AM Technical Profile: WDIZ


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Frequency:
590
Format:
Rock
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view #1 | view #2] East of Panama City near Springfield. On US-98 (15th Street) opposite St. Dominic Catholic Church.
Power (ERP):
Day: 1.7 kW
Night: 2.5 kW
Antenna:
Day: 1 tower
Night: 3 towers, directional to the south towards Tyndell AFB. [pattern - PDF]
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCdata.org]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Video] Aircheck of "The Bobby Button Show" from October 1968, during the Top 40 WDLP era.
[Studio] Street View imagery of the Panama City iHeartMedia cluster's studio facility on Lisenby Road.
Owned by
iHeartMedia
Silent
// W242BF Springfield, FL (96.3 MHz)
History:
The original construction permit for this station dates back to June of 1939, when Panama City Broadcasting Company (W. J. Cook) filed to put a station on the air with 250 watts days and 100 watts nights on 1200 kHz, from at or next to the Cove Hotel, at 323 West Beach Drive in Panama City.  The call sign first assigned but never used was WRSR. It signed on in late March of 1940 as WDLP.

When the NARBA reallocation plan went into effect in 1941, the station, barely a year old, had to move to 1230 kHz, still with the same power levels.  Ownership of Panama City Broadcasting Company was passed on to Bay County Publishers, Inc. in 1942.  The station upgraded to 250 watts fulltime in 1943.  It wasn't until 1947 that the station applied to move to its current frequency of 590 kHz, and pick up more power (1 kW day and night, directional at night).  When that facility signed on in December of 1947, that's when the transmitter moved to the current site on what is now 15th Street in Panama City.  A few years later the studios moved to 323 West Beach Drive.

The station spawned Panama City's first FM broadcast, WDLP-FM, in 1950.  It broadcast on 98.9 MHz with 1.6 kW of power from Tower #1 of the AM array, and duplicated the AM's programming.  It appears it did not make it until 1960 before being deleted.  Ownership of the station moved to Dixie Broadcasting Inc., in 1957; under them, the format was Top 40.  During this time, the station became a companion to FM outlet WGNE, which had a beautiful music format.

In 1972, the license was transferred to DAE Broadcasting (Larry Edwards and Ray L. Danner).  The license was transferred to Media Investors, Ltd. (Thomas E. Dickey and Bob L. Cole) in January 1979. 

Janus Broadcasting acquired the license in 1981.  Through all these ownership changes, the station remained a rock-leaning Top 40 channel while WGNE kept beautiful or Middle of the Road (MOR).  By the mid-80s, however, FM competition was putting the squeeze on pop music on AM and easy-snoozy sounds on FM, and Janus threw in the towel.  On January 1, 1987, just after midnight, they flipped the station to oldies with the WGNE calls from the FM side. 

In 1986, the stations were bought for $3.07 million Woodfin Group, a company based out of Columbus, Georgia.  They basically flipped the formats of the AM and FM, putting Beautiful Music on this station and shuffling the Oldies off to the FM (which became WFSY.)

The station aired a new age sound for a short time in the 90's, calling itself "The Breeze").  It's likely during this time they installed a C-QUAM AM stereo system.  A company called B. Radio Inc. acquired the station (along with sister FMs WFSY and WEBZ in nearby Mexico Beach) in 1996; they moved the format to a Nostalgia format.  Less than a year later it was gobbled up by the quick growing Paxson company (who became Clear Channel shortly thereafter), who changed the call sign to WDIZ in November 1996 but kept the Sports Talk for several years, until they went back to Nostalgia towards the end of the 90's. 

The station may have tried to go back to Sports Talk from 2003.  By 2006, they tried to be a tourist-information station.  It lasted maybe two years.  As of 2008, the station went back to Adult Standards/Middle-of-the-Road (MOR) from Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks arm of syndicated music format, again using "The Breeze" moniker.  They also turned off the AM stereo around this time, as well. 
Another two years, another stab at a new format: The station dropped "The Breeze" and music for ESPN Sports Talk fulltime in July 2010.  They dropped ESPN for Fox Sports Radio's lineup in the summer of 2014. 

A little less than a year after the change to Fox Sports, iHeart Radio acquired an FM translator for the station and flipped the signals to a wide-ranging Variety Hits format called "Real Fun Beach Radio", a rebroadcast of one of the online iHeart streaming stations. 

On 30 June 2017, the format changed again, this time to Rock as "Rock 96.3", still utilizing one of the generic iHeart streaming online station formats. 

The station was taken off the air by Hurricane Michael, which hit the area on 10 October 2018.  All three towers were felled by the hurricane.