|Broadcast area||Atlanta metro area (day)
Southeast U.S. (night)
|Branding||News 95.5 and AM750 WSB|
|Slogan||Atlanta's 24-Hour News, Weather & Traffic Station|
|First air date||March 15, 1922|
|Power||50,000 watts (day and night)|
|Callsign meaning||"Welcome South, Brother"|
|Former frequencies||1922-1936: 740 (kHz)|
Georgia Bulldogs (IMG)
|Owner||Cox Media Group
(Cox Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WALR-FM, WSBB-FM, WSB-FM, WSRV FM, WTSH-FM, WSB-TV|
WSB (750 AM) — branded News 95.5 and AM750, WSB — is a commercial radio station licensed to Atlanta, Georgia broadcasting a news/talk format. The station transmits with 50,000 watts of nondirectional power day and night, enjoying clear-channel status on its broadcast frequency according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) signatories with Canada and Mexico; this enables WSB to be heard across a wide coverage area during nighttime hours (sometimes extending across the east coast and Midwest of the United States).
It uses the slogan "Atlanta's news, weather, traffic, and Georgia Bulldogs station." The station is owned by, and is the AM flagship station for Cox Radio. WSB AM is the sister station to WSBB-FM 95.5, WSB-FM (B98.5FM), WALR-FM (Kiss 104.1), WSRV FM, (97-1 the River), WSB-TV 39 (2.1/2.2), and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper in metro Atlanta, all owned by Cox.
Although WSB is licensed for using the technology, it is not currently broadcasting in HD Radio. The digital radio system has apparently been turned off due to listener complaints of RF interference. WSB programming has been simulcast on sister FM station WSBB-FM 95.5 since August 2010.
The station's studios and offices are located at the WSB Television and Radio Group building on West Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, which is shared with its television and radio partners. The AM transmitter and radiating tower are located in Tucker, Georgia seven miles northeast of Atlanta in the Northlake Tower Festival shopping center.
The call-sign "WSB" carried an infamous history before it was assigned to a land-based broadcaster in Atlanta. In very early days of radio licensing, sea-based broadcasters were included in the call-sign assignment system. The first licensee of the call-sign "WSB" was the SS Francis H. Leggett. After foundering off the Oregon coast on September 18, 1914, taking a toll of all but two of the 62 lives aboard, the call "WSB" was reassigned to the Firewood, the name of which forms a grim coincidence with its fate: the ship burned off the coast of Peru on December 18, 1919, with 28 persons on board, all of whom were saved. Because superstitious seafarers objected to being issued a call "used by that ship which went down with all hands last month", "tainted" calls like "WSB" were quietly issued to unsinkable land stations.
Originally on 740 kHz until the 1936 FCC bandplan, WSB was the fourth radio station in the South, behind the first AM station, WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina; WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee; and WWL in New Orleans, Louisiana. The WSB broadcast callsign stands for "Welcome South, Brother". Founded by the Atlanta Journal newspaper (once a competitor of the Atlanta Constitution, now merged), the station began broadcasting on March 15, 1922, just a few days prior to Constitution-owned WGM AM 710 (eventually swapped to WGST AM 640). The station was only authorized to broadcast weather bulletins at first, receiving its full broadcast license later that year.
WSB smoothed the way for the radio spread of southern gospel, including through regular programming hosted by Charles Davis Tillman. The Shelby Star newspaper November 1985 issue wrote that the very talented Dan Hornsby, after the national disaster crash of the stock market, found himself working no longer for Columbia Records but for radio stations like WGST, WATL, & WCON along with being the first wake-up DJ for WSB radio in Atlanta. Lambdin Kay, the first general manager, called Hornsby "90% of the local talent on WSB".
In February 1924, Lambdin Kay called Art Gillham "The Whispering Pianist" while performing on WSB, a name he used in billing on Columbia Records, radio and theatre. Gillham returned to WSB in 1937 for regular programs. In 1927, WSB became an NBC Radio affiliate; in fact, the trademark three-tone NBC chimes were first played in the WSB studios. In 1939, the Journal newspaper and WSB radio station were sold to James Middleton Cox, the founder of what would become Cox Enterprises.
Wright Bryan, a WSB news reporter as well as managing editor of the Atlanta Journal, was also a stringer for NBC during World War II. He was the first war correspondent to broadcast an eyewitness account of the D-Day invasion from London in the early hours of June 6, 1944.
Elmo Ellis, who programmed WSB in the 1950s and 1960s, is remembered fondly as an innovator among Southern broadcasters. He provided the on-air editorials for the station, and in the 1960s, consistently supported civil rights.
From 1925 to 1956, WSB radio, along with sisters WSB-FM 104.5 (now 98.5) and WSB-TV 8 (later 2), operated out of the top floor of the Atlanta Biltmore Hotel in lower Midtown. Afterward, the WSB stations broadcast from a Colonial-style mansion specially built for broadcasting, informally known as White Columns, also located in midtown, where Peachtree Street crosses West Peachtree Street near Ansley Park. In 1998, all of the Cox Radio stations located in the Atlanta radio market, as well as WSB-TV, moved into "Digital White Columns" on the same property, the original one being demolished afterward.
WSB formerly broadcast in AM stereo using the Motorola C-QUAM system during the 1980s, a period when music could still be heard on the station. The on-air talent in this era included morning hosts Russ Spooner and Dick Hamby, playing "middle of the road" music, and Skip Caray presenting morning sportscasts. However, as WSB's format progressed to a full-time news/talk radio format by 1987, the AM stereo system was turned off.
On August 16, 2010, WSB programming began to be simulcast on then-WBTS 95.5 FM, replacing the former rhythmic CHR format "95.5 The Beat." On October 1, 2010, WBTS-FM changed its call letters to WSBB-FM. The move was made to allow it to be identified in station identifications as close to possible to 750 AM, but to also retain the calls of WSB-FM on 98.5.
WSB AM has long served as the flagship radio station for the University of Georgia Bulldog Radio Network, carrying all Bulldogs football and basketball games. WSB has also served as the flagship station for Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball, Atlanta Falcons NFL Football, and Atlanta Hawks NBA basketball. WSB carried Braves baseball coverage from 1966, when the Braves moved from Milwaukee, until 1991. In 1992, the Atlanta Braves game coverage moved to rival WGST until 1994. In 1995, the Braves coverage returned to WSB, the year the Braves won their only Atlanta World Series title to date. That same year the Atlanta Hawks game coverage was also picked up by the station. From 1995 until 2004, WSB was branded as the "Sports Voice of the South", carrying play-by-play game coverage of Braves baseball, Hawks basketball, and UGA football and basketball.
- AM IBOC Stations on the Air
- Lienhard, John H. "The Francis H. Leggett," Engines of our Ingenuity. Jan. 31, 2014. Retrieved Sept. 19, 2014.
- A Chronology of AM Radio Broadcasting (1900-1960)
- U. S. Network-Affiliated AM Radio Stations, 1949
- "Peabody Awards for '46 Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 21, 1947. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WSB
- Radio-Locator Information on WSB
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WSB
- History of WSB Radio
- WSB adds FM simulcast
- RecNet query for WSB (AM)