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WTRL - A History

WTRL-AM 1490 Bradenton – WDHL, Bradenton’s first radio station, became WTRL in 1952, put on the air by TRaiL Broadcasting (H.D. McClelland, president). Its studios and transmitter/tower home was Bradenton’s Memorial Pier at the north end of 12th Street West.

WTRL’s power, which was 250-watts when it went on the air, was upgraded to l-kilowatt (still 250 at night) in 1973. Night power was increased to 1-kilowatt in the early to mid 80’s.

Other owners of WTRL included Blue Skies Broadcasting 1957-1960 (L. R. “Dick” Doty II, president/GM); Fletcher-Mitchell Corp. 1960-1971 (James I. “Bo” Mitchell, president); WTRL Broadcasting 1971-1978 (Robert “Bob” Mitchell, president); Aires Broadcasting 1978-1983 (Paul W. Moseley, president); and Highlands Broadcasting 1984-1989 (Albert J. Moll, president). 

AM-1490 carried the WTRL calls for over thirty years – 1952 to 1983 and again from 1984 to 1989. From 1983 to 1984, it was One-Four-Nine WOFN. When the station was sold in 1989, it became Classic Hits 1490 WKLV.

Other names from WTRL history include George Manning (sales manager-1953), Carl Van Sittert (PD-1953), Marlen Hager (chief engineer-1953; 1960), Don McKellar (PD-1954), George McGougan (chief engineer-1954), Bill Herson (GM-1955), Ken McKendree (sales manager-1955; GM-1969), Charles Blake (PD/news & sports director-1955), Pat Snow (women’s director-1955), Howard Donohoe (president of Trail Broadcasting-1956; GM-1957). Marjorie Collins (women’s director-1956), Danny Huth (1956-57, later known as Dan Chandler at Miami’s WQAM), Carl DeLay (chief engineer-1957), Bob Chesney (late 50’s), Tom Gillies (PD-1958), Richard Lundy (chief engineer-1958), Earl Kelly (farm director-1958), Bunny Doty (women’s director-1958), David W. Albright (GM-1960), Gordon Wyllie (PD-1960), W.W. Chaplin (news director-1960), Squire D. Rushnell (PD-1963), Jonathan Fletcher (president of Fletcher-Mitchell Broadcasting-1964), Bob Keehn (PD-1964), Al Corbett (1964-65), Harold Hatfield (announcer/chief engineer 1964-68), Tom Drane (evenings as Mike Roberts 1965; 1967-68), Mark McGee (news-1968; 1972), Gerald McGougan (chief engineer-1969); J.K. McKendree (GM-1969), Gene Deckerhoff (air name: Steve O’Shay, later dropped in favor of his own name. Worked afternoon drive-1971), Al Moll (air name: Christopher Michael Scott, middays early-mid 70’s, and later an owner of the station),  Beth Oswald (women’s director & host of “Girl On the Go” early-mid 70’s), Bill Wood (evenings early-mid 70’s), Ralph Janotti (overnights/later afternoon news early-mid 70’s), Al McCombs (PD-1971), Mark Haas (weekends early-mid 70’s), Dean Edwards (news director 1971; sales manager-1979),  Cliff Lanson (sales manager-1972), Dave Farrington (PD-1972), Bob Fincher (promotions-1972), Bo Mitchell (GM-1973), Jim Driscoll (1973), Morgan Steinmetz (sales manager-1973), Sterling Hall (former Bradenton mayor who hosted a talk show in the early/mid 70’s), Harry Hughey (operations-1973), Dave Barker (mornings/PD-1974), Dick Ring (mornings mid 70’s), Ross Potter (middays/music director/promotions mid 70s), Patrick J. Collins (GM-1977), George Barber (GM-1978), Mike McClatchy (news director-1979), Ken Farnsworth (GM 1979-1982), Rick Arvanitis (PD 1979-1982), Don Coe (PD-1983), Bob Barnes (co-owner/GM/PD-1986), Diane Koczersut (sales manager-1986), Pat Wasson (news director-1986), Marjory "Maggie Chance" McCombs (host of “Party Line”), Barbara Orear (news reporter), Lori Dale (middays), Early Williams, Jeff Laurence, Walt Gebhart, and Chuck Goding.

(Thanks to Bob Barnes and Ralph Janotti for their assistance with this history. Please contact us if you have additional information to share about WTRL.)

Station History

1952 - 1983 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)
1984 - 1989 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)

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