WDVH-AM 980
Gainesville

Original Call Letters: WDVH

Originally Licensed: Oct 18, 1954 

Original City of License: Gainesville 

Original Frequency: 980

Origin of Call Letters: Partners in WDVH, Inc.-Toby Dowdy, Buster Vaughn and Tom Hanssen 

Original Power: 5,000 watts daytime

Original Location: SE 27th street (formerly known as Kincaid Road)  

Original Format: Country Western  


Network Affiliation(s):

ABC 
ABC Information

Owner(s):

1954-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
1955-WDVH, Inc. 
1969-DAE Broadcasting Co. 
1988-Eagle Broadcasting Co. ($407,000)
1979-Pinnacle AM Broadcasting, Inc
1999-Prime Time Radio (Pinnacle AM Broadcasting, Inc)
2000-Pamal Broadcasting ($762,500 purchased with WDJY-FM)
2006-Jablamo License Holdings
2006-6 Johnson Road Licenses, Inc.
2011-Marc Radio Gainesville, LLC ($2,550,000 seven station cluster sale*)

History of Call Letters and Formats:

WDVH-1954-Country Western  "5,000 watt Giant of Florida"
WDVH-1969-Country
WLUS-1986-MOR/Big Bands
WLUS-1996-Adult Standards "US98"
WDVH-2004-Classic Country  "WDVH…Your Country Legends"
WDVH-2011-Talk


History of WDVH
WDVH AM radio was first licensed by the FCC to operate on 980 KHz with 5,000 watts daytime only with a non-directional antenna in October of 1954 in Gainesville. Toby Dowdy was a country musician, Rob Vaughn owned the land and Tom Hanson was a radio station manager. Larry Edwards was the General Manager, Ferrell Asbell was the Station and Commercial Manager, Jim Brand was the Program and Music Director, Gary Nelson was News Director and Bob Cunningham was the Chief Engineer. In 1969 Roy Danner and Larry Edwards became the owners of the station. On June 30, 1980, the studio building burned down due to an electrical fire. Temporary studios were installed next to the transmitter in a double wide trailer while new studios were constructed. 

Thanks to Bill Watson for these articles from the Gainesville Sun.

Gainesville Sun
05/27/54 

Third radio station is planned for the city
Gainesville will have its third radio station within the next three months to be constructed at an estimated cost of $65,000.
Clearance for the new broadcasting unit was given by the Federal Communications Commission in an announcement that it had issued a grant to the Decatur Broadcasting Company of Gainesville to operate on a frequency of 980 kilocycles with a power of five kilowatts. Time of broadcasts will be limited to the daylight hours. The Decatur Broadcasting Company is a partnership composed of Toby Dowdy, hillbilly singer and musician, of Gainesville, his brother Charley Dowdy of Bainbridge, Ga., and Tom Hanssen, also of Bainbridge. The trio also owns WMGR in Bainbridge. Charles Dowdy is president of the new company.  Hanssen will serve as vice president and general manager.  Toby Dowdy said no title had yet been assigned to him but that he expected to be sales manager. Toby Dowdy, who now has radio and TV programs on Station WMBR at Jacksonville, said today that the company shortly will pick up its option on approximately 12 acres on Kincaid Road, one half mile from the Palatka highway, and construction on the antenna will begin within a week or two.  Dowdy said the property was owned by A. E. Melton, of Melton Motors. He added that the target date for the completion of the station and airing the first program was September 1 and they anticipated that “the initial investment would be in the neighborhood of $65,000.” 
Dowdy, who was associated with Station WRUF here from 1939 until March of this year, said negotiations were underway for major network affiliation and that a long range plan included installation of second antenna for night broadcasting.
He declined to mention the name of the network but as Station WRUF is a Mutual affiliate, and Station WGGG is on the ABC network, it is presumed that it is either Columbia Broadcasting System or National Broadcasting System, the only other major systems. Dowdy formerly conducted the “Orange Blossom Special” and the “Toby Dowdy Show” over station WRUF and is well known to area listeners. He said the 5000-watt power will provide “an exceptionally strong signal for north and central Florida listeners.” Station WRUF also is a 5000-watt station.  WGGG has a power of 250 watts.

