WWJB - A History
WWJB-AM 1450 Brooksville – After Brooksville’s AM-1450 WKTS burned in March 1958, apparently due to a lightning strike, fire officials declared the building a total loss. The station remained off the air until the following October when W.W. “Woody” Johnson and W.L. Waring, Jr. bought the license from original owner Elmo B. Kittes (Hernando Broadcasting Co.) and returned the station to the air as 250-watt WWJB (Woody Johnson Brooksville). The tower remained at its original location, but studios were moved to 30 E. Liberty Street.
In the summer of 1960, WWJB’s corporate name became Brooksville Broadcasting Service Inc. with Johnson continuing as president/GM. The station relocated to new second floor offices and studios above 31 S. Main Street (corner Liberty St.) in 1968. Three years later, Hunter-Knight Broadcasting (Philip M. Knight, president/GM/chief engineer) became the new licensee. Two years later the station was awarded a CP for a boost in power to one-kilowatt days/250 night.
A group of upstate New York broadcasters, Bob Penrod, Jack Clancy, and Don Stork (Hernando County Radio, Inc.) acquired WWJB in 1978. During Penrod’s years as GM, a number of positive changes to the station’s operation were made, including the addition of local news and ABC network commentator Paul Harvey.
WWJB was bought by Hernando Broadcasting Company (county attorney Bruce Snow, James Kimbrough, and Steve Manuel, president, GM and chief engineer) in March 1982 and all studio and transmitter equipment was upgraded to state of the art. The upgrades also called for new studios at 55 West Fort Dade Avenue. In 2001, the FCC approved a new tower site west of Brooksville which would significantly increase its coverage into west Hernando County.
After having programmed a pop format (with some local sports and high school programs) for many years, WWJB switched to news/talk in 1994 and today (2013) is Newsradio 1450, the 24-hour source for news, sports, and information. The station covers Hernando County south into Pasco County, north into Citrus County, and east into Sumter County, with 1000 watts day and night.
Other names in WWJB history include Joseph S. Gall (PD-1959), Woody Garcia (1959), Bob Hermann (1959), Charles “Chuck” Grant (sales manager-1959), John Helman (chief engineer-1959), Gerald Steen (chief engineer-1961), W.W. Johnson, Jr. (PD/news director-1964), Robert Payne (chief engineer-1963), Pat Stockham (women’s director-1964), D.M. Morris (chief engineer-1964), Jim Stubbs (chief engineer-1967), Ed Brown (chief engineer-1971), Woody Johnson (news director-1972), Phil Thompson (PD/music director-1973; news director-1974), Ken DeBusk (news director-1973), Steve Manuel (chief engineer-1973), Mickey Brayton (PD/music director-1974), Jack Rankin (sales manager-1974), Bruce Scott Campbell (promotions-1974), Mark Jacobs (mid 70’s), Bill Perry (PD/music director/sales manager-1975), Bob Jordan (news director-1979), Ryan Gorman and Eric Allen (hosts of high school show-2000), Tom Longman (music director), John W. (Jack) Payne (sales), Barbara Manuel (sales/promotions), Bob Haa (news director/mornings), Chuck Whittaker (traffic reporter), Bill Williamson (sales), George Lowe, and Marsha Roderick.
1958 - 2013 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)