WBGG (AM)

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WBGG
Wbgg970logo2012.jpg
City Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Pittsburgh metropolitan area
Branding ESPN Pittsburgh
Frequency 970 kHz (also on HD Radio via WPGB-FM-104.7 HD 2)..
Translator(s) 106.3 W262DH (Uniontown)
First air date 1945 (as WWSW at 1500)
Format Sports talk
Power 5,000 watts (unlimited)
Class B
Facility ID 59960
Callsign meaning PittsBurGh (the second G substitutes for the H)
Former callsigns WWSW (1945-1980s)
WTKN (1980s-1988)
WWSW (1988-2000)
Former frequencies 1500 kHz (1945-?)
1490 kHz (?-1949)
Affiliations ESPN Radio
Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
Sister stations WDVE, WKST-FM, WPGB, WWSW, WXDX
Webcast Listen Live
Website 970espn.com

WBGG is a sports radio station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. The station broadcasts at 970 kHz with 5,000 watts day and night.

History[edit]

Beginnings as WWSW[edit]

The station was originally at 1500 (later 1490), and moved to 970 in November 1949, requiring an eight-tower directional array to use the frequency. This large array was one of the first of its kind in the United States.

For many years, this station was WWSW with a MOR music format aimed at older adults. In the early 1970s, General Manager Charles Warner instituted a news-heavy morning show to compete with market leader KDKA.

Country and Talk[edit]

In 1980, two format changes were instituted at WWSW and its sister station, known for the past seven years at WPEZ. The latter switched from Top 40 to adult contemporary music and proved to be a blueprint for its present-day success. As for the former, a disastrous and abrupt format change to country music (as "Double Country") eventually resulted in the abandonment of the historic call letters and a switch to talk as WTKN, with the moniker "We're Talking Pittsburgh!" Legendary Pittsburgh air personality Doug "Uncle Dougie" Hoerth was among the staff hosts under this format, which proved to be no match for the higher rated KDKA and WTAE.

Later, the WWSW calls were reclaimed. In 1988 WWSW-AM and sister WWSW-FM simultaneously switched to separate oldies formats, with the FM concentrating more on hits of the 1960s and 1970s, while the AM focused on 1950s and 1960s music. Ultimately, the AM became a complete simulcast of the FM station, known as 3WS, by the end of the decade.

As WBGG[edit]

In October 2000, 970 switched call letters to WBGG, breaking away from the simulcast to become a Fox Sports Radio affiliate. At first the station was known as "970 The Burgh," but today, the station calls itself "970 ESPN" as it is now an affiliate of ESPN Radio.

The two stations had a common bond as, in addition to being co-owned, they were the flagship stations for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The FM outlet for Penguins switched to WXDX in the 2006-07 hockey season while University of Pittsburgh football and basketball switched to WWSW.

In addition, WBGG-AM, along with sister station WDVE, is the flagship station for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While WDVE originates the broadcast, the contract with the Steelers specifies that the games also be aired on an AM radio station in the market.

Local programming was highlighted by former Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley 10a-12p, Stan Savran 12-2p, David Todd from 4-7p.

The online publication (970espn.com) is also the home of several sports blogs including the "Pens Bender Blog" by Rich Miller.

On January 1, 2011 WBGG AM became an affiliate of the ESPN Radio Network as WEAE changed to Radio Disney.

On September 9, 2015 it was announced that WBGG Pittsburgh launched an FM translator station, W292DH, located at 106.3, licensed to Uniontown.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°30′30″N 80°00′30″W / 40.50833°N 80.00833°W / 40.50833; -80.00833