|City||Pinellas Park, Florida|
|Broadcast area||Tampa Bay area|
|Branding||Faith Talk 570/910|
910 kHz (WTWD - Plant City, Florida)
|First air date||March 12, 1966 (as WFSO)|
|Power||5,000 watts day and night|
|Facility ID||51985 (WTBN)|
|Callsign meaning||W Tampa Bay News (previous news/talk format)|
|Former callsigns||WFSO (1966-1978)|
|Owner||Salem Media Group |
(Salem Communications Holding Corporation)
|Sister stations||WGUL, WWMI, WTWD|
WTBN (570 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Pinellas Park, Florida and serving the Tampa Bay area. The station is owned by Salem Media Group and it airs a religious radio format. Most of the schedule is made up of brokered programming where national religious leaders pay Salem Communications for 15 and 30 minute time blocks. Hosts include Dr. Charles Stanley, Jim Daly, David Jeremiah, Joni Eareckson Tada and John MacArthur.
WTBN's programming is simulcast on WTWD 910 AM, licensed to Plant City, Florida, and serving the eastern portion of the Tampa Bay radio market. Both WTBN and WTWD operate with 5,000 watts day and night with directional antennas. WTBN's transmitter is off Tower Way in Land O' Lakes, Florida. WTWD's transmitter is off Sidney-Dover Road in Dover. The studios and offices for both stations are on West Laurel Street in Tampa.
On March 12, 1966, AM 570 first signed on as WFSO. It began as a daytime only station, broadcasting at only 500 watts. For most of its early years, it was owned by the Pinellas Broadcasting Corporation, broadcasting a blend of album rock and Top 40 music.
In 1978, it was acquired by International Broadcasters, Inc. and became Tampa Bay's first full-time news/talk station, as WPLP. The new owners, in addition to changing the format and call sign, also boosted the power to 1,000 watts, around the clock. The station affiliated with CBS Radio News and the Mutual Broadcasting System, carrying the syndicated Larry King Show overnight.
In 1984, WPLP was bought by Guy Gannett Communications, which owned radio stations, TV stations and newspapers around the country. Gannett kept the news/talk format in place for the four years it owned WPLP.
In March 1988, Susquehanna Broadcasting acquired WPLP in a station swap with Guy Gannett. They immediately applied for new call letters, a month later rebranding themselves as WTKN — standing for "Now We're TalKiN," the station's new tag line. However, the station quickly lost its until-then-competitive ratings; in its first full Arbitron period, Summer 1988, WTKN achieved a 0.2 overall market share.
In 1991, the station was acquired by Paxson Broadcasting, a company started by Florida multi-millionaire Bud Paxson after he sold the Home Shopping Network. Paxson switched the format to Business News and Talk, changing the call letters to WHNZ for "Wins Radio," implying that if you listened to the station, you'd win at business.
In 1998, Clear Channel Communications (which is today iHeartMedia, Inc.) bought WHNZ in anticipation of a three-way frequency swap, also involving AM 620 and AM 1250. On January 1, 2000, Clear Channel moved WDAE's all-sports format from 1250 to 620. It moved WHNZ's business talk format from 570 to 1250. And it created a news/talk station on 570 with the call letters WTBN, standing for Tampa Bay News.
WTBN and WTWD
The news/talk format on 570 didn't last long. By the following year, Salem Communications had bought the station, keeping the WTBN call letters but switching the format to Christian radio. In July 2000, Salem had also bought AM 910 in Plant City, which had been running its own sports talk format. Salem's religious format had begun on WTWD several months before it debuted on WTBN.
WTWD first signed on in July 1949. At the time, it was WPLA, broadcasting at 1570 kHz, powered at 500 watts, on the air days only. By the 1960s, it had moved to its current dial position at 910 kHz, with 1000 watts, but still as a daytimer, playing country music. By the 1980s, the station had gotten nighttime authorization, also at 1,000 watts. In the 1990s, it was sports talk WFNS, boosted to 5,000 watts fulltime, before it was bought by Salem and converted to Christian radio, in 2000.
WTBN and WTWD previously broadcast two shows hosted by Gary Gauthier, It's God's Money and All About Florida Real Estate, until Gauthier was arrested in January 2014 for running a Ponzi scheme from 2005 until 2010, which allegedly allowed Gauthier and a partner to bilk $6 million from the retirement savings of at least 38 people.
- "Arbitron Station Information Profiles". Nielsen Audio/Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-48
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1980 page C-49
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1988 page B-64
- Broadcasting Yearbook 2008 page D-144
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1951 page 113
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1964 page B-36
- Kuruvilla, Carol (January 31, 2014). "Former Christian radio host arrested for $6 million Ponzi scheme". New York Daily News. New York, New York: Mortimer Zuckerman. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Thompson, Stephen (January 30, 2014). "Former Christian radio host arrested for $6 million Ponzi scheme". The Tampa Tribune. Tampa, Florida: Tampa Media Group, Inc./Media General. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WTBN
- Radio-Locator Information on WTBN
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WTBN
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WTWD
- Radio-Locator Information on WTWD
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WTWD
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