WABR-AM 1440
Winter Park

Original Call Letters: WABR 

Originally Licensed: Sep 1954 

Original City of License: Winter Park 

Original Frequency: 1600 

Origin of Call Letters: 

Original Power: 5,000 watts-Daytime

Original Location: 13 S. Ridgewood  

Original Format: Top 40

Network Affiliation(s):

United Press

ABC Entertainment Network

Mutual Broadcasting System


1954-Orange County Broadcasters, Inc.
1954-Ray H. Gunckel, Jr.  ($2,800)
1959-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
1966-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.
1971-Rounsaville Broadcasting, Atlanta (Co-owned with WBJW-FM 105.1)
1977-WSEC, Inc.
1982-Nationwide Communications  ($6.5 million with WBJW-FM 105.1 & WLOF-AM 950
1986-Alleluia Broadcasting Corp  
1987-Metroplex Communications of Orlando Inc.
1993-Paxson Communications ($5.6 million with WMGF-FM 107.7)
1994-J & V Communications, Inc. ($300,000)

History Of Call Letters and Formats:

WABR-1954-Top 40 "The Happy Difference"
WABR-1966-Country  "Top Gun Radio"
WBJW-1971-Oldies/Lite Rock "The Entertainer"
WBJW-1975-Easy Listening
WNBE-1976-NBC 24 Hour News
WAJL-1977-Easy Listening
WAJL-1987-Christian Ministry (Station sold. WAJL moves to 1190)
WPRD-1987-Classics of the '40s, '50s and '60s  "Pride-1440"
WPRD-1990-Children "The Imagination Station"  
WPRD-1991-CNN Headline News

History of WABR
In May of 1954 the FCC approved the transfer of control of a proposed Winter Park radio station to Ray H. Gunckel, Jr., of Jacksonville for $2,800. Charles Wolfe of Daytona Beach and former President of Orange County Broadcasters, Inc, which took out the original application for the 1,000 watt station, said he and associate Dick Fellows, also of Daytona , have sold their entire stock in the station to Gunckel. Mr. Gunckel owns the Dixie Music Shop n Jacksonville. Gunckel said he and Fellows were "unable to proceed" because of other business interests.  

1440_WABR_AM_Ad_1955_Orl_Sentinel.jpg (31276 bytes)
Orlando Sentinel 1955

April 16, 1966-WABR Radio switched to country music to become Central Florida’s first 24-hour C&W station, program director Ray Beale announced. Art Spector, general manager, said: "...the big boom today is in country music. WABR is programming the Top 50 C&W singles, new releases and top albums."

Steve Schiffman helps fill in the history of WABR. From an email from Steve; "...WABR (Top Gun, Orlando, bang bang,  W-ABR!)...WABR...was sold and call letters and format changed by 1973 (...I was working for them on air at the time; I did overnights, Jim Boynton was the PD, and Clive Thomas (who I knew from his days in Indianapolis and WFBM-AM) was doing morning drive...We aired the CBS Mystery Theatre, nightly at 10pm, although we were an ABC affiliate! WDBO(-AM 580) chose not to take it at the time.

Billboard Magazine April, 1966

WABR sweepstakes 1967.jpg (434378 bytes)Steve Kennedy has supplied some great stuff.

Here's more; 
Here's a sweepstakes booklet from 1967 that was mailed out to area residents.

Click the photo for a full view
WABR 1-18-58.jpg (433657 bytes)

 "Top 40 Tunes" sheet courtesy of Dick Camnitz

Click the photo for a full view

WABR Personalities

From Dennis Snyder; "In 1968 I visited the WABR country music station in the middle of Dubsdread Country Club.  Pictured is Jim Jereau, a US Navy recruiter during the week and a weekend DJ"
Courtesy of Dennis Snyder


Our frequent contributor Dave Edwards tells us; "...Bob Andrews was a friend and mentor to many, including Frank Reed who worked at WABR and would go on to become  "Captain" Frank Reed  at WNBC in New York City.


