WTAM

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WTAM
WTAM logo (FM translator simulcast).png
CityCleveland, Ohio
Broadcast area
Frequency1100 kHz
BrandingNewsradio WTAM 1100
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatNews/talk
Affiliations
Ownership
OwneriHeartMedia, Inc.
(iHM Licenses, LLC)
History
First air date
September 26, 1923
(98 years ago)
 (1923-09-26)
Former call signs
  • WTAM (1923–56)
  • KYW (1956–65)
  • WKYC (1965–72)
  • WWWE (1972–96)
Former frequencies
  • 750 kHz (1923–26)
  • 770 kHz (1926–27)
  • 1070 kHz (1927–41)
Call sign meaning
AM band
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID59595
ClassA
Power50,000 watts (unlimited)
Transmitter coordinates
41°16′50.00″N 81°37′22.00″W / 41.2805556°N 81.6227778°W / 41.2805556; -81.6227778
Translator(s)106.9 W295DE (Cleveland)
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
WebcastListen live (via iHeartRadio)
Websitewtam.com

WTAM (1100 AM) – branded Newsradio WTAM 1100 – is a commercial news/talk radio station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, serving Greater Cleveland and much of surrounding Northeast Ohio. Owned by iHeartMedia, WTAM is a clear-channel station with extended nighttime range, and is Northeast Ohio's primary entry point station in the Emergency Alert System.[1]

The station first carried the WTAM call letters from 1923 to 1956; assigned sequentially by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the letters were later treated as a backronym for "Where The Artisans Meet." Founded by Willard Storage Battery and later owned by Cleveland Electric Illuminating and the Van Sweringen brothers as the 1920s ended, WTAM was purchased by RCA in 1930, becoming a core station in the NBC Radio Network. NBC sold WTAM, FM adjunct WTAM-FM (105.7) and TV adjunct WNBK (channel 3), to Westinghouse Broadcasting in 1956 in exchange for their AM and TV stations in Philadelphia, whereupon the Cleveland properties assumed the KYW calls. That sale was ultimately reversed in 1965, with NBC returning and all three Cleveland stations re-named as WKYC. Sold to Cleveland entrepreneur Nick Mileti in 1972, WKYC became "3WE" WWWE, carrying a mixture of middle of the road and sports play-by-play, in particular the Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers and Pete Franklin's Sportsline talk show.

The station adopted its current talk radio format in 1985 after being purchased by a syndicate headed by Art Modell and Al Lerner; a subsequent sale took WWWE's talk programming into a controversial direction with Gary Dee and Bruce Drennan, at one point putting the station's license into question. Booth American (later Secret Communications) took over WWWE in 1990, revamping the lineup several times and hiring Mike Trivisonno as Sportsline host in 1994, later moving him to afternoon drive to much success. WWWE re-adopted the WTAM call letters in 1996 to reinforce the station's position on the AM band; station management considered the historical tie "a nice bonus, but... more incidental than anything else."[2] Purchased by Jacor in 1997, WTAM has been owned by Clear Channel since 1999, renamed iHeartMedia in 2014.

WTAM is the Cleveland affiliate for both ABC News Radio and Fox News Radio, and the AM flagship for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Guardians radio networks. Additionally, WTAM is the market outlet for The Glenn Beck Program, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show and Coast to Coast AM, and the home of radio personality Geraldo Rivera. Studios for WTAM are located in the Cleveland suburb of Independence and the transmitter resides in nearby Brecksville. Besides its main analog transmission, WTAM simulcasts over low-power analog Cleveland translator W295DE (106.9 FM), and streams online via iHeartRadio.

