WFLF
Broadcast areaGreater Orlando
Frequency540 kHz
BrandingNewsRadio WFLA Orlando
Programming
FormatTalk radio
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
September 9, 1955; 68 years ago (1955-09-09)
Former call signs
  • WGTO (1955–1994)
  • WWZN (1994–1996)
  • WQTM (1996–2001)
Call sign meaning
disambiguation of sister station WFLA in Tampa
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID51970
ClassB
Power
  • 50,000 watts (day)
  • 46,000 watts (night)
Transmitter coordinates
28°28′53″N 81°39′43″W / 28.48139°N 81.66194°W / 28.48139; -81.66194 (WFLF)
Translator(s)
  • 93.1 W226BT (Orlando)
  • 94.1 W231CT (Orlando)
Repeater(s)107.7 WMGF-HD3 (Mount Dora)
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen Live
Websitewflaorlando.iheart.com

WFLF (540 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Pine Hills, Florida, and serving Greater Orlando. It is owned by iHeartMedia and airs a news/talk format. The studios and offices are in the iHeart Orlando complex in Maitland.[2]

The station broadcasts using a directional antenna at all times, with the signal extending to the east to avoid interfering with Class A stations in Canada and Mexico. The power is 50,000 watts by day (the maximum permitted by the Federal Communications Commission) and 46,000 watts at night.[3] The transmitter is on Tower Pines Drive in Winter Garden.[4] WFLF is Central Florida's Primary Entry Point station in the Emergency Alert System.

WFLF is simulcast on FM translator stations W226BT 93.1 MHz and W231CT 94.1 MHz, both in Orlando. The 93.1 translator broadcasts from South Orange Avenue at East Church Street.[5] The 94.1 translator broadcasts from National Place at West Marvin Avenue.[6] Programming is also heard on co-owned 107.7 WMGF's HD3 subchannel.

Programming

Weekdays begin with a local wake-up show called Good Morning Orlando with Bud Hedinger, a former TV news anchor on WFTV 9 and WKCF 18. The rest of the weekday schedule is largely made up of nationally syndicated talk shows from Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia. They include The Glenn Beck Program, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, The Tom Sullivan Show, The Ramsey Show with Dave Ramsey, The Dana Loesch Show, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal. WFLF has a News Share Agreement with WESH channel 2. The Premiere-syndicated Sean Hannity program can't be heard on WFLF because it aired on WDBO. WFLF also shares Dana Loesch with WDBO.

Weekends feature shows on money, health, gardening, law, real estate and guns. Syndicated shows include Sunday Nights with Bill Cunningham, Somewhere in Time with Art Bell and repeats of weekday shows. Some evening and weekend hours are paid brokered programming. Most hours begin with world and national news from Fox News Radio. The station weather reports are from AccuWeather's meteorologists and traffic reports come from the co-owned Total Traffic and Weather Network.

History

Top 40 WGTO

On September 9, 1955, the station first signed on as 10,000-watt, daytime-only WGTO.[7] The station was originally licensed to Haines City. It was owned by KWK, Inc., a popular station in Saint Louis, Missouri. The call sign stood for "Gulf to Ocean", as in Gulf of Mexico to Atlantic Ocean, a reference to the large coverage area afforded by the station's high power and low frequency. Three years later, the station's city of license changed to Cypress Gardens and WGTO boosted its daytime power to 50,000 watts, calling itself "the most powerful station in the nation" due to operating at the lowest AM frequency permitted with the maximum amount of power permitted.

WGTO aired a Top 40 music format from its beginning until the mid-1970s, when the station experimented with a disco format.

Country music era

On January 29, 1977, WGTO made a dramatic format change to country music, with billboards around Orlando proclaiming the awakening of the market's "Sleeping Giant". As a country station, WGTO became a ratings success and won accolades as one of the top country-formatted radio stations in the nation, including being named Billboard magazine's "Small Market Country Station of the Year for 1978". Around this time, WGTO also added nighttime operations with 1,000 watts of power.[8]

But in the 1980s, as country music fans increasingly turned to the FM dial, WGTO lost market share to FM country competitors such as 92.3 WWKA. In 1982, WGTO was sold and the format changed to religious programming.

Switch to oldies

Another sale four years later brought another format change, to oldies as "Cruisin' Oldies 54". But the station was not profitable and most of the station's local personalities were laid off in 1992 as the station switched to a satellite feed.

