WLCO-AM 1240 

Original Call Letters: WLCO

Originally Licensed: Jun 1955

Original City of License: Eustis

Original Frequency: 1240

Origin of Call Letters: 

Original Power: 250 watts

Original Location: 1057 N. Palm Circle

Original Format: Variety

Network Affiliation(s):

Associated Press Radio
ABC Direction Network


1955-Lake County Broadcasting Company
1956-Floyd W. Hess
1964-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.

1978-C-S Broadcasting Corp.
1982-Lake Media 
1988-WKLE, Inc.
1989-Starship Communications  ($2000,000)
1992-J & V Communications  ($75,000)
1996-Christianson Broadcasting Inc.
1998-McKenzie Broadcast Associates, Inc. ($210,000)
2003-Gateway Broadcasting and Internet, Inc
2004-Rama Communications ($180,000) with WQBQ-AM 1410
2005-Mary Banks Ministries Inc. (LMA)
2006-Glover Radio Network LLC (LMA)
2009-WE Properties/Central Florida Sports Marketing (LMA)
2010-Rama Communications

History Of Call Letters and Formats:

WLCO-1965-Variety  "Radio Wilco!"
WLCO-1966-Country Western
WLCO-1973-Variety/Pop   "The Good Life"   "Good Life Radio"
WLCO-1977-Rock and Roll
WLCO-1979-Country Western
WEUS-1982-All American (Easy Listening)
WLCF-1987-All American  (Easy Listening)
WWLB-1989-All American  (Easy Listening)
WKIQ-1989-All American  (Easy Listening)
WKIQ-1989-Country   "Classic Hit Country"

WKIQ-1998-Classic Country
WKIQ-2004-Classic Country
WKIQ-2006-Religious "Where Tradition Meets Truth"
WKIQ-2008-News/Sports/Music  "Your Hometown Station"
WKIQ-2009-Urban Contemporary   "The New Q 1240"
WKIQ-2009-Silent    (9-2-09)
WKIQ-2009-Sports/Sporting News Radio (9-25-09) 
WKIQ-2010-Silent  (5-10)
WKIQ-2010-Regional Mexican Simulcast of WLAA-AM 1600
WKIQ-2010-Regional Mexican   "La Gigante"
WKIQ-2017-Silent  (9-17 Due to hurricane Irma)
WKIQ-2017-Regional Mexican
WKIQ-2008-News/Sports/Music  "Your Hometown Station"
WKIQ-2009-Urban Contemporary   "The New Q 1240"
WKIQ-2009-Silent    (9-2-09)
WKIQ-2009-Sports/Sporting News Radio (9-25-09) 
WKIQ-2010-Silent  (5-10)
WKIQ-2010-Regional Mexican Simulcast of WLAA-AM 1600
WKIQ-2010-Regional Mexican   "La Gigante"
WKIQ-2017-Silent  (9-17 Due to hurricane Irma)
WKIQ-2017-Regional Mexican

"Serving all of the Golden Triangle, from the Orange Capital of the World, this is Radio Wilco, 1240, WLCO, Eustis"

History of WLCO 

The Orlando Sentinel
Jul. 14, 1955
Lake County's Newest Radio Station Begins
Lake County's newest radio station WLCO, Eustis, serving the "Golden Triangle," officially went on the air last night. The station is on 1240 kilocycles with 250 watts power. Today's program will be largely musical and commercial broadcasting will begin tomorrow. Regular hours are 8:30AM to 11:05PM. The owners are R. B. Martin and S. A. Shikany.

