Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Welcome to my pages on the history of Central Florida radio. Our tour will include stations whose signals reached  Orlando, Sanford and Deland. I hope you enjoy your stay. And I hope to evoke some memories for you. Any additional information, pictures and/or corrections are welcomed. This site would not be possible without the help of Mr. Bill Reck, Mr., Doug Douglas and of course my wife without whose support this would not be possible.

For many of the station's stories you will find links to sites already on the web. These folks deserve a visit and there was no need to duplicate their information.

We are focusing on the AM side to begin with. I'll be updating the page on  a regular basis. I will begin to add the FM stations soon.


We start our tour at the "top" of the dial at 540.

                  WGTO  AM 540 
  Cypress Gardens
                        “Gulf To Ocean”


Original City of  License:
Haines City
Year of License: April 1955
Power: 10,000 watts                                  
Format: Top 40
Owner(s): 1955-Hubbard Broadcasting 
                1994-Paxson Broadcasting
                1997-Clear Channel communications

History Of Call Letters and Formats: WGTO-1955-Top 40
                                                        WGTO-1958-(moved to Cypress Gardens)
                                                        WGTO-1990-Oldies "Good Time Oldies"
                                                        WQTM-1996-Sports-The calls WQTM are moved to 740 AM in 2001

   For more on WGTO see:

Others names in WGTO History
Terry Mason
Peter Rocchio
Uncle Russie-Russ Ross (see WHHL)

                   WDBO 580 AM         
Year of License: May 19, 1924
Original City of  License: Winter Park
First aired at 1250 Hz, moved to 1040 kHz in 1927, moved to 620 kHz in 1928, moved to 1120 kHz in 1929 then to 580 kHz in 1932
Power: 50 Watts
Format: Concert programming and college lectures.
Owner(s):1924 (May 19)-Rollins College “Way Down By Orlando”
              1926-Orlando Broadcasting
              1929 (Dec 29)-Central Florida Broadcasting Station, Inc. 563 N. Orange Ave., Orlando 
              1957 (May 17) Cherry Broadcasting Station of Providence, Rhode Island
              1963 (Jul 17) The Outlet Company
              1982  (Jul 1) Katz Broadcasting
              Currently Cox Broadcasting

1924-Original studios were alongside the tennis courts on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park. During the initial broadcast, announcer Dean Sprague told "anybody who can hear this" a box of oranges from the Gentile Brothers Packing House if they would send a postcard to verify the signal was being heard. Cards came from Orlando, Apopka and Sanford. On that first broadcast day some of the programming included the Rollins Men's Glee Club singing, "Rollins Goes Rolling Along." And "Taps" was played on a bugle at sign-off. WDBO was the third radio station licensed in Florida.

1927-The station began broadcasting from the "new" Fort Gatlin Hotel in Orlando.                                                
                                          A postcard of the "new" Fort Gatlin Hotel circa 1940.
                                           For some great information on WDBO see:


                                         WDBO Personalities
perry_moore.gif (6538 bytes) 
Perry Moore-Perry was the top rated morning jock at WDBO for 14 years. From 1970 until 1984. He headed a lineup which included Jim Turner, Clive Thomas and Morton Downey, Jr. Perry would join WHOO when it made the switch from country to big bands as WMMA in 1985, but would not attain the same success. success. Perry died of heart failure in 1995 at age 50.

Jim Turner-joined WDBO in 1972 doing afternoon drive and took over mornings after Perry Moore left. According to Jim's biography on , on May 28, 1972, Jim Turner answered an ad in a broadcast magazine. Jim started his career at WLYH TV in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A few years later, took a job at WGAL, in Lancaster. After 12 years as DBO’s afternoon host, along  with Carole Nelson,  Jim took over the morning show in 1985. Jim lead the station’s move away from music and into the information and talk format.
Jim met his wife, Emilie, while she was a copywriter at WDBO in the mid-seventies. Jeff Slater joined him as producer and later as an on-air partner.  

Carole Nelson
-news reader with Jim Turner in afternoon drive. Would go on to news anchor positions at WFTV channel 9 and WCPX channel 6, in Orlando.