History[edit]

WTAM (1923–1956)[edit]

Early years[edit]

Original WTAM transmitter site (1923)[3]

WTAM began broadcast operations on September 26, 1923.[4] It was one of several stations that started between 1922 and 1923 with a call sign assigned sequentially by the Commerce Department with "W" as the first letter and "A" as the third.[5] It was originally owned by S.E. Lawrence and Theodore Willard, in the name of the Willard Storage Battery Company.[6] Initially the station only offered three hours of nightly programming, but soon expanded its on-air lineup. Studios were located in the Willard factory on Taft Avenue at East 131st Street.[4] By June 30, 1924, WTAM was broadcasting with 1,000 watts and sharing the 770 kHz frequency with WJAX.[7]

WJAX had signed on earlier in 1922, owned by the Union Trust Co. In 1924 it was known as the "Wave from Lake Erie." The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company purchased WJAX in 1925 and changed to the callsign to WEAR. Finally, Willard Battery purchased WEAR to have control of shared frequency allocation.[8]

WTAM was the first radio station to broadcast coverage of a political convention when it covered the 1924 Republican National Convention at Cleveland's Public Auditorium from June 10–12, 1924.[4][6] The station's power increased to 2,500 watts in 1925 and to 3,500 watts in 1926, as the studios moved to the Union Trust Building (now The 925 Building). By June 30, 1927, WTAM and WEAR broadcast on 750 kHz with WTAM broadcasting with 3,500 watts.[9] The January 31, 1928 Radio Service Bulletin of the Commerce Department listed WTAM broadcasting with 3,500 watts at night and 5,000 watts during the day.[10]

Clear-channel status[edit]

After Willard Battery threatened to close the station, WTAM and WEAR were purchased by the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (now part of FirstEnergy) and the Van Sweringen brothers on May 31, 1928. In a statement announcing the purchase, the new owners declared, "Recognizing the fact that this radio station is a civic asset to the Greater Cleveland district and that the cessation of its operation would be a real loss, the Van Sweringen interests and the Illuminating Co. entered into arrangements to continue it. Every effort will be made to maintain the station on a plane which will make it of maximum value to the community."[11]

When the new Federal Radio Commission instituted General Order 40 after the passage of the Radio Act of 1927, WTAM along with sister station WEAR (at that point absorbed into WTAM entirely) claimed the clear channel frequency allocated to Cleveland, and on November 11, 1928, it began broadcasting at 1070 kHz with WTAM broadcasting at 50,000 watts.[12] In 1929 the station built two broadcast towers in Brecksville, Ohio, each 200 feet high.[4]

The NBC years[edit]

Gene Carroll and Glenn Rowell in 1935

With its national prominence as a clear channel giant established, WTAM became a valuable radio property. NBC purchased WTAM on October 16, 1930, and the studios were moved to the Auditorium Building.[4] The station became a major link in the NBC Red Network, contributing some programming to the network. Around 1930, Gene Carroll and Glenn Rowell brought their vaudeville humor to WTAM with the Gene and Glenn show.[13][14] The duo became famous for their characters "Jake & Lena". WTAM originated the program for nationwide broadcast on the NBC Red Network, and it aired six days a week for five years. WTAM also originated the venerable Lum and Abner show on the NBC Red Network five days a week during one year of its run from May 22, 1933 to March 30, 1934, sponsored by the Ford Dealers of America.

NBC began to make substantial investments to station facilities in the 1930s. WTAM moved their studio operations to 815 Superior Avenue on February 7, 1937;[15] renamed the NBC Building, it is known today as the Superior Building. That same year, a new tower was built in Brecksville which was 480 feet tall. On March 29, 1941, with the implementation of NARBA, WTAM moved its broadcast frequency from 1070 to 1100 kHz, maintaining its clear-channel status.

