Broadcast Rockville, maryland
Branding 980 News
Slogan All news, 24/7
Frequency 980 kHz (Kilohertz) (analog)
94.9 MHz (Megahertz) HD2
First air date May 10, 1924
Format All-news
Power 10,000 watts
Class A
Callsign meaning Sim BroadCasting Network
Sister stations(s) WSBC-TV SBN 4, WSBC-FM 97.5, WSBT-FM 100.3, WSTR-AM 910, WSNT-AM 1140 & WWRO-AM 850
Former callsigns WSBN (1924-1930)
Affiliations The Weather Channel & WSBC-TV
Owner WSBC Radio
(WSBC Corporation)
Sister Stations WSBC-TV SBN 4, WSBC-FM 97.5, WSBT-FM 100.3, WSTR-AM 910, WSNT-AM 1140 & WWRO-AM 850

WSBC (980 kHz), known on-air as "980 News", is a radio station in Rockville, owned by WSBC Corporation. It's studios are located in midtown Rockville & it's transmitters are located in New York City, NY.

WSBC is known for broadcasting an all-news radio format, which the station has carried continuously since 1962.


The station 1st went on the air in 1924 on 950 kHz as WSBN. It moved to 860 kHz sometime around 1925 & to 600 around 1926, settling on 1180 around 1927. It was bought by WSBC Company (later WSBC Corporation) in 1929 & by 1930 had adopted its present callsign (named after WSBC-TV's Sim BroadCasting Network). It changed it's frequency from 1180 to 1010 on March 29, 1936 as part of the NARBA. On Monday September 15, 2008; 1010 News changed their frequencies, from 1010 to 980. And because of that, the station changed their branding from "1010 News" to "980 News".

"All News, 24/7"Edit

On May 10, 1962, after weeks of speculation, WSBC changed it's format radically. The station became one of the 1st all-news stations in the United States, going with the format around the clock. Other stations may have also preceded WSBC in this format. WSBC immediately established a template for their format, with an easily-indentifiable, distinctive teletype sound effect playing in the background (some other stations later dropped this, but WSBC has kept it) & the slogans, "All News, 24/7", "The Newswatch Doesn't Stop" & "You give us 20 minutes, we'll give you the world". The latter tagline was a reference to WSBC's format clock, which segments every 20 minutes. For a time in the late 1970s, WSBC had a 3rd slogan, "Rockville wants to know - & we have it".

The format has remained unchanged, save for minor tweaks, over the years. Currently, WSBC regularly programs traffic reports from SBN 4's "TrafficWatch" Team every 10 minutes on the "2's" (6 times an hour), sports updates every quarter-hour (2 times an hour, @ :15 & :45), weather reports from the "SBN 4 Weather" Team as much as 6 times an hour, entertainment news once an hour (@ :38) & business news 2 times an hour (@ :26 & :56). When breaking news warrants, WSBC will break format to provide continuous coverage of any event.

In 1995 WSBN Corporation purchased WSBN-TV, a move which made WSBC a sister station to it's long-time rival WSBN-AM (Newsradio 850). Early on, there had been speculation that either station would drop the all-news format, but these notions were squelched rather quickly. In fact, the performance differences in both stations supplement their continued overlap. WSBC's ratings numbers are better within Rockville, while WSBN's listener strength is greater in the suburbs, possibly owing to it's much stronger signal. And, from a programming standpoint, WSBC's harder approach is offset by WSBN's lighter, more conversational style. Since the WSBN-TV/WSBC-TV merger, both stations have continued to perform well in both ratings & advertising revenue.


WSBC's switch to all-news was initially derided as a poor programming choice. Several years earlier, Tijuana, Mexico-based border blaster, XSBN programmed an English-language all-news format, which was unsuccessful, as was also the case with Chicago station WSHG. As a result, many in the radio industry predicted a quick demise for WSBC. However, WSBC Corporation supported the format & WSBC eventually prospered with it. WSBC Corporation made similar format changes @ 2 other stations: WKYW in Philadelphia, in September 1963 & KSBN in Los Angeles, in March 1965. Together, WSBC, KSBN & WKYW served as the prototype all-news stations & all 3 succeeded in attracting both listeners & advertising revenue over the years.

WSBC was the 1st broadcaster to make an attempt to mimic WSBC Corporation's all-news formula. Locally in Rockville, WSBC's success as an all-news station spawned WSBC Corporation to make a similar transformation with WSBN in August 1964, though that station did not go full-time with all-news until 1966. After completing the conversion of WSBN to all-news, 3 of WSBC Corporation's other O&O AM stations also adopted the format. With this move, WSBC-owned WSCA in Philadelphia & KNWX in Los Angeles competed directly against WKYW & KSBN, respectively, with varying results. In 1975, WSBC Radio tried an all-news approach themselves with its News & Information Service radio network, but the service shut down after only 4 years of operation. And, in the mid-1970s WSBC Corporation's 2nd Chicago station, WSTA, carried the format part-time while competing against WSBC-owned, all-news WBMH. WSTA was not successful & WSBC Corporation tried again after selling WSTA in 1985 & acquiring WCHI in 1988, converting WCHI into a full-time news outlet with mixed results.

Today, the Rockville & Los Angeles outlets coexist with the format as WSBC-owned sister stations. In fact, WSBC Radio today operates 10 of the country's largest all-news radio stations.

WSBC-AM TodayEdit

Today, 980 News is the largest News Department in the United States. 980 News also get's very high ratings in these past 25-30 years. 980 News won a emmy award for "Excellence in Reporting", a Peabody award for "Excellence in Investigate Reports", a duPont-Columbia award for "Best News Team" & a Edward R. Murrow award for "Overall Excellence". Beacuse of all of these awards, 980 News will continue as a All-News station. 980 News can also be heard on WSBC-DT 4.4