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WTOP
City of license Washington, D.C.
Broadcast Washington, D.C.
Baltimore, MD
Northern Virginia
Shenandoah Valley
Virginia Piedmont
Central Maryland
Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia
Branding "WTOP Radio"
Slogan "Washington's Top News"
Frequency 103.5 MHz
(also on HD Radio)
103.5 HD-2 for WorldBand Media (South Asian Radio)
First air date September 25, 1926
Format All News
Callsign meaning Originally @ 1500 kHz, which was regarded as "@ the TOP of your dial"
Sister stations(s) WFED/WWFD
Affiliations CBS Radio News
WJLA-TV
Owner Bonneville International
Sister Stations WFED/WWFD
Webcast Listen Live to WTOP Radio
Website WTOP Radio's Website

WTOP is an all-news formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Washington, D.C., broadcasting in that format since 24 March 1969; serving Metropolitan Washington, DC area. WTOP is owned by Bonneville Holding Company & operated by Bonneville International Corporation, a broadcasting company wholly owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

WTOP is 1 of 2 all-news stations in the Washington, D.C. area, the other being sister station WFED, which is aimed @ federal government employees.

The station's primary signal is @ 103.5, with simulcasts on WTLP @ 103.9 FM from Braddock Heights, Maryland; 107.7 FM from Manassas, Virginia & 1050 AM in Washington, D.C. WTOP is also carried on Leesburg, Virginia translator W282AD broadcasting @ 104.3 FM. All stations in the WTOP "network" broadcast in monaural to increase their coverage areas.

HistoryEdit

1920s: Born in BrooklynEdit

WTOP's origins trace back to Brooklyn, New York as station WTRC (operated by the Twentieth [District] Republican Club), going to air September 25 1926, on 1250 kilocycles with a power of 50 watts. The Twentieth Republican Club & the station, were run by the Ku Klux Klan; pressure by the federal government on the Klan forced WTRC to move out of the New York area. Ironically, the station moved to the federal government's backyard; on August 2 1927, WTRC migrated to Mount Vernon Hills, Virginia as WTFF (which stood for the Klan's newspaper "The Fellowship Forum") @ 1470 kHz. In November 1927, the power of WTFF was increased to 10,000 watts & the frequency changed to 1480 kilocycles.

On January 10 1929, the call sign was changed to WJSV, reflecting the initials of James S. Vance, who was publisher of "The Fellowship Forum" & a Grand Wizard in Virginia. Realizing the expense of running a 10,000-watt radio station, Vance quickly worked out a deal with the nascent Columbia Broadcasting System to become the new network's primary station in Washington, DC. CBS took over all of WJSV's programming & engineering costs, with an option to renew or purchase the station after 5 years. Soon realizing they were affiliated with the Klan, negotiations began for CBS to purchase the station outright.

1930s: CBS O&OEdit

In June 1932, CBS finally purchased WJSV & moved it from Mount Vernon Hills to Alexandria, Virginia. After 3 months off the air, WJSV resumed broadcasting on October 20, 1932. Arthur Godfrey, who later hosted a variety program on CBS Radio & CBS-TV, hosted a program on WJSV called The Sundial on which he honed a laid-back, conversational style that was unusual on radio @ the time but came to be common practice for disc jockeys.

On September 21 1939, WJSV recorded it's entire broadcast day for posterity. The famous "One Day In Radio" tapes still exist & copies can be found @ various Old Time Radio websites.

WJSV was also a key training ground for pioneering newsman Bob Trout in the 1930s before he became a network correspondent. (1 of his broadcasting mentors was Wells (Ted) Church, who later became a CBS News executive.) Longtime Los Angeles-area TV newscaster George Putnam began his career @ WJSV in 1938 & continued to work in radio for 7 decades until his death in 2008. Frank Blair, who later became an NBC News correspondent & later was a long time news anchor on the Today show during the 1960s & early 1970s, along with Entertainer Arthur Godfrey, also worked @ WJSV.