During the 1940s, the station continued to contribute some programming to the NBC radio network. On March 19, 1946, Bob Hope brought his Tuesday night 10 pm Pepsodent radio show to Cleveland along with Jerry Colonna, Frances Langford and the Skinnay Ennis Orchestra for a broadcast on the NBC radio network. Guests included Ohio Governor Frank Lausche. Recordings of this program are still available from collectors of old radio programs.[16][17][18]

WTAM also broadcast the 1948 World Series games of the Cleveland Indians against the Boston Braves, with announcers Jim Britt and Mel Allen. In 1951, WTAM originated an NBC Radio Network broadcast of the Cleveland Orchestra.[4]

NBC also expanded its broadcasting interests in Cleveland beyond AM radio: on October 31, 1948, NBC launched a sister television outlet, WNBK, on channel 4; a few weeks later, on December 6, 1948, WTAM-FM (105.7 FM) began broadcasting, simulcasting WTAM's programming. All three stations shared the same transmitter tower in Brecksville until WNBK moved to a new transmitter tower erected in Parma[19] concurrent with a channel switch to channel 3 on April 25, 1954;[20][21] as KYW and KYW-FM, both radio stations would move to the same Parma tower in February 1957.[15]

WTAM also aired Cleveland Browns games during the 1952, 1953, and 1955 seasons; Jim Graner provided color commentary during the 1955 season.[22]

KYW: The Westinghouse years[edit]

In late 1955, NBC persuaded Westinghouse to trade its Philadelphia stations, KYW (1060 AM) and WPTZ-TV, in return for NBC's Cleveland properties and $3 million in cash compensation.[23] NBC had long wanted to own a station in Philadelphia, the nation's third-largest market at the time. The swap went into effect on January 22, 1956.[24] Westinghouse wanted to keep the historic KYW callsign, which had been Chicago's oldest radio facility before being transferred to Philadelphia on December 3, 1934. Therefore, on February 13, 1956, the Cleveland stations became KYW, KYW-FM and KYW-TV; and the Philadelphia stations became WRCV and WRCV-TV.[25] The WTAM callsign was later picked up by WGLS in Atlanta, Georgia, and after that by WGCM-FM in Gulfport, Mississippi.

In the early 1960s, under program director Ken Draper, KYW, known on-air as KY11, became a full service - Top 40 powerhouse with disc jockeys Jim Runyon (the "weeeellll" voice of the Chickenman series), Jim Stagg, Jay Lawrence, Jerry G (Jerry Ghan), and the morning duo of Harry Martin and Specs Howard.[26][27][28] Its main Top 40 rival in the Cleveland market was "Color Channel 14" WHK, at 1420 AM.

Almost immediately after the trade was finalized, Westinghouse complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Justice Department about NBC's coercion.[29][30] It was discovered that Westinghouse only agreed to the trade when NBC made implications that it would pull its television programming from WPTZ and Westinghouse's other NBC affiliate, WBZ-TV in Boston.[31] In 1964, after a protracted legal battle, the FCC ordered the swap of stations reversed without NBC realizing any profit on the deal.[32] NBC regained control of the Cleveland stations on June 19, 1965 and changed their call letters to WKYC, WKYC-FM and WKYC-TV, which kept the popular "KY" slogan and identity Westinghouse brought into Cleveland.[33][34]

To this day, the KYW stations insist that they "moved" to Cleveland in 1956 and "returned" to Philadelphia in 1965, but the two stations' facilities and broadcast licenses remained the same.[35]

WKYC years[edit]

1960s logo as WKYC

WKYC continued as a Top 40 outlet—the only such-formatted station under NBC ownership—with personalities Harry Martin, Specs Howard, Jay Lawrence and Jerry G holding over from KYW/Westinghouse. When program director Ken Draper left for WCFL in Chicago in early 1965, prior to the ownership change, both Jim Stagg[36][37][38] and Jim Runyon wasted no time following him.[39] Bill Winters came in about this time. Jim LaBarbara was wooed away from a three-day stint at WIXY to do evening prime time. Chuck Dann signed on, as did Charlie and Harrigan (Jack Woods and Paul Menard), the morning duo at KLIF (1190 AM) in Dallas. Jim Gallant was doing overnights.[40]

In late 1966, popular afternoon host Jerry G also decided to follow Draper to WCFL;[41] upon his departure, he added the last name "Bishop", and later created the TV horror host persona Svengoolie.[42] He was replaced by WIXY's evening man Jack Armstrong, who then decided to call himself "Big Jack, Your Leader"; LaBarbara was moved to overnight to accommodate Armstrong's installation as the evening jock. In early 1967, the on air staff consisted of: LaBarbara, overnight; Charlie and Harrigan, morning drive; Bob Cole, late morning; Jay Lawrence, mid afternoons; Chuck Dann, afternoon drive; and Big Jack in the prime time slot.

