Winton was a New Yorker who attended New York University in the mid to late 1940’s. He later became a protégé of Gordon McLendon and a leading exponent of radio’s beautiful music format, a genre that originally consisted of mostly instrumentals with orchestral covers of showtunes, soundtrack excerpts, and standard popular songs.
In the early 60’s, he created his own independent beautiful music mix rather than use Schulke, Bonneville, or Century syndicators, and brought his format to Connie B. Gay’s WQMR-AM and WGAY-FM in Silver Springs, Maryland, where he was vice-president and general manager. Then he acquired 94.9 WAEZ-FM, the Miami area’s first full time stereo easy listening station, and an AM on 1450, and changed their calls to WOCN (Ocean).
In 1975, Winton pulled up stakes, sold his Miami combo to Gannett Broadcasting, and bought St. Petersburg’s WPIN AM 680 and FM 107.3, switching both to beautiful music as The Bay WWBA. 107.3 became one of the country’s most successful FM’s for audience share 12+, possibly due in part to the fact it played hardly any vocals. The unique format prompted Winton to unofficially call it “music too beautiful for words.”
In 1981, he sold the FM to Metromedia and flipped WWBA-AM to a nostalgia format as Life 680 WWLF. He remained in radio ownership into the 90’s with WMLO (Mello 105), an FM licensed to Havana, near Tallahassee.
Now deceased, Ed Winton is remembered as a micro-manager, a man constantly involved in all decisions regarding his stations, especially those involving programming. Although many who worked for him opposed this hands-on approach, no one can deny the bottom line. His stations were successful.
1975 - 1988 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)