History Of WDFL
Thanks to Marc
Tyll for this history of WDFL.
WDFL began operations in 1987 from Cross
City, approximately 50 miles West of Gainesville. The station was constructed
and owned by long time Lakeland resident and broadcaster Duane F. McConnell.
The original WDFL-FM operated on 106.3 mhz with 3,000 watts from a 180
foot tower located about 5 miles South of Cross City. WDFL-FM was
co-owned with WDFL-AM 1240 which re-broadcast all programming from
programming consisted of 24-hours of mainstream country provided by the Satellite
Music Network and the station covered most of Dixie and Levy counties. In 1989, McConnell and his consulting
engineer, Jim Johnson, determined WDFL-FM could get a power
upgrade from 3,000 watts to 100,000 watts as a class C1 by moving the frequency
from 106.3 to 106.9. Plans went in to action and a petition was filed with the
FCC to amend the FM Table of Allotments. Ben Dickerson, who owned WEAG-FM
106.3 in Starke, filed a petition to deny McConnell’s request and asked
that the FCC grant the frequency 106.9 as a Class 2 station to Starke. The FCC
denied Dickerson’s petition and granted McConnell’s petition for Cross City.
McConnell and Johnson made plans to move the WDFL-FM tower to Trenton,
located about 25 miles West of Gainesville. A new 469 foot tower was constructed
at the WDJY-FM 101.7 Trenton location and the power was increased to
100,000 watts in the year 2000.
Robert Young, who had previously worked at WAPE and WIVY in
Jacksonville, was hired as WDFL's General Manager. The call letters
were changed to WKZY to reflect "Cozy" for "Cozy
106.9." The WKZY call letters had previously been associated
with FM 92.5 in LaBelle. The new WKZY format was changed to Westwood
One’s Adult Standards featuring artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean
Martin, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and many others. The new "Cozy
106.9" also featured top of the hour world news from CNN Radio.
McConnell sold WKZY-FM along with WDFL-AM
to Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd, headed by James Morrell, in 2000. The
studios were moved to the WLUS-AM
980 building located off Kincaid Road in Gainesville, known as the Radio
Ranch. The format was changed to Soft Adult Contemporary known as "Lite
Rock 106.9". Former WHTQ-FM
96.5 personality and WFKS-FM
99.9 Program Director Bruce Cherry was hired as WKZY's Program Director and Operations Manager. The Lite Rock format only lasted about
a year, unable to effectively compete against WKTK’s superior signal.
In 2002 WKZY modified its programming to Classic Hits of 70s, 80s, and
90s. Bruce Cherry left WKZY in 2005 to become Program Director at WKTK,
while former WKTK Program Director, Briton Jon Rice, replaced
Cherry at WKZY. The new on air slogan is "106.9 KZY with the hits
of the 70s, 80s, 90s and whatever we want."