WMOP-AM 900
Ocala

Original Call Letters: WMOP 

Originally Licensed: Dec. 18, 1953 

Original City of License: Ocala 

Original Frequency: 900

Origin of Call Letters: 

Original Power: 1,000 Watts Daytime 

Translator: 100.1 FM W261BA (Ocala)

Original Location: 311 Robertson Building 

Original Format: Gospel, Country and Ethnic music


Network Affiliation(s):


ABC
Southeastern Key
ESPN
NBC Sports Network

Owner(s):

1953-A. B. "Ben" Letson
1963-WMOP, Inc. 
1993-WMOP Broadcasting, Inc.
1996-Florida Sportstalk, Inc. ($350,000)
2013-Florida Sportstalk, LLC.

History of Call Letters and Formats:

WMOP-1953-Gospel, Country and Ethnic music "Brightest Sound Around"
WMOP-1954-Variety  "Dixie's Dandiest"
WMOP-1954-Country "All America Country"   "Central Florida’s Country Legend"
WMOP-1996-Sports Talk  "ESPN Sportsradio AM 900"
WMOP-2013-Sports Talk   "NBC Sports Radio"

History of WMOP 
Thanks to Marc Tyll for this history of WMOP.
WMOP began broadcasting in 1953 at 900 kHz with 1,000 watts daytime. The format was a combination of black gospel, country and ethnic music in it's first year of operations. In 1954, WMOP changed to a variety format, before finally becoming "Central Florida’s Country Legend", a title WMOP would hold for 41 years. WMOP was Florida's longest continuously programmed country station until Jim Kirk sold it in 1996. In 1996, long time owner James Kirk ("Country Jim" as he was most noted) retired and sold the Country legend to a local business owner, Richard Andrews, Jr.  Andrews, who was 28 at the time, is the son of Richard Andrews, Sr.,  president of Barnett Bank of Marion County, a pioneer Marion County family. The younger Andrews graduated from Ocala's Forest High School and later from Florida State University in 1988. He returned to Ocala and was in the real estate business for two years before becoming part of corporate management with Chili's restaurant chain. "I grew up listening to WMOP. I have been a longtime country music fan," Andrews said. "I don't plan any changes," he said. "It has had a successful format for 40 years, and it should continue for a long time with a commitment to do so." Andrews sold WMOP in 1996 to its current owners, Florida Sportstalk Radio, who changed the format from Country to Sports programming, later becoming the ESPN affiliate in Ocala. WMOP currently re-broadcasts its programming on Gainesville sports station WGGG-AM 1230,and both stations are marketed as one metro sports station. WMOP was co-owned with WFUZ-FM 93.7 (now WOGK) from 1961 until 1985.


 
courtesy of Larry Flegle

WMOP Personalities
Art Creamer-1955-Program Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Ed Sherer-1955-News Director/1956-News Director/Farm Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Ward Goodrich-1955-Sports Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Helen Kirsh-1955-Women's Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Gene Turner-1956-Program Director/1962-Farm Director/Chief Engineer-Ben Letson Ownership   
A.E. Turner-1959-Program Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Shirley Cowden-1959-Women's Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Al Lee-1960-News Director-Ben Letson Ownership/1968-News Director-WMOP, Inc. In Memory
Helen Helvenston-1960-Program Director-Ben Letson Ownership
Bill Mansfield-1964-News Director-WMOP, Inc.
Stan White-1964-Promotion Manager/1966-Program Director-WMOP, Inc.     


Al Roberts-1968-1976-WMOP, Inc.
Mark Clark-1972-Music Director-WMOP, Inc.
Wesley Unold-1973-Program Director-WMOP, Inc.  In Memory
MJ Lucas-1986-1996-"Started out doing the Sunday show, then weekends, then the Afternoon show and then ended up on the Morning show..."
Tim McCoy-1991-"Souvenirs of Yesterday"-Sundays at 12:05PM


Jay Mariotti-2013
-Genesis Communications  
Brady Ackerman-Sports
Jack Cowden (In 1962, Jack and his brother-in-law Ricou Browning wrote a story about a boy and his relationship with a dolphin. Later that story was developed into a heart-warming movie by the summer of 1963. The movie was called "Flipper", and it would be converted into a popular television series.)
Buddy Martin
Diane Dudley
Lee Ronan
Glen Gallivan
Ed Smith-News director


Larry Vettel-"Sports Scene"
David M. Lopez-Baseball talk show
Rev. Harold Damon-Gospel program-6AM Sundays


Kathryn Adkins
Biography


Heath Cline


Joe Hallett


Reggie Black, Jr.



The Lobsta

Other Names In WMOP History
A.B. "Ben" Letson-1953-1963-President/General Manager
James "Country Jim" Kirk-1953-Program Director/Assistant Manager/1955-Sales Manager/1956-General Manager-Ben Letson Ownership/1960-1993-President/General Manager/1966-General Manager/Commercial Manager/1978-President-WMOP, Inc.
Kirk's professional radio days began at FSU, where he earned the university's first degree in speech with a broadcasting emphasis. He worked as a staff announcer at WCNH-AM in Quincy, and he and station owner Ben Letson began what would  became the Seminole Sports Network. In 1953 Letson asked Kirk to manage WMOP, a new 1,000-watt station. Ten years later, Kirk bought the station. And while running Florida's oldest country and western music station, he also served as Ocala's mayor for three terms. Kirk sold WMOP in 1993.
E. Vernon Arnette-1955-Commercial Manager/Promotions Manager/1962-Asssistant Manager/Commercial Manager-Ben Letson Ownership/ 1964-Vice President/Station Manager-WMOP, Inc. 
Lloyd Lutz-1955-Chief Engineer-Ben Letson Ownership
Jack Cowden, Jr.-1959-Promotions Manager-Ben Letson Ownership
Helen Halverston-1960-Program Director-A.B. "Ben" Letson Ownership/1968-Operations Manager-WMOP, Inc.
Harry Dickinson-1964-Chief Engineer-WMOP, Inc.
Bill Pack-1966-Chief Engineer-WMOP, Inc.
Carol Carpenter-1972-Commercial Manager-WMOP, Inc.
Terry Reaves-1972-Chief Engineer-WMOP, Inc.
Tom Catalano-1978-General Manager-WMOP, Inc.
Betty Gray-1978-Promotions Manager-WMOP, Inc.
Joan Becker-1982-1996-Sales-WMOP, Inc.
Richard Andrews, Jr.1993-President/Owner-WMOP Broadcasting, Inc
M.J. Lucas-Program Director-WMOP Broadcasting, Inc
Gordon Smith-General Manager-Florida Sportstalk
Augie Greiner-General Sales Manager-Florida Sportstalk
Jeff Frances-Operations Manager/Program Director-Florida Sportstalk
Bill Boyer-Chief Engineer-Florida Sportstalk
Tom Catalano-General Manager
Rick Sprinkles-Music Director
Charles Goston
Craig Baggs-Sales Manager/Program Director   
Capps Sutherland-Operations Manager

    


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