Plant City

Original Call Letters: WPLA  

Originally Licensed: July 1949
Original City of License: Plant City                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Logo Courtesy of Larry Flegle
Original Frequency: 1570
Origin of Call Letters: Location: PLAnt City
Original Power: 1,000 Watts
Original Location: Hopewell Road
Original Format: Block Programming

Network Affiliation(s):

United Press International
Keystone Broadcasting System
Mutual Broadcasting
Associated Press
Florida Network News


1949-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
1974-WPLA Broadcasting Co., Inc. 
1987-Harmon Broadcast Partners  ($850,000)
1996-Harmon Communications, Inc.
1996-WWRM. Inc.
2000-Cox Radio, Inc
2000-South Texas Broadcasting, Inc. (Salem Communications Group)

History Of Call Letters and Formats:

WPLA-1949-Block Format   "Your Community Station"
WPLA-1970-Country Western/Oldies
WPLA-1987-Adult Contemporary
WPLA-1989-Sports Talk  "Sportsradio 910 AM"
WFNS-1990-Sports Talk   "WFNS Sports Radio 910 Tampa Bay"  "Fans"
WSUN-1995-Music of the 50's  Rebroadcast of WCOF-FM 94.9, Tampa
WTWD-2001-Religious   "Good Advice - Tampa Bay's Christian Talk"

History of WPLA
In 1949, Plant City business man,  W.A. Smith purchased a broadcast tower from an Orlando radio station and had it re-assembled on the property on South Collins Street where Smith built  WPLA-AM 1570 as a daytime only station. By 1956, Mr. Smith filed an application with the FCC for what he considered a better dial position and was granted approval  to move the signal to WPLA-AM 910. In 1974 W.A. Smith sold the station to his son, Ercelle and General Manager Al Berry. The younger Smith and Berry wanted to have the station broadcast a full 24 hour day. In order to meet FCC approval they had to build directional towers. These were built in the city of Dover, west of Plant City. This arrangement also allowed an increase in daytime power to 5,000 watts with 1,000 watts at night. By 1987 Smith and Berry sold the station to brothers Brent L. and Elvin L. Harmon. The Harmon's purchased WPLA's license, transmitter and broadcasting equipment. Smith and Berry retained title to the land and building that house the WPLA broadcast office. Harmon leases the property from month to month. Under the Harmon's the mornings were programmed in 20-minute blocks, introducing each with news headlines, traffic, weather, eventually segueing into music. And around and around it goes from 6AM until 9AM. In the afternoons, WPLA runs its blocks in 30-minute cycles, since the average listener tends to stay tuned for a longer time, according top Harmon. Under the Harmon's ownership WPLA became an AM stereo station utilizing the Motorola C-QUAM system.  In 1989 Brent Harmon revamped the format to country music. In 1990, the station made a full-time commitment to sports broadcasting, becoming "Sportsradio 910 AM".  Harmon would also move it's studios (not its tower) to East Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. According to the station's owner, Brent Harmon, it was "necessary, because of economics, in order to keep the station." 

WPLA Personalities
Al Berry-1949-General Manager/1958-1990-Co-host of "This n' That"/1956-Promotions Manager-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc. 
Elyse Shuman-1950-1951-Program Director/Women's Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Joseph. J. Wilson-1950-1952-News Director/1955-Sales Manager/Promotion Manager/Publicity Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Jerry Bleich-1950-1951-Chief Announcer-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Miss Frankie Blackwelder-1951-Program Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
James Derrick-1951-Sports Director/1952-Chief Engineer/Sports Director/Women's Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Chuck Saunders-1951-1952-Farm Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Jim Shumway-1951-Chief Announcer/1952-Promotion Manager-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
J.J. Wilson-1952-News Director/Publicity Director/1955-Promotions Manager-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Stan Hendricks-1952-Farm Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Gordon Solie
-1953-Sports Director/1954-1955-Promotions Manager/Sports Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Mary Snapp-1955-Program Director/Women's Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Joe Derrick-1955-Farm Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Jack Rushing-1955-Sports Director/1986-News Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
O. Hutto-1956-Program Director/Women's Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Ken Shroyer-1956-Program Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc. 
Bob "Buddy" Collins-1960-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Jim Maloy-1960-Program Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Dick Shiflett-1965-1989-Commercial Manager/Host of "Gospel Homecoming" for 25 years/“The Voice of the (Plant City) Raiders”/Assistant Engineer/Commercial Manager-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.  In Memory
Ron Baxley-1966-1970-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Ercelle Smith-1968-1990-"This n' That" -WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Dave Campbell-1969-1971, 1972-1974, 1988-1990-Program Director-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Ron Haley-1986-Program Director/Music Director-WPLA Broadcasting Co., Inc. 
Nanci Donnellan-1990-Monday-Friday 4PM-7PM-Harmon Broadcast Partners
Rick Sarro-1990-1PM-4PM-Harmon Broadcast Partners
Norm Hale-1993-Program Director-Harmon Broadcast Partners

Paul Delaney  Biography
Bob Crews

Brent Harmon

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Other Names In WPLA History
W.A. Smith-1949-1974-President-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Leon Lloyd-1949-General Manager/Commercial Manager-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Jim Cruickshank-1950-Chief Engineer-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc.
George Friend-1956-General Manager/1958-General Manager/Chief Engineer-WPLA Broadcasting Company, Inc. 

Ercelle Smith
-1974-1987-Co-Owner (Son of W.A. Smith) 
In Memory
Al Berry-1974-General Manager/Chief Engineer-WPLA Broadcasting Co., Inc.
Elvin Harmon-1987-President-Harmon Broadcast Partners
Dave Pecchia-1993-General Sales Manager-Harmon Broadcast Partners
Jennifer Farina-1993-Promotions Director-Harmon Broadcast Partners
Mark Guthrie-1993-Chief Engineer-Harmon Broadcast Partners
Christopher Gould, Sr.-2000-General Manager-South Texas Broadcasting, Inc.
Chris Turner-2000-Operations Manager-South Texas Broadcasting, Inc.
Phil Jimenez-2000-General Sales Manager-South Texas Broadcasting, Inc.
Casey Bell-2000-Program Director-South Texas Broadcasting, Inc.
Doretha Adams

Other Programs In WPLA History
Cincinnati Reds Baseball-1988
Tampa Bay Bucs Football-1988
Florida Gators Football
Plant City High School Raiders Football  
SEC Football
WTSP-TV Channel 10 Newscenter simulcast at noon and 6PM 
Canada Calling-Prior Smith
Orlando Magic Basketball
"Sports Final"-All night sports talk (syndicated)

Logo Courtesy of
 Larry Flegle

Logo Courtesy of
 Larry Flegle

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