WCLT RADIO . . . . . A Brief History
WCLT-FM was one of the pioneer FM stations in Ohio, with a start-date of August 1947. It was licensed to The Newark Advocate with 8500 watts of radiated power. The power was increased to 50 thousand watts in 1967. In 1949 a license was granted to The Newark Advocate for a 500 watt daytime AM station. Robert Pricer, one of the original employees, assumed control of both stations in 1977.
WCLT-FM was a charter member of the Cleveland Indians FM radio network which began live broadcasting of the entire Indians schedule, home and away, in 1948. This was one of the first such networks in major league baseball, and the voices of Jack Graney and Jimmy Dudley became famous throughout the country.
Carrying live sport events was very important in building a listening audience for WCLT-FM. There were very few FM radios on the market in 1947, and carrying sports events was a way of building demand for low priced FM receivers. Zenith responded with an FM-only radio in 1948 and sold millions of them (quite a few of them in Licking County). The Ohio State Football games were added to our FM schedule, as well as the Cleveland Browns professional football schedule.
Early music in FM came from special companies that provided record libraries on huge 16" discs. We subscribed to three of them in order to get enough variety of music. In the early 1950's RCA and Columbia records waged a mighty battle to see whether 33 1/3 records or the new smaller size 45 rpm records would prevail. Neither side could deliver a knockout and radio stations had their choice of either size records . . . and had to buy record players that would accommodate both sizes.
Also in the early 50's television came on the scene and rapidly took away the famous radio shows and talent, such as Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and many more. AM radio could no longer count on network shows to fill their days, and so . . . the local disk jockey was born. Both WCLT-AM and WCLT-FM built their programming around the voices of disk jockeys, with the addition of local news, sports, farm information, and other special programs of special interest to our listeners.
In 1989 WCLT Radio Inc. hired a nationally known research firm to do an in-depth survey of listener habits and desires in our coverage area. The result of this effort was the creation of T-100, a 50 thousand watt 24 hour Country music station. T-100 had new talent, a brand new CD Country music library, new studio equipment, and very soon a much larger listening audience.
AM radio changed too. WCLT-AM elected to move to all sports and talk radio with the elimination of any music programming. This was done in order to offer the area a more diversified radio schedule that matched today's lifestyles.
That is where WCLT Radio Inc. stands today. Tomorrow may bring some surprising changes in radio broadcasting. Our task is to keep in touch with our listeners in order to respond to their changing needs and wishes.