1940sEdit

In 1940, WJSV's operating power was increased to 50,000 watts, with a new transmitter site built in Wheaton, Maryland. (That site is still in use today.) On March 29 1941, with the implementation of NARBA, WJSV moved it's broadcast frequency from 1460 to 1500 kHz.

On March 16 1943, after paying the Tiffin, Ohio police department $60,000; the calls were changed to the current WTOP because it's new frequency was now @ the "top" of the mediumwave AM band. The Washington Post bought a 55% share in WTOP from CBS in February 1949 & took over the remainder of the station in December 1954.

1960s & 70s: All-newsEdit

In the 1960s, after a series of failed music formats, WTOP phased out it's music programming for a combination of newscasts & phone-in talk shows; eventually the call-in shows were dropped in favor of an all-news format. Among those working for WTOP during this time were Sam Donaldson, later on ABC-TV; Jim Bohannon, who took Larry King's place on his all-night radio network talk show after King went to CNN & including Ralph Begleiter & Jamie MacIntyre, both of whom went to CNN.

The Post sold WTOP to The Outlet Company company in June 1978, in reaction to the FCC desire to break up the Post/WTOP cross-ownership arrangement. 1 month later, WTOP-TV was swapped with the Detroit News' WWJ-TV & became WDVM-TV. The station is today WUSA-TV, owned by Gannett. The original FM frequency for WTOP-FM was @ 96.3 MHz (FM), but that frequency was donated to Howard University. That station became WHUR in 1971, a commercially run radio station.

1990s & 2000s: Move to FMEdit

Outlet re-organized & sold WTOP to Chase Broadcasting in 1989, who in turn sold it to Evergreen Media (which eventually became Chancellor Broadcasting) in November 1992. During this period, Evergreen started WTOP's move to the FM dial on April 1997, when Evergreen's newly acquired 94.3 MHz facility in Warrenton, Virginia began simulcasting the WTOP signal for better coverage in the sprawling Northern Virginia suburbs. Shortly afterward, on October 10 1997, Bonneville International Corporation purchased WTOP.

On April 1 1998, that frequency was swapped for a stronger signal @ 107.7, also licensed to Warrenton. (The 94.3 facility now relays the air feed for sports station WTEM.) Then in December 2000, WTOP gained another simulcast in Frederick, Maryland with WXTR @ 820 kHz, establishing the "WTOP Radio Network."

In 2005, the station began providing podcasts of selected broadcast programs & in 2006, WTOP began broadcasting in digital "HD Radio", utilizing iBiquity Digital Corp.'s IBOC (in-band on-channel) technology.

On January 4 2006, WTOP station owner Bonneville International announced that the station would move to a new primary frequency of 103.5 FM, then held by classical station WGMS (which would move to 103.9 & 104.1 FM). The frequencies long-used by WTOP, 1500 kHz & 107.7 MHz (and the low-powered 104.3 FM translator in Leesburg), would be reassigned to the new "Washington Post Radio" for a March 30, 2006 launch date. Fittingly, this new partnership also signaled the Post's re-emergence into the radio scene on the very same dial spot WTOP once held.

The stations' respective call signs were changed as of January 11, 2006: the former WTOP pair became WTWP (The Washington Post) & WTOP's new primary stations (formerly WGMS-FM & WXTR) assumed the WTOP calls. An HD Radio digital subchannel of the 103.5 carrier currently broadcasts Bonneville International's "iChannel" music format, which features unsigned, independent rock bands.

In 2006, WTOP dropped it's long-standing association with The Weather Channel & began airing weather reports exclusively from WJLA-TV all day long. Previously, WTOP had used weather reports from WJLA chief meteorologist Doug Hill during morning & evening rush hours & The Weather Channel all other times. The station now uses all WJLA meteorologists, not just Doug Hill. WJLA's "Live Super Doppler 7" has & continues to be featured in weather reports as necessary.

