|Broadcast area||Metro Washington area|
|Branding||570 The Answer|
|Slogan||"News. Intelligent Talk. Insight."|
|Repeater(s)||WRCW 1250 kHz Warrenton, Virginia|
|First air date||January 2, 1946(as WQQW)|
|Power||5,000 watts (day)|
1,000 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||Radio Corporation of America|
|Former callsigns||WQHQ (1946)|
|Affiliations||Salem Radio Network|
Premiere Radio Networks
Virginia Sports Radio Network
|Owner||Salem Media Group |
(Salem Communications Holding Corporation)
|Sister stations||WAVA, WAVA-FM, WSPZ, WRCW|
WWRC (570 kHz, "AM 570 The Answer") is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Bethesda, Maryland and serving the Washington metro area. The station is owned by the Salem Media Group and airs a talk radio format. Most of the programming comes from the Salem Radio Network, including Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Jay Sekulow, Larry Elder and Joe Walsh. Sean Hannity, heard late afternoons, is supplied by Premiere Radio Networks. Weekends include shows on money, law, religion and guns, some of which are paid brokered programming.
WWRC has studios and offices on North Lynn Street in Arlington, Virginia. The transmitter is off Black Rock Road in Germantown, Maryland. WWRC is powered at 5,000 watts by day and 1,000 watts at night, using a directional antenna at all times.
On January 2, 1946, the station first signed on as WQQW. It was powered at 1,000 watts and was owned by WQQW, Incorporated. Only two years later, an FM station also signed on, simulcasting the AM station's programming, which was mostly classical music. In 1951, the call letters of both stations were changed to WGMS – Washington's Good Music Station. For more on the stations' early years, see WGMS (defunct).
In January 1958, RKO Teleradio Pictures purchased WGMS and WGMS-FM. RKO, which had been one of the Big Five Studios of the Hollywood studio system, had been branching out into the broadcasting industry, also buying WOR in New York City and KHJ in Los Angeles. KHJ, WOR's FM station and several other RKO stations around the country had switched to a Top 40 radio format, which proved quite successful.
To encourage unique programming on the FM band, in 1967 the FCC prohibited AM-FM pairs in large markets (population over 100,000) from simulcasting each other for more than 12 hours per day. WGMS and several other classical stations, including WQXR New York and KFAC Los Angeles, obtained exemptions from the rule in 1972. Not only could these stations not afford to produce an additional 12 hours of programming daily, but their music needed to stay on AM as their older audiences often did not have FM radios in their cars. WGMS in particular found itself under threat of an immediate format change if it did not receive the waiver.
By the 1990s, even though ratings were still good, the classical audience was aging, and there were reports WGMS's owners were again considering switching to a more youthful format. WGMS was sold to Washington, D.C. venture capitalists Steven and Mitchell Rales.
Sports and conservative talk
On May 24, 1992, at 3:30 p.m., the station switched to all sports, with the call letters changing to WTEM, signifying the word "team." Chancellor Broadcasting purchased the station in August 1996. Chancellor Broadcasting purchased Capstar Broadcasting in 1999, resulting in a combined entity known as AMFM Inc. In 2000, AMFM Inc. merged with Clear Channel Communications, today known as iHeartMedia.
On March 9, 1998, Chancellor swapped two of its Washington-area AM stations. 570 WTEM moved to 980 kHz, while WWRC moved from 980. On April 9, 2001, WWRC moved to 1260 kHz and WTNT moved to 570. The call letters signified the explosive "TNT," a form of dynamite. The original slogan was "Dynamite Talk" (which was dropped in 2005). The station aired a variety of conservative talk programs, including local hosts Michael Graham and Paul Berry, and syndicated shows hosted by G. Gordon Liddy, Bill Bennett, Monica Crowley, Mike Gallagher, Mancow, Glenn Beck, along with Don Imus, Jim Bohannon and Coast to Coast AM.
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting purchased WTNT, WTEM, and WWRC from Clear Channel in June 2008. Snyder pledged no format changes in the short term to either WTEM or WWRC, which by this time ran conservative and progressive talk formats respectively.
