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WGST
WGST640.PNG
City of license Atlanta, Georgia
Broadcast area Atlanta metropolitan area
Branding 640 WGST
Slogan "Atlanta. Talk. Radio."
"Atlanta. Braves. Radio."
Frequency 640 kHz (analog)
First air date February 1988
Format News/Talk radio
Power 50,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
Class B
Facility ID 29730
Transmitter coordinates 33°45′46″N 84°27′31″W / 33.762916°N 84.458508°W / 33.762916; -84.458508
Callsign meaning Georgia School of Technology
Former callsigns WPBD (CP 1986, on-air 1988-1989)
Affiliations Atlanta Braves Radio Network
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations WBZY, WKLS, WWLG, WUBL, WWVA-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website http://www.640wgst.com

WGST AM 640 is a radio station licensed in the city of Atlanta, Georgia operating at a frequency of 640 kHz with 50,000 watts of power during the daytime, and 1,000 watts of power during nighttime hours. The station is owned by the Clear Channel Communications subsidiary Citicasters Licenses (formerly part of Jacor Communications), and serves the Atlanta metropolitan area media market with a news/talk radio format. WGST's programming is simulcast on an HD Radio digital subchannel of sister station WUBL FM 94.9.

The facility at 640 started with an application in 1981, with a construction permit granted by the FCC in 1985, and the broadcast callsign WPBD issued in 1986. After a series of extensions to the six-month permits and finally a minor modification, it finally went on the air in February 1988. After an initial dismissal later that year, permission to transfer the station to Jacor was granted in 1989, and the WGST format was moved from what is now WGKA AM 920. The station's nighttime radiation pattern has a null toward the northeast.

Contents

History

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1920s

WGST's original broadcast license for 710 kHz was issued by the Federal Radio Commission March 17, 1922 (or March 19, 1922),[1] with the call sign WGM.[2] The station's origin pre-dates the 1922 date when the station went by the experimental radio call sign of "4FT".[1] The owner was the Atlanta Constitution, responding to the rival Atlanta Journal 's new WSB. The FCC issued WGM's license days after WSB's March 15, 1922 grant on 740kHz.[1][3] The current WGST call sign was assigned to the station after the station was donated to the Georgia School of Technology (now Georgia Tech) in 1923 following the station going out of business in late July of that year.[1][3] The WGM license was allowed to expire in August 1923, and new call signs issued to the school on January 13 (or 11) of 1924 as WBBF,[1][3] later becoming WGST in 1925 when the station moved to 1110 kHz.[4]

1930s

In 1930, WGST moved to 890 kHz.[5] The station moved to 920 kHz after the 1941 NARBA treaty created the clear channels in the U.S. and the use of the 890 kHz frequency was given to WLS, Chicago.[6] It was operated as a commercial radio station under a lease to Southern Broadcasting Company beginning in 1930, but the Georgia Board of Regents got back control of the station in 1946.[7]

1940s

In the 1940s, it was located in the Forsyth Building in downtown Atlanta. In 1944, funds from the station financed Georgia Tech's new Office of Long-Range Development within its College of Architecture, which created a "Master Plan" for the Institute's development and expansion.[8] WGST was a Mutual Broadcasting Company affiliate in 1949 and later became an ABC affiliate in 1950.[7][9]

1950s-1960s

WGST was the first station to play rock 'n roll in Atlanta in the 1950s.[10] Radio personality Paul Drew had his debut on WGST with a weekend show "The Big Record."[10] Ray Charles' song "I Got a Woman" was recorded at WGST in the early 1950s.[11] In 1956, WGST moved to a studio facility next to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Georgia Tech campus. This facility was built on top of the Coliseum's locker rooms for the radio station, and it featured two large studios for live performances, complete with grand pianos. The studios still exist and WREK occupied a small area of the original until it moved to its current studio in the Georgia Tech Student Center. During the 1960s, WGST was running a Top 40 radio format, but by the late-60's had changed format to Easy Listening, in an attempt to cut-into WSB-AM's audience.[12]

