WRZN-AM 720
Hernando

Original Call Letters: WRZN

Originally Licensed: Jun 1989  

Original City of License: Hernando  

Original Frequency: 720

Origin of Call Letters: 

Original Power: 10,000 Watts day/250 nighttime

Original Location: 

Original Format: Oldies


Network Affiliation(s):

Westwood One
CNN Radio
Fox News

Owner(s):

1989-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.  
1998-Hernando Broadcasting, Inc (Sale never consummated)
1998-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.
2000-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd.
2004-Jablamo, LLC ($8 million with WYNY-AM 1240, WKZY-FM 106.9, WLUS-AM 980, WTMN-AM 1430, 
         
WRZN-AM 720
, WHHZ-FM 100.5, WDJY-FM 101.7 and WTMG-FM 101.3)
2006-Pamal Broadcasting Ltd.
2007-6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.
2011-Marc Radio Gainesville, LLC ($2,550,000 seven station cluster sale)*

History Of Call Letters and Formats:

WRZN
-1989-Oldies  "Pure Gold 720" 
WRZN-1990-Adult Standards/Big Bands/Swing  "Sunshine 720"
WRZN-2011-Talk (Simulcast of WDVH-AM 980) "Fox News Talk 720"


History Of WRZN-AM
Thanks to Marc Tyll for this history of WRZN.
WRZN
began operations in 1989 with an all Elvis Presley marathon that lasted 36 hours to commemorate the new sound of "WRZN Pure Gold 720". The station was originally licensed to Hernando, Florida, operating on 720 kHz with 10,000 watts daytime and 250 watts directional at night. Once while speaking with WRZN former owner, Frank Watson, he said the FCC's specifications called for WRZN's nighttime operation to operate with 250 watts directional, South. No power was allowed to radiate North since WRZN is supposed to protect clear channel WGN-AM 720, Chicago. However, when Management and Marketing Synergy (the stationís permit holder) received the Construction Permit, the FCC made an obvious mistake. According to the Construction Permit, the nighttime directional patterned called for the signal to be sent North, not South. So during transmitter testing, the engineers cranked up the power and sent the signal North, as specified according to the construction permit. This only lasted for two days. By that time, the Tribune Company had complained about nighttime interference from ".....another station...." and the FCC quickly issued a new Construction Permit, this time calling for the correct coordinates and directional pattern, 250 watts nighttime South. WRZN was not fined nor did it receive any sanctions since the FCC made the mistake and not the permit holder was only following specifications as they were written on the CP.
The station remained a "Pure Gold" format for about six months until management determined that a mix of adult standards, big bands, and ballads would be more conducive to the musical taste of the general area which was mainly made up of retirees. On Easter Sunday 1990, WRZN made the "big switch" to big bands and adult standards playing the tunes of Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and many more standard favorites. Former band leader Gene Martin was brought in to revamp the music play list and introduce a new kind of swing time known as "Gene Martinís Big Bands, Ballads and Blues" heard weekdays from 10AM to 1PM. Another local favorite was Pete Mallon and his afternoon "Serenade of big band tunes from the 30s and 40s". The locals loved it!
Another big name celebrity was brought in around 1991 when general manager Patricia Brinker approached former NBC game show host and the original Jeopardy! host, Art Flemming, to host a program called "Senior America", a show about active lifestyles for seniors, and Flemming also was co-host of "Studio 720 with Art Flemming and Patricia Brinker", an issues oriented program focusing on political and public affairs matters. Flemming had retired to the area a few years earlier, and was a big hit on the radio airwaves until his death in the mid 1990s. 
Today, WRZN remains a big hit with the senior crowd, broadcasting the hits from the past five decades, and covering Central Florida from the Gulf to Tampa, to Orlando and Jacksonville.

In July of 1992 WRZN radio was knocked off the air by a lightning strike. The strike, damaged some equipment and parts had to be flown in from California. Station Manager Beverly Bricker said the station expects to resume regular programming within a couple of days.

