History of WWJB, Brooksville

The original WKTS; Steve Manuel at the controls in 1963. Pictures from Old Hernando in Photos and Stories

This page was last revised on Nov. 28, 2017.

In 1956 Elmo Kitts was awarded a construction permit for a station to operate on 1450 kHz with 250 watts. The station went on the air as WKTS on May 2, 1957. It was located at the corner of U. S. 41 and Mondon Hill Road.

Management consisted of Elmo Kitts, owner; Charles "Chuck" Grant, general manager and sales manager; Larry Lane and Jerry Penska, announcers.

[Mr. Kitts later was the manager of WZST-1410 in Leesburg in 1966. This station had the call letter history WBIL/WZST/WINF/WQBQ. Jerry Penska later worked at WSB in Atlanta, where he read the news story confirming that President Kennedy had died of gunshot wounds. According to this web page, Larry Lane also worked at WHBO, WEBK, WZST, WPRY, and at WYOU. While employed at WYOU, he was killed in an automobile accident in December 1967.]

The 1957 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WKTS not on air, with a construction permit for 1450 kc, 250 watts. Licensee: Hernando Broadcasting Co. Elmo Kitts is shown as owner, general manager, commercial manager, program director.

On March 3, 1958, WKTS was gutted by fire. Firefighters could not connect to the city's water supply because the station was about 2000 feet from the nearest hydrant. The fire truck's supply of 350 gallons of water was quickly exhausted. The station was a total loss, as all equipment was destroyed as well as some 5000 records.

The 1958 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WKTS not on air, target date unannounced. 1450 kc; 250 w. Brooksville Broadcasting Service (acquired station August 1958). William W. Johnson, W. L. Waring Jr., owners.

On Oct. 11, 1958, WWJB went on the air on the same frequency with a new owner, William Johnson. The station was located at the corner of Liberty Street and Brooksville Avenue. The call letters stand for William W. Johnson Brooksville.

The 1959 Broadcasting Yearbook has: WWJB (Oct. 11, 1958): 1450 kc; 250 w-SH. P. O. Box 707. Phone 2020. Hernando Bradcasting Co. (original owner). Network: Keystone. W. W. Johnson, partner & gen mgr; W. L. Waring Jr., partner; Charles N Grant, coml mgr; Joseph S. Gall, program dir; D. John Helman, chief engr.

On June 13, 1960, WWJB was acquired by Brooksville Broadcasting Service Inc.

The 1961-62 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WWJB at 30 East Liberty Street, owned by Brooksville Broadcasting Service Inc. Personnel were: W. W. Johnson, president and general manager; Charles N. Grant, station manager, program and news director; Gerald Steen, chief engineer.

The 1969 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WWJB at 30 East Liberty Street, owned by Brooksville Broadcasting Service Inc. Personnel were: W. W. Johnson, president, general and station manager; W. W. Johnson Jr., program and news director; Jim Stubbs, chief engineer.

On Feb. 8, 1971, WWJB was acquired by Hunter Knight Broadcasting Inc.

The 1977 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WWJB with the address Box 1507, owned by Hunter Knight Broadcasting Inc. Personnel were: Philip M. Knight, president, general manager, and chief engineer; Mickey Brayton, program and music director; Bob Jordan, news director.

According to the station's web site, in November 1978 WWJB was sold to Jack Clancy, Don Stork and Bob Penrod.

WWJB offices, external view, Dec. 2004 On March 1, 1982, WWJB was acquired by Hernando Broadcasting Co., which according to the station's web site consisted of Bruce Snow, Steve Manuel and Howard Weston.

The 1986 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WWJB at 55 West Fort Dade Avenue. Personnel were: Steve Manuel, president, general manager, and chief engineer; Jack Payne, general sales manager; J. C. Maggio, program director; Marsha Roderick, program manager; Tom Longman, music director; Bob Haa, news director.

A 1987 newspaper article indicated the owners of the station were Steve Manuel, County Attorney Bruce Snow, and James Kimbrough, chief executive officer of Sun Bank and Trust Co. in Hernando County.

WWJB has been noted for its strong community involvement and quality programming.

In 1989, John W. (Jack) Payne, a well-known WWJB advertising salesman, died at age 57. He had retired from full-time work at the end of 1988 but continued to do some broadcasts. He was the station's only salesman for about five years.

WWJB, which had broadcast Hernando High School football games beginning in 1958, ceased carrying the games in 1999 when the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference instituted a $200 fee per game for broadcasting rights. The GCAC argued that radio broadcasts diminished attendance at football games.

In 2004 the station broadcast country music until 10 a.m., followed by the nationally-syndicated Neal Boortz talk show. It also carried ABC Information Network news.

In 2016 a directory of radio stations showed that WWJB was using FM translators W223CK licensed to Brooksville on 92.5 and W280DK licensed to Spring Hill on 103.9. Its transmitter was located on Chambord Street between Brooksville and Weeki Wachee. Station WXJB, licensed to Homosassa, was operating on 99.9 MHz. It transmitter was located on U. S. 98 NW of Brooksville, near Stafford Lake.

In 2017 WWJB-1450 and translators 92.3 W222CI Brooksville and 103.9 W280DK Spring Hill FL changed to a country music format known as “103.9 The Boot.” Longtime 99.5 WQYK Tampa host Randy Price joined WWJB for mornings.

Talk show host Bob Haa. Photo by Ron Thompson, courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times
Haa died in October 2013.

Ryan GormanRyan Gorman (right), a Central High senior, hosts a one-hour program on WWJB that revolves around a spotlighted school in the district. Ryan has become quite a broadcast phenomenon since he went on the air Sept. 5. Since that time the show, which focuses on issues and news in the Hernando County school system, has gained a loyal and growing following. Each afternoon, Ryan and co-host Eric Allen present a one-hour program that revolves around a spotlighted school in the district. It is a fast-paced hour featuring interviews with teachers, students and administrators, as well as other local luminaries, followed by a run-down of school-related activities. And if time allows, the hosts may even take a call or two. —St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 19, 2000. Times photo by Kevin White.

WWJB in 1968. Photo courtesy of Bob Martinez.

WWJB bumper sticker, 1980s

Tampa Bay Radio History | Early Hernando County History