AM Technical Profile: WBSR

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Sports Talk
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] In the Kupfrian Park area of Pensacola, at the corner of FL-292 (N Pace Boulevard) and W Moreno Street.
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] West of FL-292 junction near Clarinda Lane.  Co-located with WVTJ and WPNN. (CP)
Power (ERP):
Day and night: 1 kW
1 tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[Article] Pensacola News-Journal article on the sudden shutdown of the station's ESPN sports format at the end of May 2017.
[Article] Pensacola News-Journal article about the launch of "The Fan" sports programming, from October 2020.
[Video] YouTube video compilation of various local news reports on the "demise" of the station in 1985, when the owners of WMEZ bought the station out and shut it down (temporarily).  Features vintage news reports from WJTC and WEAR.
[Video] YouTube video with slideshow of vintage WBSR memorabilia and an aircheck of Jerry "Big Daddy Rabbit" Ray from 1970.
Owned by Miracle Radio
// W266AL Pensacola, FL
This station dates back to an original construction permit first issued to Ruth Baden, Edward F. Baden, George E. Mead, John H. Braden, Lala Braden Boughton and Kirk M. Beall, who together made of Escambia Broadcasting Company. Issued in early 1945, the station was licensed with 250 watts full time from the same transmitter site it uses today, at the corner of Pace Boulevard (then known as O Street) and Moreno Street.  When it signed on in September 1946, the studios were at the San Carlos Hotel at 1 Palafox Street, and the station was transmitting with a longwire antenna.  The station upgraded to a shunt-fed vertical antenna in 1948.  The station's studios moved to the transmitter site in 1949, and have remained there ever since.

The license was transferred to WBSR, Inc. in 1950.  The station was an adult-leaning CBS network affiliate in the 50's.

The station upgraded to 1 kW days (still 250 watts at night) with a Gates BC-1T transmitter in 1960.  In 1969, the station's ownership changed to Mooney-WBSR, Inc. Under George Mooney's leadership, the station flipped to Top 40 and became the market's leading rocker.

The station changed to a Harris MW-1 transmitter in 1976, putting the old Gates into standby as an auxiliary.  The station was acquired by Budworth Broadcasting, Inc., in 1979. 

The station switched from a shunt-fed to a series-fed antenna in 1980.  It was acquired by Seaway Broadcasting, Inc. in 1983. Competition from big FM signals made it difficult for a small signal AM in an area with poor ground conductivity to compete.  In 1985, the station was sold to WMEZ's owners Easy Media, Inc., for $330,000 and they flipped the format to Oldies.  They also later tried doing Adult Contemporary (all while their big FM signal continued to be Easy Listening).  By the mid-90's, the owners finally flipped the AM and FM around, with this station carrying Easy Listening music and the FM doing softer Adult Contemporary.  The station appears to have gone Oldies again, then to Soft Adult Contemporary before the end of the 90's. 

Amazingly, the station retained its AM-only music format for over a decade.  The music lasted until 2 September 2011, when the format flipped to Sports Talk as ESPN Pensacola.  They began leasing an Edgewater-owned FM translator, W266AL, on 101.1 MHz, in March of 2013.  It was an AM Revitalization move-in from Bay Minette.  Easy Media bought the translator for $38,000 in May 2015.  Two years later, in May 2017, the station was suddenly taken off the air, and most of the employees were let go.  A few days after the shutdown, the station returned to the air, stunting with various music formats.  On 20 June 2017, the station and its translator began simulcasting the Christian religious format of 90.9 WOWB.  That station, licensed to nearby Jay, Florida, has a transmitter well north of Pensacola, in Brewton.  This simulcast gave the station a full time presence in the city.

The station was reported sold to Miracle Radio, owners of News/Talk WPNN, for $75,000.  It was being operated by them as of 1 October 2020, although after they took over, they took the station off the air.  When it was reported back on air in mid-October 2020, it was reported to be Sports Talk again with Fox Sports network programming.

In April 2021, the station received a construction permit to relocate the transmitter to the WPNN/WVTJ site a few miles north of the current site, with the same 1kW full time power levels.