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Jim Walter

Born in Lewes, Delaware, Jim Walter was just six months old when his family moved to the Tampa area. In 1946, the then 23-year-old Navy veteran, newly-married and driving a truck for his father's citrus business, happened to see a classified ad in a local paper for a nice, unfinished house for $895. Using money borrowed from his father, he bought the home and sold it for a tidy $300 profit. With that humble beginning, Jim Walter’s home building business was on its way.

Walter credited "a certain amount of luck, a certain amount of perseverance and the hard work of a lot of good people" for his success in building a small Florida home building business into one of the nation's leading industrial companies. In 1955 the company went public as Jim Walter Corporation. By the early 1960's his success was making national news in Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and Barron’s, and he began an ambitious program of diversification and internal expansion. In 1964 the company’s stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and ranked in the Fortune 500.

The company, which had grown into a conglomerate, broadened its product line to include building materials, products for commercial and industrial markets, natural resources such as coal and marble, a California savings and loan operation, and holdings in radio broadcasting stations which included WALT  Tampa, WMFJ Daytona Beach, WSPB Sarasota, and WJNO West Palm Beach. The company was eventually purchased by an investment group for $2.4 billion.

Jim Walter passed away in 2000 at the age of 77. During his lifetime he had been accorded numerous civic and professional honors, including Sertoma's "Service to Mankind" award and the Freedoms Foundation Exemplar Medal for advancing the cause of free enterprise.

 

Station History

1964 - 1970 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Management)

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