In 2007, the WTOP radio configuration was realigned once again. WTLP-FM (formerly WGYS) @ 103.9 picked up the WTOP simulcast on April 6, 2007 after the adult hits "George 104" simulcast with WXGG (now WPRS-FM, since sold to Radio One) was broken up & adopted the WTLP calls on July 5, 2007.

Also in 2007, WTOP began broadcasting on WJLA's "Weather Now" digital sub-channel, which is carried on cable systems well beyond WTOP's broadcast area.

In May 2007, WTOP sold the naming rights to it's "Glass Enclosed Nerve Center" (it's nickname for it's studio) to area business Ledo Pizza. That sponsorship concluded @ the end of 2007. Other sponsorship continues, with sportscasts being "fed" by Ledo Pizza.

WTOP-AM (which was now on 820 in Frederick) changed it's calls to WTWT & switched to the Washington Post Radio simulcast on June 28, 2007. On September 20 2007, the 1500/107.7/820 multicast changed format over to a general talk format as "Talk Radio 3WT" under the WWWT/WWWT-FM/WWWB call letters, which was cancelled on August 11, 2008. WWWT & WWWB took over the "Federal News Radio" format (and for the 1500 kHz facility, the WFED calls), while WWWT-FM went back to simulcasting WTOP-FM. The former WFED took over the WTOP callsign on the AM dial & became a simulcast of WTOP, with preemptions for sporting events.

In March 2008, WTOP completed a year-long, $2.5-million state-of-the-art renovation of it's newsroom & studios, the 1st since 1989 when the station moved into the building it presently occupies in northwest Washington.

Station ProfilesEdit

Callsign Frequency City of license ERP Class HAAT Facility ID Former Callsigns
WTOP-FM 103.5 (MHz) (also on HD Radio) Washington, D.C. 44,000 watts B 158 meters 11845 WGMS (1951-2006)
WQQW (1948-1951)
WTLP 103.9 (MHz) (also on HD Radio) Braddock Heights, Maryland 350 watts A 292 meters 47105 WGYS (2006-2007)
WWVZ (1996-2006)
WXVR (1995-1996)
WZYQ (1980-1995)
WWWT-FM 107.7 (MHz) Manassas, Virginia 29,000 watts B 197 meters 21626 WTWP-FM (2006-2007)
WTOP-FM (1998-2006)
WUPP (1997-1998)
WRCY (1992-1997)
WMJR (1984-1992)
WWWK (1982-1984)
W282BA 104.3 (MHz) Leesburg, Virginia 100 watts D 0 meters 138906 none
WTOP 1050 (kHz) Silver Spring, Maryland 3,500 watts day
44 watts night
D 8673 WFED (2004-2008)
WPLC (2000-2004)
WKDL (1993-2000)
WNTR (1984-1993)
WGAY( - 1984)

Programming/RatingsEdit

WTOP carries "Traffic & Weather Together" every 10 minutes "on the 8s", Business News @ :25 & :55 & Sports reports @ :15 & :45 minutes of each hour. Weather information on WTOP comes from WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.

WTOP is affiliated with the CBS Radio Network & many of it's reporters (including Neal Augenstein, Hank Silverberg & Tom Foty) also appear on the network. WTOP's basic format & hourly broadcast schedule, as noted above, is similar to that used by the CBS O&O all-news stations, such as WCBS.

WTOP is also affiliated with CNN & the Bloomberg Radio Network.

WTOP's AM signal simulcasts most WFED sports broadcasts & airs events bumped from WFED by schedule conflicts.

As of September 2008, WTOP is ranked #1 in the Arbitron ratings among radio stations in the Washington, DC area & is ranked #1 in most of the age demographics as well.

