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|Broadcast area||Dayton area|
|Branding||Real Rhythm of the City|
|First air date||1964 (at 107.7MHz FM...later WWSN now WMMX)
January 1947 (at 1210 kHz AM as WWSO later WAVI now WDAO)
|Format||Urban Adult Contemporary|
|Power||1,000 watts day|
|Callsign meaning||DAyton, Ohio|
|Former callsigns||WWSO,Springfield (1947-1954)
|Owner||Johnson Communications, Inc.|
|Sister stations||W272DR (FM translator)
102.3 mHz licensed to Drexel
WDAO "The Real Rhythm Of The City" is a daytime-only commercial AM radio station in Dayton, Ohio operating on the frequency of 1210 kHz with a power of 1,000 watts. Its studios are currently located on West Third Street with transmitter located in South Dayton.
The WDAO calls came as a result of all stations East of the Mississippi which begins with "W", the "DA" is for Dayton and the "O" is for Ohio.
WDAO started in the fall of 1964 at 107.7 MHz on FM (currently home to WMMX "Mix 107.7") Not only was it the first R&B-formatted station in the Miami Valley, it was also the first FM station of its kind in America; IT was the sister to AM daytimer WAVI, owned and operated by H.K. "Bud" Crowl its founder, (dba:WAVI Broadcasting Corp.) when its original studios were located adjacent to Interstate 75 at 1400 Cincinnati Street. Billed as "the soul of Dayton" it broadcast the hits of the Memphis and Motown soul era of the 1960s and into the Philadelphia disco sound of the 1970s. Like its Top 40 AM competitor WING, it also had a stable of on-air personalities including Kenny Ray Tevis, George Truehart, "Big Ray" Meaders, Bill "Biggie B.C." Carr, Robert "Bob" Patton, "Shotgun" Pleasant, Long John Silver, Lankford "The Man" Stevens, Mack J. Pettigrew, Jim Johnson, Dr. John "Turk" Logan, Michael Ecton, Brinda "Let's Rock" Carter, a graduate of the (dba: IBC)International College of Broadcasting of Dayton, Ohio and the late Rick Smith (later of WHIO-TV). WING alumnus Gene "By Golly" Barry also worked at WDAO as program director in the late 1970s in addition to hosting a weekend oldies program on WAVI in the early 1980s. WDAO-FM was the most popular of Crowl's stations,the other being "people power" WAVI with a talk format sometimes mixed with adult standards and a simulcast of WDAO-FM's Sunday evening jazz program. Sunday morning Gospel was hosted by Stanley Henry of Springfield and Sunday evening had a program called "Backpage", hosted by Raymond Graham and Ro-Nita Hawes (the latter would later go on to launch WROU in 1991, and would own that station until she sold it to Radio One in 2004).
Bud Crowl sold both WDAO-FM and WAVI to Stoner Broadcasting shortly before his death in 1985. Stoner chose to move WDAO to the former WAVI AM frequency and rebranding the FM as adult contemporary WWSN "Star 107.7" (now iHeart Media-owned WMMX "Mix 107.7.") where both remain to this day. WDAO's morning soul gospel DJ and WDAO's top salesperson, Jim Johnson became station manager of WDAO while Alan Gray became General Manager for both stations. Johnson eventually purchased WDAO from Stoner when they were no longer interested in the station. Stoner merged with Jacor in the 1990s and later with Clear Channel Communications in 1998. Clear Channel is now known as iHeart Media.
In 1955,Crowl purchased the former WWSO (then licensed to and located in Springfield) after it went off the air a year earlier and successfully moved its city of license and entire operation to Dayton and given the WAVI calls that same year. (WAVI was short for "Aviation" to become synonymous with Dayton being known as the "Birthplace of Aviation" and that of Wilbur and Orville Wright.) The move to Dayton was practically coincidental with the move of AM daytimer WJEL from Dayton to Springfield where it became known as WBLY from 1954 to 2002. That station is now known as WULM. WAVI aired mostly adult standards in the 1950s and 60s before switching to the talk format in the early 1970s. Bob Kweisell, Mike Scinto, A.J. Austin, Brad Clay, and the late Bernie "B.W." Wulkotte (a Dayton Daily News columnist) were some of WAVI's talkmasters and personalities. For a time, the legendary Gene "By Golly" Barry made WAVI his weekend home, spinning his brand of old 45 RPM Rock & Roll wax.
WDAO today has not only earned the distinction of being the first minority-owned commercial radio station in Dayton, it is also one of the last locally owned commercial stations in Dayton. Even the Cox-owned stations WHIO (AM) and FM, WZLR and WHKO are now based in Atlanta. WDAO continues its commitment to the Dayton African-American community by airing classic soul, jazz, blues, gospel, news and the local community talk show "Expressions" with Michael Ecton.
According to reports in the Dayton Daily and New York Times dated March 4, 2009, former WAVI alumnus Mike Scinto, host of "Expressions II" was relieved of his duties as host of the conservative talk program on March 2, 2009. Since that time WDAO has been airing a mix of contemporary soul,gospel and blues in the afternoon and early evening hours.
WDAO is a daytime-only station and must sign off at local sunset to avoid interference with talk station WPHT (formerly WCAU) in Philadelphia. However beginning in February 2014, WDAO added evening and overnight programming via the internet when the station commenced online streaming from its website 24/7.
It was announced on Monday December 19, 2016 on Facebook that WDAO returned to broadcasting on FM at 102.3 mHz, hence WDAO is now an AM/FM/internet stream combo.
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.