WCFI-AM 1290 Ocala, Florida - A Tribute
Mar 11, 2008
According to the FCC database and Bob Padilla's cflradio.net, heritage Ocala
radio station WCFI (formerly WTMC) license and the 1290 frequency has been
deleted and cannot be reactivated. The station had been off the air since
hurricanes came through Central Florida in August 2004. The three broadcasting
towers, which had been constructed in the 1950s, were severely damaged from
the storm and were dismantled in May 2005.
WCFI-AM 1290 has a very long history in Ocala having first gone on the air in July 1939 as WTMC (Welcome To Marion County) operating with100 watts on 1500KC. WTMC later moved to 1290Khz in the1950s allowing WTMC to increase its power to 1,000 watts unlimited and later to 5,000 watts day.
Many people passed through the WTMC studio doors over the years, including, a the time, 15 year old Roby Young who later made a big name for himself in the 1960 at WQAM Miami and later on to New York City.
WTMC was owned by many well known broadcasters over the years including at one time the local newspaper - The Ocala Star-Banner and John H. Perry who also owned WESH-TV 2 Daytona Beach back in the 1950s.
The most well known owner was local broadcaster Ewell Vernon Arnette show started out his broadcasting career in Ocala at WMOP-AM 900. Arnette, along partners Emil Corona, Per Ashly and Walter Beinecke, Jr. owned WTMC from 1969 through 1973 along with WORL-AM 1270 Orlando (now Eatonville) and WORJ-FM 107.7 Mount Dora - Orlando. as Osceola Broadcasting Company. Arnette along with his wife Sarah and Burlington, Vermont business partner Bill Hunter owned WTMC from 1973 through 1980 under the licensee name Hunter-Arnette Broadcasting Company. Hunter-Arnette also owned WDAT-AM 1380 Ormond Beach and WDOT-AM 1390 Burlington during the same time period.
It was during this time that WTMC maintained the number one position as Ocala's local Top 40/Rock station throughout the mid to late 1970s.
WTMC went through a series of ownership changes and format changes over the years between 1980 and 2004. The station went dark twice during that time due to financial reasons. In 1987 the federal bankruptcy court ordered WTMC shut down due a bankruptcy proceeding, and again in 1999 when WTMC's owner was awaiting for license transfer approval
In 1999 the heritage WTMC call letters, which had been associated with the station and Ocala since 1939 were dropped favor of becoming WCFI, The format was changed to AP Network News 24 hours, later witching to CNN Headline News.
In August 2004 WCFI signed off the air for the final time after sustaining wind and water damaged as a result of hat summers hurricane season. In May of 2005 the the in-line 1290 towers were plowed down, never to be replaced.
On February 20TH 2008, the 1290 frequency was deleted from Ocala by the FCC.
LONG LIVE THE LEGEND AND MEMORY OF WTMC-AM 1290 Ocala, Florida...
Ocala, Florida, USA
Former Program Director/General Manager
WTMC-AM 1290 Ocala, Florida