History of WDBO, Orlando
Note: A much better history of WDBO can be found at http://cflradio.net/default.htm
Bacon indicates the information was taken from Orlando - A Centennial History, by Eve Bacon.
May 19, 1924. WDBO, Winter Park Florida, is licensed to Rollins College. The station operates on 1250 kHz with 50 watts. The call letters are issued in an alphabetical sequence, between WDBN Bangor, ME, and WDBP Superior, WI.
June 30, 1925. An official listing of radio stations shows WDBO, Winter Park, on 1250 kHz with 100 watts, licensed to Rollins College.
Feb. 1926. Gilson Willits takes over the management of WDBO for a year's term and becomes known as "Radio Rex." Cooperating in the maintenance of the station were St. Cloud, Sanford, Winter Park, Sanlando, the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Chase & Company, and Rollins College [Bacon].
June 1926. The first radio program by remote control is given at the Angebilt Hotel, from WDBO, with a one and one-half hour program which included a speech by Kendrick Guernsey [Bacon].
June 17, 1926. Col. George Johnston and E. G. Hauselt take over the interests of the Rollins Broadcasting Station WDBO, from Justice Lee and Maxwell Green. Johnston became president of the new company, with Hauselt as treasurer. Green, who retained some interest in the company, became vice president, and Lee was appointed to the board of directors [Bacon].
June 30, 1926. An official listing of radio stations shows WDBO, Winter Park, on 1250 khz with 500 watts, licensed to Rollins College.
Aug. 4, 1926. An announcement is made that the Central Florida Broadcasting Station, Inc., operators of WDBO at Rollins College, would take over operation of the Tampa Times station WDAE, beginning September 6. WDAE had been under the direction of Charles Mullen. Programs were to be exchanged by wire. William Fay, musical director and announcer of the General Electric Company's station WGY, became the Tampa manager. The official consolidation was completed in April of 1927, with the station to operate under the call letters WDBO, with a wave length 240 meters [Bacon].
Oct. 1926. A bait casting platform was built by the city on Lake Eola, eight feet wide and thirty feet long, painted green to blend with the shoreline. Wires were run from the band shell on the lake to the Newell Electric Company, and the rear of the Angebilt Hotel was to be used in broadcasting concerts over WDBO and WOBC, as an advertising feature for the city [Bacon].
Dec. 31, 1926. An official listing of radio stations shows WDBO, Winter Park, operating on 1250 kHz with 500 watts, licensed to Rollins College.
June 30, 1927. The monthly Radio Service Bulletin shows WDBO moved from Winter Park to Orlando, the frequency changed to 1040 kHz, and the power output changed to 1000 watts day, 500 watts night.
August 1927. WDBO installs a crystal control system, the only such station in the South [Bacon].
June 30, 1928. An official listing of radio stations shows WDBO, Orlando, operating on 1040 kHz, with 1000 watts day, 500 watts night, licensed to Rollins College.
Oct. 1928. H. M. Voorhis, representing the Chamber of Commerce, and Col. George C. Johnston, representing WDBO, appear before the city council with a proposal that the city should buy the radio station. He stated the station would be discontinued unless the city took it over, as the Federal Radio Commission was asking certain changes be made which the present owner did not care to do. Johnston was requested to furnish the figures on the cost. The council agreed to put the matter to a vote of the people, as a rider to the October city election. The proposal was turned down by the citizens [Bacon].
Oct. 23, 1928. WDBO is granted a frequency change to 620 kHz, sharing time with WDAE, effective Nov. 11, 1928.
Nov. 11, 1928. An official listing of radio stations shows WDBO, Orlando, on 620 khz (and WDAE on 620 kHz).
Nov. 30, 1928. The monthly Radio Service Bulletin reports WDBO power is increased to 1000 watts.
Feb. 1929. WDBO increases its power to 1,000 watts [Bacon].
