WCFI-AM 1290                                             

Original Call Letters: WTMC 

Originally Licensed: July 1939

Original City of License: Ocala

Original Frequency: 1500

Origin of Call Letters:  

Original Power: 5,000 watts 

Original Location:  

Original Format: AP News Radio

Network Affiliation(s):

Associated Press


1939-David T. Allsop
1954-Osceola Broadcasting
1972-Orlando Radio and TV (co-owned with WORL-AM 1270, WORJ-FM 107.7 Orlando)
1975-Hunter-Arnette Broadcasting
1980-WTMC Radio Broadcasting
1984-Kingdom of the Sun Broadcasting
1987-First Radio of Ocala
1989-Sunstar Telecom/SE Agrinet
1993-Paxson Communications
1994-News and Travel Network
1999-Vector Communications ($250,000)

History Of Call Letters and Formats:

WTMC-1939-Variety (On 1500)
WTMC-1954-MOR (Moved to 1290 due to a power increase)
WTMC-1972-Adult Contemporary "The Great American Music Machine"
WTMC-1975-Top 40  "Best Music Radio"
WTMC-1979-Top 40  "The Music Connection"
WTMC-1980-Oldies   "The Station You Grew Up With"
WTMC-1982-Free Form
WTMC-1984-Adult Standards  (Drake-Chenault) "Musical Memories"
WTMC-1987-Adult Contemporary 
WTMC-1992-Travel Radio
WTMC-1997-CNN Headline News
WCFI-1999-AP News Radio "WCFI NewsRadio1290 Ocala's News Leader"
WCFI-2003-CNN Headline News    
WCFI- 2004-News/Talk
WCFI-2004-Silent-(Feb 1, 2004) WCFI suffered hurricane damage
WCFI-2008-Frequency deleted by the FCC (Feb 20, 2008)

WCFI History
Thanks to Marc Tyll for this history of WCFI.
By 1954 WTMC-AM 1290 applied for a power increase to 1,000 watts full-time. The request was granted, but the FCC stipulated WTMC move from its original 1500KC frequency to 1290KC.
Once again, the station experienced financial problems, and in 1999 Jones shut down WTMC and placed it for sale. The station was eventually sold to Newburg, New York based Vector Communications Company, Inc., owned by Robert J. Maines, Jr.. Maines had vowed to return WTMC to the air as a very heavily community oriented radio station catering to the needs of the local area. Vector filed an application and was granted a construction permit to increase WTMC’s daytime power to 10,000 watts directional, but remaining at 1,000 watts directional at night. The main studio and offices were re-located to the Sheffield Plaza on Southwest College Road. The heritage WTMC call letters, which had been in Ocala and associated with the 1290 KHz frequency (originally on 1500 Kc) for over 60-years, were replaced with WCFI. The heritage WTMC call letters were picked up by the Delaware Department of Transportation when those call letters went to the former WAMS-AM 1380 Wilmington. The new WCFI returned to the air, programming AP News around the clock, and became known as "News Radio 1290". Mornings consisted of local news between 6 and 9 hosted by news director Al Lee. Lee had been news anchor for WTMC in the past and was also a former news director for WMOP. Lee also had been a reporter for the Ocala Star-Banner, Ocala’s local daily newspaper. After a few months at the WCFI news desk, Lee retired from radio, returning to the Star-Banner as a part time reporter. Former WSKY-FM 97.3 Ocala reporter Tom Duff was hired to replace Lee, taking over the three hour morning news duties as news director. "News Radio 1290" continued to program 24-hour news and information for five more years, first as an AP (Associated Press) affiliate, later returning to CNN Headline News. 
In 2003, the station began to add more local programming when the Bobby D Show made its debut, airing weekday mornings from 10AM until Noon. Bobby discussed many local issues and had a large following among area listeners. During the 2004 Presidential Campaign, Bobby interviewed Libertarian Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik live during Badnarik’s campaign stop in Ocala. 
In early 2004, WCFI began adding country music to the news-talk mix, but the music didn’t last very long, nor the station, due to storm damage the station sustained at the transmitter site following the 2004 hurricane season. WCFI went off the air for the final time in August 2004, never to return to the air again. The three transmitting towers, which had been constructed in the 1950s, had sustained considerable damage and were unsafe to remain in place. As a safety precaution, the towers were dismantled and the damaged transmitter building was also demolished. 

Bob Hauck the former owner of WOCA-AM 1370 and WMFQ-FM 92.9 told The Ocala Star Banner in 2006 "It has had several noteworthy owners, including the Perry Publishing family, well-known for developing underwater bathysphere-type diving gear. An early owner was also industrialist Robert Marks, a local thoroughbred racing pioneer. In the 1970s it was owned by the Beinecke family, which initiated the S&H Green Stamp phenomenon. More recently, it was owned by the late Vernon Arnette, who had many charitable endeavors, including Arnette House in Ocala. Now silent, the station's three-tower transmitter is adjacent to I-75 on N.W. 10th Street."

On Feb. 20, 2008 the frequency was deleted by the FCC. Read Marc Tyll's tribute here In Memory

Names In WCFI History

Robert Maines, Jr.-1999-President/General Manager/Station Manager/2002-Operations Manager-Vector Communications

Spencer Glover-Production Manager

Al Lee-News

Robert DeFelice-1999-Marketing Director-Vector Communications
Patricia B. Price-1999-Account Executive-Vector Communications
Shelly Holloway-1999-Special Events Director
Tom Duff-1999-News Director/Mornings-Vector Communications

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