Originally from Amherst WI, Dan moved to Tampa when he was still a youngster and got his start in radio in the mid 1950’s at WPIN in St. Petersburg. He also worked at WTSP and WFLA, where he hosted morning’s “Gulf Coast Serenade.” After working his way thru college and graduating in 1962 from the University of Tampa with a BA in management, he moved into a sales position with WFLA.
In 1966, he and his dad, Elwyn, obtained a construction permit for the AM-570 frequency in Pinellas Park and named it WFSO. It later became talk radio WPLP. The studios and transmitter site were built in Seminole on the east side of Seminole Lake. At the onset, the station programmed an MOR format but eventually moved to hard rock.
In 1978, Johnson sold WFSO and then built Tampa Bay classical station WXCR-FM in 1982, followed by Lakeland’s first TV station, V32 WTMV (“The Station It Pays to Watch.”) in 1986. The TV station’s offices and studios were originally on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland but in order to be more competitive in the Tampa Bay market, the operation moved into the former TelePrompter Cable TV building at the corner of East Hillsborough Avenue and Orient Road in Tampa.
Never really successful with the music video TV format, Dan transformed WTMV into a regular independent TV station, picking up college and professional sports and what syndicated programming he could, and limiting the music videos to overnights on the weekends. It became a charter affiliate of the WB Network and was the only locally-owned TV station in the Tampa Bay area until 1995 when the Hearst Corporation bought it for nearly $30 million. The calls changed to WWWB and then to WMOR.
Johnson also dabbled in politics and served as a commissioner and mayor of St. Petersburg Beach in the 1980’s. After selling Channel 32, he and his wife, Jo, moved to Georgia where, with investor friend Robert Keelean, they started yet another TV station in Savannah.
Dan passed away October 24, 2017 after battling brain cancer.
1955 - 1962 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)
1962 - 1966 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Sales)
1967 - 1989 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)