WKYC "Radio 11" was a large record-selling influence as far away as New York City and Miami. However, its main local competition in those days was WIXY (1260 AM; "Super Radio"). Unlike WIXY, WKYC – being an NBC owned-and-operated station in a situation not unlike WRC (980 AM) in Washington – was obligated to carry all NBC Radio programming such as the weekend Monitor, as well as all top-of-the-hour NBC Radio newscasts. The NBC Radio afternoon daily network news feed was also based from WKYC's studios and anchored by Virgil Dominic,[43] who also served as WKYC-TV's lead news anchor.[44]

On February 1, 1968, at 3:05 pm, following an NBC Radio newscast, the station altered its presentation to Power Radio, a derivative of the Drake-Chenault-created "Boss Radio" Top-40 format, programmed for WKYC by Hal Moore. The new sound emphasized "more music" with less chatter between songs and a tighter playlist. Personalities at that time included Charlie and Harrigan, Bob Shannon, Chuck Dunaway, Lee 'Baby' Sims, Fred Winston, and Buddy Harrison. It remained a Top 40 station until February 1, 1969, when WKYC switched to an easy listening/middle of the road (MOR) format.[45] Specs Howard left WKYC shortly thereafter, with Jim Runyon returning to succeed him in morning drive.[46]

Following rumors that NBC was interested in divesting some or all of their radio stations,[47] NBC sold both WKYC and WKYC-FM to Ohio Communications, headed by sports franchiser Nick Mileti and investment firm C. F. Kettering, for approximately $5.5 million in a deal announced January 12, 1972.[48] Broadcast executives Tom and Jim Embrescia joined the ownership group as vice-president/general manager and sales manager, respectively.[49]

WWWE years[edit]

Full service and country years[edit]

The AM radio station's call letters were changed to WWWE (purportedly for Embrescia or Entertainment) and adopted the 3WE brand; WKYC-FM became WWWM (purportedly for Mileti or Music);[50] both changes took place on November 16, 1972.[15] WWWE retained WKYC's easy listening/MOR format,[51] but also added radio broadcasts for both the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers as Mileti owned both teams;[52] WERE (1300 AM) had previously served as the flagship for both. Pete Franklin also joined the station from WERE and hosted Sportsline, a five-hour long weeknight sports call-in show that also followed Indians and Cavaliers games,[53] quickly becoming a legend with his acerbic personality, boasting that the station's nighttime signal could be heard in "over 38 states and half of Canada."[54]

Following Jim Runyon's sudden departure and death from cancer in April 1973,[55] the morning drive shift was taken over by Larry Morrow, formerly of WIXY;[56][49] Morrow would be joined by Joe Tait as morning sportscaster, Tait also served as the lead play-by-play voice for both the Indians and Cavaliers.[54][57] In addition to Franklin, Morrow and Tait, the daytime lineup included at one time or another, Phil McLean, Al James, Jim Davis, Jack Reynolds, Tony Matthews, Jeff Elliot, Johnny Andrews, Lanny Wheeler, Lee Andrews, Ted Alexander and Bill King.

