|City of license||Nashville, Tennessee|
|Broadcast area||Nashville area|
|Frequency||1200 kHz AM stereo; 99.3 MHz FM|
|Power||50,000 watts day
3,800 watts critical hours
|Former callsigns||WQDQ, WQZQ, WKDA|
|Owner||Great Southern Broadcasting Company|
|Webcast||Listen Live - opens in Windows Media|
WAMB (1200 AM and 99.3 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a Country music format to the Nashville, Tennessee, USA area. The station is currently owned by Great Southern Broadcasting Company rebroadcasting 98.9 WANT from Lebanon. In previous years, the station has also broadcast on the frequencies of 1190 and 1160 kHz. The station is heard in Donelson via 99.3 FM and translator W257AR.
WAMB was the brainchild of longtime Nashville broadcaster Bill Barry. Barry realized in the late 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. In December 1968, Barry started such a station, licensed to the Nashville suburb of Donelson. Calling the format "The Music of Your Life", it was a pioneer of this format, which was eventually franchised and which at one point numbered hundreds of such stations throughout North America. Today, the format is heard on approximately 175 stations.
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 allowed by law; nighttime power was severely limited by the fact that WAMB was not a Class A clear channel station. A low-powered (100 watt) FM station simulcasting the AM broadcast was added later as well.
Barry's station and its programming attracted a small (by mass-market radio standards) but exceptionally loyal listening audience, with many, perhaps most, listeners seldom if ever touching the dial to move to other stations. 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 Ames Brothers, Roger Whittaker, and, eventually, even Harry Connick, Jr. was 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 callsign 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. More recently, though, Barry acquired another FM frequency, 99.3, for simulcasting purposes, especially at night.
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.
Recently, though, Bart and Evins have been offering a regular podcast titled "Beyond Reason," an exploration of religious and metaphysical interpretation of current events; both hosts have long maintained interests in the paranormal.
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 a mix of Spanish and English 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.
- "WAMB Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1969
- "Nashville Scene: Longtime Big Band Station WAMB Changes Formats in the Wake of Owner Bill Barry's Death 1/10/2014".
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WAMB
- Radio-Locator Information on WAMB
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WAMB