John Fuller supplies some the history of WLCO, "Radio Wilco".  "The original owner, who put the station on the air some years before I got there, was a local man named Bill Hess. He had sold out to old Mr. Barringer only months before I was hired. Bill was still around--I guess he had retired, because he seemed of that age to this 23 year-old--and on at least one occasion, he did play-by-play announcing for us during a high school football game." "...While I was there Mr. Barringer hired Harold McWhorter, a former radio station owner and program syndicator from W(est) V(irginia) who lived nearby in retirement (I think). Harold had had a 15-minute motivational series called "So You're Here Today."  "...I do not know when the Barringers sold out, but it may have been related to Mr. Barringer's death; he was quite old when I worked there, having retired from the fuel oil business in North Carolina at the time he bought the station in 1965. When I worked at WLCO-pronounced "Radio Wilco!"-we ran 1,000 watts daytime and 250 watts night but signed off at midnight. We had no network affiliation. The tower was down in a deep depression amidst thick trees behind the station; at night we could barely be heard beyond the city limits. The station was housed then in a prefab structure called a "Jim Walter Home." "...Our signal didn't go far, we didn't make much money (if any), and the station would have gone off the air from all of Dave Barringer's wires with alligator clips coming undone if you stomped your foot, but it was as good a ride as being in the "WKRP in Cincinnati" TV program."

Buddy (Mel) Turner
-1957- Worked with Bill Hess and Wayne Moody, both retired from Mutual. Wayne put together the half-hour newscast we did every day at 6, and Bill would arrive at 5:59:30, in his Golf Shoes to co-anchor the News. At 16 years old, I was in awe of the two of them, as I "engineered" the cast. That was with NO Cart machines, just a couple of old tape transports, and at least a vinyl disc or two for spots during the cast. Bill could read at least a paragraph ahead, as he delivered the news. I was full time, that is, I worked from 4PM till Midnight, 6 days a week. I did the 4-6 show for the kids . . can you say Connie Francis, Bobby Vinton, Johnny Mathis, Fats Domino, the Crickets . . and that new guy, Elvis Presley? News at 6 . . Dinner music at 6:30. "Evening Music" at 8, and of course, the late night stuff at 10.  I signed the station off at Midnight, and did the janitor thing, before going home. I was surprised to find that Bill paid for what I did !! I think my checks were for about $60 a week. During Hurricane Donna in '60, Earl Hagar and I stayed at the station for the duration. Most of Central Florida lost power, but 1240 stayed on, with about 1200 watts. The old Gates was cranked, and humming. You may remember, the eye of the storm came right over Eustis, and I ran a mic cord out the front door, and broadcast from the eye. According to the weather people in Orlando, the peak winds just before the eye and right after it, were in the 94mph range. That old "house" was literally bouncing just before the eye arrived. There were people listening all over Central Florida, since most, if not all stations were off the air. As you might imagine, the City or County gave Bill Hess some kind of award for what Earl and I had done...