Sports format

Paxson Communications, owned by Bud Paxson, purchased WGTO in 1994, dropping the heritage call letters in favor of new call sign WWZN, and installing a sports talk format, as "The Sports Zone". In 1996, the call letters were again changed to WQTM ("540 The Team"), keeping the all-sports format.

In 1997, WQTM was acquired by San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner to current owner iHeartMedia, Inc.[9] On January 29, 2001, WQTM's format and callsign moved to AM 740, which later changed its call sign to WYGM, using the moniker "The Game". With the end of the sports format on AM 540, the station switched to its current talk radio format, calling itself "NewsRadio 540 WFLA".

Programming changes

Through the fall of 2007, WFLF carried the Pat Campbell show from 6–9 a.m., and was the Orlando affiliate for The Mike Gallagher Show. In December 2007, 540 WFLA began to merge programming with WQTM "740 The Team", a co-owned sports radio station which was preparing to change to a Spanish-language format. Pat Campbell was fired in December. A simulcast of the 740's The Dan Sileo Show took its place, and became the permanent replacement in January 2008.

WFLF retained Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Bud Hedinger. The 6-9pm slot was simulcast with 740's "The Finish Line" starting in January 2008. After only one week, however, host Jerry O'Neill abruptly quit, and went to rival sports station 1080 WHOO. Contributor Mike Tuck took over the host role, with The Shot Doctor reprising his color role.

During the NFL playoffs, WQTM's contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football network and the NFL on Westwood One was not picked up. Those sports broadcasts were moved to co-owned 104.1 WTKS-FM.

In April 2009 Dan Sileo was moved to the newly launched sports outlet 740 The Game WYGM, also owned by Clear Channel. Bud Hedinger was moved from afternoons on 540 WFLF to morning drive time while the syndicated Dave Ramsey Show was picked up to fill afternoons. Longtime WTKS-FM Real Radio Assistant Program Director and Creative Services Director Dan Stone signed on to run the station as Assistant Program Director around this same time.

Move to FM

In early 2012, WFLF began work on a move to FM.[8] Its chief talk radio rival, 580 WDBO, had added a simulcast on its co-owned 96.5 FM frequency as WDBO-FM. To get on the FM dial, WFLF initially simulcast its programming on Altamonte Springs translator W283AN at 104.5 MHz.[10] (That translator today broadcasts an urban contemporary format.) In February 2014, WFLF's FM simulcast moved to W273CA at 102.5 MHz.

On September 1, 2018, WFLF's programming moved down the dial to the Star Over Orlando-owned W226BT on 93.1 MHz after iHeartMedia's lease of W273CA from Central Florida Educational Foundation expired.[11] It added another translator at 94.1, W231CT, several months later.

Translator

The 93.1 and 94.1 frequencies are the primary branding used on the station logo.

Broadcast translators for WFLF
Call sign Frequency City of license FID ERP (W) HAAT Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info Notes
W226BT 93.1 FM Orlando, Florida 156791 250 133 m (436 ft) D 28°32′24″N 81°22′45.2″W / 28.54000°N 81.379222°W / 28.54000; -81.379222 (W226BT) LMS  
W231CT 94.1 FM Orlando, Florida 157706 250 140 m (459 ft) D 28°41′22.4″N 81°20′56″W / 28.689556°N 81.34889°W / 28.689556; -81.34889 (W231CT) LMS Heavily directional to the south and southwest to protect WLLD in Tampa,
north and northeast to protect WHOG-HD2 (W231CN) in Daytona Beach

References

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WFLF". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Newsradio WFLA Orlando Contact Info: Number, Address, Advertising & More". Newsradio WFLA Orlando.
  3. ^ "AM Query Results -- Audio Division (FCC) USA". transition.fcc.gov.
  4. ^ "WFLF-AM 540 kHz - Pine Hills, FL". radio-locator.com.
  5. ^ "W226BT-FM 93.1 MHz - Orlando, FL". radio-locator.com.
  6. ^ "W231CT-FM 94.1 MHz - Orlando, FL". radio-locator.com.
  7. ^ Information from the Broadcasting Yearbook 1957 page 83
  8. ^ a b "Radio Years.com". www.radioyears.com.
  9. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2002-2003 page D-101
  10. ^ "WFLA Continues Move To FM In Tampa Bay & Orlando". RadioInsight. January 30, 2012.
  11. ^ Venta, Lance (September 1, 2018). "WFLA Orlando Moves To 93.1". RadioInsight. Retrieved September 3, 2018.