Both WWWE and WWWM slowly severed the last remaining ties to WKYC-TV and its prior NBC ownership throughout the 1970s. The transmitter for WWWE was moved back to their previous tower in Brecksville on September 5, 1974,[15] that tower is still in use today by WWWE's successor WTAM, along with FM stations WAKS (co-owned with WTAM) and WZAK.[58] In addition, the studios for both WWWE and WWWM were moved to Park Centre—known today as Reserve Square—that November 14.[15] WWWE would then drop its NBC Radio affiliation altogether by 1977.[6]

WWWE was sold to Combined Communications, Inc. in December 1976 for $7.5 million,[59] consummated the following September;[60] Ohio Communications retained WWWM. Combined Communications subsequently merged into Globe Broadcasting Corp., owner of WMGC (1260 AM) and WDOK;[61] WMGC was spun off to comply with then-existing ownership rules.[62] Gannett then merged into Combined Communications in June 1979 in a $370 million deal; at the time, it was one of the largest mergers and acquisitions in the broadcasting industry.[63]

In December 1981, WWWE switched formats to country branded as Country 11, going in direct competition with WHK (1420 AM) and WKSW (99.5 FM).[64] With the switch, the duo of Rick McGuire and Ron Marron were installed in morning drive, displacing Larry Morrow to afternoons;[64][65] Morrow eventually left the station.[56] Citing disappointing ratings and a waning audience in the market overall for country music, WWWE quietly switched back to an easy listening/MOR format in August 1983, again using the 3WE brand.[66][67]

Change to talk radio[edit]

Late 80s-Early 90s "3WE" logo after AM 1100 became a talk station.

Lake Erie Broadcasting (whose principals included then-Cleveland Browns majority owner Art Modell and minority owner Al Lerner) purchased both WWWE and WDOK in February 1985 for $9.5 million;[68] as part of the deal, Lake Erie sold off their existing AM station, WJW (850 AM), to Booth American for $2.1 million.[69] Upon the deal's consummation, on June 11, 1985, Lake Erie changed WWWE's format from adult contemporary to the news/talk format previously heard on WJW;[70] changed branding to Radio 11 WWWE; and reassigned all on and off-air staff from WJW over to WWWE, while inheriting all existing sports play-by-play and Pete Franklin's Sportsline.[71][72] Franklin himself left the station in May 1987 to become the afternoon drive host at WFAN (1050 AM) in New York City, later WFAN (660 AM);[53][73] Bruce Drennan later took over as Sportsline host.[74]

WWWE and WDOK were sold to the Independent Group Ltd.—owned by Tom Embrescia, Tom Wilson and Larry Pollock—on November 30, 1987,[75] where WWWE once again took the 3WE brand. Shock jock Gary Dee was hired as afternoon drive host, only to be fired on August 18, 1989,[76][77] after multiple indecency complaints filed against him and the station as part of an anti-indecency campaign by the FCC.[78][79] In part due to the charges filed against Dee, Booth American purchased WWWE from Independent Group, which concurrently purchased WRMR (850 AM) from Booth American.[80][81] Booth retained the Cavaliers radio network flagship rights, transferring it back to WWWE,[82] while also purchasing the production rights to the Browns and Indians networks from Sports Marketing, controlled by Tom Wilson.[83] The transaction was delayed for several months due to the FCC investigation against Dee;[84] WWWE later paid an $8,000 fine.[85] The outgoing Independent Group management retained the ability[86] to hire Tom Hamilton as Herb Score's Indians broadcast partner prior to the start of the 1990 season with Booth's blessing.[87]

WTAM's transmitter tower in Brecksville, with a backup tower in the foreground. Originally built for the station by NBC in 1937, it is also used by FM stations WAKS and WZAK. The current transmitter building is at the tower base, while the original transmitter building is to the far right.

