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WWL AM870-FM105.3 logo.png
CityNew Orleans, Louisiana
Broadcast areaNew Orleans metropolitan area, Southeastern Louisiana
Frequency870 kHz
BrandingThe Big 870
FormatTalk radio
Sports radio
AffiliationsCBS News Radio
The Weather Channel
CBS Sports Radio
Westwood One
OwnerAudacy, Inc.
(Audacy License, LLC)
First air date
March 31, 1922 (1922-03-31)
Call sign meaning
Wide World Loyola; founded by Loyola University New Orleans
Technical information
Licensing authority
Facility ID34377
Power50,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
29°50′14″N 90°07′55″W / 29.83722°N 90.13194°W / 29.83722; -90.13194 (main)
29°55′29″N 90°02′04″W / 29.92472°N 90.03444°W / 29.92472; -90.03444 (WWL (auxiliary)) (aux)
Repeater(s)105.3 WWL-FM (Kenner)
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via Audacy)

WWL (870 AM) is a U.S. radio station in New Orleans, Louisiana, owned by Audacy, Inc. The station's studios are at the 400 Poydras Tower in the New Orleans Central Business District and the transmitter site is in Estelle, Louisiana. The station has a talk radio format with sports talk at night.

870 is a clear channel frequency, operating at 50,000 watts around the clock. Its daytime signal provides at least secondary coverage to large parts of the Gulf Coast, with city-grade coverage reaching as far east as Pensacola, Florida, and as far west as Lafayette, Louisiana. It can be heard across much of the central and southern United States at night with, and with a good radio as far north as Minneapolis.

In April 2006, it began to simulcast on WWL-FM 105.3 MHz allowing the station's listeners to choose between AM and FM. WWL is a long-time affiliate of the CBS Radio Network.

WWL is the Louisiana Primary Entry Point for the Emergency Alert System, and with sister station WLMG are responsible for activations of the Southeast Louisiana EAS plan.[1]

WWL broadcasts an HD signal on WWL-FM 105.3 HD1.


WWL's weekday schedule features news and talk programming mornings and early afternoons, shifting to sports talk and live play-by-play after 4 p.m. All weekday programming from 5 a.m. to midnight is hosted by local WWL personalities and reporters. The only nationally syndicated programs are paranormal show Beyond Reality at 11 p.m., family finances expert Dave Ramsey at 1 a.m. and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal, an hour of early morning news, at 4 a.m. WWL continues to cover the post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region with local news and talk programming.

Weekend programming includes shows on money, law, gardening, home improvement, cars and dining before sports takes over the schedule. Most hours on weekdays begin with local newscasts branded as WWL First News, while CBS News Radio begins most hours on nights and weekends.


Before the Jesuit priests who run Loyola University New Orleans could set up a radio station, they had to receive permission from the Vatican. The station was originally created as a laboratory for wireless technology. WWL began broadcasting as a 10-watt station at 833 kHz from the Marquette Hall on the Loyola campus on March 31, 1922. A piano recital was the first program on the air. The first broadcast day also included a three-minute request to listeners to support the construction of a new classroom building on campus.[2] By 1924, WWL had 100 watts of power at 1070 kHz, and a year later the station was at 1090 kHz. The station's frequency went up to 1220 kHz along with the power at 500 watts in 1927. WWL, now at 850 kHz, increased power to 5000 watts on March 31, 1929, following the installation of a new transmitter in Loyola's Bobet Hall. In 1932, the station was at 10,000 watts of power, and in 1937 it reached 50,000 watts. WWL has been an affiliate of the CBS Radio Network on November 1, 1935.[3] Effective March 29, 1941, WWL was settled at its current position: 870 kHz.

In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the station was famous for the live broadcasts of local Dixieland jazz bands, including such notables as Papa Celestin, Sharkey Bonano, Irving Fazola, Tony Almarico, and Lizzie Miles. WWL's television partner WWL-TV came on the air on September 7, 1957, and was also affiliated with CBS. The first WWL-FM at 101.9 MHz (now WLMG-FM) signed on in March 1970 with its own music format.[4] On October 21, 1960, WWL got a mention on the Route 66 TV series in the episode, "The Swan Bed," in an opening scene when Todd and Buzz turn the car radio on and hear the announcer give the call letters as they are driving across the Greater New Orleans Bridge. WWL's transmitter in Kenner, Louisiana, on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, was moved to Estelle, Louisiana, in 1975.

