for this history of WRGO.
broadcast operations during the Summer of 1996 after Robert Stoehr
purchased the construction permit for WVNM-FM from Karen Marie Voyles.
Although unconfirmed, many believe the initial WVNM call letters stood
for Voyles News Media since Voyles is a journalist and covers news from
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties for the Gainesville Sun daily
newspaper. The frequency 102.7 was assigned to Cedar Key as a class A FM, but
Voyles was successful in getting the allotment upgraded to a class C3. Stoehr
had recently sold oldies station WWGO-FM 95.5 "Go 95.5"
Silver Springs-Ocala, (now classic rock WNDD-FM “Wind FM”) and
had purchased the Cedar Key construction permit with the idea of programming
oldies for West Central Florida, which included Gainesville and Ocala. The calls
were changed to WCQQ for "Cool 102.7", but just before
sign on, the calls were changed to WRGO.
With this call letter change, many believed Stoehr was going to bring back the
“Go” format style oldies that was once in Ocala on 95.5, but much to
everyone’s surprise, the moniker, instead, became "Oldies 102.7".
The first song played on WRGO
was Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly”, and at 25,000 watts, the WRGO
signal extends from Gainesville to Ocala, completely covering the Nature Coast
from Steinhatchee to the North, and extending all the way to Homosassa to the
South. WRGO also has a
primary signal over Chiefland, Inglis, Yankeetown and most of North Crystal
River. The original studio was located in an old hotel on the main Cedar Key
Island in Cedar Key. Programming originated from Satellite Music Network
with “Zippo“ in the morning, later changing to Westwood One via
satellite with a local live morning show. It’s transmitter and tower were, and
still are, located just South of highway 24, nine miles East of Cedar Key.
Highway 24 extends from U.S. Highway 19 to the Island City and is the only way
by car to Cedar Key. After a year of ownership, Stoehr sold WRGO
in 1997 for $450,000 to Williams Broadcasting Company which was primarily
owned by Robert V. Williams. Williams, a Black Diamond Golf Resort
resident (Black Diamond is home to the annual Dodge sponsored Black Diamond Golf
Tournament), which is just outside of Beverly Hills in Citrus County, moved the
main studio to an area near downtown Crystal River, later moving it to its
present location just North of Crystal River in a small office strip just off U.
S. Highway 19. Because of the 35-mile distance between WRGO’s
studio location and its transmitter site, the station engineer had to install a
relay station at the current WXOF-FM
104.3 tower site at Inglis, creating an STL ‘hop”. This arrangement
solved the Studio Transmitter Link problem, WRGO
still uses this link set-up today to relay it’s oldies programming from
Crystal River to the Cedar Key transmitter site. Although Williams kept the
oldies programming on WRGO,
the moniker was changed to "FUN 102.7" as it remains today.
Williams also hired local radio personality Rick Craig, a well
known and well liked local icon, to take over the morning duties. Craig had
worked for WXCV hosting a Saturday night oldies show which lasted for ten
years, ending in 1993. Craig also worked for WXOF “97.1 The Country
Fox” as part of the morning team before joining WRGO.
In 2000, Albany, New York based Pamal Broadcasting, Ltd,
headed by James Morrell, and through a series of corporate
structure changes, started buying radio stations in Florida,. Many were in the
Central Florida area which included WRGO
among several other stations in the Ocala-Gainesville area. With the Pamal
purchase, WRGO became a
part of a nine station group extending from Gainesville to the North, to Cross
City to the Northwest, to Crystal River to the Southwest. WRGO
was paired with its adult standards sister AM station WRZN-AM
720. Since 2000, WRGO’s
pure oldies has greatly complimented WRZN's adult standards in the
market, making both stations enjoyable to the areas mature adult listening
Blizard adds to the history of WRGO-FM
"...The original Ops Mgr was Dave Davis, who also did sales and
eventually mornings on the station. This was when we were at Dockside
Landing in Crystal River. Dave had been hired by Bob Stoehr,
and was carried over when the station was sold to R.V. Williams. I
started working for RGO in 1997 doing imaging and production. This
I did from my home studio in Silver Springs. After almost a year I
was invited to work fulltime at the station doing production. About
this time Patricia Brinker came over from WRZN
(AM 720) to do sales. Dave Davis exited the station a few
months later, and Pat was made GM. At this point I was appointed as Ops
Mgr and also went on air doing afternoon drive. Ric Craig was hired several
months later, and so we had 2 "live" shows on the station. Also,
in the beginning of the stations history they were affiliated with Westwood
One. They soon switched to ABC. Under Dave Davis
we made the switch to Jones Networks, because ABC wanted to start
charging us a monthly fee for their programming, saying that we were in an
unrated market. This wasn't true because the Gainesville-Ocala market had
recently been expanded to include Citrus County. They still run Jones
today. The station was sold to Pamal Broadcasting, and I continued
to work for them for a while until I finally left there in March of 2001.
So, in all, I was with RGO for just about 4 years. Most of that
time as Ops Mgr. In fact, I was the one who made the change from
"Oldies Radio 102.7" to "Fun Oldies 102.7", and finally to
just "Fun 102.7". At that time I also did a lot of
"tightening up" of the technical sound of the station, plus we
expanded our local play list to some 2-3,000 songs. As a result we had
some pretty astounding numbers in the market. Especially considering we
only covered about a third of the TSA."