|Broadcast area||SE Tenn., NW Ga., NE Ala.|
|Slogan||The Best Variety Of Today's Music|
|First air date||c. 1940|
|HAAT||360 m (1,181 ft)|
(Jackson Telecasters, Inc.)
WDEF-FM is a radio station serving the Chattanooga area, broadcasting on 92.3 FM. The station operates an adult contemporary (AC) format and is branded as "Sunny 92.3 FM". From Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, it broadcasts an all-Christmas music format. The station can be heard throughout southern east Tennessee, northwest Georgia (often down to northwest metro Atlanta, despite co-channel W222AF there), and most of northeast Alabama.
The FM is the sister station of WDEF AM 1370, and was the sister station of WDEF-TV 12. The radio stations were spun off from the CBS affiliate in the 1990s, and are now owned by Bahakel Communications.
Once a beautiful music outlet during the 1970s, WDEF has done successfully with its "Sunny AC" format since they made the transition in the early 1990s. Luther Masingill was the WDEF morning host from December 31, 1940 until his death in 2014; he was on the air longer than any other host in radio history. He began working at WDEF and moved to WDEF-FM when the AM switched to a sports format. In 2012, Massingill was one of the first inductees into the new Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. On November 12, 2012, Massingill was one of several radio personalities inducted into the national Radio Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications.
When Danny Howard (Skyler McKenzie on the air) joined WDEF-FM as program director in 1993, only Masingill was getting good ratings. Howard made changes that resulted in the station being "mainstream AC" and "not ... too soft or too hard." Hot adult contemporary included music from the '80s and '90s, while Bright AC included some 70s music but relied more on the on-air presentation—not "laid back" like so many soft adult contemporary stations. Howard said the 25 to 49 female listeners were not boring—the image AC programmers needed to avoid was "hair up in a bun ... white house with a picket fence ... no life."
The main competition was gold-based WLMX, where Howard had previously worked. WDEF-FM did more promotion than the CHR stations WZST and WKXJ. Howard also intended to go after country WUSY, since country music was in a decline at the time.
- "News 12's Luther Masingill Passes Away At Age 92". WDEF-TV. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Danny Howard Lights Fire Under WDEF's 'Bright' AC," Billboard, Vol. 107, July 15, 1995, p. 84.
- Sunny 92.3's website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WDEF
- Radio-Locator information on WDEF
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WDEF