WFLF (AM)

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WFLA
WFLA Newsradio102.5 logo.png
City Pine Hills, Florida
Broadcast area Greater Orlando
Branding NewsRadio 102.5 WFLA
Slogan Orlando's News - Weather - Traffic
Frequency 540 kHz
Translator(s) 102.5 W273CA (Orlando)
First air date September 9, 1955 (as WGTO)
Format Talk
Power 50,000 watts day
46,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 51970
Transmitter coordinates 28°28′54.6″N 81°39′42.9″W / 28.481833°N 81.661917°W / 28.481833; -81.661917 (WFLF)
Callsign meaning W FLorida Five-forty;
also disambiguation of sister station WFLA in Tampa
Former callsigns WGTO (1955-1994)
WWZN (1994-1996)
WQTM (1996-2001)
Affiliations Premiere Networks
Fox News Radio
Owner iHeartMedia
(Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, Inc.)
Sister stations WJRR, WMGF, WRUM, WTKS-FM, WXXL, WYGM
Webcast Listen Live
Website 1025wfla.com

WFLF (540 kHz "NewsRadio 102.5 WFLA") is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Pine Hills, Florida and serving Greater Orlando. It is owned by iHeartMedia and airs a Talk Radio format. The programming is simulcast on co-owned FM translator station W273CA, heard on 102.5 MHz in Orlando. The studios and offices are in the iHeart Orlando complex in Maitland.[1] The transmitter is off Tower Pine Drive in Winter Garden.[2] The station broadcasts using a directional antenna at all times, with the signal extending to the east to avoid interfering with Class A stations in Canada and Mexico. The power is 50,000 watts by day (the maximum permitted by the Federal Communications Commission) and 46,000 watts at night.[3] WFLF is a Primary Entry Point station in the Emergency Alert System.

While its actual call sign is WFLF and its dial position is AM 540, the station calls itself "Newsradio 102.5 WFLA." Those call letters are actually assigned to co-owned talk station 970 WFLA in Tampa. And with more listeners tuning to FM, the station uses its FM dial position, 102.5, in its moniker.

WFLA and W273CA have a weekday local wake-up show called "Good Morning Orlando" with Bud Hedinger, a former news anchor on WFTV and then later with WKCF. The rest of the weekday schedule is largely made up of nationally syndicated talk shows from Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia. They include Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Dave Ramsey, Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal. Some evening and weekend hours are paid brokered programming. Most hours begin with world and national news from Fox News Radio. The station weather reports are from The Weather Channel's meteorologists and traffic reports come from co-owned Total Traffic. The station actively positions itself on the conservative end of the political spectrum, with such local marketing slogans as "Start your day the Right way," "Central Florida's Right News" and "Rush is Right."

History[edit]

Top 40 WGTO[edit]

On September 9, 1955 the station first signed on as 10,000-watt, daytime-only WGTO.[4] The station was originally licensed to Haines City. The call letters stood for "Gulf to Ocean," as in Gulf of Mexico to Atlantic Ocean, a reference to the large coverage area afforded by the station's high power and low dial position. Three years later, the station's city of license changed to Cypress Gardens and WGTO boosted its daytime power to 50,000 watts, calling itself "the most powerful station in the nation" due to operating at the lowest AM frequency permitted with the maximum amount of power permitted.

WGTO aired a Top 40 music format from its beginning until the mid-1970s, when the station experimented with a disco format.

Country Music Era[edit]

On January 29, 1977, WGTO made a dramatic format change to country music, with billboards around Orlando proclaiming the awakening of the market's "Sleeping Giant." As a country station, WGTO became a ratings success and won accolades as one of the top country-formatted radio stations in the nation, including being named Billboard magazine's "Small Market Station of the Year for 1978." Around this time, WGTO also added nighttime operations with 1,000 watts of power.[5]

But in the 1980s, as country music fans increasingly turned to the FM dial, WGTO lost market share to FM country competitors such as 92.3 WWKA. In 1982, WGTO was sold and the format changed to religious programming.

Swiitch to Oldies, Sports[edit]

Another sale four years later brought another format change, to oldies as "Cruisin' Oldies 54." But the station was not profitable and most of the station's local personalities were laid off in 1992 as the station switched to a satellite feed.

Paxson Communications, owned by Bud Paxson, purchased WGTO in 1994, dropping the heritage call letters in favor of new call sign WWZN, and installing a sports talk format, as "The Sports Zone." In 1996, the call letters were again changed to WQTM ("540 The Team"), keeping the all-sports format. In February 2001, WQTM's format and call letters moved to AM 740, which later changed its call sign to WYGM, using the moniker "The Game." With the end of the sports format on AM 540, the station switched to its current talk radio format, calling itself "NewsRadio 540 WFLA."

Talk Radio WFLA[edit]

former logo; station now exclusively identifies 102.5 frequency.

In early 2012, WFLF began work on a move to FM.[6] Its chief talk radio rival, 580 WDBO, had added a simulcast on its co-owned 96.5 FM frequency as WDBO-FM. To get on the FM dial, WFLF initially simulcast its programming on Altamonte Springs translator W283AN at 104.5 MHz.[7] (That translator today broadcasts an urban contemporary format). In February 2014, WFLF's FM simulcast moved to W273CA at 102.5 MHz.

Programming changes[edit]

Through the fall of 2007, WFLA carried the Pat Campbell show from 6–9 a.m., and was the Orlando affiliate for The Mike Gallagher Show. In December 2007, 540 WFLA began to merge programming with WYGM "740 The Team," a co-owned sports radio station which was preparing to change to a Spanish-language format. Pat Campbell was fired, and his show ended in December. A simulcast of the 740's The Dan Sileo Show took its place, and became the permanent replacement in January 2008.

WFLA retained Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Bud Hedinger. The 6-9pm slot was simulcast with 740's "The Finish Line" starting in January 2008. After only one week, however, host Jerry O'Neill abruptly quit, and went to rival sports station 1080 WHOO. Contributor Mike Tuck took over the host role, with The Shot Doctor reprising his color role.

During the NFL playoffs, WQTM's contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football network and the NFL on Westwood One was not picked up. Those sports broadcasts were moved to co-owned 104.1 WTKS-FM.

In April 2009 Dan Sileo was moved to the newly launched sports outlet 740 The Game WYGM, also owned by Clear Channel. Bud Hedinger was moved from afternoons on 540 WFLA to morning drive while the syndicated Dave Ramsey Show was picked up to fill afternoons. Longtime WTKS-FM Real Radio Assistant Program Director and Creative Services Director Dan Stone signed on to run the station as Assistant Program Director around this same time.

References[edit]

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