WTOP staffs Edit

News

  • Joan Jones and Mike Moss - mornings
  • Debra Feinstein, Mark Lewis and Bruce Alan - mid-days
  • Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard - afternoons
  • Veronica Robinson and Dimitri Sotis - evenings
  • Dean Lane - overnights
  • Kyle Cooper
  • Barton Eckert
  • Ralph Fox
  • Stephanie Gaines-Bryant
  • Rick Johnson
  • Tommie McNeil

Traffic

  • Jack Taylor - mornings
  • Reada Kessler - mid-days
  • Bob Marbourg - afternoons
  • Bob Immler - evenings
  • Ian Crawford - weekend overnights
  • Jerry Booth
  • Joe Conway
  • Mary DePompa
  • Steve Dresner
  • Amy Freedman
  • Rich Hunter - overnights
  • Rick McClure
  • Kim McCormick
  • Rob Stallworth
  • Dave Dildine

Weather (from NBC Storm Team 4)

  • Lauryn Ricketts
  • Matt Ritter
  • Doug Kammerer
  • Chuck Bell
  • Amelia Draper
  • Tom Kierein
  • Steve Prinzivalli

Sports

  • Dave Johnson - senior director/mornings
  • George Wallace - mid-days
  • Dave Preston - afternoons
  • Jonathan Warner - evenings
  • J. Brooks
  • Rob Woodfork

Business

  • Jeff Clabaugh - mornings

Editors and Writers

  • Mike Jakaitis - morning producer
  • Judy Taub - mid-day producer
  • Brian Drew - afternoon producer
  • Keara Dowd - evening/overnight producer
  • Jamie Forzato - weekend managing editor
  • Saeko Robinson
  • Liz Anderson - assistant editor
  • Maggie Bartolomeo - assistant editor
  • Letese Clark - assistant editor
  • John Domen - assistant editor
  • Brandon Millman - writer
  • Nick Pisano - writer
  • Victoria Rossi - assistant editor
  • Lisa Weiner - assistant editor
  • Jacob Kerr
  • Teta Alim - digital editor
  • Omama Altaleb - digital editor
  • Tiffany Arnold - digital editor
  • Valerie Bonk - digital editor
  • Hanna Choi - digital editor
  • Abigail Constantino - digital editor
  • Jason Fraley - entertainment editor
  • Noah Frank - sports digital editor
  • Sarah Beth Hensley - senior digital editor
  • Rick Massimo - digital editor
  • Jack Moore - digital editor
  • Rachel Nania - living editor
  • Mike McGrath - garden editor
  • Kelly Vlahos - Social Media & Digital Engagement Specialist
  • Ginger Whitaker - Social Media & Digital Engagement Specialist

Reporters

  • John Aaron
  • Neal Augenstein
  • Michelle Basch
  • Megan Cloherty (multimedia)
  • Chris Core
  • Dennis Foley
  • J. J. Green (national security correspondent)
  • Brennan Haselton
  • Jenny Glick
  • Nick Iannelli
  • Kristi King
  • Dave McConnell (Capital Hill correspondent)
  • Mike Murillo
  • Greg Redfern (space)
  • Kate Ryan
  • Max Smith
  • Kathy Stewart
  • Dick Uliano

Management

  • Matt Mills - Director of Sales
  • Jim Battagliese - Director of Traffic and Transit Operations
  • Mike McMearty - Director of News and Programming
  • Molly Welton - newsroom administrator
  • Mitch Miller - senior news director
  • Brian Oliger - Technical Operations Manager
  • Joel Oxley - Senior Vice President and General Manager
  • Julia Ziegler - news director

Technical Operations/Engineering Assistant

  • Chris Cichon
  • Ofoe McCarthy
  • Zach Shore

AwardsEdit

  • 2002/2003/2008 RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award (National) for Best Large Market Radio News Website
  • 2003 RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award (National) for Best Radio Large Market Spot News Coverage - "Serial Sniper"
  • 2006 RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award (National) for Best Radio Large Market Feature Reporting - "Scary Clown"

References Edit

External linksEdit

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