WFLA (AM)


WFLA (AM)

Infobox Radio Station
name = WFLA


frequency = 970 (kHz) HD Radio
city = Tampa, Florida
area = Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
format = Talk Radio
affiliations = Fox News Radio
owner = Clear Channel Communications
branding = Newsradio 970 WFLA
(or Fox News-radio 970 WFLA)
power = 25,000 watts daytime
11,000 watts nighttime
sister_stations = WBTP, WDAE, WFLZ, WFUS, WHNZ, WMTX, WXTB
class = B
callsign_meaning = West FLoridA
webcast = [http://www.970wfla.com/pages/listenlive.html Listen Live]
website = [http://www.970wfla.com/ www.970wfla.com]
slogan = "Knowledge is Power"
"Tampa Bay's First News"
"Your Home for Fox News"

WFLA (970 AM) is an AM radio station in Tampa, Florida with a news/talk format, primarily airing syndicated programming. The station is branded as "Newsradio 970 WFLA" (or sometimes "Fox Newsradio 970 WFLA" to reflect its network affiliation, or simply "970 WFLA" as quick shorthand) and is owned and operated by Clear Channel Communications, Inc., the largest U.S. radio owner.

The station's locally focused morning show ("AM Tampa Bay") is hosted by veteran broadcasters Jack Harris, Tedd Webb and Sharon Taylor. The station is also the home and flagship for syndicated afternoon drive host Todd Schnitt ("The Schnitt Show"). Its weekday lineup features national programs hosted by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Coast to Coast AM; this lineup is typical of most of Clear Channel's talk stations. Saturday mornings are anchored by Mel Berman ("The Captain Mel Show") and Jeff Fisher ("AM Tampa Bay Weekend Edition"), followed by Dave Zeplowitz's nationally syndicated "Cigar Dave Show" which originates from WFLA's studios. The Sunday lineup is anchored by "The Florida Gardening Show," followed by syndicated programming, including Leo Laporte's "The Tech Guy" show, throughout the rest of the day. A complete schedule is available at the station's website.

National news is provided by Fox News Radio. Features from the CBS Radio Network also are heard on the network. At one time, 970 WFLA boasted having live, local newscasts around the clock; in recent years, local newscasts have been limited to 5 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays, and 6 a.m.-1 p.m. weekends. It says it still has Florida's largest radio news department, however.

970 WFLA is perhaps best known nationally as the station that gave national hosts Beck and Lionel their starts in talk radio. Other prominent alumni, from the days when the station concentrated on local programming, include Bob Lassiter, Jay Marvin, Dick Norman, Chuck Harder and Jack Ellery. Other former hosts include Al Gardner, Mark Larsen, Tampa Tribune columnist Dan Ruth, Mark Beiro and Paul Gonzalez. Dozens of newscasters have been behind the microphone over the years, including Don Richards (d. 2008) and Steve Hall and Martin Giles, who have been with the station for more than 20 years. Another prominent long-time personality is traffic reporter Gary McHenry, who has been a part of the station since the 1970s.

The station is the home of University of South Florida Bulls football games. Jim Louk is the play-by-play announcer, and Mark Robinson serves as color analyst. Jim Lighthall and 620 WDAE-AM's Justin Pawlowski serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame hosts of the broadcasts. It also carries other sports programming on a case-by-case basis when there are scheduling conflicts with sports events on its sister stations, WDAE (620 AM) and WHNZ (1250 AM), which hold the rights to Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Storm and University of Florida broadcasts. WFLA also is the home of the Outback Bowl radio broadcasts. Harris is the play-by-play announcer. Jason Dixon serves as the pregame, halftime and postgame show host.

According to RadioYears.com, WFLA began in 1925 as Clearwater radio station WGHB (1130 AM). By 1927, its call letters switched to WFLA and it moved to 590 AM on the dial. It shared the frequency with WSUN before they both moved together to 620 AM in 1929. In January 1941, WFLA separated to 940 AM, then to its present 970 AM that March. WFLA carried most of the popular network shows during the golden days of radio. It had various music formats over the subsequent years (Top 40, middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary) before switching to news/talk in 1986. It has been the market leader in this format ever since, and often is among the top five stations in the market, according to Arbitron ratings.

At one time, WFLA was owned by the parent company of The Tampa Tribune, Media General, which also owned WFLA-TV, Channel 8. In the 1980s, federal regulations forced Media General to divest the radio station. Though they share call letters, WFLA radio and WFLA television are not affiliated; however, the TV station does provide weather information for the radio station's newscasts (i.e., "Weather from StormTeam 8").

External links

* [http://www.970wfla.com 970WFLA Home Page]
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