Starting on March 14, 1971, WWL became home to the long-running overnight country music program aimed at truck drivers called The Road Gang. They claimed their frequency was "Interstate 87" and offered strip weather in major cites along the east-west interstates I-10, I-20, I-30, etc. Advertising was focused on long-haul truckers. It was originally hosted by Charlie Douglas. Later hosts included Dave Nemo and Big John Parker. The station helped popularize southern gospel by late-night broadcasts of the Mull Singing Convention.

Loyola sold WWL, WLMG-FM, and WWL-TV to separate companies in 1989 to build the university endowment. That same year, the university began broadcasting on WLDC within the university’s electrical grid. Keymarket Communications of Greenville, South Carolina, became the new owner of WWL and WLMG-FM. Baltimore, Maryland-based company Sinclair Broadcast Group would assume ownership of both stations in 1996; most of Sinclair's radio stations, including WWL, were acquired by Entercom Communications of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, in 1999.

Loyola maintains its broadcasting legacy with Crescent City Radio, an internet radio station broadcasting from the Communications/Music Complex on the corner of Calhoun and St. Charles Avenue.

WWL has been "monogrammed" into the Internal Revenue Code. A section excluding certain types of income of nonprofit organizations from income tax mentions entities licensed by federal agencies (like the station's FCC license) and carried on by religious orders (like the Jesuits). The three subsections of this tax provision, 26 U.S.C. 512(b)(15), begin with W, W, and L, respectively. The exclusion was directed at WWL specifically, and the joke has been attributed to Senator Russell Long of Louisiana.[5]

Role during Hurricane Katrina[edit]

During the immediate effects and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in late August 2005, WWL was for a time one of the few if not only radio station(s) in the area remaining on the air. Announcer Garland Robinette for a time kept broadcasting from an improvised studio built in a closet after the studio's windows were blown out.

After the hurricane, WWL's emergency coverage was simulcast on the frequencies of numerous other radio stations. The broadcast was named "The United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans"; mostly WWL staff appeared on-air. The United Radio Broadcasters were a partnership between Entercom (now Audacy, Inc.) and competitor Clear Channel Communications. The WWL website was completely rebuilt in only one day by the staff of other Entercom stations. The company also dispatched staffers from stations throughout the country to help WWL, and to provide their own stations coverage from the hurricane ravaged New Orleans area. For some time after Hurricane Katrina, WWL was simulcast on shortwave outlet WHRI, owned by World Harvest Radio International.

In April 2006, WWL permanently returned to the FM airwaves, simulcasting on WWL-FM 105.3.

WWL also simulcast its coverage during Hurricane Ida on all of its Audacy sister stations.


As a part-time CBS Sports Radio affiliate, programming from that network is heard Friday and Saturday nights, and in several blocks during the day and evening on Sunday. When two live sporting events occur at the same time, WWL moves one of the games to its sister station, WWWL, which switched to a mostly sports format in November 2006.

WWL has for many years been the flagship station for broadcasts of New Orleans Saints football games, continuously since the 1995 season.[6] Jim Henderson and ex-Saint Hokie Gajan were the broadcast team from 2000 until Gajan's death from cancer on April 11, 2016. Prior to the 1998 NFL Draft, when son Peyton Manning was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, Archie Manning provided commentary on WWL's Saints coverage from his retirement as a player in 1985 through 1997.

Former Saint Deuce McAllister succeeded Gajan as Henderson's color commentator in 2016. Longtime Saints offensive tackle Stan Brock was Henderson's commentator in 1998 and 1999.

WWL is also the New Orleans outlet of the LSU Tigers, simulcasting all football games on both the AM and FM signals while men's basketball and baseball games air on either station. It shares flagship status with Baton Rouge's WDGL; the AM station can be heard at city-grade strength in the capital. It was previously the radio home of the Tulane Green Wave.


  1. ^ "New Orleans' WWL on Full Alert with BE Messagecasting" (PDF). bdcast.com. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. ^ Scott, Mike (June 16, 2017). "1922: WWL and the arrival of New Orleans' radio days". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "CBS Will Welcome WWL As New Orleans Outlet" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 1, 1935. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977
  5. ^ Fishman, J. & Schwarz, S. Nonprofit Organizations. New York: Foundation Press, 2006, page 684.
  6. ^ "Saints Radio Network Stations". New Orleans Saints. Retrieved February 25, 2009.

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