  Bruce Hamilton-
Mid days. Also was a news anchor for WESH TV 2 in Orlando. Now at Jacksonville's WJXT-TV in Jacksonville.


fficer Jim Bishop
-Traffic-Jim Bishop is a retired (22 year veteran) Orlando Police Department Officer. He is Jim Turner's sidekick on the morning show. Jim joined Jim Turner in 1978. 
Jim’s wife, Betsy, is a special education teacher.

Clive Thomas-See WKIS

Mike Burger-mid day host (see WHOO)

Mike Miller-“Nightline”
7-10 PM –Talk. Moved to WBZT-AM, West Palm Beach 1994-1997. WOKV (690AM) Jacksonville, 1997-2000. In 2001Miller had been working as senior project manager for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. Then in February 2001 Mike was appointed City Council liaison by Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney. 

Morton Downey, Jr.-7-10 PM –“Nightline”-Talk  1983
 Mort was forced to resign as host of "Nightline" in July of 1983 after getting into a physical confrontation with an guest on his show., abortion clinic operator, Bill Baird.  Downey got involved  in name calling and "fisticuffs" with Baird and had him (Baird) thrown off the show. Mort's show, early on, was a very kind and gentle type talk show (in the style of Harry Cup). He played his "daddy's records" as he was fond of saying. When the station was sold the show took a turn toward a more confrontational format. Downey died in 2001 of lung cancer. Downey would go on to television to host  "The Morton Downey Jr. Show". His TV program featured screaming matches between himself, his guests. Late in life, Downey, who was sometimes known to blow smoke into people's faces on his show, became an anti-tobacco crusader. 
Harry D. Cup
7-10 PM-Talk Left WDBO for WCAU in Philadelphia in 1981then would return to Florida in 1982 to host an evening show on WKIS.                          


Scott Anez- Sports Director
Scott Anez joined Jim Turner  in 1991 as the Sports Director. Scott's a native to the Central Florida area and earned his broadcasting degree from the University of Central Florida. Scott lives in Orlando with his wife and daughter Christine.
Grace Rabold-Grace, worked  as a reporter and anchor in television news. Grace came to Florida from Wichita, Kansas, where she was the main anchor at the ABC affiliate station. She began in the broadcast news business as an intern at the CBS station in Dallas. Until January 1998, Grace was the main anchor at Channel 6 (WKMG), anchoring three newscasts a day. Grace won an Emmy Award for a series of reports she did on the Gulf War Veterans. Grace is also a singer and now lives and works in Texas. She's the lead "girl singer" in the Billie Ledbetter Orchestra.

  Scott and Casey-(Scott Hasick and Casey Bartholomew) held down the afternoon drive position from May of 1997 to February of 1998. They can now be heard on WKRK-FM Detroit.


                                                                  Others names in WDBO History
                                 Jeff Slater-co host with Jim Turner in the AM. Now working in Tampa.
                                 Dutch Shaffer-Interesting story about his "takeover" of WDBO-FM, coming when we get to 
                                                       the FM side.  Stay tuned.

                                 Col. Richard Bouchard
-Traffic (retired)               
  Earl Finkle-weather      
                                Reagan Smith
-News, "Nightline" host. Now with the Florida Radio Network. 
                                 Carson Rennie
-"Nightline" 1981(Mar)-1982(Aug)    
                                 Bud Brewer
-"Nightline" 1977-1979 (Feb)
                                 Bob Rose
Other Programs Carried by WDBO

                                                            Arthur Godfrey  from CBS

Sal Tee’s Solid Gold Reunion (see WHHL)
Gene  Burns-syndicated program from WOR-New York
                                                 Ray Durkee’s Sunday at the Memories

                WKIS 740  AM  Orlando                    
Year of License:
Original City of  License:
Power: 50,000 watts
Format: Popular music
Owner(s):1971-Susquehanna Radio 
                       Asbury Park Press
                       Paxson Communications
                      Clear Channel Communications          
History Of  Call Letters and Formats: WORZ
WKIS-1960's-Adult Contemporary
                                                          WWNZ -1988-News/Talk
                                                          WQTM-2001-Sports Talk formerly on 540 kHz