Gainesville Sun
10/17/54

Radio station WDVH opens here Monday
A “new look” in radio broadcasting goes on the air at 5:30 Monday morning when station WDVH signs on for the first time. Built on a foundation of music, news, and sports, with an emphasis on local and area events, the 5,000 watt daytime operation is expected to reach listeners as far north as Folkston, Ga., and as far south as Dunnellon. The projected coverage map issued by the station indicates the possibility of a strong signal extending to both the Florida coasts and as far west as Perry. Studios will be operated in Starke and Gainesville, with the twin antenna transmitter site located here on Kincaid Road in East Gainesville. Open house will be held in the Starke studio next Saturday and here the following day. Co-owners Toby and Charlie Dowdy and Tom Hanssen, who also operated a station in Bainbridge, Ga., have been working on the plans for the station here since July 1953.  A formal application was submitted to the Federal Communications Commission at that time, with a construction permit authorized in May this year. Final inspection and approval was given by the F.C.C. last Thursday. Programming for the new station, billed as the “5,000 watt Giant of Florida” will be built around personality disc jockeys and other staff members. Hanssen, a 13 year veteran of radio, will serve as general manager, and Toby Dowdy will act as commercial manager.  Steve Evans has been named music director, Dick Flowers sports director, Bob Cain program director, J. E. Burkheimer, chief engineer, Sam Blessing, studio manager of the Starke studio, and Al Allums, outside sales representative. “Emphasis will be placed on local and area events,” Dowdy said, “and we will be especially interested in local talent.”  Dowdy has been on radio in this area since 1939, interrupted by a four year Army hitch during World War II.  Since 1946 he has again had his own radio and public appearance shows, and in recent years has entered the TV medium. WDVH will operate on 980 kilocycles from sun-up to sundown, and will for the time being remain an independent station. Hanssen said the station had been offered network affiliation but after making an extensive survey the owners decided against it “at least for now.” “We have been operating in Bainbridge since 1950,”  Hanssen said, “and when we decided to add another station to our operations this area seemed to offer a definite advantage over others considered.  We feel there is a need for our type of station in our planned coverage area, and we believe we have the people to do a good job of it.” The Starke studio will be an exact duplicate of the one here in Gainesville,  and broadcasts will originate from it daily by direct cable to the transmitter site here. Blessing, in charge of the Starke operation is well known in Manhattan and Topeka, Kan.  He was program director at KMAN radio in Topeka the past four years. Cain, the program director, comes from KSOO, Sioux Falls, SD.  He has previously worked in Omaha, Neb., and has experience in the radio, TV, and acting fields. Evans has 11 years radio experience, and comes to the new station here from the San Francisco Bay region of California, where he was well known in the DJ and news fields.  He served in the Marine Corps in World War II and again during the Korean emergency. Flowers, former L.S.U. grid coach and well known Gainesville businessman, will have his own show every evening and on Saturday. Margaret Snowden and Carolyn Dowdy round out the station staff as continuity and copy writers. The daily program for the week has been announced as follows: (Schedule Monday through Friday subject to change without notice) 

6AM-6:15AM  Morning Edition News

6:15AM-7AM

 Wake Up Florida
7AM  News, Quartet Time

 7:15AM

 Quartet Time
7:30AM-8AM  Steve Evans Show   8AM  News, Steve Evans Show
8:15AM-9AM  Steve Evans Show   9:00AM  News, Steve Evans Show
9:15AM  Steve Evans Show   9:30AM-10AM  Moods in Melody
10AM

