|Branding||Fox Sports The Gambler|
|Translator(s)||See § Translators|
|First air date||July 1922 (as WIAD at 1200)|
|Power||5,000 watts (daytime)|
1,000 watts (nighttime)
|Call sign meaning||Dannenbaum (&=And) Steppacher, former owners (1934-1950)|
|Former call signs||WIAD (1922–1929)|
|Former frequencies||1200 kHz (1922-1928)|
1370 kHz (1928-1941)
1400 kHz (1941-1956)
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio|
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
|Sister stations||WDAS-FM, WIOQ, WISX, WRFF, WUSL|
WDAS (1480 kHz) is an AM radio station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Owned and operated by iHeartMedia, the station airs a sports talk format as an affiliate of Fox Sports Radio. WDAS's studios and offices are located in Bala Cynwyd.
WDAS's transmitter is located near Fairmount Park, off West Ford Road. By day, the station is powered at 5,000 watts. But to avoid interfering with other stations on AM 1480, it reduces power to 1,000 watts at night and uses a directional antenna at all times. WDAS programming is also heard on an FM translator station, 102.5 W273DO in Philadelphia.
WIAD in Ocean City, New Jersey, signed on the air in July 1922, originally broadcasting at 1200 kilocycles. The station was owned by Howard R. Miller. WIAD eventually relocated to Philadelphia. In 1928, per order of the Federal Radio Commission, the station moved to 1370 AM. In 1929, the station's studio and transmitter were moved to the Elks Club at Broad and Vine Streets and the call sign changed to WELK.
In 1934, Miller sold the station, and the new owners, silk manufacturers Dannenbaum & Steppacher, adopted the WDAS call sign, with the letters spelling out the company's initials. A.W. Dannenbaum served as the station president. The studios were located at 1211 Chestnut Street.
In 1950, candy manufacturer Max Leon purchased the station for $495,000 from William Goldman, a theater chain owner. The programming at the time consisted of big band music, ethnic and cultural shows. Leon, the founder and conductor of the original Philly Pops Orchestra, added an all-night classical music show.
Switch to R&B
In 1951, Leon promoted his son-in-law, Bob Klein, to general manager. Klein saw an opportunity in the marketplace and adopted programming geared toward the local African-American community. The music consisted of rhythm & blues and jazz. WDAS added a number of young personalities, including Georgie Woods, Jimmy Bishop, Carl Helm, Butterball Tamburro, Jocko Henderson and Hy Lit. The station also added black-oriented public affairs and news programs, and provided coverage of the unfolding civil rights movement, featuring award-winning and groundbreaking journalists Joe Rainey and Jim Klash, along with Walt Sanders, Carl Stubbs, Bill Adams, Dave Colman, Jimmy Carter and reporter Ed Bradley (later of CBS's 60 Minutes).
The station employed many black professionals, in on-air, office and management positions. The station also took on an activist role. WDAS was commended by many in the industry and in the civil rights movement. In 1959, Leon and Klein signed on an FM sister station, 105.3 WDAS-FM. By the early 1970s, the FM station would launch a groundbreaking and influential urban adult contemporary format still heard today.
WDAS 1480 retained its R&B format throughout the 1960s and 70s, while adding gospel music with Louise Williams on Sunday mornings. Many people involved in the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, visited and were heard on the station. Following his return from Mecca, Malcolm X visited the station on December 29, 1964. He was interviewed by Rainey under heavy armed police guard due to assassination threats.
Klein filed a class action lawsuit against the Arbitron rating service in 1972, on behalf of all black radio stations, protesting that black radio listenership was undercounted. Arbitron settled the suit after four days of testimony and amended its methodologies and policies to make a better effort to survey African-American listeners and other minorities.
Changes in Ownership
Leon sold the station in November 1979 to the minority-owned Unity Broadcasting Network. In the 1980s, WDAS added the National Black Network (NBN) for hourly newscasts, and tried a news format in the mornings, anchored locally by Karen Warrington, E. Steven Collins and Wynne Alexander) and afternoons via the NBN feed. With music listening shifting to FM, 1480 WDAS wanted to compete with all-news 1060 KYW. This was unsuccessful, and the station returned with a mix of gospel, R&B and talk shows. In 1988, as more listeners were choosing FM urban contemporary stations, WDAS 1480 switched to a full-time gospel music and religious format.