1970s

In 1971, WGST changed format from easy listening to Top 40, and was billed simply as "92". By 1972, the station had changed to a Solid-Gold Format. In 1973 it adopted a modified gold/current adult contemporary format. The station did fair in the ratings, and well at night, particularly in the male 25-49 demographics, boosted in part when WGST became the originating flagship station for the Atlanta Flames ice hockey broadcasts. The station continued with its long-running Georgia Tech Football Network and Georgia Tech Basketball broadcasts. By the late-70's, WGST switched to an all-news format.[12] In 1973, it was declared surplus property and was sold for five million dollars to Meredith Corporation in 1974, ignoring opposition from alumni, state legislators, and even the governor.[10] However, interest from the trust fund created by the sale was used to upgrade Tech's student-run WREK FM 91.1, which in 1978 moved to the Coliseum studios vacated by WGST in 1975. Meanwhile, WGST tried to compete with WSB (AM) by becoming a full service, top-40 station and hiring big name personalities such as Chuck Daugherty, Sam Holman from WABC, Tony Taylor from WNBC, and Skinny Bobby Harper who was in Kansas City. But their ratings languished, despite the high-priced talent Meredith had assembled.[10][12]

1980s

In 1989, the owners of WGST, Jacor Communications, saw the opportunity to purchase the new WPBD operating at 640 kHz.[13 ] WGST was then moved to 640 kHz since the station could operate with 50,000 watts during the daytime and 1,000 watts at night, a substantial increase in daytime power and signal coverage area from the former 920 kHz. The license for 920 kHz was then sold to Focus on the Family, a Los Angeles religious broadcasting group.[13 ]

1990s

Sean Hannity replaced Neal Boortz when Boortz left for WSB (AM) in 1992 and stayed until Roger Ailes offered Hannity a position on Fox News Channel in 1996. During his time at WGST, he was given the nickname "The Tin Man." The station was also the home for Atlanta Braves baseball game broadcasts for 3 years, from 1992-1994. WGST was the station that carried Sid Bream's winning slide in Game Seven of the 1992 NLCS. In May 1994 the station was outbid for Braves broadcast rights by rival station AM 750 WSB, which had carried the games from 1966 until 1991. WGST was also the home of the Atlanta Hawks util 1995, after which the Hawks followed the Braves to rival station AM 750 WSB. WGST carried NASCAR races in 1996 and 1997. It was the home of the Atlanta Falcons in 1998 when the team made its only Super Bowl appearance.[14]

The station was simulcast on WGST-FM 105.7 from 1993 until 2000.

2000s

2005 marked a year of change for WGST. Following the reacquisition of Atlanta Braves baseball radio rights,[14] the station changed its moniker to "Braves Radio 640 GST" to reflect the new rights. Subsequently, many out-of-Atlanta area fans complained about the change from AM 750 WSB, noting WGST's signal was much weaker at night than that of WSB. To remedy the situation, WGST sister station WKLS-FM (96 Rock) began broadcasting Braves games. Also, as part of a Clear Channel corporate change, WGST switched to Fox News Radio as its news provider. On March 20, 2006, WGST's moniker became "Atlanta. Talk. Radio." In March 2005 WGST dropped Paul Harvey from its radio line-up. Harvey moved to country station WYAY for two years,and is now heard on sister station 96.7.

On November 21, 2006, WGST announced that morning show host Tom Hughes had resigned, and that midday host Denny Schaffer, and afternoon drive talk host Kim Peterson (The Kimmer) and their staffs had been fired.

On February 5, 2007, it was announced that veteran Atlanta morning show hosts Randy Cook and Spiff Carner would be joining the 640 WGST team for a new live and local morning show.

On September 24, 2007, it was announced that Glenn Beck would be returning to WGST in the 9am to noon slot on Thursday, September 27, 2007. The syndicated Glenn Beck Show was previously heard on WGST from 2001 to 2005. Beck took over Mike McConnell's weekday spot, though McConnell was still heard on weekends.

On October 9, 2007, morning co-host Spiff Carner was fired by WGST, after 8 months on the air. Randy Cook remained on the newly named "The Morning Drive with Randy Cook". Spiff was later hired to co-host the "Spiff and Fred" show on WYAY-FM. Clear Channel management did not renew Randy Cook's contract in July 2009. "The Morning Drive" was hosted by comedian Mike Stiles from July 13 to July 24, 2009, before being replaced by syndicated programming.

