Thanks to Marc
Tyll for this history of WRLE.
began regular broadcasts in 2002 after long time area broadcaster Tony
Downes received a construction permit for the new low power FM station.
Downes wanted a community outreach radio station to primarily serve the
residents of Rainbow Lakes Estate near Dunnellon in West Marion County. The call
letters - WRLE - stands for Rainbow Lakes Estates.
Originally WRLE was supposed to operate on 104.9,
but the station never went on the air using that frequency. Downes decided 94.9
appeared to be the best frequency, and in 2002, WRLE
went on the air. The original format was contemporary hits known as “The
Heat” with some religious programming on Sundays and other times during
the weekends. However, since most the residents living within the WRLE
listening area are over 45, in 2003 the format was switched to soft adult
contemporary, patterned after WDUV-FM 105.5 Tampa Bay. Some of the Sunday
morning programming consists of live broadcasts from Riverland Baptist church
as well as the half hour weekly Powerline program hosted by Brother John
Rivers. According to Downes, this brought the station’s programming more
in tune with the stations desired target audience which has a median age of 45.
And the strategy has worked. WRLE is well received
by the area residents and enjoyed by many. High school sports is another big
part of WRLE’s success. Each Friday evening during
the football season, Dunnellon’s Tiger football can be heard live over WRLE
with Downes calling the play-by-play action. No other radio station in the area
carries any local sports. Local high school sports is one among many commitments
Downes has made to the community as WRLE is very
community minded and locally focused. Due to increased interference from WWRM-FM
94.9 Tampa, a 100,000 watt station, in 2005 Downes applied for and received
a construction permit to move WRLE from its present
94.9Mhz to 105.7Mhz. According to Downes, this move should take effect sometime
in January of 2007.