WFLA (AM)

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WFLA
WFLA NEWSRADIO logo.jpg
CityTampa, Florida
Broadcast areaTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida and Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
BrandingNewsradio WFLA
SloganTampa Bay's News, Traffic and Weather
Frequency970 KHz
25.87 MHz (Shortwave)
Translator(s)See § Translators
Repeater(s)97.9-2 WXTB-HD2
First air date1925
FormatNews/Talk
Language(s)English
Power25,000 watts (day)
11,000 watts (night)
100 watts (KPM360 - Shortwave)
ClassB
Facility ID29729
Callsign meaningW, pre-ZIP code era abbreviation for FLoridA
Former callsignsWGHB (1925-1927)
Former frequencies1130 kHz (1925-1927)
590 kHz (1927-1929)
620 kHz (1929-1941)
940 kHz (1/1941-3/1941)
AffiliationsWFLA-TV
Fox News Radio
NBC News Radio
Tampa Bay Lightning
OwneriHeartMedia, Inc.
(Citicasters Licenses, LLC)
Sister stationsWBTP, WDAE, WFLZ-FM, WFUS, WHNZ, WMTX, WXTB
WebcastListen Live
Websitewflanews.iheart.com

WFLA ("Newsradio WFLA") is talk-formatted station in Tampa, Florida, serving the Tampa Bay media market. The station is owned and operated by iHeartMedia, Inc., the largest U.S. radio station owner. The station's studios are located in South Tampa and the main transmitter site is in Town 'n' Country.

History[edit]

WFLA began in 1925 as Clearwater radio station WGHB (1130 AM).[1] By 1927, its call letters changed to WFLA and it moved to 590 AM. It shared the frequency with WSUN before they both moved together to 620 AM in 1929. In January 1941, WFLA moved to 940 AM, then to its present 970 AM that March.

WFLA carried most of the popular network shows during the golden age of radio. From 1945 to 1949, the station carried a gospel show, which featured legendary bass singer J. D. Sumner and The Sunny South Quartet. It had various music formats over the subsequent years (top 40, middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary) before switching to news/talk in 1986. It has been the market leader in this format ever since, and usually is among the top five stations in the market, according to Arbitron ratings.

At one time, WFLA and its FM radio sister (93.3 FM, now WFLZ-FM) were owned by Media General, the parent company of The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV. In the 1980s, federal regulations forced Media General to divest the radio stations because of its other local media holdings. The radio stations were sold to Blair Broadcasting in late 1982. Sconnix Communications of Charleston, South Carolina, bought WFLA and what was then WPDS from Blair Broadcasting (which was divesting all of its English-language broadcasting properties to concentrate on what became today's Telemundo) in 1987, and Jacor Communications purchased WFLA from Sconnix in 1988. (Clear Channel Communications purchased Jacor in 1999 and thus acquired WFLA and WFLZ.)

In 1989, the station moved from Jackson Street in[2] downtown Tampa to its present location at 4002 W. Gandy Blvd., in south Tampa. Another Clear Channel property in Tallahassee now uses the calls, WFLA-FM.

WFLA gave national hosts Glenn Beck and Lionel their starts in talk radio. Other prominent alumni, from the days when the station concentrated on local programming, include Bob Lassiter (d. 2006), Jay Marvin, Dick Norman (d. 1989), Chuck Harder, Jack Ellery and Freddy Mertz. Other former hosts include Al Gardner, Mark Larsen, Daniel Ruth, Mark Beiro, Paul Gonzalez and Mel Berman (d. 2010). Over the years, AM Tampa Bay has also had three female co-hosts; Sharon Taylor, who was let go after ten years, Allyson Turner, who left less than a year after she was hired, and Corey Dylan, who was promoted to her own show at sister station, WMTX, after four years on WFLA. Longtime news anchors and reporters Steve Hall and Sharon Parker were laid off in a 2019 iHeart media round of layoffs.[3]

Programming[edit]

News unit with a previous logo

WFLA primarily airs syndicated national programming, with the exception of the station's local morning show, AM Tampa Bay and early evenings. The morning show is hosted by broadcasters Jack Harris with Aaron Jacobson, Katie Butchino, Kay Long and Jeff Kuyrkendall. In the early evenings, Ryan Gorman hosts "PM Tampa Bay." The station is also the home and flagship for nationally syndicated afternoon host Todd Schnitt, (The Schnitt Show), whose show is delayed until late in the evening for live airing of Sean Hannity. The station's weekday lineup also includes nationally syndicated programs hosted by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh as well as Coast to Coast AM.

WFLA provides local newscasts on both weekdays and weekends. Evening and overnight newscasts are prerecorded programs focusing on Florida news. National news is provided by Fox News Radio and NBC News Radio. The station serves as the flagship for the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Hockey Team. It carries other sports programming on a case-by-case basis when there are scheduling conflicts with sports events on its sister stations, WDAE (620 AM) and WHNZ (1250 AM).

WFLA provides news coverage for other iHeartMedia stations in the Tampa Bay market, and its anchors and reporters often are heard elsewhere in the state, providing reports and oftentimes complete newscasts for those markets. WFLA also serves as a hub for the Florida News Network.

Translators[edit]

Broadcast translators of WXTB-HD2
Call sign Frequency
(MHz)
City of license Facility
ID
ERP
W
Height
m (ft)
Class FCC info
W233AV 94.5 Gulfport, Florida 146121 250 184 m (604 ft) D FCC
W256CT 99.1 Bayonet Point, Florida 151584 250 420 m (1,380 ft) D FCC
W290BJ 105.9 West Tampa, Florida 146619 250 135 m (443 ft) D FCC

References[edit]

External links[edit]