On September 15, 2008, the conservative-leaning WTNT was branded as "McCain 570" while progressive talk WWRC was likewise dubbed "Obama 1260." The temporary branding lasted throughout the 2008 Presidential Election. On November 10, 2008, WTNT was renamed "Freedom 570," and eventually retook the "570 WTNT" brand early in 2010. Meanwhile, WWRC was sold to Salem Communications to become an outlet for the Salem Radio Network's conservative talk radio format.
Return to sports
On September 20, 2010, WTNT returned to an all-sports format, and was rebranded as "SportsTalk 570," a partial throwback to WTEM's former "SportsTalk 980" nickname and logo. On October 18, the station changed its call sign to WSPZ, signifying "Sports." Red Zebra sold off the 730 kHz facility to Metro Radio, which picked up WTNT's call letters and previous conservative talk format.
As "SportsTalk 570", Red Zebra ran the station as an all-network complement to sister station WTEM. It was the flagship station for SB Nation Radio's morning show hosted by WTEM afternoon personality Steve Czaban, and airing ESPN Radio programming the rest of the day, while WTEM had an all-local lineup. WSPZ also carried University of Virginia football and basketball. Some Baltimore Orioles games which WTEM was unable to air were carried by WSPZ.
Salem Media ownership
Red Zebra Broadcasting began selling off its radio properties in 2017. Salem Media Group bought WSPZ, along with the land underneath its transmitter, on May 19, 2017. Salem's AM 570, LLC took control of the station on September 16, 2017 with a simulcast of WWRC's conservative talk programming. After engineering work at the transmitter was completed, WWRC's intellectual unit – the talk format, "Answer" branding, and callsign – moved to 570 AM on November 20. After a brief move to WTEM, University of Virginia broadcasts returned to WWRC under Salem's ownership due to WTEM's commitments to University of Maryland sports.
Call sign history
The station's call sign dates to the founding of WRC by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) on 640 AM in 1923. This station moved to 980 AM in 1941. RCA's broadcasting arm, NBC, built companion stations WRC-TV (channel 4) and WRC-FM (93.9 FM) in 1947. WRC-FM dropped the call sign in 1974. NBC sold WRC (AM) to Greater Media in 1984. At the time, two stations could not share the same three-letter base call sign if they had different owners. As NBC kept WRC-TV and the right to the call sign, 980 AM added a W and became WWRC.
The WWRC call sign was moved from 980 to 570 in 1998, from 570 to 1260 in 2001, and from 1260 to 570 in 2017. 1260 AM branded as "1260 WRC" from 2010 to 2014, although it never had any connection to WRC-TV.
- "Facility No. 11846 History Card" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission.
- "Facility No. 11846 Callsign History". FCC CDBS.
- "Contact Us - Washington D.C., VA". am570theanswer.com.
- "WWRC-AM Radio Station Coverage Map". radio-locator.com.
- "Broadcasting Yearbooke 1949 page 98" (PDF). americanradiohistory.com.
- "Broadcasting Yearbook 1958 page A-259" (PDF). americanradiohistory.com.
- Felsenthal, Norman. "Simulcasting". Museum of Broadcasting.
- Hall, Mildred (July 29, 1972). "U.S. -- Yes and No to Classics". Billboard.
- Rohloff, Greg (October 5, 1999). "Clear Channel Communications negotiates merger with AMFM Inc". Associated Press.
- Hughes, Dave (June 4, 2008). "Snyder To Buy WTEM & Two Talkers From Clear Channel". DCRTV.
- "Red Zebra does "Obama 1260" and "McCain 570"". Radio-Info.com. September 15, 2008.
- "D.C.'s new conservative talk "WTNT" is at 730 AM, thanks to a sale". Radio-Info.com. October 18, 2010.
- McLane, Paul (May 19, 2017). "Salem Connects to DC-Area AM Signal From Red Zebra". Radio World.
- "EMF Buys In Mississippi, Salem Closes On WSPZ/Washington". All Access. September 16, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (20 November 2017). "The Answer Washington DC Makes Move To 570". RadioInsight.