Hits of 1969
  • Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In
    The 5th Dimension
  • In The Year 2525
    Zager & Evans
  • Get Back
    The Beatles with Billy Preston
  • Everyday People
    Sly & The Family Stone
  • Dizzy
    Tommy Roe
  • Honky Tonk Women
    The Rolling Stones
  • Sugar, Sugar
    The Archies
  • Wedding Bell Blues
    The 5th Dimension
  • Love Theme From "Romeo & Juliet"
    Henry Mancini
  • Crimson And Clover
    Tommy James & The Shondells

The History of WPLA 910kc

WPLA STUDIOS 1950's
WPLA studios in the 1950's
 

AM Radio Station WPLA, for many years known as Your Community Station, signed on the air in July of 1949 at 1570 kilocycles, and was licensed to serve the Plant City area from offices and studios at 1507 South Collins Street. The Federal Communications Commission authorized WPLA’s owner, local Plant City businessman W.A. Smith, to operate it as a daytime facility, meaning it could broadcast only from sunrise to sunset.

WPLA TOWER 1950's
WPLA Tower 1950's
 

In the mid 1950’s, Mr. Smith realized the station could reach a larger audience if it had a better dial position, so he filed an application with the FCC and was granted approval in 1956 for WPLA to switch to 910 kilocycles. Mr. Smith continued to own the station until 1974 when he sold it to his son, Ercelle, and General Manager, Al Berry.

For sometime, Smith and Berry wanted WPLA to be on the air at night, but it wasn’t allowed because of FCC rules that protected other stations which were on the same 910kc frequency. In the late 1970’s WPLA was finally granted approval to broadcast 24 hours a day after it erected new directional towers in Dover, five miles west of Plant City. With the new tower setup, the bulk of the station’s signal would travel east and west while protecting stations on the same frequency to the north and south. It also enabled WPLA to increase its daytime power to 5,000 watts and for the first time ever, broadcast at night with 1,000 watts.

WPLA CONTROL ROOM
WPLA Control Room
 

During most of its first two decades, WPLA utilized a “block format” with music programmed in segments, or blocks; country music at sign on, popular music during the middle of the day, then country again from late afternoon until sign-off. In 1970, WPLA adopted a full time country music format, then switched to Southern Gospel in 1986, the same year they became a network affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System.

Smith and Berry continued to run WPLA until 1987 when they sold it to new owners who came in and changed the call letters and format, eventually moving the offices and studios to Tampa. Once empty, the WPLA building became the home for a daycare center. The broadcast tower remained just outside the back door for many years and was a reminder of that day back in 1949 when W.A. Smith bought it from an Orlando radio station and had it reassembled on the property, bringing a small Central Florida community its very own radio station. Not used since 1994, deteriorating and becoming a hazard, B&N Welding Fabrications of Plant City used a 160 foot crane to dismantle the structure in January of 2003.

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