 Words of Power, Sam Blessing Show

  10:30AM-11AM  Sam Blessing Show
11AM  News, Sam Blessing Show   11:15AM-Noon  Sam Blessing Show
Noon  Noon Edition News   12:15PM-1PM  Trading Post
1PM  News, Trading Post   1:15PM  Trading Post
1:30PM-2PM  Bob Cain Show   2PM  News, Bob Cain Show
2:15PM  Bob Cain Show   2:30PM-3PM  Club Upbeat
3PM  News, Club Upbeat   3:15PM  Club Upbeat
3:30PM-4PM  Ramblin’ Rhythm   4PM  News, Ramblin’ Rhythm
4:15PM-5PM  Ramblin’ Rhythm

  5PM

 News, Dick Flowers Sports
5:15PM  Sports, Autumn Serenade

5:30PM-6PM

 Autumn Serenade

Gainesville Sun 
06/02/55

WDVH splits from WMGR in owner shuffle

A change of ownership of radio Station WDVH, pending FCC approval, was announced today. The Gainesville station and WMGR of Bainbridge, Ga., had been jointly owned by four partners, Tom Hanssen, Toby Dowdy and his brother Charles W. Dowdy and R. A. (Buster) Vaughn. By terms of an agreement reached by the partners, Hanssen and Vaughn will become owners of WDVH, while Toby Dowdy will become sole owner of WMGR. Both stations are on 5000 watt daytime operation.       Charles Dowdy has sold his interest in the partnership. Hanssen, general manager of WDVH, 980 kilocycles, said the station would continue to operate as in the past. The station operates studios at High Springs and Starke, in addition to Gainesville, with transmitting facilities located on the Kincaid Road, southeast of Gainesville. Vaughn said, “We will continue to render public service as far as possible, and to maintain our reputation as the news and music station of Central Florida.” WDVH which began broadcasting Oct. 18, 1954, recently expanded its coverage when the FCC approved non-directional transmission. Hanssen said the primary reason for the change of ownership was to allow for a more profitable operation of both stations.  He pointed out that 200 miles separates the two. Toby Dowdy has moved his home to Bainbridge.  Charles lives there also. Vaughn lives at 1416 NW 9th Ave., while Hanssen lives at 425 NW 19th Ave.

* 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.

Names in WDVH History
Charley Dowdy-1954-President-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Thomas Hansen-1954-Vice President/General Manage-Decatur Broadcasting Co./1955-General Manager/Chief Engineer/Sports Director/ 1957- General Manager/Chief Engineer/1958-General Manager/Commercial Manager/Chief Engineer-WDVH, Inc.
John Dowdy-1954-Commercial Manager-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Robert Cain-1954-Program Director-Decatur Broadcasting Co.

Toby Dowdy-1954-Part-owner/Commercial Manager-Decatur Broadcasting Co.

Steve Evans-1954-Music Director-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Dick Flowers-1954-Sports Director-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Bob Cain-1954-Program Director-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
J. E. Burkheimer-1954-Chief Engineer-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Sam Blessing-1954-Studio Manager of the Starke studio-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Al Allums-1954-Outside Sales Representative-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Margaret Snowden-1954-Continuity and copy writer-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Carolyn Dowdy-1954-Continuity and copy writer-Decatur Broadcasting Co.
Robert  Vaughn-1955-President-WDVH, Inc.
Jimmy Hales-1955-Commercial Manager-WDVH, Inc.
Bill Marr-1955-Program Director/1957-Promotion Manager/1958-Program Director-WDVH, Inc.
Jack DuMars-1955-Promotions Manager-WDVH, Inc.
Jimmy Moore-1955-News Director-WDVH, Inc.
Jack Herring-1955-Farm Director-WDVH, Inc.
Faye Slaughter-1955-Women's Director-WDVH, Inc.


