WMC (AM)

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WMC
City Memphis, Tennessee
Broadcast area Memphis metropolitan area
Branding ESPN 790
Frequency 790 kHz
First air date Jan. 21, 1923
Format Sports
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 19185
Callsign meaning W Memphis Commercial Appeal
(former sister newspaper)
Affiliations ESPN Radio
CBS Sports Radio
Owner Entercom Communications
(Entercom License, LLC)
Sister stations WMC-FM, WLFP, WMFS, WMFS-FM, WRVR-FM

WMC (790 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Memphis, Tennessee, broadcasting a sports radio format. It is one of the city's oldest radio stations, and still uses its original three-letter call sign. WMC maintains studios in the Entercom complex in Southeast Memphis, and has its transmitter towers (a four-tower array) in Northeast Memphis.

The station runs direct satellite feeds of ESPN Radio and CBS Sports Radio. In addition to sports talk shows, WMC features longtime Memphis disc jockey George Klein's weekly tribute program to Elvis Presley. Klein and Presley were close friends and confidantes during the latter's lifetime and the former's long stint on WHBQ.

The station is owned by Entercom Communications, which it purchased from CBS in September 2006.[1] WMC and sister WMC-FM were for many years owned and operated by Scripps Howard Broadcasting, along with its one-time co-owned TV sister WMC-TV Channel 5, before SHB sold the TV property in 1993. WMC is one of six radio properties in the Memphis market held by Entercom; the others are WLFP, WMC-FM, WMFS, WMFS-FM and WRVR-FM.[citation needed] WMFS AM and -FM, like WMC, are Sports stations. All three share feeds from ESPN Radio, although WMFS AM and -FM also have local hosts, while WMC sometimes carries CBS Sports Radio.

History[edit]

WMC first began broadcasting on January 21, 1923.[2] Among its unique features were late night concerts from blues singers. Although Memphis was racially segregated, Bessie Smith performed at WMC on October 5, 1923.[3]

It was reported that explorers from Great Britain heard WMC in the Arctic.[4][5]

WMC was first owned by The Memphis Commercial Appeal and its call letters reflect the M and C from its owner's initials. In the 1930s, WMC carried the NBC Radio Red Network, while rival WMPS, owned by the Memphis Press-Scimitar, aired the NBC Blue Network.[6] Starting in the 1930s, the station used a riverboat whistle as its sounder, a nod to Memphis' location on the Mississippi River—a practice that continued well into the 1990s.

WMC added an FM sister station, WMC-FM, in 1947 and a TV station, WMCT (now WMC-TV), in 1948.[7] Because WMC was an NBC Radio Network affiliate, WMC-TV also affiliated with the NBC TV Network, which it still carries to this day.

During the 1960s, WMC had a Middle of the Road format of popular adult singers (known in the industry as MOR). In 1973, WMC became the first 24-hour full-time Country music station in Memphis and was often #1 in the ratings. By the 1980s, music listening was shifting from AM Radio to FM and in 1983, 105.9 WGKX (KIX 106) went country as WMC's first full signal FM country competition. By 1989, WMC switched to News/Talk.

An NBC radio affiliate since 1927, WMC switched to CBS Radio News in 1994.[8]

In 1997, "News/Talk 790" gave up Rush Limbaugh to rival 600 WREC as well as its morning news show.[9]

In July 2001, WMC made the switch to All-Sports as "Sportsplus 790." The Good Times Show, with news about casino gambling in Tunica, Mississippi, made its debut on the station at that time.[10]

In December 2005, CBS Radio changed WMC to a classic country format, because the Memphis radio market had many competing sports stations.[5] Most programming was provided by Jones Radio Networks' Classic Hit Country network, which subsequently became Dial Global's Classic Country network. The station returned to an all-sports format on October 17, 2011, taking the Fox Sports Radio affiliation from 730 KQPN.[11]

On May 1, 2014 WMC picked up the ESPN Radio affiliation (rebranding as "ESPN 790") in addition to its current CBS Sports Radio affiliation.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hicks, Ed (2006-08-21). "Entercom Buys 3 CBS Radio Stations in Memphis". Memphis Business Journal. 
  2. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977
  3. ^ "Hit On Radio," Chicago Defender, October 6, 1923, p. 8
  4. ^ http://www.historyorb.com/day/january/19, Retrieved on 2009-02-26.
  5. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (2005-12-30). "Legendary Station Brings 'Country Legends' to Memphis". Radio Monitor. 
  6. ^ http://www.radiocenterflats.com/RCF_history.pdf, Retrieved on 2009-02-27.
  7. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977
  8. ^ Stark, Phyllis (June 4, 1994). "Vox Jox". Billboard 106 (23): 129. 
  9. ^ http://www.memphisflyer.com/backissues/issue466/media466.htm, Retrieved on 2009-02-26.
  10. ^ Robison, John (2001-07-01). "GoodTimes Radio Moves to SportsPlus 790 WMC". Casino City Times. 
  11. ^ "Confirmed: "Country Legends" WMC-AM (790) in Memphis to flip to sports". Radio-Info.com. October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  12. ^ Entercom Expands ESPN Brand in Memphis

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°10′07″N 89°53′06″W / 35.16861°N 89.88500°W / 35.16861; -89.88500