|Broadcast area||Pensacola and Vicinity|
|Branding||WCOA News/Talk 1370|
|First air date||1926|
|Callsign meaning||Wonderful City Of Advantages|
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|Sister stations||WJTQ, WRRX|
On February 3, 1926, hundreds of people gathered in Plaza Ferdinand in downtown Pensacola to hear the first sounds of radio in Northwest Florida. At precisely 8:30 p.m. WCOA went on the air, and the broadcast was piped over a large horn on top of City Hall. Locals who owned receivers could tune into the 250-watt signal that was broadcast from two 100-foot towers located behind City Hall.
City Clerk John E. Frenkel Sr, who used the moniker Breezy Boy from the Gulf, hosted the first program. It featured local talent, city officials and representatives of area military bases. The grand finale was a rendition of a song called Down Pensacola Way that was penned especially for the big unveiling. According to letters and calls, over 700 people listened to the first broadcast.
When the city government changed form in 1931, WCOA was purchased by John C. Pace for $6,500. When he purchased the station on December 1, 1931 he indicated he would spend $20,000 in modernizing the station. The studios were moved to the San Carlos Hotel where they remained until 1949.
The station increased its power to 5,000 watts September 8, 1947.
WCOA operated for many years as an affiliate of NBC. The programming featured middle of the road music, news and sports. The station's popularity grew. In 1956 when WCOA celebrated 30 years on the air, congratulatory telegrams were received from musicians such as Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.
The station changed ownership, location and network affiliation several more times over the years. In 1991, the programming switched to a news-talk format.
WCOA also has a place in the Congressional Record, recognizing the 80th anniversary of WCOA.
- "WCOA ad" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 22, 1947. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "RECOGNIZING THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF NEWSTALK RADIO 1370 WCOA", Congressional Record Volume 152, Number 21 (Friday, February 17, 2006). From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]. Retrieved on October 13, 2011.
- WCOA News/Talk 1370 - Official Site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WCOA
- Radio-Locator Information on WCOA
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WCOA
- FCC History Cards for WCOA
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