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Robert W. Rounsaville

Robert Wesley Rounsaville (1916-1993), chairman of the board of Rounsaville Radio, Inc., the first Atlanta-based broadcast group, was a 25-year old owner of a dance studio in his hometown of Rome, GA in 1941when he became part-owner of a radio station. His first solely-owned station went on the air a few years later, in 1945, from the mezzanine of the Cherokee Hotel in Cleveland, TN.

As he began to scout out small towns without a local radio signal, he decided his next one would be built in Elizabethton, TN and built one there in 1946. The following year, he built one in Pulaski, TN. He eventually developed a philosophy of buying smaller or weaker stations, improving them, selling them, and then moving up to a larger market. 

Things were going so great that it wasn’t long before his sights were set on establishing a station in a major market. After discovering that 790 was an available frequency in Atlanta, he set out to build WQXI without the aid of a contractor. Since its original studios at the tower site were subject to flooding, the offices and studios relocated to an old house in the Buckhead neighborhood, where it remained until after the station had been sold to Esquire, Inc.

In Florida, Rounsaville stations were known as the Sunshine Group and included Tampa’s WTMP and WDAE-AM/FM, WBJW AM/FM in Orlando, WFUN in Miami, and Jacksonville’s WMBR. Its other major holdings included WCIN in Cincinnati, WVOL in Nashville, and New Orleans’ WYLD.

Station History

1956 - 1979 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)

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