                                                 WKIS Personalities

Gene Burns-1972-1985
Gene would have more than one stop at WKIS in his career. Gene arrived from WEEI-AM in Boston in 1970. Gene would be lured to WCAU-AM in Philadelphia in 1981, but would return to Orlando and WKIS in 1982(?). Gene would run for President in 1984, on the Libertarian Party ticket. Gene was named Operations manager in 1984(Jan 12). He moved to WRKO in Boston in 1985. In 1992 Gene was named one of the "25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time", by Talkers Magazine  Now heard nightly on in San Francisco on KGO . Gene also does a program about food and wine; "Dining Around with Gene Burns"

The Real Bob James-1982-Bob came to Orlando from WGAR in Cleveland (where he left in 1979). Prior to his stop at WKIS he was involved in production work and wrote for TV's "Entertainment Tonight". He also did some acting with small roles in "The Deer Hunter" and "Those Lips, Those Eyes". Bob replaced Steve Cannon. Bob is currently a professor of broadcast journalism at Middle Tennessee State University. 

Dick Norman-
3-6 PM 1984(Feb)-1986(Nov) Died in a car crash in Tampa in 1987.

Dr. Marilyn Mason- Practical Psychology- (1984) Noon-2 PM

Clive Thomas- In 1984 Clive would be on the air from 2PM until 4:30Pm followed by the news program "PM Orlando". Clive would move to the morning slot vacated by Gene Burns in 1985.    

More on Clive coming soon...stay tuned
Leslie Brewington
, Producer- Ms. B, as she became know when she moved with Jim Philips to WTKS-FM (104.1). Leslie also produced Clive Thomas' show on WKIS. She would go on to WJHM-FM (101.1) “Jamz102” and handle the morning show until the late 1990’s.  

 Jim Philips-News director WKIS 1974-1986 Took over afternoons in November 1986. Jim can now be heard on the very successful "Philips Phile" on WTKS 104.0 FM. Jim was named one of the nation's "Top 100 Talk Show Hosts" by Talkers Magazine in 1998.

Lynn Levine (Moira of the Philips Phile on WTKS-FM 104.1) News anchor and hosted an afternoon program called “At Your Service”. Co-hosted the Morning News on WWNZ with Wayne Trout in 1988.  

Wayne Trout-
News Director 1996 (WWNZ) (See also WTRR) 

Chris_Russo.jpg (1458 bytes)Chris Russo-"Sports Talk"-6PM-8PM (1984-1987). Chris would move to WMCA (570)AM in New York in 1987. Now known as the Mad Dog on WFAN-New York  


Bud Brewer-1975-1982. -Fired from his evening talk show to make room for Harry Cup.  Bud would return to WKIS in 1983 as Operations Manager, replacing Andy Goodman. Bud did mornings when "The Real Bob James" left for American Comedy net. Bud was responsible for bringing sports talk to Central Florida radio.  In 1984 Bud would be fired once again from WKIS. Bud moved to WDBO as the host of "Nightline".

Harry D. Cup-March,1982  7-11 PM Harry's program would go statewide in 1983 on the Florida Radio Network. FRN is owned by WKIS' parent company. Cup was heard from 7-11Pm on; WKIS, WIPC-AM(1200), Winter haven, WEZY-AM(1350) Lakeland, WNDB-AM(1150), Daytona Beach, and WWFL-AM(1340), Clermont



Steve Kane
was a theater arts professor at Rollins College when he began as a fill-in host at WKIS in 1977. He eventually took over late nights. His program called "Talk About Life Klub" (T.A.L.K.). card carrying members would meet at the Golden Corral restaurant. He would leave WKIS and take his program to WLOF AM 950. Today Steve Kane is heard on South Florida radio. 

