WMC
Memphis, Tennessee
Broadcast areaMemphis metropolitan area
Frequency790 kHz
BrandingThe Bet Memphis
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatSports gambling
AffiliationsBetQL Audio Network
CBS Sports Radio
Ownership
OwnerAudacy, Inc.
(Audacy License, LLC)
History
First air date
January 20, 1923 (1923-01-20)
Call sign meaning
Memphis Commercial Appeal (former sister newspaper)
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID19185
ClassB
Power5,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
35°10′7″N 89°53′6″W / 35.16861°N 89.88500°W / 35.16861; -89.88500
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
WebcastListen Live

WMC (790 AM) is a commercial radio station in Memphis, Tennessee, broadcasting a sports gambling format. It is one of the city's oldest radio stations, and still uses its original three-letter call sign. WMC maintains studios in the Audacy, Inc. complex in Southeast Memphis, and has its transmitter towers (a four-tower array) in Northeast Memphis.

The station runs direct satellite feeds of BetQL Network and CBS Sports Radio. In addition to sports talk shows, WMC features longtime Memphis disc jockey George Klein's weekly tribute program to Elvis Presley. Klein and Presley were close friends and confidantes during the latter's lifetime and the former's long stint on WHBQ.

The station is owned by Audacy, Inc., which (as Entercom) it purchased from CBS Radio in September 2006.[1] WMC and sister WMC-FM were for many years owned and operated by Scripps Howard Broadcasting, along with its one-time co-owned TV sister WMC-TV Channel 5, before SHB sold the stations in 1993. WMC is one of six radio properties in the Memphis market held by Audacy; the others are WLFP, WMC-FM, WMFS, WMFS-FM and WRVR.[citation needed] WMFS AM and -FM, like WMC, are sports stations. All three formerly shared feeds from ESPN Radio (which remains on the WMFS stations), although WMFS AM and -FM also have local hosts, while WMC sometimes carries CBS Sports Radio.

History

Schedule for WMC's debut broadcast on January 20, 1923[2]
Schedule for WMC's debut broadcast on January 20, 1923[2]

WMC was first licensed in January 1923 to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and the call letters reflected the M and C from its owner's initials. The station was initially authorized to transmit on both the "Class B" high-power "entertainment" wavelength of 400 meters (750 kHz) as well as the "market and weather forecasts" wavelength of 485 meters (619 kHz).[3]

The newspaper reported that it received WMC's initial authorization via a telegram from the government, and it began test transmissions on the evening of January 17, 1923,[4] in preparation for the station's formal debut on the evening of January 20, 1923.[2] Among the station's unique features were late night concerts from blues singers. Although Memphis was racially segregated, Bessie Smith performed at WMC on October 5, 1923.[5] The station's signal was wide-ranging, and in the summer of 1924 it reported that it had been heard as far south as off the coast of Chile, in addition to having been one of the stations previously heard during an Arctic expedition led by Donald Baxter MacMillan.[6]

In the 1930s, WMC carried the NBC Radio Red Network, while rival WMPS, owned by the Memphis Press-Scimitar, aired the NBC Blue Network.[7] Starting in the 1930s, the station used a riverboat whistle as its sounder, a nod to Memphis' location on the Mississippi River—a practice that continued well into the 1990s.

WMC added an FM sister station, WMC-FM, in 1947 and a TV station, WMCT (now WMC-TV), in 1948.[8] Because WMC was an NBC Radio Network affiliate, WMC-TV also affiliated with the NBC TV Network, which it still carries to this day.

During the 1960s, WMC had a middle of the road format of popular adult singers (known in the industry as MOR). In 1973, WMC became the first 24-hour full-time country music station in Memphis and was often #1 in the ratings. By the 1980s, music listening was shifting from AM radio to FM and in 1983, 105.9 WGKX (KIX 106) went country as WMC's first full signal FM country competition. By 1989, WMC switched to news/talk.

An NBC radio affiliate since 1927, WMC switched to CBS Radio News in 1994.[9]

In 1997, "News/Talk 790" gave up Rush Limbaugh to rival 600 WREC as well as its morning news show.[10]

In July 2001, WMC made the switch to all-sports as "Sportsplus 790." The Good Times Show, with news about casino gambling in Tunica, Mississippi, made its debut on the station at that time.[11]

In December 2005, CBS Radio changed WMC to a classic country format, because the Memphis radio market had many competing sports stations[12] Most programming was provided by Jones Radio Networks' Classic Hit Country network, which subsequently became Dial Global's Classic Country network. The station returned to an all-sports format on October 17, 2011, taking the Fox Sports Radio affiliation from 730 KQPN.[13]

On May 1, 2014, WMC picked up the ESPN Radio affiliation (rebranding as "ESPN 790") in addition to its current CBS Sports Radio affiliation.[14]

On December 8, 2021, WMC changed its affiliation to a combination of BetQL and CBS Sports Radio as "The Bet 790".[15]

References

  1. ^ Hicks, Ed (2006-08-21). "Entercom Buys 3 CBS Radio Stations in Memphis". Memphis Business Journal.
  2. ^ a b "Radio Fans Tune In! WMC Opens Tonight", Memphis (Tennessee) Commercial Appeal, January 20, 1923, page 1.
  3. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 1, 1923, page 3.
  4. ^ "'This is Radio WMC,' Announcer Remarks", Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 18, 1923, page 1.
  5. ^ "Hit On Radio," Chicago Defender, October 6, 1923, p. 8
  6. ^ "WMC Hits Into South Pacific Territories", Memphis Commercial Appeal, July 13, 1924, page 15.
  7. ^ www.radiocenterflats.com (PDF) http://www.radiocenterflats.com/RCF_history.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-27. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook (1977 edition)
  9. ^ Stark, Phyllis (June 4, 1994). "Vox Jox". Billboard. Vol. 106, no. 23. p. 129.
  10. ^ "The Memphis Flyer: Media - January 22, 1998". www.memphisflyer.com. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  11. ^ Robison, John (2001-07-01). "GoodTimes Radio Moves to SportsPlus 790 WMC". Casino City Times.
  12. ^ Tucker, Ken (2005-12-30). "Legendary Station Brings 'Country Legends' to Memphis". Radio Monitor.
  13. ^ "Confirmed: "Country Legends" WMC-AM (790) in Memphis to flip to sports". Radio-Info.com. October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  14. ^ Entercom Expands ESPN Brand in Memphis
  15. ^ "Audacy Launches 790 The Bet In Memphis". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2021-12-08.