WDBO’s History Timeline

Take A Look Back Enjoy a virtual stroll through 9 decades of WDBO in Orlando.

The 1920's

1924 WDBO is born, thanks to Professor E.F. Weinberg and his Rollins College Physics class. The license was issued to operate on 1250 kilocycles on 50 watts of power. On-air programming started at 8:45pm and signed off 1 hour 5 minutes later. During this broadcast, announcer Dean Sprague said anybody who could hear the broadcast would receive a box of oranges from the Gentile Brothers Packing House if they sent a postcard to WDBO.

WDBO's call letters are said to stand for "Way Down By Orlando", though some say the call letters were just issued in alphabetical sequence as was the policy at the time.

1925 A ship in the Pacific picks up WDBO's signal in March, making headlines all over the state of Florida. WDBO is permitted to increase power to 100 watts.

1926 Rollins College decides that $600 per month to run the station is too much and gives WDBO to Col. George C. Johnston. Johnston named the ownership company of WDBO The Orlando Broadcasting Company.

Gilson Willits takes over management of WDBO for a one-year term. The cities of St. Cloud, Sanford, Winter Park and Sanlando as well as the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Chase & Co. and Rollins College cooperate in the maintenance of WDBO.

1927 WDBO is moved to the Ft. Gatlin Hotel in Orlando. Programming featured groups, including the Beasley Band.

The FCC authorizes WDBO to operate at 1040 kilocycles, with a power output of 1000-watts daytime, 500-watts nighttime.

1928 FCC authorizes WDBO to switch operation from 1040 kilocycles to 620 kilocycles.

WDBO asks the City of Orlando to buy the station because Johnston refused to comply with new rules set by the Federal Radio Commission. The City declined.

1929 Speakers are installed in a traffic control tower at the intersection of Central Blvd. and Orange Ave. playing WDBO broadcasts. These traffic towers served as a bridge between the times when Police Officers directed traffic whie standing in a roadway and when automatically controlled signals were installed. FCC authorizes WDBO to operate at 1120 kilocycles. Broadcasting time increased to 50 hours per week.

The 1930's

1930 WDBO joins the Columbia Broadcast System and becomes a CBS affiliate. Programming included Texas Guinan, the “Hello, Sucker” girl, and Dave Berry, boxing referee.

1932 FCC authorizes WDBO to operate at 580 kilocycles and becomes 580 WDBO (previously WDBO was located on 1250, moved to 1040 in 1927, 620 in 1928 and 1120 in 1929).

1935 The Rollins Radio Committee assigns WDBO Broadcast Resolutions for Adoption

1936 WDBO transmitter is moved to Dubsdread Country Club.

1937 WDBO is authorized to operate at an output power of 5000-watts daytime.

The 1940's

1940 WDBO is authorized to operate at a power output of 5000-watts full time, with a directional antenna at night.

1944 The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 destroyed the roof of the WDBO studios in the Angebilt Hotel in downtown Orlando. The 108 mph winds caused millions of dollars of damage, downed hundreds of trees and utility poles in the area, WDBO's north tower in Dubsdread blew down. WDBO set up temporary studios in Orlando's Orange Court Hotel.

1947 WDBO moves into its studios on South Ivanhoe Boulevard on the shores of Lake Ivanhoe. Listen to this 1947 broadcast celebrating the opening of the new studios. The broadcast includes a re-enactment of WDBO’s first minutes on the air in central Florida.

1948 WDBO signs on Orlando's first FM station operating on 92.3mhz with 34,000-watts of power.

The 1950's

1950 Orlando Broadcasting Company founder, Col. Johnston died. WDBO employees acquired the shares of the company and named Harold Danforth president.

1954 WDBO signs on Orlando's first television station. WDBO TV Channel 6 remained Orlando's only TV station until 1956. WDBO Creator, Riley Jones , retires

1957 The Orlando Broadcasting Company sells its WDBO Radio-TV station to the Cherry Broadcasting Station of Providence, Rhode Island, pending FCC approval. The buyer organization was headed by William C. cherry Jr., who paid a reported $3 million for the station. Harold P. Danforth Sr., continued as General Manager.

The 1960's

1963 The Outlet Company purchases WDBO-TV from the Cherry Broadcasting Company in a $6 million deal. Prior to the $3 million sale of the station in 1957, it had been largely owned by employees. Five of them had been offered the opportunity of purchasing stock held by the late Col. Johnston in his will. Johnston died in 1950. He had bought the station in 1927 when it was operated by Rollins College

The 1970's

1970 Perry Moore becomes WDBO's morning man, was the top-rated radio disc jockey for the next 14 years.

1972 Jim Turner becomes WDBO’s afternoon drive host. He is known as “The Voice” of Orlando.

The 1980's

1980 Morton Downey, Jr. joins WDBO as host of "Nightline" weeknights from 7-10 (pictured on right). WDBO AM-FM is sold to Katz Broadcasting.

WDBO TV changes its call letters to WCPX.

1983 WDBO becomes an affiliate of ABC. WDBO 92.3FM becomes WWKA K92FM.

1985 Jim Turner takes over as WDBO morning host.

1986 New City Communications purchases WDBO. Marsha Taylor joins WDBO as a midday anchor and street reporter. WDBO studios are moved from Ivanhoe Boulevard to its current home on John Young Parkway.

1988 Marsha Taylor is promoted to News Director.

Dave Wahl signs on with WDBO News.

1989 WDBO hires Scott Anez.

The 1990's

1991 The Gulf War creates a huge demand for talk radio. WDBO picks up the Rush Limbaugh Show. Music is completely phased out and other shows, including Bruce Williams, Sally Jesse Raphael and Larry King are brought to the line-up.

1994 Officer Jim Bishop becomes Jim Turner's morning show sidekick and traffic reporter for Central Florida's Morning News.

1997 New City Communications is acquired by Cox Radio.

1998 Clark Howard signs on at WDBO in February.

The 2000's

2001 Sean Hannity signs on at WDBO on September 10, one day prior to the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil in American history.

2002 Jim Turner celebrates 30 years of broadcasting on WDBO.

2004 Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne batter Central Florida, causing widespread damage and flooding.

2005 WDBO's Jim Turner receives radio's most prestigious honor, the Marconi Award, for excellence in broadcasting.

2009 WDBO celebrates 85 years on the air in Central Florida on May 24.

2011 WDBO hires Laurel Lee

2012 WDBO hires Joe Kelley

2017 The staff of WDBO and other Cox Media Group - Orlando radio stations were awarded two Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media for broadcast coverage of the Pulse nightclub terror attack in 2016

2018 WDBO was named back-to-back Large Market Station of the Year during the 29th annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards. Joe Kelley snagged his very first Marconi for Large Market Personality of the Year.

2022 Erick Erickson signs on with WDBO

2023 WDBO launches the Joe Kelley Show





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