Joe Hill
-1950-1984-Program Director-WDVH, Inc. In Memory
               
Rick Hutto-1956-News Director-WDVH, Inc.
Betty Daniels-1956-Women's Director-WDVH, Inc.
Robert Norris-1957-Program Director-WDVH, Inc.
Jimmy Burnett-1957-Farm Director-WDVH, Inc.
Gene Bowen-1958-Promotion Director/1959-Commercial Manager-WDVH, Inc.
Everett Flagg-1958-Farm Director-WDVH, Inc.
Mark Fowler-1959-Promottions Manger-Commercial Manager-WDVH, Inc. Mark would go on to become FCC Chairman  from 1981-1987  
Mark Fowler Shout
  
Ferrell Asbell-1959-News Director-WDVH, Inc./1969-Commercial Manager/1972-Station Manager/Commercial Manager-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Dan Huth (Dan Chandler)-1959-WDVH, Inc.

Tom Kennington-1961-WDVH, Inc.

Guy Hamilton-1963-Commercial Manager-WDVH, Inc.
Whitey McMullen-1964-Commercial Manager-WDVH, Inc.
Stu Bowers-1964-Promotion Manager-WDVH, Inc.

Dennis_Winslow_WDVH.jpg (54891 bytes)



Bobby Dennis (Dennis Winslow)-1965-1968 Biography

Fred Lewis-1966-Commercial Manager-WDVH, Inc.                                                   
Steve Sullivan-1968-Promotion Manager-WDVH, Inc./1974-Program Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.
Bud Blackpool-1968-Program Director-WDVH, Inc.
Rob Sharkey-1968-News Director-WDVH, Inc.                                                                




Chris Morgan (Christopher J. Mordenga)-1968-WDVH, Inc. 
In Memory


Larry Edwards-1969
-General Manager-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Jason McCrae-1969-Program Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.
Gary Nelson-1969-News Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.
George Fogle-1969-Chief Engineer-DAE Broadcasting Co.


Jim Brand-1969-Program Director/1972-Program Director/Music Director-DAE Broadcasting Co. Biography  In Memory



Steve Rutledge-1969-News-DAE Broadcasting Co. Biography



Jinx Miller (McCall)-1969-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Ray Danner-1969-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Bob Cunningham-1972-Chief Engineer/1974-Sales Manager/Chief Engineer-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Jim Williams-1974-Music Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Don Dorenberg-1974-News Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.



Forrest Sawyer-1975-1977-News Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Don Donovan-1976-DAE Broadcasting Co.

Wayne Payne-1978-Sales Manager-DAE Broadcasting Co.
Jerry O'Laughlin-1978-News Director-DAE Broadcasting Co.
Ron Rich-1978-Chief Engineer-DAE Broadcasting Co.
Lewis Zucker-1982-1985- News Producer/Reporter-DAE Broadcasting Co.

William E. "Bill" Morris-1986-Eagle Broadcasting Co.



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



Burnie Thompson-2013-Noon-3PM-"The Burnie Thompson Show"-Marc Radio Gainesville, LLC



Dutch Schaeffer
 

Pat Patterson-Afternoons

Eloise Cozens Henderson-Sunday Program "Lady of Smiles"

Iottis Adams-Chief Engineer

Lee Allen (Lee Allen Feinberg)

Pierre Bejano

Jackson W. Herring Sr.

Gary Allen-4PM weekdays

Mike Reynolds-11:30AM-4PM

Rick Morton

Dave Derry

Ray Ryan

Bud Blackwood

Cliff Walden

Mary Neal Langford

Larry Havill

Randy Rogers

Tom Allan (Tom Talcott)

Brad Cox

Keith Conway

Preston Hicks



Jamie McIntyre

Glenn Asbell

Janis Koppenhoefer Barber

Rev. Gene Keith-"The Sound of Inspiration"

Mary Helen Owen

                            1975_MediaStat_Ratings.jpg (236886 bytes)

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1975 MediaStat (before Arbitron) Promo for WDVH 
thanks to Bill Watson

           1963 Mobile Studio

click photos for full sized view

  
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Gary Allen                                                   

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Gary Nelson
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Jason McCrae

     
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Steve Sullivan 


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Jim Brand

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Mike Reynolds

                  
 
     
WDVH Studios1963                                                                                                        


WDVH Studios 1975



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