Booth's takeover of WWWE was regarded in the local press as a "purge" with much of the airstaff going on-air to discuss their fates.[84] Dismissed were morning host Bob Fuller, midday host Beth Albright, afternoon duo Bob Becker and Luther Heggs and weekend host Bruce Drennan,[88] with Geoff Sindelar retained as Sportsline host on an interim basis.[84] Lee Hamilton expressed interest in rejoining WWWE, having been friends with much of the new Booth management,[89] but couldn't agree to a contract after expressing a desire to also do play-by-play announcing.[84] When the deal closed on June 25, 1990,[90] WWWE filled the majority of their daytime lineup with syndicated fare: Dr. Joy Browne in late mornings and The Rush Limbaugh Show and Dr. Dean Edell in afternoons, Rush's program having moved over from WERE.[88] Browne's show was added after Fuller declined an offer to host middays and was only temporary as syndicator ABC Radio planned on cancelling it by that September.[91]

The station went aggressive on news with rolling all-news blocks launched in morning and afternoon drive[84] along with an hourlong noon block.[88] A 12-person 24-hour news department was instituted with ABC-Information newscasts replacing CBS; Booth executive Roger Turner cited ABC's "tighter writing and a faster delivery" as the reason for the switch.[88] Turner himself became a on-air presence with daily editorials also implemented by Booth.[91] By virtue of common ownership with WLTF, WWWE also became involved with WLTF's Coats for Kids charity campaign, which was launched by Booth American in 1981.[92] New studios were constructed for WWWE and WLTF at the Western Reserve Building in the Warehouse District[93] with an additional studio at the Nautica Entertainment Complex for sports talk shows.[94] Newsman Ed Coury, who rejoined WWWE upon the Booth takeover as co-host of the morning news block,[84] was eventually promoted to news director at the end of 1991.[95]

Sindelar departed the station on October 3, 1990,[96] after a series of changes by management limiting the number of phone calls to his show when listener surveys revealed multiple complaints that the same people were always calling in constantly.[97] Sportscaster Mike Snyder, who joined the station the previous month, took over as Sportsline host,[98] while Sindelar resurfaced at WKNR.[99] Despite simulcasting all games throughout the 1990 season with WLTF,[100] WWWE lost the Cleveland Browns rights after the season ended, with WHK prevailing in a bidding war against WKNR.[101] Following the 1991 season, WWWE ended its radio contract with the Cleveland Indians, with the flagship rights going to WKNR.[102] WWWE hired Craig Carton as Sportsline host in April 1992, replacing Snyder, who was promoted to sports director, a position he holds to this day;[103] Carton left the station in May 1993.[104] WWWE picked up Imus in the Morning for morning drive in September 1993 after Westwood One offered up the show for national syndication.[105]

In April 1994, Booth American merged with Broadcast Alchemy to form Secret Communications in a $160 million deal.[106] Gary Bruce was hired from WIOD in Miami as program director that May,[107] and hired two hosts from WIOD in a lineup revamp: Chuck Meyer for mornings, replacing Imus in the Morning,[108] and Jaz McKay for late mornings.[109] The former WMMS morning team of Jeff Kinzbach and Ed "Flash" Ferenc were reunited in afternoon drive with Rock 'n Roll Talk Radio,[110] while Mike Trivisonno took over as Sportsline host; Trivisonno was a regular caller to Pete Franklin's iteration of the show and was dubbed "Mr. Know It All" derisively by Franklin.[53] Rich Michaels joined WWWE in May 1995 in the late morning position, and Jaz McKay was moved to late evenings. The Bob & Tom Show was also added to the lineup in evenings via tape-delay in October 1995.[111] WWWE itself would make news on January 23, 1996, when its traffic plane hit a cellular phone tower and crashed in Highland Hills, killing both MetroTraffic reporter James Endsley (who was known on-air as Fred Wesley) and pilot James McVeigh.[112]

WTAM (1996–present)[edit]

Logo used from 1996 - when AM 1100 reverted to the WTAM call letters - until 2018, when the current logo (with the 106.9 FM simulcast included) was introduced
Originally a regular caller to Pete Franklin's Sportsline on WWWE, Mike Trivisonno took over that program in 1994. Trivisonno then became a fixture in afternoons at WTAM from 1996 until his death on October 28, 2021.

