisers whose products appealed largely to older listeners – Cadillac automobiles, retirement homes, prepaid funeral plans, and medical services (once the FCC started allowing those providers to advertise). Barry eventually was able to raise the station's daytime power to the maximum 50,000 watts although the station could not broadcast at night.
Barry's station and its programming attracted a small (by mass-market radio standards) but loyal listening audience. Barry served his listeners with hourly news, which began disappearing from many music-format stations once the FCC stopped requiring radio broadcasters to deliver at least five minutes of it each broadcast hour. Barry nonetheless knew that news was very important to much of his mature audience, as well as investment news (market research revealing that his audience had a far larger-than-average net worth).
The primary threat to Barry and WAMB remained the passage of time. Each year a certain percentage of his targeted audience died and for the most part was not replaced by younger listeners. In recognition of this fact, some newer music from the "easy-listening" category of artists such as The Carpenters, Roger Whittaker, and Harry Connick, Jr. were admitted to the playlist, but the station's audience continued to skew far older than any other major Nashville station. In recognition of this fact, and the fact that fewer AM stations anywhere were programming music of any sort than previously, Barry sold the 1160 kHz frequency in late 2005 to religious radio broadcaster Bott Communications. Bott took over the frequency in early 2006 and changed the format to a Christian one, with a standard emphasis on evangelical/fundamentalist preaching and conservative talk shows. To reflect the new identity, Bott had the call sign of 1160 kHz changed to WCRT. Barry decided to move the big band format and the WAMB callsign to a new frequency (with power greatly reduced), 1200 kHz. Later Barry acquired another FM frequency, 99.3, for simulcasting purposes, especially at night; this continued until shortly after his death.
WAMB was the last Nashville radio station to carry Teddy Bart's Roundtable morning discussion program. Bart and co-host Karlen Evins interviewed newsmakers involved in Tennessee politics on the two-hour show, which began originally on WLAC in 1985 and had been heard on several other stations in the 1990s. The non-profit organization founded by Bart and Evins to produce the program discontinued production in the summer of 2005, due to increasing debts and declining listenership. Elsewhere in the state, cable television systems and Martin's (West Tennessee) WLJT, a PBS affiliate, carried a video version of Roundtable, with a camera positioned inside the radio control room.
Later, Bart and Evins have been offering a regular podcast titled "Beyond Reason," an exploration of religious and metaphysical interpretation of current events; both hosts long maintained interests in the paranormal. This continued until shortly before Bart's death.
Format change: January 2014
Station owner Bill Barry died in September 2013 at the age of 88. In the wake of his death, his family entered into an LMA with Silva Entertainment which in January 2014 changed the station's format to Spanish-language pop music. The format ended abruptly in September 2014, and replaced with a simulcast of WANT, which airs Westwood One's Real County format.
Ownership change: June 2016
Effective June 8, 2016, WAMB was bought by Moody Radio to simulcast the Christian radio programming heard on nearby station WFCM-FM in Murfreesboro. The station changed its call sign to WFCN on June 9, 2016. WFCN was taken silent in order to make repairs on the transmitter.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 pg. C-197
- "Nashville Scene: Longtime Big Band Station WAMB Changes Formats in the Wake of Owner Bill Barry's Death 1/10/2014".