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Wpht logo.png
City of license Philadelphia, PA
Broadcast area Philadelphia, PA
Branding "The Big Talker"
Frequency 1210 kHz
First air date May 1922
Format Talk radio
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 9634
Transmitter coordinates 39°58′46.00″N 74°59′13.00″W / 39.97944°N 74.98694°W / 39.97944; -74.98694
Callsign meaning PHiladelphia's Talk
Owner CBS Radio
Sister stations KYW, WIP, WOGL, WYSP
part of CBS Corp. cluster with KYW-TV and WPSG
Webcast Listen Live

WPHT is a CBS Radio station located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania broadcasting on 1210 kHz. The station broadcasts with 50 kW power omnidirectionally, and uses the nickname " The Big Talker 1210." The station is owned by CBS Radio. Its transmitter is located in Moorestown Township, New Jersey. WPHT's studios are located at 2 Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd, PA.



The station first began broadcasting in May 1922 as WCAU, a 250-watt station operating out of electrician William Durham's home on 19th and Market Streets. It is Philadelphia's third-oldest radio station, having signed on two months after WIP and WFIL. In 1924, WCAU was sold to law partners Ike Levy and Daniel Murphy. Murphy later bowed out in favor of Ike's brother, Leon.

The station began its long association with CBS in 1927, when it was one of 16 charter affiliates of a network called the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System. The network struggled to find advertisers, however, and William S. Paley -- who had previously purchased time on the station for an entertainment program promoting his family's La Palina cigars -- bought the network with $500,000 of his family's money and renamed it the Columbia Broadcasting System.

In 1933, WCAU moved to a new studio on Chestnut Street, the first building in the country designed for a radio station. A series of power increases brought the station to 50,000 watts, allowing it to cover most of the eastern half of North America at night. The Levy brothers eventually became major stockholders in CBS, and were members of the network's board for many years.

The Levys agreed to sell WCAU-AM-FM to The Philadelphia Record in 1946. However, the Record folded shortly thereafter, and its "goodwill"—including the rights to buy WCAU-AM-FM—passed to the Philadelphia Bulletin, which already owned WPEN-AM-FM, and had secured a construction permit for WPEN-TV (channel 10). In a complex deal, the Bulletin sold off WPEN-AM and WCAU-FM, while changing WPEN-FM's calls to WCAU-FM and WPEN-TV's calls to WCAU-TV. The Levys continued to run the stations while serving as consultants to the Bulletin, and it was largely due to their influence that WCAU-TV took to the air on May 23, 1948 as a CBS affiliate. The stations moved to a new studio in Bala Cynwyd in 1952.

In 1957, the Bulletin sold WCAU-AM-FM-TV to CBS. This came because the Bulletin had recently bought WGBI-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania and changed its calls to WDAU-TV to complement WCAU. However, the two television stations' signals overlapped so much that it constituted a duopoly under FCC rules of the time. CBS had to get a waiver to keep its new Philadelphia cluster, however. In addition to significant overlap of the television stations' grade B signals, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of clear channel stations with overlapping nighttime signals.

In the 1960s, WCAU gradually began moving away from music programming; by 1967 it had become a talk station with considerable strengths in news and sports (all of Philadelphia's major professional sports teams had WCAU as their flagship radio station at one time or another). Although the station's ratings were good, in the mid-1970s CBS made a corporate decision to move WCAU to an all-news format. The station never caught up to established all-news outlet KYW-AM, and by 1980 was making moves to reclaim its heritage as a talk and sports leader. However, FM talk station WWDB had established itself as a strong competitor, and WCAU struggled for years to attract listeners and establish a consistent image.

On August 15, 1990 CBS abruptly changed the WCAU-AM call letters to WOGL-AM after 68 years and dropped the talk format in favor of oldies. In 1993, it began running sports talk after 7 PM. The station went all-sports as WGMP (The Game) on March 18, 1994. However, once again 1210 was taking on an entrenched competitor—this time WIP—and WGMP's largely syndicated program lineup won few listeners away from WIP's heavily local schedule.

A year later, CBS merged with Westinghouse Electric Corporation, thus making 1210 AM a sister station to its ancient rival, KYW. Realizing that WGMP would never be able to compete against WIP, CBS began phasing out the sports talk shows in the summer of 1996. Finally, on August 23, 1210 AM went all-talk once again as WPTS (We're Philadelphia's Talk Station). The calls changed again less than a month later to the current WPHT. Ironically, only a year later, WIP became a sister station to WPHT when CBS bought its owner, Infinity Broadcasting.


Today, WPHT is a mostly conservative talk-radio station. In addition to local on-air personalities Michael Smerconish, Dom Giordano and Rick Grimaldi , the station also serves as Philadelphia's broadcast outlet for the Glenn Beck (whose show was based at WPHT until 2006), Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity shows. The station also broadcasts Coast to Coast AM overnight. The weekend schedule includes the syndicated radio program The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold.

1210 also broadcasts all Phillies baseball games, and Temple University football and men's and women's basketball. Some Flyers and 76ers games are heard on WPHT, when both teams are playing at the same time and their normal flagship, WIP, can only air one game. The station also airs Sid Mark's Fridays with Frank from 6-9 PM ET every Friday, Sounds Of Sinatra Every Saturday from 8-10 PM ET and Sunday with Sinatra Sundays 8am-1pm ET. Saturday's schedule includes "Remember When" with Steve Ross and Jim Murray from 10pm-1am. "The Crime Guys" Walt Hunter and George Anastasia air from 8-10pm Sunday, Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli completes Sundays from 10-Midnight, follwed by Clinton Petty from Midnight-1am.

See also

External links



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