Late June 1929. The voice of WDBO is stilled when the crystal controlling the signal frequency fractures and no spare was available. Programs were resumed in about twenty-four hours [Bacon].
Oct. 1929. Harold P. Danforth, announcer and director of Radio Station WDBO, resigns to take a similar position with a new radio station at Savannah, Georgia, WTOC, scheduled to go on the air October 18. He was succeeded by Kenneth Skelton [Bacon].
Nov. 1, 1929. WDBO is assigned a new frequency of 1120 khz, up from 620, and broadcast fifty hours per week rather than the former 30 hours [Bacon].
Nov. 1929. The traffic tower at the intersection of Central Avenue and Orange Avenue becomes musical with the installation of amplifying horns, broadcasting WDBO programs.
Nov. 30, 1929. The monthly Radio Service Bulletin reports WDBO is changed to 1120 kHz, 1000 watts day, 500 watts night.
Dec. 31, 1929. The monthly Radio Service Bulletin reports the licensee of WDBO changes to Orlando Broadcasting Co., Inc.
Early March 1930. WDBO joins the Columbia Broadcasting System, with five stations in the new South Atlantic group: WDBO, WTOC of Savannah, WIS of Columbia, South Carolina, WDAE of Tampa, and WQAM of Miami. National advertisers made the new chain possible. The first program was given on March 13, sponsored by the Almite Company, the second by Quaker State Oil. The first chain program featured Texas Guinan, the "Hello, Sucker" girl, and Dave Barry, boxing referee. Officials of the station were Gordon Willox, advertising manager; Roy Young, staff pianist; Sally Austin, secretary; William Hymes, Jr. operator; Col. George Johnston, president of the Orlando Broadcasting Company; Kenneth W. Skelton, station director and announcer; Jimmy Yarbrough, engineer, and Frank Reed, business manager [Bacon].
July 21, 1932. WDBO is granted operation on 580 kHz on an experimental basis.
Late October 1944. A devastating hurricane hits Orlando. The 108 mile an hour winds caused millions of dollars of damage, brought down hundreds of trees, telephone and electric light poles. The height of the storm hit at 9:35 a.m., when the roof of the ballroom on the top floor of the Angebilt Hotel tore loose and was scattered over the city. The north tower of WDBO in Dubsdread blew down, and both radio stations were off the air [Bacon].
1947. The 1947 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WDBO operating on 580 kHz with 5000 watts, licensed to Orlando Broadcasting Co., Inc., 563 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. Telephone number: 6181. Network: CBS. President and General Manager: Col. George C. Johnston. Executive Officer and Vice President: Harold P. Danforth. National Sales Manager and Program Director: William G. McBride. Local Sales Manager: J. M. Pedrick. Chief Engineer: J. E. Yarbrough.
July 26, 1947. WDBO holds an open house in its new home on Lake Ivanhoe, moving from recent temporary quarters in the Orange Court Hotel. The original location was in the Fort Gatlin Hotel [Bacon].
1950. The 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WDBO operating on 580 kHz with 5000 watts, licensed to Orlando Broadcasting Co., Inc., 30 S. Ivanhoe Blvd. E., Orlando. Telephone number: 6181. Network: CBS. President and General Manager: Col. George C. Johnston. Vice President and Station Manager: Harold P. Danforth. National Sales Manager: W. G. McBride. Chief Engineer: J. E. Yarbrough. The yearbook shows WDBO-FM on 92.3 MHz with 34,000 watts, and indicates the station went on the air in 1949.
1956. The 1956 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WDBO operating on 580 kHz with 5000 watts., licensed to Orlando Broadcasting Co., Inc., P. O. Box 3707, Orlando. Telephone number: 5-0541. Network: CBS, Florida Radio Net. President and General Manager: Harold P. Danforth Sr. Sales Director: William G. McBride. Program Director: Rosalind F. Boggs. Chief Engineer: J. E. Yarbrough. News Director: Dallas Crutcher. The yearbook shows WDBO-FM on 92.3 MHz with 25,000 watts, and indicates the station went on the air in 1950.
