WXTB

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WXTB
WXTB logo.png
City Clearwater, Florida
Broadcast area Tampa Bay Area
Branding 98 Rock
Slogan Tampa Bay's Rock Station & Home of the Bucs!
Frequency 97.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date December 1967 (as WQXM)
Format Active rock
HD2: News/talk (WFLA simulcast)
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 458 meters
Class C
Facility ID 11274
Transmitter coordinates 28°10′56.00″N 82°46′6.00″W / 28.1822222°N 82.7683333°W / 28.1822222; -82.7683333
Callsign meaning W X Tampa Bay
Former callsigns WQXM (1967–83)
WZNE (1983–86)
WKRL (1986–90)
Affiliations Compass Media Networks
iHeartRadio
Premiere Networks
Premium Choice
Owner iHeartMedia
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
Sister stations WBTP, WDAE, WFLA, WFLZ-FM, WFUS, WHNZ, WMTX
Webcast Listen Live
Website 98rock.iheart.com

WXTB (97.9 FM) – branded 98 Rock – is a commercial active rock radio station licensed to Clearwater, Florida, serving the Tampa Bay Area. Owned by iHeartMedia, WXTB serves as the local affiliate for Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx and Skratch 'N Sniff. The WXTB studios are located in South Tampa, while the station transmitter resides in Holiday. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WXTB broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online via iHeartRadio.[1][2][3]

History[edit]

The station signed on the air in December 1967 as WQXM with a beautiful music format with owners John T. Rutledge and Joseph S. Field, with Jerry Reeves as music director and station manager until the sale of the station to Plough Broadcasting in 1975, switching to an AOR format under the name "98 Rock, Your Album Station" in 1977. In 1983, the station changed their call letters to WZNE and rebranded as "Z98 FM, Tampa Bay's Hottest Hits". The station aired a AOR/CHR format until January 6, 1986, when it flipped to classic rock as WKRL.[4]

WKRL lasted until December 30, 1989, when the signal went silent briefly, and then Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" began playing in constant rotation, eventually lasting for 24 hours, as an early form of stunting. Finally, the repetition gave way to the announcement on New Year's Eve, 1989, that 98Rock, now controlled by Great American Broadcasting, would be the first all-Led Zeppelin format station in the country, playing the band's entire catalog in its entirety as well as solo efforts by the bandmates and their other music-related projects. WKRL received national coverage from MTV to CBS and many other outlets, and was the first station to get worldwide coverage for a true "artist flip", where a broadcaster based its entire business on one group or solo artist.[5]

Two weeks unfolded with conjecture from various news outlets as to how long this format could last, given that all studio Zeppelin recordings available at the time added up to less than 10 hours of continuous play. The station responded over the following week by adding a few classic acts such as Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, the Rolling Stones and Van Halen. With the bells of AC/DC's "Hells Bells" playing in the background, a major announcement came at Noon on January 18, 1990, that the station would be changing its call letters to WXTB, and the station would be relaunched as 98 Rock.[6][7][8]

New Program Director Gregory Mull, brought in from 96 K-Rock in Fort Myers to replace the outgoing Beau Raines, immediately reorganized the On air personality list. Brian Smith and Bruce Barber, morning D.J.s who trailed in the ratings, were released and replaced by Tommy "Sea Bass" Sebastian, who stunted his first few weeks as "Buck Maui", and was also the voice of the popular character "The Big Chief Meteorologist". Ted "Kamikaze" Cannarozzi was assumed to do the 10 am to 2 pm slot. Scott Ledger and Austin Keys kept their afternoon and evening spots, respectively. Kelli "K.C." Casey, Ron "Big Rig" Michaels, and Peter Mclaren rounded out the schedule.

In late 1990, 98ROCK launched what would turn into a 15-year tradition-the "Livestock" annual rock festival. A fusion of "Live Aid" and "Woodstock". Livestock was the brainchild of both Greg and Tom. Each weekend-long Livestock event brought well known national acts such as Soundgarden and Tesla together with lesser-known bands hoping for a chance at success. In keeping with the charitable spirit of Live Aid and other rock benefits, bands donated their performance time and a portion of the gate proceeds were donated to charities such as Greenpeace.