Here's Bob Andrews "at the controls" of WFIV-AM in 1972
Thanks to Gabe Burton or the photo of Bob


Pauline Fellows-1954-Women's Director-Orange County Broadcasting
Richard C. Fellows-1954-Program Director/Promotions Manager/Chief Engineer/Sports Director-Orange County Broadcasters
Richard Fellows-1954-Program Director/Promotions Manager/Chief Engineer/Sports Director-Orange County Broadcasters

Tom Sawyer-1955-Vice President/Commercial Manager/Program Director/Promotions Manager-Orange County Broadcasters
Dick Webb-1955-News Director/Sports Director-Orange County Broadcasters
Gwen Barnwell-1955-Women's Director/1958-Promotions Director/Women's Director-Orange County Broadcasters

Andy Wilson-1955-Farm Director-Orange County Broadcasting/1966-"The Ray and Andy Show"-6AM-9AM/-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp./1968-General Manager-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.
Shirley Tucker-1957-Women's Director-Orange County Broadcasters
Jonathon Dunn-Rankin-1957-"Spotlight"-Orange County Broadcasters 
Tom Doyle-1958-2:30PM-5:30PM/Program Director-Orange County Broadcasters
Dean Kendall-1958-News Director-Orange County Broadcasters
Jackie Sawyer-1958-Farm Director-Orange County Broadcasters
Ralph Hughes-1958-6AM-9AM/Noon-1PM-Orange County Broadcasters
Bruce Lapp-1958-9AM-Noon/1PM-2:30PM-Orange County Broadcasters
Bob Norris-1959-Program Director-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Kent Courtright-1959-News Director-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Robert Farrington-1960-Program Director-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Alan White-1960-News Director-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Ray Beale-1966-Program Director/" The Ray and Andy Show"-6AM-9AM/1969-Station Manager-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.

Pete Lazar (Pete Forgione)-1966-News Directo
r-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp. 

Art Spector
-1966-Mornigs/General Manager/Commercial Manager-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.   Biography

Greg Galloway
-1966-1968-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp. 

Bill Curry (
Dwight Kirkland)-1966-1970-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp. 

Bill Curry's final broadcast at at WABR-AM 1440 in 1970   

Dick Shannon (Dick Camnitz)-1970-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.

 Gabe Burton at WABR in 1970     

Photo courtesy of Gabe Burton
From Dave Edwards; "...Gabe has many fond memories of Bob (Andrews), both at (WABR) and WVGT(AM 1580)
"The Voice of the Golden Triangle"
, 1580 in Mount Dora     

Rick Taylor WABR 1970.jpg (95761 bytes)

Rick Taylor-1971-Music Director-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.

From Dick Camnitz; "Another of the WABR staff in 1970, during my short stay as Dick Shannon, was Rick Taylor. Rick was a super nice guy. I was saddened to hear recently from Bob Andrews that Rick passed away.

Bob Andrews
-1971-Operations Director/Chief Engineer-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp. Biography  In Memory
Dutch Edwards-1971-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp. 

Clive Thomas
-1973-Morning Drive-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.  

Jim Boynton-1973-Program Director-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.  
Pam Gordon-1976-Rounsaville Broadcasting, Atlanta

Frank Reed  

Steve Rutledge-6PM-12M Weekends/fill ins 

Dave Edwards

Tom Haley

Steve Schiffman 

Mark Fowler  (Mark would go on to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from May 18, 1981 to April 17, 1987.)

Other Names In WABR History 

Charles Wolf-1954-President/General Manager/Commercial Manager-Orange County Broadcasters

Ray Herbert Gunkle, Jr.-1955-President/General Manager-Orange County Broadcasters
Jim Macri-1955-Chief Engineer-Orange County Broadcasters
James Sawyer-1956-Commercial Manager/1958-President/General Manager-Orange County Broadcasters
Edee Greene-1956-1957-did advertising spots on WABR-Orange County Broadcasting
James Waldrop-1958-Commercial Manager-Orange County Broadcasters
Gerald Eggshart-1958-Chief Engineer-Orange County Broadcasters
Edward Edwards-1959-President/General Manager-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Dean Wilson-1959-Commercial Manager-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Bob Farington-1959-Promotion Director-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
James Thomas-1959-Chief Engineer-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Richard Williams-1960-Promotion Manager-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Robert Allen-1960-Chief Engineer-Contemporary Broadcasting Co.
Louis Peterson-1966-President-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.
Paul Downs-1971-Vice President/General Manager-Norfolk Broadcasting Corp.

What's New 

Biographies  In Memory  Sounds 
/ FM  
Misc. Chronology   What's News?