April 1957. The Orlando Broadcasting Company sells its WDBO Radio-TV station to the Cherry Broadcasting Station of Providence, Rhode Island, pending FCC approval. The buyer organization was headed by William C. cherry Jr., who paid a reported $3 million for the station. Harold P. Danforth Sr., continued as general manager, and J. Thomas Gurney, vice president and general counsel for Orlando Broadcasting Company became the Florida counsel for Cherry. Both men were retained on the board of directors [Bacon].
1961-62. The 1961-62 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WDBO operating on 580 kHz with 5000 watts, directional antenna at night, licensed to Cherry Broadcasting Co. (acquired station May 17, 1957), P. O. Box 1833. Telephone: Cherry 1-1491. Network: CBS. Chairman of the Board: William S. Cherry Jr. Executive Vice President and General Manager: Arnold F. Schoen. Radio Operations Director: Carl F. Hallberg. Chief Engineer: James E. Yarbrough. The yearbook shows WDBO-FM on 92.3 MHz with 25,000 watts, and indicates the station went on the air Aug. 1, 1950.
Jan. 24, 1963. The Outlet Company purchases WDBO-TV from the Cherry Broadcasting Company in a $6 million deal. Prior to the $3 million sale of the station in 1957, it had been largely owned by employees. Five of them had been offered the opportunity of purchasing stock held by the late Col. Johnston in his will. Johnston died in 1950. He had bought the station in 1927 when it was operated by Rollins College [Bacon].
The following is the FCC microfiche file for WDBO, transcribed by Xen Scott on April 25, 1994.
WDBO 5/19/24 Date first licensed. The original licensee was Rollins College, Inc. The station was licensed to Orlando, FL. 3/28/27 Listed as being on 1021kc with 1kw, unlimited. 4/8/27 Granted T.P. for 1250kc with 500 watts. 6/1/27 Granted 1250kc with 500 watts. 6/15/27 Granted 1040kc with 500 watts, 1kw LS. 10/23/28 Granted 620kc with 1kw, shared with WDAE. 11/11/28 Reallocated to 620kc, 1kw, shared with WDAE. 11/4/29 Granted 1120kc, 500 watts, 1kw LS, shared with WIOD. 12/11/29 Vol. assignment of lic. to Orlando Broadcasting Co. 1/26/32 Granted 1120kc, 500 watts, 1kw LS, Specified Hours. 2/16/32 Granted 1120kc, 250 watts, unlimited. 7/21/32 Granted operation on 580kc on an experimental basis. 9/13/32 Granted emergency operation on an experimental basis with 250 watts. 11/11/32 Granted 580kc with 250 watts. 4/24/34 Granted 580kc, 250 watts, 1kw LS experimental. 7/3/34 Granted a C.P. for 580kc, 1kw, unlimited. License to cover the C.P. granted 1/5/37. 4/16/37 Granted a C.P. for 580kc, 1kw, 5kw LS. License to cover the C.P. granted 2/21/38. 7/16/40 Granted a C.P. for 580kc, 5kw DA-N. License to cover the C.P. granted 2/20/41. 3/24/41 Under NARBA, they remained on 580kc with 5kw DA-N. 5/22/50 Invol. transfer of cont. of lic. corp. through the death of George C. Johnston. 9/2/53 Vol. transfer of cont. to Herold P. Danforth, James E. Yarbrough, William C. McBride, Henry G. Jacobs and John Pedrick. 5/8/57 Vol. assignment of lic. to Cherry Broadcasting Co. 9/7/61 Invol. transfer of cont. of lic. corp. from William S. Cherry, Jr. (deceased) to William H. Goodman, Clarence H. Gifford, Jr. and Walter F. Gibbons and Mollie B. Cherry, co-trustees with Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co. 7/17/63 Vol. assignment of lic. to The Outlet Company.