From Jack Casey
I was a DJ there in 1975-1977, and my on-air name was Jack Casey (usually just JC).  Davis (Dave) Barringer was the GM, and chief salesperson, his mom was the secretary, and the first person you saw when you walked in the front door. The only other person I can remember is Bob Andrews, an awfully nice guy, he'd been in the Lake County market for a long time, and was a DJ/salesman. Dave used to tell me some stories of folks that had passed thru the station earlier: Early in the station's history there was a DJ there, I think Dave said his name was Bill Hess (or may be he was the owner), but as Dave told the story, and as all older DJs know, all radio stations had 1 or 2 very long records that would be utilized when that special call of nature arose. The DJ was on the throne and that record began to skip. (Dave said it was an old 78 RPM record.) Well, the station was in an old Walter-Weeks house, and you could usually stomp your foot and the record needle would bounce a few grooves...problem solved.....only this time it didn't....even after several attempts. So, with his pants around his ankles the DJ opened the door and was greeted by the GM and his wife who were just coming in the front door. That DJ later became the Mayor of Eustis.
To set the stage for another story, you have to know that the station was at the end of the street, the tower was in a hollow (it got kind of creepy there...more later) but you never knew what might crawl out from that hollow...there was a very popular  morning DJ, King David,  who was famous for his love of 'mater sandwiches. .....one morning Dave Barringer came in early, saw King David was reading the news on air, so he snuck into the control room, and grabbed one of King David's legs with both hands....King David jumped straight up and shouted into the mic that a gator had crawled into the station and was trying to eat him! Dave Barringer was the "everything" of the station, and I was a budding (or knew almost enough at that time to be dangerous) engineer. Dave was telling me that he almost cried when they took the old 250 watt Gates transmitter out and replaced it with the 20V-3 Collins. He said that the station didn't cover nearly what they did with the old transmitter. Since I was working until midnight which was sign off at the time, I decided to work on that problem. Dave had also told me that they got frequent FCC fines because the transmitter was very inefficient. I was a beginning ham radio operator, so I took my SWR meter to the tuning hut at the base of the tower, (ATU) and after more than just a few trips back and forth between the transmitter and ATU was actually able to (I now properly understand) tune the antenna. Some time afterwards Dave asked me if I was messing with the transmitter and other equipment after sign off (Dave was better than 6 feet). I quivered "Yes Sir", he said "good work, keep it up"...an engineer was born! One final story...the dread of all stations...the FCC inspection. Of course, when one station in a market gets an FCC visit, all the other stations in the area know within 2 minutes that the FCC is in town. They had hit every other station in town, and never got to us. It had been several days, and Dave told me that he figured they were gone, and we were "safe". I turned to head to the studio to begin my shift, Dave headed to his office, the front door opened, Dave stuck out his hand, and said "Hi, I'm Dave Barringer, how can I help you?" The man introduced himself as the FCC. They entered the control room while I was (trying to) read the news. He looked at all of our licenses, and took down their numbers. Then he and Dave left. About 20 minutes later, Dave came rushing in, handed me a log, and asked me what an abbreviation stood for for a PSA that we were running. We got a warning not to use abbreviations, but no fine. The fellow from the FCC also commented that for a small market station, we sounded pretty good...and legal, but just barely.

WLCO Personalities
Phil Conant-1955-Promotions Manager/News Director-Lake County Broadcasting Company
Nancy Cox-1955-Women's Director-Lake County Broadcasting Company
Don Tucker-1956-Program Director/News Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Barbara Ridlebaugh-1956-Women's Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Buddy (Mel) Turner-1957-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Herbert Babb, Jr.1958-Program Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
A.M. Cleary-1958-Farm News Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Earl Hagar-1959-News Director/1962-Program Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Richard Smith-1960-Commercial Manager/Program Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Wayne Moody-1960-News Director/Chief Engineer-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Don Tucker-1963-Program Director/News Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Dave Barringer-1964-Co-owner/General Manager/Mid-days/Chief Engineer-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
John Fuller-1965-1966-Program Director/News Director-Barringer Broadcasting Corp. Biography
Keith Deister-1966-News Director-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Victor Lent-1966-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.  Biography

Charles "Charlie" Northrup-1968-Program Director-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Wiley Carpenter-1969-Program Director/Promotions Manager-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Oliver Peters "Jolly Ollie"-1970-1972-Nights/Weekends/Fill-ins-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
From Ollie's email; "...The music started country with King Dave, shifted to MOR midday, Top 40 early evening and then I played harder Top 40 and album cuts (just about anything I wanted, really) at the end of the night."
Dennis Wilson (Snyder)-1973-1974 Biography Dennis gives us a bit of history and reminds us of some of the folks that passed through WLCO. In an email from Dennis; "...Now that was a real fun adventure for me.  And I even got paid a whopping $1.60 an hour. Occasionally I'd work my regular 9 hour shift at WLOQ(-FM 103.1) then dash the 50 miles to Eustis for 6 till midnight, then back in the next morning at WLOQ at 6AM. During that time the station was 1,000 watts daytime and 250 at night.  Although authorized for 24 hours, the station signed off at midnight. The music format was somewhat of a variety with country music in the morning and pop music at other times. Like many stations Sunday mornings often had some pre-recorded public service programs as well as religious programming and included a live feed of one of the local church services. 
Lee Williams-1973-Program Director-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
John Asp-1973-Music Director-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
C.W. Larsen-1973-Music Director-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Jack Casey aka "JC"-1975-1977-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.

Mark Logas-1977-Barringer Broadcasting Corp. Biography
Mike Holmes-1979-Program Director/Music Director/News Director-C-S Broadcasting Corp.