In 1996, ownership decided to replace the WWWE call letters. The station was temporarily branded as "Newsradio AM 1100" during this time, and in searching for a new "AM"-related callsign, it found that the original WTAM call was available.[2] On July 26, 1996,[113] the station once again became WTAM, forty years after having dropped the call letters, and adopted the WTAM 1100 brand. The WWWE call sign was later assigned to a 5,000-watt daytime station in Atlanta (which coincidentally also broadcasts on 1100 kHz).

Jacor Communications purchased WTAM and WLTF from Secret Communications on April 25, 1997,[114] then purchased WKNR (1220 AM) from Cablevision that August 19.[115] WKNR's flagship status for the Cleveland Indians Radio Network was transferred to WTAM at the start of the 1998 season; WKNR was then traded to Capstar Broadcasting in exchange for WTAE in Pittsburgh as part of a Justice Department settlement after Jacor's purchase of Nationwide Communications (which also reunited WTAM with its former FM counterpart WMJI).[116] In May 1999, iHeartMedia (then known as Clear Channel Communications) completed its $6.5 billion purchase of Jacor and its 454 stations, including WTAM.[117]

As the Indians flagship station, and picking up some popular nationally syndicated talk shows, such as Dr. Laura Schlessinger (who replaced Rich Michaels) and Coast to Coast AM, WTAM began to build – and sustain – an audience. Unlikely success was found with Mike Trivisonno in 1996 after he was moved into the afternoon-drive shift and eventually became a lead-in to the Indians and Cavaliers broadcasts.

In 1998, Bill Wills was brought in from sister station WLW in Cincinnati and was paired with long-time Cleveland radio veterans John Webster and Casey Coleman to host Wills, Webster and Coleman in the Morning – a morning drive news show patterned after Wills' show on WLW. (Webster retired in 2001, and the morning show's title was shortened to Wills and Coleman.)

Glenn Beck replaced Dr. Laura Schlessinger in late mornings following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Then, Beck was replaced in March 2005 with Jerry Springer's mid-morning show. In March 2006, WTAM replaced Springer with a local program hosted by Bob Frantz, coming over from Clear Channel sister station WSPD in Toledo. Beck's show was then brought back on November 3, 2008, bumping Frantz to evenings.[118]

Studios for all of Clear Channel's Cleveland stations, including WTAM, were consolidated into a new facility in Independence, Ohio by July 2002. WTAM canceled its fifteen-year affiliation with ABC Radio in August 2005, picking up Fox News Radio in a nationwide deal that involved other Clear Channel talk stations, but continued to run ABC Radio's Paul Harvey until August 12, 2006.

On November 27, 2006, Casey Coleman, who was co-host of the popular Wills and Coleman morning show, and sideline reporter on the station's coverage of the Cleveland Browns, died following a fifteen-month bout with pancreatic cancer at the age of 55.[119] Sports director Mike Snyder was brought into the morning slot to succeed Casey, and the program was renamed Wills and Snyder.

The station was one of 10 stations awarded the 2007 Crystal Radio Award for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters.[120] Winners were honored at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

If there's a Mount Rushmore of Cleveland radio, Mike Trivisonno is right there on the forefront... Mike Trivisonno is on that.

Mike Snyder, WTAM sports director, October 28, 2021[121]

WTAM added a mid-morning debate program titled The Spew on March 11, 2013, with Trivisonno and Bob Frantz as debate partners and Dave Ramos as moderator.[122] Frantz was fired from WTAM on July 8, 2014, due to "corporate restructuring" but alluded heavily to financial issues surrounding Clear Channel[123] which itself was renamed iHeartMedia one month later.[124] Nick Camino replaced Frantz in evenings,[123] while John Lanigan replaced Frantz as Trivisonno's debate partner on The Spew, with Mike Snyder now as moderator.[125]: 154  Lanigan, who had retired from WMJI earlier in the year, was reluctant to take the job and had barely if ever interacted with Trivisonno, but the two became friendly when Trivisonno offered to interview Lanigan for one program and Lanigan returned the favor the next day.[125]: 152–153  While Lanigan initially viewed the show as a way to "get up in the morning and read the newspapers... (keeping) me alert, alive and involved”,[126] he abruptly quit during the middle of the August 8, 2018, episode,[127] citing a lack of enjoyment, disinterest in the topics discussed and feeling unqualified to express his opinion.[128] Following a brief period with Jensen Lewis as a fill-in co-host, The Spew was retired on September 24, 2018, for a hour-long local program hosted by Geraldo Rivera,[129] with Lewis and Trivisonno joining Camino in early evenings for Sports Feed 2.0.[130]