Since July 27, 2009, the lineup has consisted of "The Wall Street Journal This Morning" from 5am to 6 am, Michael Smerconish from 6 am to 9 am, the Glenn Beck Program from 9 am to noon, The Rush Limbaugh Show from noon to 3, Dave Ramsey from 3 to 7, Mark Levin from 7 to 9 (11 to midnight during baseball season) and "Coast to Coast AM" with George Noory during the overnight hours. Flagship Atlanta Braves coverage is also broadcast during baseball season.

Former WGST personalities

  • Bert Parks. Parks won a singing contest and became an overnight sensation on WGST. Later he became famous as MC of the Miss America Pageant.
  • Don Naylor, producer, announcer, singer, actor, and director (1936-1950)
  • Sean Hannity, then a local midday host in the early 90s before joining Fox News Channel and WABC syndicated radio show can be heard on rival news/talk station WSB AM. A little known fact is that Hannity replaced Neal Boortz after Boortz left for rival station WSB.
  • Tom "The King" Hughes, former morning show host, now retired.
  • Kim Peterson, "The Kimmer", former afternoon show host, now retired.
  • Denny Schaffer, former midday host. Currently hosting evening show on WGKA/920 in Atlanta.
  • Sam Memmolo, former weekend host of "The Car Show". Currently hosts the nationally syndicated "Sam's Garage" on radio and Two Guys Garage television progam on The Speed Channel. Also hosts a local version of "Sam's Garage" on WGKA/920 in Atlanta, Saturdays 11:00am to Noon.
  • Neal Boortz, now syndicated nationally by Cox Radio and the Jones Radio Networks including WSB (AM)
  • Wayne No Offense, Kimmer's side kick until 2006, was Morning Show Producer for Rhubarb jones and Dallas McCade Morning Show on Eagle 106.7FM WYAY in Atlanta. Now working production for WKHX and WYAY.
  • Steve Getty is now selling cars in metro Atlanta and doing voice overs.
  • Jim Gossett is now working with Mimi Gentry on "The Spiff and Fred Show" on True Oldies 106.7 as well other stations in syndication.
  • Kari Dean, former morning news anchor, is now a writer and weekend news producer at Fox5 in Atlanta.
  • Denis O'Hayer is now on WABE-FM in Atlanta
  • The Regular Guys were fired from WKLS in 2006. Now at Rock 100.5 in Atlanta.
  • Stu Klitenic freelances.
  • Wade Medlock, former news director, is now retired.
  • Jim ONeill (Jim Atkinson) is now a Television Engineer at WAGA Fox5, the Fox O&O in Atlanta.
  • Bill Edge spokesman for Georgia Public Service Commission.
  • Bill Caiaccio now with CNN Radio.
  • Jack Kennedy former sports show host.
  • Craig Ross former midday traffic reporter.Also worked under the name Craig Powers at Country Station WYAY and Jr. Buttler at WKHX.
  • Keith Kalland traffic reporter during the 80's and 90's died in 2002.
  • Michael King (weekend morning anchor 1997-1999) is now a producer and reporter at WXIA-TV
  • Sam Lake, has returned to WGST and is doing traffic and news.
  • Brad Nessler, former sports reporter, is now an analyst on ABC/ESPN's collage football coverage.
  • Spiff Carner, now co-host of Spiff & Fred show on WYAY.
  • Matt Stewart, former sports reporter, is now on Comcast Sports in Atlanta
  • Steve Holman play by play man of the Atlanta Hawks now heard on 790 the Zone.
  • Clark Howard, syndicated consumer advisor, is now heard on rival AM 750 WSB.
  • Matt McClure, former morning show producer, anchor and reporter is currently co-anchor of "Currents" on NET in New York, NY.
  • Wendi Grossman, former morning reporter, is now with WIOD-AM in Miami, FL.
  • Andy Rose, former morning anchor, is now with CNN Radio.
  • Dave McBride, former co-host of The Car Show, died in April 2007 from complications due to cancer.
  • Mike Rose, former producer and program director, is now a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer with Bank of America.
  • Dave Michaels, former CNN & WXIA-TV Anchorman, worked at WGST writing news and reporting while serving at Ft. McPherson - Third Army Headquarters PIO in 1959 until he got out of service in March, 1960.
  • Mike Jones is now a country/bluegrass songwriter with several charted hits.
  • Nathan Roberts, former morning dj and newscaster-sportscaster 1965-68.

References

External links


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