AM Technical Profile: WDWR

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Religious: Catholic
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] South of West Jordan Street and west of I-110, between N Hayne Street and N Tarragona Street.
Power (ERP):
Day and night: 790 watts
1 tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[Article] Pensacola News-Journal photo gallery of the WDWR radio site from 2013, regarding the stoppage of work on the new tower.
[Article] Pensacola News-Journal story from November 2015 about the tower saga the station is facing. 
Pensacola News-Journal story from November 2015 on the station's impending purchase and how it affects the tower controversy.
Owned by La Promesa Foundation
// W277CC Pensacola
1230 began as WEAR-AM in 1947, which spawned WEAR-TV 3 in 1954. In the late 50's the calls changed to WNVY (for NAvY, since Pensacola is a major Naval town.) Programming was top 40, competing with WBSR 1450 in the format. In the 70's, WNVY went country, to fill a void left by the fact that Pensacola only had daytimers playing country. Later, WBOP, black daytimer on 980 bought the frequency to go full time. For a time it was a half of the WBOP AM/FM combo. After the black format was abandoned, they tried everything, never staying with anything for long. The Format-of-the-Month progression included 50's oldies, then new rock as WTKX-AM, then all travel info radio, then all sports.They eventually moved to southern oriented gospel WZNO, under Pensacola Christian Radio's ownership. On February 21st 2007, at 3pm, the station flipped to Catholic-oriented religious programming under new ownership, as "Divine Word Radio". In December 2011 the station changed from a commercial to noncommercial operation.  The stations are expected to continue offering English-language Catholic programming, including shows hosted by EWTN.
The station has been in a mire of controversy all through the last several years due to issues with rebuilding their tower.  The station's owner received permission from the FAA to construct up to a 400 foot tower on the site of the existing AM tower, whose height was around 250 feet.  That tower had been standing since the 70s and was on land leased to the station group through the city of Pensacola.  The city renewed the lease on the land in 2012 and the station's ownership notified the FCC that it was ready to construct a new tower to a height of 351 feet, with the remainder to be made up with a mast attached to the top of the tower.  This is when things began to fall apart for Divine Word.  First, the city discovered that the guy wires' concrete anchors were not properly inspected, so part of the tower had to come down and the anchors removed and re-poured.  Later, a local preservation group brought to the attention of the city that they never authorized the construction of the new tower explicitly and that the lease should not have been renewed because the land was re-zoned as to "conservation" in the early 90's.  The preservation group wants the tower removed and the land used to expand a nearby storm water runoff pond.  As of November 2015, the city, Divine Word and the preservation group seem to be in a holding pattern waiting for a decision from the city council.  The PNJ news articles, linked above under Other Information, contains more details as well as links to more current stories on the subject. 
Also in November it was announced that the La Promesa Foundation, a Catholic organization based in Texas, was going to buy all the Divine Word properties, including WDWR in Pensacola, for $1 million.  The purchase will not affect the tower controversy, as the tower is owned by Gene Church, who runs Divine Word and he will continue to own the tower itself after the acquisition is completed.  La Promesa's programming will be provided by EWTN.  The license was transferred just after Christmas of 2015.  The station remained off the air through April 2016, when it was finally reported back on air.  In November 2016, the station suffered damage due to theft of copper on site and was forced to apply for a Special Temporary Authority to operate a horizontal longwire at 250 watts; this continued into 2017 when La Promesa applied to fix a minor issue with tower location in the FCC and FAA databases.  Part of that application also includes dropping power from 1 kW to 790 watts to come into compliance with their license.  In the meantime, the STA for the longwire was extended in February 2017 while waiting on approval for the other items.  The permit to go permanently to 790 watts was granted in late April 2017.  As of July 2018, the station is still operating under the STA. 

The station finally filed a license to cover for their updated transmission facility in December 2019.