WFTL

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WFTL
WFTL 850AM logo.png
CityWest Palm Beach/Pembroke Pines/Lantana, FL
Broadcast areaSouth Florida
Branding850 WFTL
SloganFlorida's Talk Leader
Frequency850 kHz
Repeater(s)WRMF-FM HD2 97.9-2
First air date1948
FormatNews/Talk
Power50,000 watts day
24,000 watts night
Callsign meaningForT Lauderdale
Florida's Talk Leader
AffiliationsWestwood One, ABC News Radio, Florida State University Seminoles Radio Network
OwnerAlpha Media (sale to Hubbard Radio pending)
(Alpha Media Licensee LLC)
WebcastListen Live
Website850 WFTL

WFTL (850 AM) is a News/Talk radio station licensed to West Palm Beach, Florida with studios located in West Palm Beach. [1] The station operates with 50,000 watts daytime power and 24,000 watts nighttime power, providing coverage of Palm Beach, Broward, and part of Miami-Dade Counties. The station is currently owned by Alpha Media, through licensee Alpha Media Licensee LLC.

The station is the South Florida home of Florida State Seminoles football.

History[edit]

The station launched as WEAT on February 14, 1948. Licensed to Lake Worth Broadcasting Corporation, the station broadcast on 1490 kc. with 100 watts of power.[2] In 1954 WEAT changed its community of license to West Palm Beach and moved to 850 kc. at 1,000 watts of power.

Ownership[edit]

For many years prior to October 1, 1982, WEAT was owned by billionaire John D. MacArthur and was paired with WEAT-FM (Easy 104.3). In October 1986 sportscaster Curt Gowdy sold the station to J.J. Taylor Companies Inc. of North Dartmouth, Mass., for an undisclosed price.[3] In October 1995, it was sold with WEAT-FM to OmniAmerica Group of Cleveland for an estimated $18 million.[4]

In May 1996, WEAT was sold with seven other stations for $178 million to Chancellor Broadcasting Co.,[5] and WEAT was sold again in June of that year, along with WEAT-FM 104.3 and WOLL 94.3 to American Radio Systems of Boston.

In April 1998, the station was sold to James Hilliard's James Crystal Enterprises for $1.5 million and changed its call letters to WDJA. (Dow Jones Averages) becoming a business talk station.[6]

WFTL, along with co-owned stations KBXD, WFLL, and WMEN, was purchased out of bankruptcy from James Crystal Enterprises by Mark Jorgenson's ACM JCE IV B LLC in a transaction that was consummated on August 6, 2015, at a purchase price of $5.5 million.[7] The station was operated by Palm Beach Broadcasting until that company was acquired by Alpha Media in February 2016. Alpha announced its intent to purchase the station outright in February 2017; Alpha's purchase of WFTL and WMEN, at a price of $2 million, was consummated on April 27, 2017.

On September 27, 2018, Alpha Media has agreed to sell their cluster at West Palm Beach to Hubbard Radio.[8]

Timeline[edit]

1948 – originally an NBC affiliate, airing everything from NBC Theater to Eddie Cantor.[9]

prior to October 1, 1982 – format was country music.

October 1, 1982 – became news/talk radio

April 16, 1984 – became adult contemporary WCGY, 1960s' and 1970s' music with 25% current music.[10]

prior to April 1985 – station was once again known as WEAT and simulcasting WEAT-FM's Easy 104 format.[11]

March 1992 – WEAT-FM switches to adult contemporary. According to the Sun-Sentinel, on the AM side, WEAT (AM 850) has adopted a more conservative easy listening format to keep the station's 45-and-older listeners. The studios have been re-equipped for digital sound, with all the music on compact disc and all the commercials run from a computer hard drive.[12]

July 1994 – switches to all-news format[13]

November 2000Jack Cole, formerly of WJNO, begins a daily hour-long show.[14]

October 2001 – Jack Cole leaves the air because of a brain tumor.[15] He died three months later.[16]

October 2003 – becomes "Live 85" with call letters WFTL, swapping with a Ft. Lauderdale station at 1400. Live 85 was an all-news format.[17]

August 2005 – becomes NewsTalk 8-5-oh WFTL after a failed all news format. New slogan adopted as "Bigger, Better, Smarter"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Contact - 850 WFTL". 850wftl.com. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Special Observance Marks WEAT Opening" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 23, 1948. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  3. ^ Pounds, Marcia H., "Curt Gowdy Sells Two Radio Stations", Sun-Sentinel, October 11, 1986
  4. ^ McKenney, Mitch, "A Wave Of Radio Sales Echoes The Sound Of Money", The Palm Beach Post, October 23, 1995
  5. ^ McKenney, Mitch, "Firm Buys 8 OmniAmerica Stations", The Palm Beach Post, May 16, 1996
  6. ^ Waresh, Julie, Fairbanks Selling Six Local Radio Stations", The Palm Beach Post, April 22, 1998
  7. ^ At the Chapter 11 auction of four James Crystal stations, the “credit bid” won. Tom Taylor Now, April 1, 2015.
  8. ^ Hubbard To Acquire Alpha Media West Palm Beach
  9. ^ Passy, Charles, "Live From Belle Glade It's Sweet 'Sugar 900'", The Palm Beach Post, October 4, 1997
  10. ^ Thornton, Linda, "Radio Station Does It With Doo-Wop Ditties", The Miami Herald, December 6, 1984
  11. ^ "TV, Radio To Offer Multitude Of Games", The Miami Herald, April 7, 1985
  12. ^ Curry, Pat, EAT Changes Format, Pursues 25-To-54 Market", Sun-Sentinel, March 26, 1992
  13. ^ Curry, Pat, "WEAT Changes to News Format", Sun-Sentinel, July 30, 1994
  14. ^ Smith, Thom, "Dershowitz Finds Recount Saga Positively Biblical", The Palm Beach Post, November 14, 2000
  15. ^ "Boss Called, and Clemonds Went - to N.Y.", Palm Beach Post, October 2, 2001
  16. ^ Smith, Thom, "Jack Cole Reigned Over Local Radio Since the '80s - 1938-2002", Palm Beach Post, January 9, 2002
  17. ^ Betcher, Bob, "WFTL shifts to all news", Fort Pierce Tribune (FL), October 9, 2003

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°38′28″N 80°5′8″W / 26.64111°N 80.08556°W / 26.64111; -80.08556