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WEBK - A History

WEBK-AM 1590 Tampa – Tampa’s WEBK operated from offices and studios at 1521 E. Broadway in Ybor City, and was owned by Hillsboro Broadcasting Company (attorney E.P. Martin, president; Mrs. Alpha Martin, vice-president and women’s director; and Elmo B. Kitts, GM/chief engineer). The call letters represented the initials of co-owner Kitts. When the one kilowatt daytimer signed on the air in 1950, it was licensed for broadcast on 1590kc. However, in 1956, the FCC allowed it to move to 1300kc.

WEBK’s chief announcer in 1950 was Tampa native Wayne Fariss who, in 1955, became the first news anchor for WTVT when Channel 13 signed on the air. It was he who first hired Gordon Solie fresh out of the military to host a rhythm & blues show and, eventually, his own sports interview show.

During its relatively short time on the air, WEBK was the first Tampa Bay area station to broadcast a local talk show devoted to community issues and jazz music of interest to the black community – a weekly 15-minute program in the early 1950’s hosted by Tampa-area activist and journalist Norman E. Jones.

In 1956 WEBK was sold to Walter Tison and the calls changed to WWTB (W. Walter Tison Broadcasting).  Its original 1590 dial position was re-licensed to St. Pete Beach and became WILZ.

Other names from WEBK’s history include: George Allen (1950), Ann Bowman (PD-1951), Angelo Fazzari (chief engineer-1951), Bob Martin (PD-1952), Jimmy Willson (news director-1952), Larry Lane (1954), Bob Chambers (PD & news director-1954), John Sanders (sales manager-1955), Ronald Harpe (PD-1956), Scott Dilworth (news director-1956), Chaz Roye, and Joe E. Brown (not the famous 1930’s actor).

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Station History

1950 - 1956 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (History)

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