Other names in WKIS History
                                            Russ Wheeler
-"press on regardless"-mornings  late 60's
                                            The Real Bob James-1981-June 9, 1983 Mornings replacing Steve Cannon

                                                                 Other Programs Carried By WKIS

                                             CBS Radio Mystery Theater-1982
                                                         Ray Durkee's Sunday at the Memories 
                                                         Chuck Harder-"For The People"
                                                         Sally Jesse-Raphael
(NBC TalkNet)
                                                         Larry King-
(Mutual Broadcasting)
                                                         Jim Bohannon-
(Mutual Broadcasting)
                                                         Robert Vincent Sims-"The Garden Rebel"
                                                         Peter Rocchio
                                                         Jack Nelson
-"Dollars and Sense"
                                                         Tom Olson
-"Olson on the Law"

Stay tuned...More to come

            WLBE 790 AM
Year of License: 
Power: 5,000 watts daytime/1,000 watts night  
Original City of  License: Leesburg
Format: Popular music
Owner(s): WLBE 790, Inc                               
History Of  Call Letters and Formats:                                       WLBE studios on radio Road in Leesburg


                                                WLBE Personalities

                                              "Uncle Russie" Russ Ross-"Doo Wop Shoppe" Sat 2PM-5PM
                                               Peter Rocchio

Stay tuned...More to come

wcot.gif (6960 bytes)                    WLOF 950 AM  
    "We Love Orlando Florida"                     
  Year of License: 1940(Oct 26)
  Original City of  License: Orlando
                 1982-Nationwide Communications  
                 1998-Thomas Harvey Moffit, Sr.                                   
  History Of  Call Letters and Formats: WLOF-1940-Pop On 1230 kHz
                                                            WCOT-1982-Adult Standards 1
                                                            WBJW-1984-simulcast of WBJW FM 105.1 (WBJW would change to WOMX ) 
                                                            WOMX-1989-simulcast of WOMX FM 105.1*
                                                            WZKD-1994-Children's "Radio AAHS" 2
                                                            WTLN-1998-Station sold-Religion (simulcast of WTLN-FM)

WLOF Personalities
                                              Dick Shane  
“Weird Beard” Bill Vermillion  
Bill Barber,  Steve Kane (see WKIS)

Wolfman Jack
-syndicated. But there is a Central Florida Connection. In 1991 Wolfman Jack would open a club in the Old
Town section of Kissimmee. It was originally the "Little Darlin's rock and roll club.

1  In an article appearing in the Orlando Sentinel dated December 17, 1982 it was announced that  WCOT would fill the void left by WDBO-FM (92) which was dropping it’s "beautiful music" format in favor of a “Country-Western” format (WWKA-K92 FM).  
2 For more on Radio AAHS see;

                                                                      Other Programs Carried by WLOF

                                                          Casey Kasem-
“American Top 40” syndicated

WMMA_Logo.gif (7937 bytes)

     WHOO 990 AM

   Year of License: 1947

   Power: 50,000 Day/14,000 Night
   Original City of  License: Orlando   
   History Of  Call Letters and Formats: WHOO-1947-Pop Broadcasting from the Fort Gatlin Hotel               

  WCOT-1986-Big Bands
WHTQ-1988-Rock (simulcast of WHTQ 96.5 FM)
WHOO-1988-Music Of Your Life
WHOO-1989-Classic Country
WHOO-1990Rock (simulcast of WHTQ 96.5 FM)
WHOO-1993-Adult Standards
                WDYZ-2001-Radio Disney-Children

                                                 WHOO Personalities

Al Dunaway-
Mornings. Al would always have a "second call to coffee". Which was the second hour of his show.You might recognize Al as the voice of Southeast Steel commercials.

Mike Burger
-Mid days for nine years, eventually taking over the program directors position.                                                      

Clay Daniels
Afternoon drive

perry_moore.gif (6538 bytes)Perry Moore-
Mornings when WHOO changed to an oldies format and changed calls to WMMA. For more on Perry see WDBO 



 For years, WHOO would broadcast live shows from “The Rainbow Ranch” on the weekends, (later "The Joint in the Woods"), in Longwood. Read more about it here.  