Rush Limbaugh remained on the lineup until his February 2021 death; following four months of "best of" tribute shows,[131] WTAM—by virtue of iHeartMedia ownership—became a charter affiliate of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show on June 18, 2021.[132] An even larger shock to the station, however, happened when Mike Trivisonno died suddenly on October 28, 2021, hours before his afternoon drive show was to have started.[133] Co-hosts Carmen Angelo[134] and Seth Williams, along with WTAM program director Ray Davis, hosted a memorial program that day in Trivisonno's time slot, the start of which was delayed by an hour with various taped press conferences airing as filler.[135] Industry blogger Lance Venta commented that Trivisonno’s show on the night Art Modell revealed plans to relocate the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore "may have been one of the best one-night ... talk radio shows in history."[136]

Programming[edit]

Regular schedule[edit]

Local weekday programming on WTAM includes a morning-drive news program hosted by Bill Wills and Mike Snyder, Geraldo Rivera mid-mornings,[130] Carmen Angelo and Seth Williams afternoons[137] and Dennis Manoloff in the evening. Syndicated shows include The Glenn Beck Program late mornings, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show middays[132] and Coast to Coast AM in the overnight hours.[138] Weekends feature shows hosted by Gary Sullivan and Ric Edelman on Saturdays, and Bill Cunningham on Sundays. The City Club of Cleveland's Friday Forum and The Lutheran Hour both air on Sunday mornings.[139]

WTAM airs national news updates from ABC News Radio and Fox News Radio, and local news and weather updates from WKYC.[140]

Play-by-play[edit]

WTAM is the AM flagship station of a 28-station network for the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) with play-by-play announcer Tim Alcorn, color analyst Jim Chones and Mike Snyder as pregame/postgame studio host.[141] Additionally, WTAM is the AM flagship of a 29-station network for the Cleveland Guardians (MLB) with Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus as announcers. WTAM currently shares flagship status for both networks with WMMS, since 2013 for the Guardians and 2014 for the Cavaliers; all games for both teams are broadcast live and limited solely to terrestrial broadcasts.[142][143][144] WTAM additionally airs select Cleveland State Vikings men's basketball games.[145]

FM translator[edit]

As of September 6, 2018, WTAM simulcasts over low-power Cleveland FM translator W295DE (106.9 FM).[146]

Broadcast translators of WTAM
Call sign Frequency
(MHz)
City of license Facility
ID
ERP
(W)
Height
(m (ft))
Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info
W295DE 106.9 Cleveland 147802 195 0 m (0 ft) D 41°22′44.80″N 81°43′11.60″W / 41.3791111°N 81.7198889°W / 41.3791111; -81.7198889 FCC LMS

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chagrin Falls Emergency Preparedness - City of Chagrin Falls
  2. ^ a b Brown, Roger (July 19, 1996). "WWWE to change call letters to WTAM". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 1, 2007. Note that "WZAM" and "WUAM" were also considered; both of those callsigns were rejected because of their similarities to WZAK and WUAB, respectively.
  3. ^ "A Storage Battery Broadcasting Station", Radio Broadcast, December 1923, page 97.
  4. ^ a b c d e f WTAM History, Cleveland Broadcast Radio Archives Project. Retrieved on January 1, 2007.
  5. ^ White, Thomas H. (January 1, 2006). "Dawn of the Four Letter Calls", from Mystique of the Three-Letter Callsigns. Retrieved on January 1, 2007.
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External links[edit]

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