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Nick Ashton

A former newscaster with the BBC, Nick came to Polk County in 1991 to fill a local news void in the market via a low-power television station headquartered at 619 Bridgers Avenue in Auburndale. According to Washington FCC engineer Hossen Hashemzadeh, WETV Channel 14 was licensed by Lakeland Translators with a transmitted power output of 1,000 watts. At that time there were some 900 licensed low-power stations around the country.

Nick said that his signal could reach most of Polk and hoped it would be added to the lineups of area cable systems, but it never happened. Ray Graber, at that time General Manager for Paragon Cable in Lakeland, said the company would have to evaluate the quality of Channel 14’s signal and programming, adding that they also wanted to be sure the station was going to be around to justify the costs involved.

WETV’s programming started each day (evening actually) with a half-hour newscast that Nick anchored at 7 P.M. Although it focused on news from all over Polk County, coverage concentrated on Lakeland, Winter Haven and Bartow. Nick also hoped to add a 7 A.M. newscast and other local programs, including call-in comment shows, a medical show, a talk show for local high school coaches and a Crimestoppers-type show produced in conjunction with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office that would encourage viewers to call in with tips. In addition, plans also called for syndicated shows like old movies, talk shows and exercise programs 24 hours a day from two satellite dishes planted behind the Auburndale studios.

Most of those plans never materialized and the station closed up in a very short time. That’s when Nick was hired by WLKF to start a local radio talk show called Talk Back weekday mornings at 9 A.M. He was flamboyant, a good talker, and sometimes confrontational. Listeners either liked him or they didn’t. There was little in-between. But the important thing was that he was good at what he did.

Nick continued with Talk Back on WLKF for about a year or so before he left and the show was taken over by Lynne Breidenbach.

Station History

1992 - 1993 WLKF-AM 1430 - Lakeland (On Air Personality)

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