|Broadcast area||Washington, D.C.|
|Branding||Newstalk 1450 WOL AM|
|Slogan||Where Information Is Power|
|Translator(s)||95.9 W240DJ (Washington)|
|First air date||1941|
|Former callsigns||WWDC (1941-1950)|
(Radio One Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WKYS, WMMJ, WPRS-FM, WYCB|
WOL is an urban talk radio station in Washington, D.C. Broadcasting on 1450 AM, this is the flagship radio station of Radio One. It is co-owned with WKYS, WMMJ, WPRS and WYCB and has studios located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The transmitter site is in Fort Totten in Washington.
The original WOL was known as WRHF, which first went on the air on December 22, 1924. It was owned by an insurance agent named Leroy Mark operating as the American Broadcasting Company, unrelated to the ABC Radio Network begun in the 1940s. Its broadcasting equipment was said to have been rebuilt from a transmitter formerly located at the Y.M.C.A. building at 17th and G Streets NW. Its studios were on the third floor of the Radio Parlor building at 525 11th Ave. NW. Power was 150 watts and the call letters stood for Washington Radio Hospital Fund.
The station changed call letters to WOL on November 11, 1928 under a reallocation by the Federal Radio Commission, moving to 940 kilocycles. At the start of 1930, it was broadcasting at 1310 kcs. and at the start of 1940 at 1230 kcs.
WWDC was granted a construction permit by the Federal Communications Commission on October 29, 1940 to broadcast at 250 watts on 1420 kcs. It signed on at 1450 kcs. at 8 p.m. on May 3, 1941, airing programming from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., and promising newscasts five minutes before every hour. Studios were at 1000 Connecticut Avenue.
On January 26, 1950, the F.C.C. approved the transfer of WWDC by Capital Broadcasting to People's Broadcasting Corp., having bought WOL, and announced the two stations would be swapping call letters.  The change took place February 20, 1950. WOL morning man Art Brown moved to the new station while WWDC morning man Milton Q. Ford, who co-hosted with a talking parrot, was shunted to a 10 a.m. shift. The old WOL lost its affiliation with the Mutual Broadcasting System in the process to a station in Arlington, Virginia.
The new WOL was Washington's top rated rhythm and blues music station through the 1960s and 1970s. Originally simulcast for extensive coverage on its FM sister station, they later changed the FM sister station WMOD to an oldies format. (WMOD-FM later became now Heritage Country station WMZQ). During the 1980s, as the station got new FM competition from WKYS, WMMJ (which later became co-owned with WOL) and WPGC-FM, the station slowly deemphasized its music programming and evolved into an African-American based talk station.
During the 1960s and 1970s, WOL was home to Petey Greene, a former convict turned popular talk show host, comedian, and activist, who began his professional broadcasting career at WOL. His story was portrayed in the 2007 film Talk To Me.
|City of license||Facility
- Washington Post, Dec. 23, 1924, pg. 18
- Washington Post, November 9, 1928, pg. 11.
- Washington Post, May 3, 1941, pg. 22
- Broadcasting magazine, Jan. 30, 1950, pg. 26
- Washington Post, Feb. 19, 1950, pg. L1
- The Reeler (July 9, 2007): "Talking the Talk - Is the biopic over? Talk to Me's Don Cheadle on life, liberties and pursuing a hero", by S.T. VanAirsdale