Beasley Broadcasting purchased WDAS and WDAS-FM in 1994. Two years later, the stations were sold to Evergreen Media, which soon merged with Chancellor Broadcasting, which later became AMFM Inc. In August 2000, after a series of mergers, the two stations would become properties of Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel changed its name to iHeartMedia after its successful iHeartRadio internet platform in 2014.
Flip to Spanish Tropical
On May 16, 2007, WDAS and the all-gospel format ended when sister station "Rumba 104.5" moved its Spanish Tropical format and WUBA call sign to 1480 AM, becoming "Rumba 1480." (104.5, meanwhile, flipped to alternative rock.) The WDAS call sign was officially retired on the AM band on May 23, 2007, with only the FM station keeping it. WUBA served as the Spanish language flagship radio station of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Return as WDAS
On November 22, 2011, Clear Channel announced that the frequency would once again become WDAS, effective at noon the following day. The station initially broadcast R&B-style Christmas music, with its new R&B oldies format debuting December 27. The R&B Oldies format lasted two years.
At Noon on June 10, 2013, the station flipped to smooth jazz as Smooth Jazz JJZ, reviving a heritage branding that had historically been used by the current WISX from 1993 to 2006, and from November 17, 2006 to September 5, 2008 by the current WPEN-FM. Despite the use of the JJZ brand, the station retained the WDAS calls.
From September 19–27, 2015, the station temporarily branded as Pope Info Radio, a "pop-up station" covering Pope Francis's first visit to the United States, which concluded in Philadelphia. The station carried live coverage of five masses and speeches throughout the visit, and interspersed its smooth jazz programming with rolling news, traffic, and weather updates relevant to the events.
On September 11, 2017, the station flipped to Breakthrough Radio. The format was a partnership with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, featuring an uptempo variety hits format interspersed with health-related features and public service announcements produced by the Hospital. The JJZ format moved to WISX-HD2.
Fox Sports The Gambler
On August 23, 2019, it was announced that WDAS would flip to a sports talk format as part of the Fox Sports Radio network the following Monday, as Fox Sports The Gambler. The new format launched on August 26, 2019, after the station temporarily stunted with a loop of the NFL on Fox theme music over the weekend. W281BI was not included in the flip due to the existing affiliate WNJE.
The format is geared towards sports betting, taking advantage of the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (which had effectively banned sports betting outside of Nevada). It launched with one local program, The Daily Tickets—an afternoon drive program hosted by former WPEN personality Sean Brace. He described The Gambler as the "future" of sports radio, arguing that the betting-oriented positioning of the station would help distinguish itself from WPEN and the market-leading WIP-FM, and promised that the station would feature "no callers" and "just guests that will bring the best information on the games we love to watch". WDAS otherwise carries the full Fox Sports Radio national lineup, including its own betting-related show Straight Outta Vegas.
In October 2019, the station added a new evening program hosted by Eytan Shander, What Are The Odds?—which airs on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings.
WDAS (AM) programming is broadcast on the following translators:
|City of license||Facility
|Class||Transmitter coordinates||FCC info|
|W273DO||102.5||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||138663||99||114 m (374 ft)||D||FCC|
- FCC History cards for WDAS
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1945 page 146
- Russ, Valerie (February 21, 2012). "When Malcom Came to Town". Philadelphia Daily News. pp. 6–8.
- "Smooth Jazz Returns To Philadelphia". RadioInsight. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- "Philly Gets Pop-Up Pope Station". Insideradio.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- "iHeart To Launch Philadelphia Papal Pop-Up Format". RadioInsight. 2015-09-13. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- "Papal Visit Prompts WDAS-A (Smooth Jazz 'JJZ)/Philadelphia To Air 'Pope Info Radio' 9/19-27". All Access. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- "iHeartMedia & Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia Partner For Breakthrough Radio 1480". RadioInsight. 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
- Takiff, Jonathan. "CHOP-backed Breakthrough Radio is a new station". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- "Philly's 'Gambler' Declares Itself The 'Future Of Sports Talk Radio.'". Insideradio.com. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
- "iHeartMedia Launches Fox Sports The Gambler In Philadelphia". RadioInsight. 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
- "Eytan Shander Adds Show On WDAS-A (Fox Sports The Gambler)/Philadelphia". All Access. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
- "History of WDAS provided by radio-history.com". Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- http://www.hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=6 HD Radio Guide for Philadelphia
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WDAS
- Radio-Locator Information on WDAS
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WDAS
- Civil Rights and WDAS History
- on YouTube
- Radiohistory.com - WDAS
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W281BI
- Radio-Locator information on W281BI
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W273DO
- Radio-Locator information on W273DO