WEBG 100.3 FM was one of the many radio station
s operating out of Orlando, Florida
. What makes it worth mentioning is the station's bizarre history of ardent loyal listeners and frequent format changes in recent years. For many years the station was just another Top 40
rock station, playing the best hits of yesterday and today under the name WDIZ 100 (as in, DIZney
) since 1973 after dumping its oldies format and original call letters of WORZ. Then in 1996 the station underwent a dramatic overhaul and became the first radio station run solely by women - not a single male on staff. WSHE Radio 100 began blasting out the best in adult contemporary music
that also had to do with pro-women messages: Melissa Etheridge
, k.d. lang
, Sarah McLachlan
- they were all there. Women were the on-air voices, women were in management, it was women, women everywhere. And it didn't last. So what killed the women's radio movement? Was it angry males? Chauvanistic behavior from a group of men who couldn't deal with women in a position of power? Nope, it was the elderly.
During the period that SHE 100 was coming to power, another local station called Cool 105 was on its way out. The station that played only music from the '50s and '60s was changing formats to all disco, all the time. The 1970s would live again on the new Power 105 and this effectively ended the oldies radio format in central Florida. The elderly revolted, however, and began flooding the new Power 105 with hate mail and angry phone calls. Senior citizens are a powerful force when united, and the station's owners decided to revive the Cool 105 oldies format... just not on 105*. Paxson Communications sold SHE 100 to Clear Channel Communications, and they took their newly-bought and lowest-rated station in the area, SHE 100, and dismantled it to make way for the coming of Cool 100 in April 1999. Cool 100 retained everything from the old Cool 105, right down to the same jingles and logos. The station went right along chugging with oldies radio for several years, eventually adding some early '70s music from artists such as Elton John to the mix of music. All things must come to an end, however, and during the weekend of February 21, 2004 the station broadcasted a neverending looped version of Paul McCartney's Hey Jude. The song ran all weekend and only faded out halfway every ten minutes or so for a recorded voice to announce that a change was coming. Then, on Monday morning the song finally came to an end and the announcement hit the airwaves: WSHE Cool 100 was no more; make way for WEBG Big 100.
A ten minute promotional broadcast announced the station's new format. Unlike other stations in the area, Big 100 would not be held to a specific genre or era of music. Big 100 would make its place by focusing on the biggest selling artists with the most memorable songs of all time, no matter what the musical style or era. Cutting past the market-speak, Big 100 is an amalgamation of whatever Clear Channel has in its library, and it's tossing it out there all willy-nilly in an attempt to please as many people as possible; in its first hours of broadcasting Big 100 played songs from artists such as Don McLean, Jimmy Buffet, Billy Joel, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Otis Redding, putting it in the same league as Orlando radio favorite and non-Clear Channel station WMMO 98.9. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, apparently jazzed about the format change, even proclaimed Tuesday, February 24, 2004 as "Big 100 Day" in the city of Orlando. Approximately one year later Clear Channel abruptly decided that Spanish-language radio was the "new" moneymaker to invest in and on February 2, 2005 BIG 100 signed off with David Bowie's Changes and was replaced with Rumba 100, all Spanish radio. The change was made so quickly, in fact, that when the new station took to the air it did not even employ any Spanish-speaking on-air talent. The station will play nonstop salsa, reggaeton, and merengue for 5,000 songs or until talent is hired, whichever comes first.
* Incidentially, Power 105 didn't last the year, quickly becoming O-Rock 105, Orlando's alternative rock station.