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WGPA
City of license Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton
Branding "Sunny 1100"
Frequency 1100 (kHz)
Format Talk
Power 250 watts (day only)
Class D
Callsign meaning Globe Publishing Authority
Owner Timmer Communications
Website WGPASunny1100.com

WGPA (1100 AM) is a Class D daytimer radio station in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. It is currently owned by a local polka musician, Jolly Joe Timmer, and plays a mixture of local and syndicated talk radio programs, oldies, and polka music.

History

WGPA, "Sunny 1100", was formerly owned by Chadwick Broadcasting. Originally, it was a part of the Bethlehem Globe Publishing Company (the GP in WGPA). The station, along with sister WGPA-FM 95.1 began February 16, 1946 and was headquartered in studios and offices on Brodhead Avenue, next to the Globe-Times daily newspaper building The FCC License stated ownership as A-B-E Broadcasting a division of the Bethlehem Globe Times Newspapers signifying Allentown Bethlehem Easton as coverage area. WGPA AM 1100 originally broadcast popular music, which from the late forties to the late fifties was primarily big band/swing featuring artists like Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Doris Day and others. By the late fifites - early sixties, rock & roll made inroads and popular music meant playing Elvis, Buddy Holly and other types in addition to the previously mentioned artists. WGPA never became a rock station. In the early fifties, a young man fresh out of Liberty High School named Bob Wolken,started at the station performing odd jobs. He would eventually hire on and became an on-air personality, who would remain through changes in ownership and formats into the 1990's.

WGPA AM was and continues to be a daytime only station, its broadcast hours limited to dawn-dusk operation. Because of this limitation, WGPA-FM would pick up local live sports coverage after 6 PM. This included high school basketball and football. The FM station's daytime programming was beautiful music featuring the likes of Mantovani, Ferrante and Teicher, Ray Conniff and Henry Mancini to name a few.

By 1973 Bethlehem Globe Publishing Authority aka A-B-E Broadcasting was compelled by the FCC to divest itself of its radio holdings. WGPA AM/FM went to Holt Broadcasting for approximately $125,000. There was a succession of format changes, including oldies, automation, even syndication. Through it all, Bob Wolken remained in some on air capacity. The FM station would become WEZV, "Easy 95", playing easy listening music in stereo. By the late 1970's, WEZV would become WZZO, "Z-95", and play rock. It has remained in that format for more than 25 years. Eventually, Holt sold WGPA AM to Henry Chadwick in 1978 for approximately $400,000.

The WGPA-AM offices and studios would eventually be moved to the Dotson Building on North New Street, where they are today. WZZO's offices and studio moved to the Westgate Mall in Bethlehem, and then to Whitehall Township.

In 1992, Bethlehem Polka personality Joe Timmer acquired WGPA AM 1100 from Chadwick Broadcasting. WGPA AM 1100 became known as "Sunny 1100" and Timmer, also known as "Jolly Joe" programmed polka music three times daily. In addition, the station defies traditional format philosophies by playing mixed music, as well as locally produced specialty programming which has included advice/call-in shows for subjects such as parenting, local politics, local sports, as well as locally-produced music shows. Also available are syndicated shows such as The Fred Thompson Show, The Laura Ingram program, Jimmy Sturr, Duke and the Doctor as well as USA Network News on the hour. WGPA Sunny 1100 also streams live over the internet at WGPASunny1100.com. As a result, WGPA-AM may be heard after dusk; thus far, all off hours programming is polka variety.

Today in addition to the syndicated shows, WGPA is staffed by highly regarded local DJs like Jeff Deane, Jarret Brown, Mark Thomas, Ned Richards, Bobby Koch, and Steve Capwell. The station also features the premiere sports talk show in the Valley "Jack, Joe, and Company", hosted by Jack Logic and Joe Craig.

  Prominent local attorney Bruce Davis has hosted a weekly talk show called "The Lehigh Valley Means Business" for many years. The show features interviews with local business leaders and has aired Friday mornings since the 1990's.

External links

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