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|City of license||Bethlehem, Pennsylvania|
|Branding||"The New Sunny 1100"|
|Slogan||"Your Hometown, Community Minded Radio Station"|
|First air date||1946|
|Power||250 watts (day only)|
|Callsign meaning||Globe Publishing Authority|
|Owner||Ronald and Christopher Crumbliss
(CC Broadcasting, LLC)
WGPA was originally a part of the Bethlehem Globe Publishing Authority (the GPA in WGPA). The station began broadcasting on February 16, 1946 and was located at 426 Brodhead Avenue, next to the Globe-Times daily newspaper building. At the time, WGPA was one of approximately 500 radio stations in the United States. Today, there are many thousands of radio stations. The FCC license stated ownership as A-B-E Broadcasting a division of the Bethlehem Globe Times Newspapers signifying Allentown Bethlehem Easton as coverage area. WGPA AM 1100 originally broadcast popular music from time period. The original musical lineup primarily consisted of big band/swing featuring artists like Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Doris Day and others.In the early fifties, a young man fresh out of Liberty High School named Bob Wolken,started at the station performing odd jobs. He would eventually hire on and became an on-air announcer, who would remain through changes in ownership and formats into the 1990s. Wolken's smooth style was the wake up voice for generations of Bethlehem-area residents for many years. His program was called "In the Book" and it aired from sign on time to 9:30 am Monday through Saturdays.
WGPA AM has always been a daytime only station: its broadcast hours are limited to dawn-dusk operation. Because of this limitation, WGPA-FM would pick up local live sports coverage after 6 pm. This included high school basketball and football. The FM station's daytime programming was beautiful music featuring the likes of Mantovani, Ferrante and Teicher, Ray Conniff and Henry Mancini. One well-known program on the FM side was "The Velvet Touch" hosted by Bob Deacon.
By 1973 Bethlehem Globe Publishing Authority began to divest itself of its radio holdings. WGPA AM/FM went to Holt Broadcasting for approximately $125,000.The FM station would become WEZV, "Easy 95", playing easy listening music in stereo. By the late 1970s, WEZV would become WZZO, "Z-95", and play rock. It has remained in that format since then. WZZO's headquarters was established at the Westgate Mall Bethlehem, before moving to Whitehall.
Holt sold WGPA AM to Henry Chadwick in 1978 for approximately $400,000.The WGPA-AM offices and studios would be moved to the Dodson Building at 528 North New Street. Soon after, the station adopted the moniker "Sunny 1100," playing a mix of standards and adult contemporary music, with a mix of local news, weather and traffic. Among the more notable WGPA alumni from this period was Bill Zimpfer, who played music, but who also provided play-by-play for Lehigh University football before moving on to gigs with Penn State and the Miami Dolphins. He presently works in the Philadelphia market to WOGL.
In 1991, Joe Timmer acquired WGPA AM 1100 from Chadwick Broadcasting for $125,000. In addition to nostalgia and oldies music, the station included a variety of locally hosted "specialty" programming, including "The Lehigh Valley Means Business," hosted by Bethlehem Attorney Bruce Davis, which aired for over a decade. Other specialty programs included music (Sinatra & Friends) with host Mark Iampietro, talk/ information "Parenting Matters" with Francine Bianco Tax, "Kisslinger & Company", hosted by Larry Kisslinger and sponsored by Service Electric Cable, and sports talk "Jack, Joe & Company", with co-hosts Jack Logic and Joe Craig. WGPA kept true to its roots, airing polka music three times daily, including the station's flagship program, the Jolly Joe Timmer Polka Show M-F middays. In January 2013, WGPA announced that due to the sale of the Dodson Building, studios would be moving. In May 2013 WGPA began broadcasting from new studios at 429 East Broad Street in Bethlehem.
In March of 2015, Timmer sold the station to Ronald and Christopher Crumbliss' CC Broadcasting, LLC for $95,000. The purchase was consummated on May 29, 2015.
Current program offerings
According to Ronald Crumbliss, the new WGPA will have an entirely different format and will play upbeat music known as "Ameripolitan". This includes rock oldies from the fifties, rockabilly, some roots country and more. The station format change was introduced on May 21 - 22. Crumbliss feels that WGPA's new format will be successful in Bethlehem and the surrounding area because there are currently no stations in the region playing this style of music. SRN radio news and Traffic from 69 News is included in the daily programming. WGPA also endeavors to be the only local radio source for high school sports, especially football. These programs are produced for the station by Jack Logic.
On September 16th 2015, WGPA hosted a four-hour reunion of former station employees. The program, hosted by Robin Miller and broadcast live celebrated much of the station's rich history through story-telling and remembrances from the likes of Miller, Gil Ackroyd, Jerry Dean, Mario Markozzi, and fifties local singing stars, the JAN Sisters.
A selection of local programs are archived at the station's website and may be accessed any time. The new owners have also enabled the signal to be accessed via a special application which then allows tablet and smart phone users to listen anytime, anywhere. The app is called "Tune In".
- WGPA Official Site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WGPA
- Radio-Locator Information on WGPA
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WGPA