WTWB - A History
WTWB-AM 1570 Auburndale – WTWB signed on the air in 1956 from studios at the tower site on Glenn Road with a power of 1,000 watts (increased to 5,000 watts in 1962). It was a daytimer and originally owned by Tropical Winds Broadcasting (Plant City discount shoe store owner R.E. Hughes, president).
When Hughes sold WTWB to L.M. Hughey of Tampa in 1957, Richard W. (Dick) Boyce was brought in as its GM, PD, and sales manager, and offices and studios were moved to the Southlan Shopping Center on Havendale Boulevard between Auburndale and Winter Haven. In 1963, the station returned to the Glenn Road tower site, except for a satellite studio on the mezzanine of the Haven Hotel in Winter Haven used for afternoon broadcasts until 1968.
In its first year on the air, WTWB programmed country music. When Hughey acquired it in 1957 the format became a mix of country, pop and gospel which aired in segments, or blocks. The station switched to full time southern gospel in 1974.
Fast forward to 1996 – Hughey signed an LMA with Lakeland’s Carpenter’s Home Church and the station relocated its operations to the former WCIE studios on the second floor of the church’s giant auditorium. The church officially took ownership about fifteen months later and Boyce, WTWB’s long-time manager, retired after almost forty years running the station.
In 2003 Carpenter’s Home entered into an LMA with Breidenbach Media Group, headed by Lynne Breidenbach, a conservative political activist, former Polk County Sheriff’s spokesperson, and local radio talk show host. WTWB’s long-time southern gospel format was dumped for a faith-based news/talk format, and studios and offices again returned (for the final time) to the tower site on Glenn Road in Auburndale. In 2008, the church was eager to rid itself of the radio facility and sold WTWB to the LaRaza Media Group LLC (Edward and Maria E. Olivares), which flipped it to a Spanish format.
WTWB added a translator in 2015 and can now be heard on FM at 92.7 as well as AM-1570.
Other names from WTWB history include Bob Lay (sales manager), Herb Ayers, Margaret Dull, Don Brienen (chief engineer), Ruth Kostyo, W.L. Bain (sales manager), Gail Carroll, Jeanette Twomey, Fred N. Potter (chief engineer), Ronny Brown, Ed Lockwood, Pat Morgan (became WONN’s "Banana Man"), Jane Pierce (women’s director/sales), Jim Greenfield (news), Charles Davenport (chief engineer), Tom Thornburg, Frank Berry (chief engineer), Bruce Parker, Ken Barfield, Paul Garber (chief engineer), Rick Elmhorst, Joe Penny (former member of Hank Williams’ band, The Drifting Cowboys), Dale Wade, Norma Wade, Dick Shiflett (station manager), Kevin MacKenzie (station manager), Seth Mela, Dale Sellers, and Scott Allen.
1956 - 2016 Other Polk County Stations (History)