WHFL - A History
WHFL-FM 97.5 Winter Haven – Recreation Broadcasting (H.J. Hunting, president) brought in Randy Jeffery as general manager of its WXKL-FM in 1970. Jeffery was so convinced that the solution to the station’s negative cash flow and other ills was its format that he changed it from automated country to automated beautiful music. He also wanted the station’s new image to include a new set of calls. WHVN (HaVeN) was the set of first choice, but after they were shot down by an objection from Haines City’s WHAN, it was decided to go with WHFL (Winter Haven FLorida).
Jeffery also had another idea – and one that made a lot of sense. He wanted to move the offices and studios from the current downtown Winter Haven location on Avenue D NW next to Tip Top TV, to a location with higher visibility. That location turned out to be to the Florida Citrus Showcase, later known as the Orange Dome, on Cypress Gardens Boulevard just off U.S. 17.
Although Jeffery managed to turn the negative cash flow problem around within a year, Recreation decided to sell WHFL in 1973 to NBC Sports personality Joe Garagiola for $225,000. Garagiola, who had recently acquired WONN-AM in Lakeland, immediately saw the FM’s potential and seized the opportunity.
Once the FCC approved, the automated beautiful music was dropped and country music with live announcers was brought in. New call letters were also adopted – WPCV, (Polk County’s Voice). The rest, as they say, is history.
Names from WHFL history include Craig Harper (station manager-1972), George Mimbs, Jr. (PD-1972), Orden Craig (chief engineer-1972), Jim Greenfield (news director-1972), Garland Burt (GM-1973), Bob Daffin (sales manager-1973), and Frank Berry (chief engineer-1973).
1970 - 1973 Other Polk County Stations (History)