WBIL - A History
WBIL-AM 1410 Leesburg – WBIL signed on the air in 1957 on 1410 kHz and programmed a pop music format. It was a one kilowatt daytimer nicknamed “Mr. Bil,” and owned by WBIL, Inc. (Duane F. McConnell GM/chief engineer, who had put Lakeland’s WONN on the air in 1949, and Clyde T. Hodgson-sales manager).
An office and studio building, housing the transmitter and control room, a studio, reception room, and a couple of other offices, was built in a swampy area west of Leesburg on Corley Island Road. McConnell described it as “crowded, but adequate.” Although the equipment was second hand, it all worked fine.
In 1960, WBIL was sold to Thompson K. Cassell who, three years later, received a CP to boost power to 5,000 watts. That same year, the station became an affiliate of the ABC radio network.
WBIL was sold to Alpha B. Martin in 1965 and became WZST shortly thereafter.
Other names in WBIL history include Jay Shepard (PD-1958), Ray Baxter (news-1958), Tom Dell (sales-1958), Herb Stoer (programming/sales-1958; news director-1960), Robert S. Norris (GM-1960), Richard Smith (operations director-1960), Dick Stambaugh (PD-1960), Dan Huth (1960), Stan Grams (1960), Allan Sheftall (station manager-1961), Allan White (sales manager-1961), Brian Tolby (PD-1961), Don Hancock (promotions-1961), Lee Williams (news director-1961), Wayne Scott (chief engineer-1961), Richard D. Lundy (GM-1963), Donald A. Kellogg (sales manager-1963), Robert E. Giannini (PD-1963), Olga Pina (traffic manager-1963), Norma Hendricks (news director-1963), Porter R. Stone (chief engineer-1963), Jim Sharp (sales manager-1964), Gale Brooks (PD-1964), Bob Andrews (chief engineer-1964), Bruce Hamilton (sales manager-1965), Elmo B. Kitts (GM/chief engineer-1966), Wayne Robinson (sales manager-1966), Red Wright (PD-1966), and Eunice Lorennz (news director-1966).
1957 - 1966 Other Central Florida Stations (History)