Bob Andrews-8AM-10AM weekdays  Biography    In Memory

Ralph Ricks
Dick Camnitz
King David-Mornings
Doug Laby 

Rob Newton-General Manager   
In Memory
Stan Rearden
Bruce Wayne
Bill Waller
Sam Sawyer
Tony Phillips (Jeff D'Aurora)
John Wilson
Harold McWhorter-Host of a 15-minute motivational series called "So You're Here Today"
Dave Ward “King Dave”-Mornings/Sales-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Jim LaRoe-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Other Names in WLCO History
R. B. Martin-1955-President/General Manager/Commercial Manager-Lake County Broadcasting Company
S. A. Shikany-1955-Vice President-Lake County Broadcasting Company
W.R. Miller-1955-Chief Engineer-Lake County Broadcasting Company
Art Raynor-1955-Program Director/Farm News Director-Lake County Broadcasting Company
Floyd William ''Bill'' Hess-1956-Owner/General Manager   In Memory
Morton Cook-1956-Station Manager/Commercial Manager-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Robert Donald Blynn-1956-Chief Engineer-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Lawrence Lyons-1956-Commercial Manager-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Thomas Ward-1958-Promotions Manager/1959-Program Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Duane Baker-1958-Chief Engineer-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Robert Hollenbeck-1958-Technical Director-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
James Wall-1959-Chief Engineer-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
George Rogers-1962-Commercial Manager-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
D.A. Newberry-1962-Chief Engineer-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
John Nixon-1964-Chief Engineer-Floyd W. Hess Ownership
Artimesa H. Barringer-1964-President/1973-Secretary/Treasurer-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Carroll Barringer-1964-1968-General Manager/Commercial Manager/Promotions Manager/Chief Engineer-Barringer Broadcasting Corp. In Memory
Davis "Dave" Barringer-1964-General Manager/Chief Engineer/1974-President/General Manager/Chief Engineer-Barringer Broadcasting Corp./1978-Vice President-C-S Broadcasting Corp.
Charles Robinson-1964-Commercial Manager-Barringer Broadcasting Corp.
Peter Clark-1978-President-C-S Broadcasting Corp.
Jack Rankin-1978-General Manager/Commercial Manager-C-S Broadcasting Corp.
Bruce Cox-1998-President-McKenzie Broadcast Associates, Inc.
Jan Hall-1998-General Manager-McKenzie Broadcast Associates, Inc.
Bruce Welker-1998-Operations Director/Operations Manager-McKenzie Broadcast Associates, Inc.
Sabatta Persaud-2004-President-Rama Communications, Inc.
George Tanner-Program Director
Peggy Beasley-Secretary 

John Fuller
supplies some photos of WLCO/WKIQ studios. John writes; "...(I) drove up to Eustis (Oct 2, 2004) . . ."and tracked down WKIQ (ex-WLCO) at 1057 N. Palm Circle, in a residential neighborhood, still in the same little building I remembered from 1966. Alas, it was off the air. Peeking through the windows it appeared most of the equipment had been removed, and the place abandoned. Weeds had taken over the property, even the parking spaces. The new owners apparently have put the station's revival on hold.

Click images to enlarge

1 WKIQ-WLCO Eustis FL.jpg (306911 bytes)  2 WKIQ-WLCO rear view.jpg (324357 bytes)

3 WKIQ-WLCO office door.jpg (424023 bytes)      4 WKIQ-WLCO tower.jpg (381995 bytes)
Exterior Photos courtesy of John Fuller 

Thanks to Dennis Snyder for these photos from WLCO in 1973  
Bill Waller wlco73.jpg (141876 bytes)            wlco73 Collins board.jpg (173006 bytes)
Bill Waller at the WLCO mic                  Collins board at WLCO

wlco production room 73.jpg (136905 bytes)          Collins 1000 w transmitter wlco73d.jpg (126322 bytes)
WLCO Production room            Collins 1000 watt transmitter

This group of photos courtesy of  Mark Logas


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