More History of WRZN
It's always a thrill to get info from a "first person". Frank Watson was one such person. He was one of the folks that put the station on the air, Here is part of that email.
"...Regarding the night time power reversal, it is true.  I was living in Tallahassee when the station was built.  I spent all my weekends, vacations and holidays in Hernando during those days.  I would hit the road from Tallahassee after my "day job" on Friday and work the weekend with my partner, Clay Brinker, our engineering partner Mike Sherrill and my dad, Murrel Watson, who was our carpenter/plumber/builder.  We would work through the night, finally sleeping on the floor of the office trailer that became our facility until the trash guys came by around 7am on Saturday morning and woke us up, then we would be up and at it again.  Finally late Sunday evening, I would strike out for Tallahassee, dodging the deer and an occasional Highway Patrol between Cross City and Perry on my way back to Tallahassee. The very first night that we signed on for testing, I was in Tallahassee, and of course, I wanted to see if I could hear the station.  I could in the 10,000 watt non-directional operating mode.  I was expecting for the signal to drop to nothing when it changed to 250, but when the signal dipped, but then came back up, not as clear, but still listenable in Tallahassee, I quickly  called the transmitter building to see if the change to 250 failed.  I was told that it had not failed, that the transmitter and tower phasers hand changed over and now it was operating at 250 watts and all readings were as licensed.  I told them to take a  listen as I held the phone up to the radio so they could hear the station.  Immediately they knew something was wrong, which eventually lead to the discovery that the pattern was reversed.  It was short-lived excitement for me when I first thought that I would be able to listen to the station in Tallahassee at night, but it wasn't to be. I often spoke about WRZN to groups in and around Citrus County, and loved to joke about how my mom wanted me to be "outstanding in my field", and that during the time WRZN was under construction, if you drove by on highway 200 just about any time of day or night, there I would be..."out standing in my field"...where we were erecting our towers, transmitter site and office-studios, digging a hole, putting up a fence or otherwise engaged in the many tasks of constructing the station. By the way, the first song we played on WRZN at the "official" sign-on was Bob Seger's Old time Rock and Roll.  We repeated the song over and over for the first entire day of broadcasting (without complaints), then launched the Elvis marathon in the second day. When it became clear that the Solid Gold Rock and Roll format wasn't going to get advertising support in the market and we were going broke, we sat down, and in a single night, came up with the "Sunshine 720" format and all the other positioning liners like "the warm spot on your AM dial", the birthday and anniversary club (many thanks to our promotional partner Cat's Meow Florist) that we became known for..."


* Pamal Sells Gainesville/Ocala Cluster      4-19-11
Pamal Broadcasting Ltd. of Latham, NY has agreed to sell its seven radio stations in the Gainesville-Ocala market. The deal is between Pamal subsidiary 6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc. and MARC Radio Group of Winter Park, Florida. MARC includes broadcasters Mike Schweitzer, Bob Longwell, and Tom Hauff. Shawn Portmann will serve as President of the Gainesville-Ocala Market Cluster. MARC does not own any other stations. The deal includes; WTMG-FM 101.3, Williston, WHHZ-FM 100.5, Newberry, WKZY-FM 106.9, Cross City, WDVH-FM 101.7, Trenton, WRZN-AM 720 licensed to Hernando, WDVH-AM 980 and WTMN-AM 1430, both licensed to Gainesville. The final sale price was $2,550,000.

More Heritage Stations Go Away      9-26-11
With the sale of WRZN-AM 720, Ocala is about to lose the adult standards format on Oct. 28th.  Gene Martin, who has been with the station since 1992, has a web site and he hopes to continue to play his brand of music online at The Gene Martin Show.com. Also included in the sale to Marc Radio Gainesville, was WDVH-AM 980 which will drop the Classic Country format for the new talk format.


Names in WRZN History

Frank Watson-1989-2001-President/Owner-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.

Clay Brinker-1989-2001-Vice President/Co-Owner-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.

Patricia Brinker-1991-1997-General Manager/Host of a call-in public affairs program called "Studio 720"-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.


Art Flemming-1991-1994
-Former host of NBC's Jeopardy!-"Senior America"-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc. 
Pete Mallon-1991-1996-Host of "PM in the AM"-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc. 


Gene Martin-1992-2011-Host of "Big Bands, Ballads and Blues" and "Sunshine Serenade" - Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.
Joan Becker-1996-Sales Manager-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.


"Big Daddy'' Don Garlits-1997-WRZN's official celebrity spokesperson-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.
Dave Tyler-1997-"Dave Tyler and the Sunshine Club"-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.
Lane Shephard-1989-2008-Management and Marketing Synergy, Inc.
James Morrell-2001-CEO-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd. 
Jake Russell-2001-2004, Vice President-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd. 
Robert Young-2001-2002-Market Manager-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd. 


Jim Brand-2001-Program Director-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd.   Biography   In Memory
Tom Hunt-2003-2004-General Manager-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd. 


Don Bruce-2003-2008-Mornings-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd. 
Eric Jewell-2004-Present-General Manager-Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd. 



Kevin "Crash" Davis-
2013-Program Director-Marc Radio

Andy Blackburn-Morning Show Producer



Tony Downes-Weekends Biography
Lane Shepard-Operations Manager
Linda Tillery-General Sales Manager
Mark Smucker-Director of Engineering
Steve Bowman-Co-Host-"American Insurance Advisors"
Francois Coutea-Co-host-"American Insurance Advisors"
Dr. Michael Lange-Host-"Ask the Doctor" (eye-care) 
Don Kennedy
Vivian Adams

Randy McCoy-General Manager

Dick Locke-Co-host of "Locke N' Load" talk show

Roni Thompson-Co-host of "Locke N' Load" talk show

Bill Miller-Engineer

Beverly Bricker-Station Manager-6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc 

Tom Franklin-General Manager  In Memory

Cindy Thompson-Office Manager/Operations Manager-6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc 



Kevin Fennessy-
General Manager          



Ben Hill-General Manager-6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.   Biography

Reggie Thomas-General Sales Manager-6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.

                                                        Thanks to Tony Downes for these photos of WRZN
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