As the station rose in the ratings books, WXTB took over local promotional opportunities at The Rock-It Club and Killian's Rock Cafe in Ybor City. Meanwhile, WXTB gained a huge piece of the morning show market with the everly popular Sea Bass and Marla morning show. The New 98 Rock became a ratings success.

In 2000, the station moved its studios from Feather Sound Corporate Center to new owner iHeartMedia (then known as Clear Channel Communications)'s broadcast complex in southwest Tampa in an attempt to consolidate overall operations of Clear Channel stations in the area.

On January 18, 2010, at noon, WXTB replayed its format launch from 20 years earlier, including the final countdown in which soundbites from phone calls, many of which trashed WYNF, were played. The first four songs played after the launch ("Hells Bells" by AC/DC, "Kickstart My Heart" by Mötley Crüe, "Paradise City" by Guns n' Roses, and "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen) were played again in tribute to the current format's 20th anniversary, along with original bumpers.

In April 2017, WXTB was named the new flagship station of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Radio Network, taking over for sister station WFUS.[9] For the first time in Buccaneers history, game days will feature seven-and-a-half-hours of team programming completely on the FM dial, including pre- and post-game shows bookending the action on the field.

The station covers the Tampa Bay market as a whole. However the station also covers areas of Levy County and Marion County, part of the Gainesville-Ocala Radio Market.

Notable on-air staff[edit]

WXTB-FM was the home of the top rated Sea Bass & Marla Morning Show, and later the flagship of the former regional radio host Todd Clem, better known as Bubba the Love Sponge. Bubba arrived on the air for the mornings at a time when the station was struggling to find a morning personality to replace the popular Sea Bass. Bubba had handled nights for Contemporary Hit station WFLZ 93.3 "The Power Pig". A huge backlash followed for months where Bubba's urban-influenced broadcast style conflicted with the 'radical surfer' Sea Bass and the hard rock listener mentality. Following a record-setting fine assessed by the Federal Communications Commission in February 2004 over alleged indecent content, he was fired and his morning show ceased the syndication by affiliated stations mainly throughout the Southeast.[citation needed]

WXTB was home to the "Sea Bass" morning show hosted by Tom Sebastian during 1990-93. Marla Stone was added to make "Sea Bass & Marla" from 1993 to 1995. Sea Bass departed at the height of the morning show's popularity. The station brought in former rival WYNF PD Charlie Logan to replace Sea Bass. Charlie and Marla teamed for less than one year; Marla was paired with others as well. The morning drive slot was picked up by Lex and Terry, who covered it until December 2009.

Concerts[edit]

Livestock[edit]

Livestock was a series of concerts held at Festival Park in Zephyrhills Florida from 1990-2005.

Livestock[edit]

The first Livestock took place from September 29-30, 1990 with the following bands performing:

Day 1
Uncle Sally
Deloris Telescope
Bobby Friss
Stranger
Cry Wolf
Kings X
Trixter
Savatage
Every Mothers Nightmare
Day 2
Rocky Ruckman & the Beat Heathen's
Saber
Bleeding Hearts
Spread Eagle
Blackfoot

Livestock 2[edit]

Livestock 2 took place from November 15-17, 1991 with the following bands performing:

Day 1
Tyger
Deloris Telescope
The Scream & Dangerous Toys
Day 2
Factory Black
Men From Earth
Bobby Friss
St. Warren
McQueen Street
Tall Stories
Heartless
Savatage
Galactic Cowboys
Four Horsemen
Soungarden
Saigon Kick
Day 3
Uncle Sally
Bleeding Hearts
Asphalt Ballet
Stranger
White Trash

Livestock 3[edit]

U.R.O.K.
Secret Service
Steinhardt-Moon
Life
Sex & Death
Copperhead
Stranger
Young Turk
Heartless
Jackyl
Lynch Mob
Lynryd Skynyrd '92
Love Junkies
Deeforce
Spread Eagle
Trouble
Every Mother's Nightmare

Livestock 4[edit]

Eric Gales
Saigon Kick
Anthrax
Steppenwolf
The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies
Cry of Love
Candlebox

Livestock 5[edit]

Toadies
Green Apple Quickstep
Lillian Axe
Live
Sponge
Tesla
Hootie & the Blowfish
Great White
Dokken
Bush
Animal Bag
I Mother Earth

Livestock 6[edit]

Joe Satriani
Dishwalla
Self
Into Another
Drivin' N' Cryin
Sugarspoon
Korn
I Mother Earth
Tripping Daisy
The Hazies
Life of Agony
Men From Earth

Livestock 7[edit]

Jackyl & Brian Johnson
Bloodhound Gang
7 Mary 3
Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies
Matchbox 20
Tonic
Type O Negative
Motley Crue
Gravity Kills
Helmet
Stir
Darlahood
Local H
Mighty Joe Plum
Handsome & Drain S.T.H.

