WXTB - A History
WXTB-FM 97.9 Clearwater – The “98 Rock” moniker was first associated with Clearwater easy listening station WQXM-FM 97.9 (Stereo 98) when it switched to an album-oriented rock format in 1978 under VP and GM Jim Johnson. In 1983, the brand was dropped when WQXM became top 40 Z98 WZNE. That format didn’t work and, in 1986, the calls became Classic Rock 97.9 WKRL. Two years later, the 98 Rock branding was re-adopted.
In late December 1989, under new owner Great Ameican Broadcasting, WKRL launched the first all Led Zeppelin format, profiling not only the band itself, but also its solo artists and other music-related projects. Soon other groups like The Who and Stones were added to the play-list. When the stunting ended a couple of weeks later, the station switched calls to WXTB-FM (We X [cross] Tampa Bay) and premiered with a format that featured a mix of modern rock, heavy metal, and classic rock, leading off with the AC/DC 1980’s classic, “Hells Bells.” Great American also insisted that WXTB continue with the 98 Rock branding.
In 1992, 98 Rock began hosting an auction to raise funds for the Tampa Bay Children’s Home by selling off rock memorabilia, and instituting its “Pay for Play” weekends in which donations were accepted in exchange for playing a wide variety of music requests. For 15 years, the station held its annual series of “Livestock” weekend outdoor music festivals, initially set in a Zephyrhills cow pasture.
WXTB-FM was also the flagship station for syndicated shock jock “Bubba the Love Sponge” (Todd Clem) and his morning show beginning in 1996. But after a record FCC fine in early 2004 for alleged indecent content, Clem was canned and the station ceased delivering his programs to other stations.
In 2000, the 100,000 watt WXTB-FM relocated its offices and studios from the Feather Sound Corporate Center to new owner Clear Channel’s complex on West Gandy Boulevard in Tampa.
Some names and shows associated with 98 Rock WXTB include Mike Oliviero (promotions/marketing manager 1990-2009), Tom “Sea Bass” Sebastian (1990), Kelli Casey (1990), “Big Rig” Ron Michaels (mid-days 1990), Scott Ledger (afternoons-1990), Austin Keyes (evenings-1990), Greg Mull (PD/music director-1990), Bob Narley (mornings-1990’s), Marla Stone (“All Request Morning Show”- mid 90’s), Anita Wadd (middays-mid 90’s), Mike “Cowhead” Calta (mornings-late 90’s; 2005-2006), Max Logan (afternoons-2000), Monsters in the Morning (2004), The Fiasco (2004), The Big Boys in the Morning with Puddin and Phatty (2005), The Kooz Show (nights 2005-06), Launa Lands (nights), Brian Medlin (PD/overnights), Fletch, Buckethead (mornings), Mike Killabrew (music director/afternoons), Brad Hardin (operations manager), Mike Lyons (PD), Ted Kamikaze (Ted Canorazzi-middays), and Michael Ricker.
1990 - 2010 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)