WADO is a radio station on 1280 AM. WADO serves New York City and is owned by Univision. The station carries a Spanish language News and Talk format. Its transmitters are located in Carlstadt, New Jersey.
This station was launched as WGL on January 30, 1927, and was owned by the International Broadcasting Corporation. WGL president Colonel Lewis Landes stated on the inaugural broadcast, "The International Broadcasting Corporation's aim is to adhere to truth, to be free of partisanship, religious or political."
WGL was the first station to protest the frequency allocations of the Federal Radio Commission in May 1927. WGL was authorized to move to 1170 AM, but wanted to go to 720, occupied by WOR. When WOR was awarded the 710 frequency, both stations went to court, with WOR eventually winning the case. Finally in June 1927, WGL moved to 1020 AM and shared time with Paterson station, WODA.
In August 1927, studio manager Charles Isaacson announced one of the city's first attempts at local news coverage. WGL was organizing listeners to volunteer as radio reporters and call the station with breaking news stories.
On September 16, 1928, WGL changed calls to WOV and was sold to Sicilian-born importer John Iraci. The WGL call sign was then picked up by a Fort Wayne station, which uses them to this very day.
WOV's initial programming was aimed at a general audience, but by the mid-1930s, it strengthened its ethnic ties and expanded its Italian-language programming to fill the daytime hours. WOV soon became the dominant Italian voice in the Northeast through its affiliation with share-time station WBIL and Iraci's WPEN in Philadelphia.
Diminishing English programming
The station was owned by WOV Broadcasting until 1959, when it was sold to Bartel Broadcasters, at which time the station was renamed WADO. During the day, WADO broadcast R&B music. At night, they ran Italian programming. By 1962, some Spanish programming was run on weekends. By 1963, the only English programming found on WADO was in Sunday religious broadcasts.
Talk radio programming
In 1964, WADO began broadcasting completely in Spanish from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Italian from 8 p.m. to Midnight. Overnight, Asian programming was run. By 1970, Spanish had replaced the Asian format.
In terms of music, the station played a blend of Spanish MOR and Spanish Oldies. They evolved to a Spanish Adult contemporary and Oldies format by the mid 70's. They dropped Italian programming in 1971.
The station was sold to Command Broadcasting in 1979. In 1986, Heftel bought the station, and over the next three years, moved to a Spanish language adult contemporary and talk format. By the early 1990s, WADO was a Spanish news and talk station.
In March 1996 they bought WPAT and put a Spanish MOR format there, which would later grow to cover additional languages such as Korean. In 1997, Heftel restructured into Hispanic Broadcasters. They sold WPAT to Multicultural, and acquired WNWK from Multicultural. The brokered shows from WNWK went to WPAT and WCAA went to a Spanish Tropical format. WADO remained News and Talk.
In the 1990s the FCC began to entertain the idea of power increases n the formerly regional channels like 1280. Application was made to raise day power from 5,000 watts on two towers to 50,000 watts on a four tower system. This remained on file, and was periodically amended as the ownership changed. In 1998 the FCC granted a CP for days at 50,000 watts. While planning the rebuilt site, DoE David Stewart hit on the idea of a night power increase using the proposed extra day towers. CP was granted for 7,200 watts. The new system went on air in 2000 using a Harris DX-50 transmitter for days and a DX-10 for nights. The phasing and coupling equipment was designed by Ron Rackley at duTreil, Lundin and Rackley.
Of the four full-time Spanish stations that battled for listeners during the 1980s (WKDM 1380, WSKQ 620, and WJIT 1480 being the other three), only WADO remains. WSKQ's programming has since been moved to an FM frequency while WJIT (now WZRC) and WKDM have since changed formats.