Livestock 8[edit]

Fat
Cool For August
Third Eye Blind
Limp Bizkit
Days Of The New
Neurotica
Sevendust
Creed
Jimmies Chicken Shack
Life of Agony
Brother Cane

Impotent Sea Snakes

The Hazies
Mighty Joe Plum
Kenny Wayne Shepard
Megadeth

Livestock 9[edit]

Neurotica
2nd Coming
Honky Toast
Virgos Merlot
Oleander
Screamin Cheetah Wheelies
Loudmouth
Buckcherry
Godsmack
Slash's Snakepit
Stabbing Westward
Sammy Hagar
Staind
Econoline Crush
Sponge
Kid Rock
Silverchair

Livestock 10[edit]

Guano Apes
Nickleback
3 Doors Down
Lit
Static X
Sevendust
8 Stops 7
Kittie
Chevelle
P.O.D.
Foo Fighters
Staind
Creed

Livestock 11[edit]

Crossbreed
Darwin's Waiting Room
Hed PE
Tantric
Black Crows
Tesla
Staind
Linkin Park
The Offspring
3 Doors Down
Disturbed
Cold
Oleander
Nonpoint
Skrape
Systematic
Mudvayne

Livestock 12[edit]

Stone Temple Pilots
Jerry Cantrell
Kid Rock
Rob Zombie
Puddle of Mudd
Sevendust
Adema
Soil
Ear Shot
Gravity Kills
Local H
Fu Manchu
Reveille
Course of Nature
Chevelle
Lost Prophets
Apex Theory
Sinastar
Custom
Kevin Martin (of Candlebox)
Battery
Ned Zeppelin

Livestock 13[edit]

Livestock 13 took place from April 26-27, 2003 with the following bands performing:

Godsmack
Def Leppard
3 Doors Down
Stone Sour
Seether
Theory of a Deadman
Powerman 5000
Oleander
Socialburn
Trapt
Shinedown
Presence
The Little Kings
Battery
Hell's Belles
RA
Pacifier
Four Star Riot
Crossbreed
Soulfound
Saliva

Livestock 14[edit]

Livestock 14 took place from April 23-24, 2004 with the following bands performing:

Second Drop
Hatebreed
Finger 11
3 Days Grace
Shinedown
Trapt
Tantric
Smile Empty Soul
Soil
Sevendust
Drowning Pool
Damageplan
The Offspring
Puddle of Mudd

Livestock 15[edit]

The final Livestock took place from April 28-29, 2005 with the following bands performing:

Band Stage Time
Day 1
Halestorm East 6:00 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.
Mercy Fall West 6:25 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.
Egypt Central East 6:55 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
Hybrid West 7:20 p.m. - 7:40 p.m.
Black Stone Cherry East 7:50 p.m. - 8:20 p.m.
Revelation Theory West 8:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Tantric East 9:10 p.m. - 9:50 p.m.
Saliva West 10:00 p.m. - 11:15 p.m.
Day 2
Clenchfist East 12:00 p.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Faktion West 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.
Hybrid East 1:00 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.
Hurt West 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Evans Blue East 2:10 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.
Hinder West 2:50 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Theory of a Deadman East 3:40 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
Trapt West 4:35 p.m. - 5:35 p.m.
Shinedown East 5:50 p.m. - 7:05 p.m.
Staind West 7:20 p.m. - 8:35 p.m.
Rob Zombie East 8:50 p.m. - 10:05 p.m.
Mudvayne West 10:20 p.m. - 11:35 p.m.

98RockFest new annual concert series[edit]

World's Largest Barbecue[edit]

The World's Largest Barbecue was a free concert series held at the Wagon Wheel Flea Market in Pinellas Park Florida. The last concert in this series was no longer free and held inside.

Some of the bands that played are Candlebox, Creed, Faith No More, Goldfinger, I Mother Earth, Naked, and Sugarspoon.

Guavaween[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]