WTBT - A History
WTBT-FM 105.5 New Port Richey –WTBT (Tampa Bay’s Thunder) was Jacor’s classic rock Thunder 105.5 when it went on the air in 1995. Clear Channel bought out Jacor in 1999 and WTBT moved to 103.5 in a frequency swap with Bradenton’s WDUV. It also upgraded power from 3,000 watts to 100,000 watts and moved its tower, which changed the city of license to Gulfport.
Thunder 103.5’s studios started out in Clearwater’s Feather Sound Corporate Center, but relocated to 4002 Gandy Boulevard in Tampa when it was added to the Clear Channel cluster. In 2004, the Tampa Bay Bucs signed a ten-year deal for their games to be carried on the station (and sister AM/620 WDAE The Sports Animal).
Given the abundance of Tampa Bay rock stations at the time and Thunder’s slipping market share, Clear Channel traded WTBT’s rock’n’roll shoes for a pair of country boots in 2005 and flipped the station to “West Florida’s US 103.5” WFUS, setting up a showdown with Infinity’s heritage WQYK and younger-leaning WYUU.
Some names in WTBT history include Ron Diaz (mornings 1997-2004), Billy the Phone Freak, Laurie Brown, Don Capone (1998-2001), Brent Hatley (1999), Bob Kane (1999), Scotty Phillips (afternoons 2001), Scott Ledger (mid-days 2001/afternoons 2002), Cathy Taylor (Ass’t PD/evenings 2001/mid-days 2002), Budd Money (2000-2003), Veronica Swiatek (sales 2000-2004), Brad Hardin (operations 2001), Norm (overnights 2003), Bob & Tom (syndicated mornings 2004), and Dan DiLoreto (GM-2005).
(Bio image courtesy Rich Marino)
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1995 - 2005 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)