 Location: General Hutchison Parkway, next to Big Tree Park, Longwood

                                         WHHL-AM 1190
       Pine Castle

Year of License: 1977

Power: 5,000 watts daytime       
Original City of  License: Pine Castle
Format: Country
Owner(s): Present; Genesis Communications
Manager: Bill Burgess
History Of  Call Letters and Formats:  WHHL-1977-Country
                                                           WREM-1982-Adult Standards
WWLD-1985-Tourist Information
WWLD-1986-Adult Standards
                                                           WAJL-1987-Religion (Station sold. WAJL moves from 1440 kHz)
WIXL- 2000-Business News/Talk (Sold) 

                                         WHHL Personalities
”Uncle Russie”-Russ Ross-Now on Saturdays from 2PM until 5PM at WLBE in Leesburg. 
More on the “Doo Wop Shoppe”

Sal Tee -See WDBO

Lee Bernard

Bill Patti

WSBB 1230 AM
New Smyrna Beach


Year of License: 1951
Original City of  License: New Smyrna Beach          
Format: Pop                               
Manager: Al "Pappy" Pruitt
Owner(s): 1951-A.V. Tidmore, 1990-Brian Tolby
Original Location: Indian River Inn and Conference Center

History Of Formats and Call Letters:WSBB-1951-Big Bands
                                                        WSBB-1990-Adult Standards (Westwood One Network)
More to come...stay tuned

          WTRR 1400 AM   Sanford  Mayfair_2003.JPG (39918 bytes)
  This is where WTRR first broadcast from, when it was called the Mayfair Inn.                                     The New Tribes Mission today.
Year of License: May 20, 1947                                           
250 Watts
  Original City of  License: Sanford
  Format: Pop
Manager: Myron Reck
Owner(s):1947-James Rivers (Georgia)
                 1947-Radio Station WTRR-Myron and Bill Reck                                                                             
                 1977-Seminole Radio Corp (Bob Smith)                                                                       
                 1984-Seminole-Orange Broadcasting
                 1987-Metro Orlando Broadcasters
                 Presently J&V Communications                                                                              
History Of Call Letters and Formats :WTRR-1947-"Block" Programming/Pop
                                                        WTRR-1978-MOR, Country
                                                        WWJZ-1983-Adult Contemporary
                                                        WKUS-1987-Adult Contemporary, MOR, Country
                                                        WNSI-("News, Sports & Information")1988-Adult Contemporary
                                                        WTRR-1991-Adult Standards 

In June of 2003, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bill Reck. He was a partner along with his father, Myron Reck in the ownership of WTRR. He gave me invaluable "first hand" information which you find here. 

The origin of the call letters: Named for first owner, Mr. Rivers son, Tolliver R. Rivers

Originally broadcast from the Mayfair Inn on 1st Street in Sanford.Now the New Tribes Mission.

Early 1950’s-moved from the Mayfair to a building  “across the side street” from the "old" Central Florida 
                    Regional Hospital, which now is the Seminole County Services Bldg.

1968- moved to Celery Ave. First building built by Myron, then later a second building built by Bill Reck.
                                                       Station as it appears today on Celery Ave.

1977-Myron Reck would retire, Bill was in full partnership with his dad, and sold the station to Smith Broadcasting
        out of Wisconsin. Bill would move to Canton, North Carolina and open WPTL 950 AM, which he continues to
        own and operate.

1981-Bill Reck moved back to Sanford and managed Sanford's WTRR for Bob Smith who wanted to move back to 

                                               WTRR Personalities

Some notable people that worked at WTRR; 
Bill Bauman
now news director at WESH TV 2, Orlando. 
Nick Pfiefauf
, WESH TV 2 newscaster, now with Seminole Herald newspaper in Sanford.
Wayne Trout, news director WQTM 740 AM (WKIS) and 
Arthur Beckwith
, Clerk of the Seminole County Court.
Sal Tee-see WDBO and WHHL
Russ Ross-

Other names in WTRR History                                    
                                                                 Curtis Partridge

                                                                 Larry Edwards
                                                                 Ken Manning
                                                                 Bob Anthony
                                                                 Jack Smith
                                                                 Rick Padilla    
                                                                 Patricia Madden
                                                                 Lee Bernhard
                                                                 Frank Vaught


Formats: Block programming. 1947-1967 “Pop” in the A.M., Easy listening mid days, and a Country/Western program called the “Bar None Ranch”. After school hours “pop” skewed toward a younger audience. “The Rhythm Hour” would be on the air from 5 to 6PM nightly. This was the first African American oriented program and would run from 1949 until the 1960’s. 1967 would see a more standard format of Adult contemporary, news and Seminole High School Football

