AM Technical Profile: WFDM

[ Home | Statewide: AM | FM | LPFM | Translators | TV | LPTV | LDTV ]
[ Metros: Birmingham | Mobile | Montgomery | Huntsville | Columbus, GA | Dothan | Tuscaloosa | The Shoals ]


Frequency:
1400
Format:
Talk
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] On a tower just east of the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Memorial Parkway NW in Fort Walton Beach, behind the Cumulus Broadcasting offices.  Co-located with WFTW.
Power (ERP):
Day:  1 kW
Night:  250 watts
Antenna:
Day and night: 1 tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]
// W259AN Eastpoint, Florida
// W232CF Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Owned By:
Omni Broadcasting
History:
This station's origins go back to February 1956, when a permit for a new station was first issued to H. French Brown (West Florida Broadcasting Service), on 950 kHz with a power of 500 watts, days only.  The station signed on in August 1956 with the WFBS calls, representing the company's name.  The transmitter, a Gates BC 500K, was located “near the intersection of Old Wright Road and Mary Esther Road” in Fort Walton Beach, while the original studios were at the intersection of Florida Avenue and Perry Boulevard at the Miramar Hotel.  The studios later relocated to the transmitter site. (Note: I believe this may have been a patch of land near what is today US-98 and Andalusia Street in Mary Esther, near Target. - Zach)  By the start of 1957, the station had already upgraded to 1 kW, still as a daytimer.  The transmitter used at that time was a Gates BC-1J.

Smith Radio, Inc., bought the station in the summer of 1960.  Shortly afterwards, they changed the call sign to WNUE and it was most likely at this time they put Top 40 music on the air here.  The station received a permit to change to the current frequency of 1400 kHz, with 1 kW days and 250 watts at night, in January of 1963.  The facility went on the air in August of that year. 

Jerry Braswell and Carolyn Van Buskirk (Triple B Broadcasting) bought the station from Smith Broadcasting in 1990, for $10,000.   As music was quickly losing its appeal on AM radio, the station dropped the decades-long Top 40 format to pursue sports programming.  That lasted until 1994, when the station flipped to Easy Listening as WFAV. 

Yesterday's Radio Network, LLC bought the station in September of 2000 for $190,000.  Two years later, they changed the calls to WJGC and flipped the format to Urban.  It didn't stick, though, and by 2004 the station was back to doing "Memories" music, with the WBAU call letters.  The station changed hands again in 2005, this time to Star Broadcasting (which itself was a part of Qantum Communications.  Ron Hale, Sr. — he of future Omni Broadcasting fame — was GM of the station in 2006.  It's around this time that the AM took on the WTKE calls, as companion to Qantum's WTKE-FM sports talker on 98.1 MHz.  The station became WZFN in November, 2008, but appears to have still had the "Memories" music format at that time. 

In 2010, the station flipped to a conservative talk format as "Freedom 1400", and took on the current WFDM calls in November of that year.  The station added a block of programming in Spanish in 2014, called "Radio Latina", but it appears it did not last long.

The station acquired its first FM companion translator in 2016, when it purchased W259AN in nearby Niceville, from Divine Word Communications, for $30,000.  The signal received interference from WFLF in Panama City, as they shared 94.5 MHz.  In 2012 the translator moved to 94.3 MHz.  The station won a permit to built a second FM translator in April 2018.