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WKRL - A History

WKRL-FM 97.9 Clearwater – In 1986, Sandusky Broadcasting, the new owner of Top 40 WZNE (Z98), relocated the station’s studios from the transmitter/tower site at 8320 Starkey Road in Seminole to the Feather Sound Corporate Center, and switched its format and calls to Classic Rock 97.9 WKRL.  In 1988, it re-adopted the 98 Rock branding, one with a previous history in Tampa Bay in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Under new owner Great American Broadcasting, WKRL launched the first all Led Zeppelin format in late December 1989, profiling not only the band itself, but also its solo members and other music-related projects. Soon other groups like the Who and Stones were added to the playlist. When the stunting ended, WKRL became WXTB and premiered a new format featuring a mix of modern rock, heavy metal, and classic rock, leading off with AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” Although the calls and format changed, the 98 Rock branding was retained.  

Some names from WKRL history include Ted Kamikaze (1986), Don Hibbitts (GM-1986), David Papandrea (sales manager-1986), Beau Raines (PD-1986), Cynthia Clarc (music director-1986), Ginger Warder (promotions-1986), Gary Ballinger (overnights), Roger Cristy (news director-1986), Bill Elliott (chief engineer-1986), Brian Smith and Bruce Barber (hosts of “The Smith & Barber Morning Show”-1986), Dan DiLoreto (GM-1988), Ken Silkie (sales manager-1988), Susan Ott (promotions-1988), Jack Strapp (news director-1988), Bob French (sales manager-1990), Austin Keys (music director-1990), and Anne Hrubala (promotions-1990). 

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Station History

1985 - 1990 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)

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