AM Technical Profile: WFDM
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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
- Day and night:
- 0.5 mV/m Daytime
Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
// W259AN Fort Walton Beach, Florida
// W232CF Fort Walton Beach, Florida
- Owned By:
- Omni Broadcasting
- 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
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. That translator went on
the air at 99.3 MHz, but in September 2019, it moved to 103.7 MHz.