|First air date||1957|
|Power||1,000 watts (unlimited)|
|Callsign meaning||David, Nancy, Greg - children of original station founders|
|Affiliations||Fox News Radio (prior network affiliations: Mutal Network, UPI Audio Network, ABC Radio Network and CBS Radio Network)|
WDNG (1450 AM, "Newstalk 1450") is a radio station licensed to serve Anniston, Alabama, United States. The station is owned by WDNG, Inc. It airs a news/talk format and features programming from Fox News Radio along with nationally syndicated talk shows and local programming.
Local weekday programming includes The Mighty Blowtorch, a four-hour weekday morning show hosted by Andrew McLain, and Midday with Michael Dean Smith. WDNG Live is specialty programming from noon until 2 p.m. on weekdays and primarily hosted by Pamela Bates. WDNG Live programming features local medical experts, local educators and students, and national guests. Tugg's Dog House with Charlene Fuller-Gossett and Veronica O'Neal on Friday afternoons features conversations with local and national guests concerning various animal and pet topics. Syndicated programming includes shows hosted by Sean Hannity, George Noory and Jerry Doyle.
The station first made a mark in the Anniston market playing Top 40 music with a huge local news focus after playing adult standards for about eight years. WDNG once boasted a staff of 17 full-time employees and several part-timers, a large number for a market as small as Anniston. Advertising revenue was off the charts for years, providing a stable income to support the staff and grow the station. In late 1968 WDNG left rented space in the old First National Bank of Anniston building on Noble Street and moved to what was named "The Beautiful Broadcasting Central Building" at 1115 Leighton Avenue. The facility was a state-of-the-art operation for the time. Top forty music was phased out and the station became a full service adult contemporary outlet around 1980, moving to the CBS Radio Network for news, sports and many features. University of Alabama football and Walter Wellborn High School football broadcasts continued after the switch and sports programming was ramped up using CBS feeds for events such as Major League Baseball.
WDNG slowly shifted to a news/talk format during the mid-1980s and very early 1990s. Its first morning local talk show featured fiery host Ed Benedict in 1985. In time WDNG moved away from music and to all talk and news. This move was made easier by the station's long-time commitment to local news coverage, having once operated a two-person local news department covering Calhoun and North Talladega Counties.
WDNG News was in operation as far back as 1959 under former station owner Tom Potts, Sr. It was the only Anniston radio station to offer same-day coverage of the May 14, 1961 Freedom Riders bus burning, which is considered one of the landmark events of the civil rights era. Two station employees were at the scene of the bus burning, taking notes. They were called in as witnesses by the U.S. District Attorney.
On March 22, 2009, FBI files were released under a Freedom of Information Act request made by The Anniston Star that included several references to WDNG's coverage of the civil rights movement. In one telegram from the Anniston FBI field office, station assistant general manager Bobby Price is referred to by name as having reported in a newscast facts surrounding the Willie Brewster murder case. The telegram was sent to the Washington office and was directed to J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief at the time. WDNG was at the forefront of coverage of the Brewster slaying. The black man was shot down in July 1965 while driving home from work at an Anniston pipe shop. A white man was convicted in the murder in December 1965 by an all-white, all-male jury. WDNG news provided national radio coverage of the trial for several news organizations (UPI and Mutal Radio News) under the leadership of station News Director Dave Fitz. So strong was WDNG's coverage of the civil rights movement that the station's transmitter building was bombed in the early 1960s. The case was never solved, but it was thought to be an act of violence aimed at the station for its news coverage of various stories dealing with the civil rights movement in Anniston.
Throughout the history of WDNG Radio's news department, it won numerous state and regional awards for coverage of local news events. The station's coverage of the Audrey Marie Hilley murder case in the 1980s also brought it attention. Hilley was an Anniston secretary who was convicted of using poison to kill her husband and attempting to do the same to her daughter. Her flight from justice spawned two true crime novels and a television movie made for a network. WDNG broke the news of many of the Hilley case's elements and provided award-winning coverage of the case that played out over close to a decade. Two different WDNG News Directors, Mike Stedham and later Chris Pope, gave the region countless up-to-the-minute details as thousands stayed in touch with the case. Stedham is mentioned in one of the novels about the case as breaking the news on WDNG about Hilley's recapture in a small Vermont city.
In September 2012, the station went silent for technical reasons for nearly one month. It was later discovered that the station's co-owner, J.J. Dark, was delinquent on tax payments. WDNG went back on the air in October 2012 after a transfer of full ownership to co-owner Charles Fuller. Beginning in 2013, under the leadership of Charles's daughter, Charlene Fuller-Gossett, the station established a news department that focused on Anniston government and crime.
During winter storms in February 2014, WDNG was the only radio station in Calhoun County, Alabama that interrupted regular programming and provided updated weather and road information every hour. Primary and general elections were heavily covered by the news department that year, and special reports from the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office were broadcast during ballot counts.
In June 2015, WDNG started simulcasting every formal meeting of the Anniston City Council.
In April 2016 the station purchased an unbuilt translator in the Talladega area and was permitted to move it to Anniston to rebroadcast the station. That facility came on the air in early December, 2016. (W236CQ 95.1 FM) (Taken from Alabama Broadcast Media Page)
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau.
- Anderson, Brian (September 3, 2012). "Anniston's WDNG hopes to re-emerge in a competitive local radio market". The Anniston Star. Retrieved September 3, 2012.