|Broadcast area||Middle Georgia|
|Branding||#1 Country 99 WDEN|
|Slogan||A Country Music Radio Heritage For Over 40 Years!|
|First air date||1947|
|HAAT||177 meters (581 ft)|
|Affiliations||Nash FM Network|
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|Sister stations||WIFN, WLZN, WMAC, WMGB, WPEZ|
WDEN-FM (99.1 MHz, "#1 Country FM 99 WDEN") is a commercial radio station licensed to Macon, Georgia. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and the broadcast license is held by Cumulus Licensing, LLC. WDEN airs a country music radio format. The studios and offices are on Mulberry Street.
WDEN-FM has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100,000 watts, the maximum permitted for non-grandfathered FM stations. It uses a tower that is 177 meters (581 feet) in height above average terrain (HAAT). The transmitter is off Ocmulgee East Boulevard (Route 87), near Interstate 16 in Macon.
WDEN-FM's parent company, Cumulus Media, has renamed most of the country music stations in its chain "Nash FM." But over the years, WDEN-FM developed its own identity so it continues to be called "#1 Country FM 99 WDEN." Two nationally syndicated Nash FM shows are carried weekday evenings on WDEN-FM: "Nash Nights Live" and "Kickin' It with Kix Brooks." Two local weekday shows are heard on WDEN-FM: "The Early Morning Crew" wake-up show, hosted by Laura Starling and Vance Shepherd. The Early Morning Crew formerly featured program director Gerry Marshall, who retired in 2004. In afternoons, Big Bobby Reed is heard. Reed also serves as program director.
99.1 Early Years
WDEN-FM traces its history back to 1947, when Macon's first FM station signed on, 99.1 WMAZ-FM. It was owned by the Southeastern Broadcasting Company, which also owned AM 940 WMAZ (now WMAC). WMAZ-FM mostly simulcast its AM sister station for its first couple of decades. In 1953, the Southeastern Broadcasting Company added Macon's first VHF TV station, Channel 13 WMAZ-TV.
In the 1950s, as network programming moved from radio to TV, WMAZ-AM-FM switched to a full service middle of the road format of popular adult music, news and sports. In the late 1950s, WMAZ-AM-FM-TV produced middle Georgia's first radio-television simulcast for the 24th Annual Bibb County Spelling Bee.
Southeastern sold WMAZ-AM-FM-TV to Southern Broadcasting Corporation in 1963, which merged with the News-Piedmont Company to form Multimedia, Inc. in 1967. Also in the late 1960s, WMAZ-FM broke its simulcast with AM 940. It began running an automated Top 40 format. In 1974, WMAZ-AM-FM-TV moved to a new studio facility on Gray Highway in Macon. To establish a separate identity, WMAZ-FM changed its call letters to WAYS in the 1980s, while maintaining its Top 40 sound.
Multimedia merged with Gannett in 1995. Gannett had by this time decided to pull out of radio, concentrating on its TV stations and newspapers. It sold off WMAZ and WAYS in 1996.
105.3 Early Years
When 99.1 was already on the air for more than two decades, another FM station signed on in Macon in 1968, 105.3 WDEN-FM. It was the FM simulcast to AM 1500 WDEN, a 1,000 watt daytimer and country music outlet owned by Radio Macon, Inc. WDEN-FM allowed the AM station's country format to be heard around the clock and in stereo. Eventually, the two signals were split, with WDEN-FM concentrating on current country hits with less talk, and WDEN (AM) specializing in more personality and a playlist including classic country.
WDEN-AM-FM were created and owned by Marshall Rowland, who also owned country radio stations WQIK-AM-FM in Jacksonville and WQYK-AM-FM in Tampa Bay. The stations were locally managed by Charles Witte. When asked what does WDEN stood for? Marshall replied with those 4 simple words, "We Don't Even kNow!"
In the 1970s, WDEN-FM radio personalities included Grady Spires, Don Denver, Ray McDonald, Terry Culpepper, Aubrey Hammock, and Merritt (Buddy) Wheeler. Hammock and Wheeler both had worked at WNEX in Macon together in the mid 1970s as well as several other Middle Georgia stations. WDEN-AM-FM were sold to the U.S. Broadcasting Limited Partnership in 1987.
Moving WDEN-FM to 99.1
In 1997, the ownership of WDEN-AM-FM, WMAZ and WAYS was realigned. That led to a change in FM stations in 2000. For the month of December 2000, WDEN-FM was simulcast on 105.3 and 99.1, with messages asking listeners to tune to 99.1 for WDEN-FM's country format. The day after Christmas, WDEN-FM was heard exclusively on 99.1. 105.5 became the home of WAYS, airing an oldies format. 940 WMAZ continued as a news/talk station, while 1500 WDEN continued with classic country music.
Cumulus Media acquired all four stations in 2002. Cumulus switched AM 1500 to the WAYS call letters, installing a sports radio format. 105.5 was sold to the Educational Media Foundation as the Macon-area home for its K-Love Christian contemporary music format.
WDEN-FM continues as Macon's top rated country music station for more than half a century.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 124
- Telecasting Yearbook 1954-1955 page 100
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1970 page B-53
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2001 page D-116
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2003-2004 page D-123
- #1 Country 99 WDEN - Official Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WDEN
- Radio-Locator information on WDEN
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WDEN