WDBO-FM (96.5 MHz "News 96.5") is a commercial radio station in Orlando, Florida. It is owned by Cox Radio and airs a news/talk radio format. WDBO-FM's studios and offices are located in Orlando on North John Young Parkway (Route 423). The transmitter tower is in Bithlo, off Fort Christmas Road (Route 420).
|Broadcast area||Central Florida|
|Branding||News 96.5 WDBO|
|Slogan||"Where Orlando Turns First for Breaking News, Weather and Traffic."|
|Frequency||96.5 MHz (HD Radio)|
|First air date||1952(as WHOO-FM)|
HD2: Sports talk (WDBO (AM) simulcast)
(100,000 with beam tilt)
|HAAT||454 meters (1490 ft)|
|Call sign meaning||derived from its sister AM station|
|Former call signs||WHOO-FM (1952-1987)|
Compass Media Networks
Fox News Radio
ABC News Radio
|Owner||Cox Media Group |
(Cox Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WCFB, WDBO, WMMO, WPYO, WWKA, part of Cox cluster with TV station WFTV|
Weekdays begin with Orlando's Morning News with Joe Kelley. There are also hour-long local newscasts at noon and 6:00 p.m. The rest of the weekday schedule is made up of nationally syndicated talk shows from Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade, Dana Loesch, Clark Howard, Chad Benson and Markley, Van Camp & Robbins. Weekends include shows on money, health, law, real estate, home improvement, gardening and cars. A technology show with Kim Komando is heard Sunday evenings. Some weekend hours are paid brokered programming. Most hours begin with world and national news from ABC News Radio.
The call sign WDBO-FM was originally used on the 92.3 MHz frequency. It signed on in 1949 as a sister station to WDBO (AM) and later WDBO-TV. When Katz Broadcasting bought the radio stations in 1983, WDBO-FM switched to country music, and changed its call letters to WWKA. It is now also owned by Cox Radio. WDBO-TV changed its call sign to WCPX, and is now WKMG-TV, owned by the Graham Media Group.
The station now known as "News 96.5 WDBO-FM" first signed on in 1952 as WHOO-FM. It was the FM counterpart to WHOO (now WTLN). The stations were owned by WHOO, Inc., and had their studios in the Fort Gatlin Hotel. (Orlando was once called Fort Gatlin.) WHOO-AM-FM simulcast their programming and were network affiliates of ABC Radio.
By the 1960s, WHOO-FM was airing a beautiful music format, no longer simulcast with its parent AM station. WHOO-FM also carried a commercial-free background music service for stores and restaurants, not available to regular FM listeners, but picked up by using special receivers, through a subscription service.
WHOO-FM was powered at 59,000 watts, using a tower at 1000 feet. It had listeners throughout Central Florida, from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach. WHOO-FM was one of the first stations in Central Florida to be heard in stereo full-time.
From country to rockEdit
In the 1980s, the subscription music service was sold. With WHOO (AM) airing a personality and information-oriented country music format, management decided to flip WHOO-FM to a music intensive country sound in 1984. The station was known as "96 Country." That lasted three years.
In 1987, WHOO-AM-FM were bought by TK Communications, Inc. The AM station remained country but on March 1, at midnight, WHOO-FM began stunting with non-stop songs from The Beatles. (That same day, the first Beatles CDs were released.) When the all-Beatles stunt ended, the new owners switched the format to adult-oriented album rock. The station's call letters were changed to WHTQ and it began calling itself "Q 96." In the next couple of years, WHTQ moved to a classic rock format.
TK Communications was sold to Granum Communications in 1995 for $12 million. In turn, Granum was acquired by Infinity Broadcasting (which was later renamed CBS Radio, now part of Entercom). Infinity quickly spun off WHOO, WMMO and WHTQ to Cox Radio, in order for Infinity to acquire WCKG in Chicago.
The classic rock format lasted 23 years. On February 18, 2011, at 5 p.m., after playing "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" by U2 and after a commercial set, Cox Radio announced that WHTQ would begin adding new rock songs and recent titles, and modify its moniker to "96 Rock." It began the new format with "Alive" by Pearl Jam. In addition to WHTQ tweaking the classic rock format, WJRR switched back to active rock from alternative rock.
Switch to news/talkEdit
On August 19, 2011 at 5 a.m., just 6 months after the launch of "96 Rock", WHTQ flipped to a simulcast of co-owned News/Talk WDBO. The change followed a decrease in WHTQ's ratings and a decision to give WDBO's talk format a wider audience by putting it on the powerful 100,000 watt FM signal, which switched its call sign to the WDBO-FM. The last song played on WHTQ was "Sad but True" by Metallica. The rock format at first continued on the station's HD Radio signal, 96.5-HD2, for a few months after the switch. Currently, 96.5-HD2 is now used to rebroadcast WDBO's sports radio format.
WDBO-AM-FM branded itself as FM-96.5 News-Talk WDBO for much of 2012, to emphasize its new availability on FM radio.
Programming changes occurred in October 2012, when Clark Howard rejoined the station's lineup after an absence of several years. The Neal Boortz Show was shortened to two hours and aired from 9am-11am, which pushed up the local Mel Robbins Show to the 11am-1pm timeslot. These moves coincided with a change in branding to NewsTalk 96.5 WDBO.
Shortly afterward, on November 12, 2012, the news/talk format became FM-only, as WDBO AM 580 relaunched as a sports station affiliated with ESPN Radio. 580 WDBO became the flagship station for the Orlando Magic Radio Network, with WDBO-FM also simulcasting the games.
On April 29, 2013, sweeping changes were made to the station as it was rebranded News 96.5: "Orlando′s New 24-Hour News, Weather and Traffic." From then until 2015, all on-air references to the call sign WDBO were dropped, aside from hourly IDs. The call letters were slowly re-integrated into the branding over the months of October and November 2015.
A weekday segment known as "The Three Big Things You Need to Know" was introduced at approximately :15 and :45 past the hour. In addition, Orlando Magic games were heard on the AM station only, and news hours were added at noon and 6pm. In 2015, the station added Dana Loesch's syndicated talk show to the lineup.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1954 page 109
- CentralFloridaRadio.net/WHOO-FM History
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1990 page B-71
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1996 page B-91
- Press Release: WDBO headed to FM dial - Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- WDBO Rebrands. Note there is an error in the article with the slogan.
- News 96.5
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WDBO
- Radio-Locator information on WDBO
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WDBO