3. From The Sanford Historic Preservation Board web page  Popularly called the "Mayfair," this huge brick and stucco hotel was designed by Sanford architect Elton J. Moughton. The hotel was built in 1925 for Forrest Lake, Mayor of Sanford, and was part of the waterfront beautification plans, which led to the construction of Seminole Boulevard. Like the boulevard, the hotel sits on reclaimed land in an area that once separated the city of Sanford from the town on Mellonville. In 1930 the failed hotel was purchased by the City and renamed the Mayfair Hotel. In 1948, the hotel was purchased by the New York Giants. From 1963 to 1977 the building housed the Sanford Naval Academy and the interior was significantly altered. The hotel is now the international headquarters of the New Tribes Mission. The exterior is largely original.

     WIOD (WSFR)1360 AM 


Year of License:
1956- WIOD AM 1360, (WSFR “Sanford Florida Radio”)
Power: 500 watts  
Original City of  License: Sanford
Owner(s): 1956-Sanford Broadcasting Company
Location: Meisch Building, 224 East First Street

Mr. Doug Douglas was kind enough to supply some additional information for these pages. In a copy of pages for Sanford from the 1958 Broadcast Annual I found a listing for station WIOD in Sanford. I thought this was a misprint. Again, Mr. Reck verified that there was in fact a second radio station would take to the air in Sanford in 1956. In 1956, Miami station (on air originally in 1926) WIOD, changed their call letters to WCKR and Sanford Broadcasting Company saw an opportunity to “cash in” on those famous call letters. The Sanford station would later change to WSFR (Sanford Florida Radio). Their first studios were in the Meisch Building next to “old” post office, then library now headquarters for Sanford Main Street and a Sanford Police Department sub-station.

WSFR would move to West 1st Street near where Auto Train now operates. WSFR went “dark” in 1959 or 60 and the frequency was “deleted” by the FCC after the station was off the air for over one year.

Note:1926- WIOD 610 AM (Miami) is Florida’s seventh oldest continuously licensed broadcast radio station. Installed in the spring of 1925 by Carl Graham Fisher, a Miami Beach developer, the station made its formal air debut on the South Florida airwaves on January 19, 1926. Carl Fisher selected the letters WIOD as the call letters signifying “Wonderful Isles of Dreams” to commemorate Collins Island, on which the station was situated. After enduring several hurricanes and subsequent power shutdowns, WIOD was acquired by Isle of Dreams Broadcasting, a subsidiary of NBC, in early 1929. The station also shared time with sister station WOMB during this adverse period, and was known as WIOD-WOMB, using the on-air slogan “Wonderful Isle of Dreams.” James M. Cox, Jr. became the chief owner of isle of Dreams Broadcasting Corporation in 1946, and the name of the company would eventually become Cox Broadcasting Corporation in early 1964.

  WNDA 1490 AM  

              As the station looks today

Year of License:1948 
Power: 1000 watts  
Original City of  License: Deland
Format: Pop
Owner(s): 1948-?                                                  
                1949-Stetson University, Deland    
                1959-WXVQ Inc. (Rudi Gresham)
                1984-Stetson University                                                                   
                1987-Root Communications
                1991-Green Broadcast Group 
                1999-Black Crow Broadcasting
Location: 220 E. Hubbard Ave., Deland

History Of Formats and Call Letters: WJBS-1949-Pop(?)                                
                                                        WETO-1959-Adult Standards                                                    
                                                        WXVQ-1980-Adult Standards

                                                        WNDA-2000-News/Talk-simulcast of WNDB, Daytona Beach 
More to come...stay tuned            

                      Other Central Florida Stations

   WORL 660  AM
Year of License: 1985
Original City of  License:
Altamonte Springs
Power: 1,000 watts 
Format: Business Talk/News 
Owner(s): James Crystal Enterprises
History Of  Call Letters and Formats:  WGNZ-1985-silent (650 kHz)
                                                           WGOR-      -silent 
                                                           WORL-2000-Business News/Talk

More to come: 

WBJW 1410 AM   Winter Park

WYND 1310 AM  Deland

Looking for information on;

WEBU AM         Deland  1924

WPER AM 1340 Deland  1942

WOOO AM 1320 Deland 1956

WOCB AM          Orlando  1926