|City||South Bend, Indiana|
|Broadcast area||Michiana (Michigan & Indiana)|
|Branding||Sports Radio 96.1 FM & 960 AM|
|Slogan||Local News, Local Talk, and Notre Dame Football|
|Affiliations||CBS Sports Radio|
Fox Sports Radio
|Owner||Mid-West Family Broadcasting |
|WQLQ, WNSN, WZOC|
First air date
|1922 (as WGAZ)|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|W South Bend Tribune (previous owner)|
|Translator(s)||96.1 W241AD (South Bend)|
WSBT (960 kHz Sports Radio 96.1 FM & 960 AM) is a commercial radio station in South Bend, Indiana. It is owned by Mid-West Family Broadcasting and primarily airs a sports radio format, with some talk and news programming. The studios and offices are on East Douglas Road in Mishawaka.
WSBT broadcasts at 5,000 watts, using a directional antenna to protect other stations on AM 960. The transmitter is located in the southern portion of South Bend, off Ironwood Road. With a good radio, WSBT's signal can be picked up from Lake Michigan to Fort Wayne. For listeners who prefer FM radio, WSBT is also heard in South Bend and adjacent communities on translator station W241AD at 96.1 MHz.
WSBT first signed on the air on July 3, 1922 as WGAZ. It is one of Indiana's oldest radio stations and Indiana'a first commercial radio station. The call sign stood for "World's Greatest Automotive Zone," which was a nod to Studebaker Automobiles, headquartered and manufactured in South Bend. On September 9, 1925, the call letters became WSBT. This call sign stands for the South Bend Tribune, a daily newspaper that once owned the radio station.
In the 1930s, WSBT was broadcasting on 1350 kilocycles, powered at 500 watts. It was a CBS Radio Network affiliate, carrying its dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio." After the passage of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) in 1941, WSBT changed frequencies to its current 960 kHz. The move was coupled with a power boost to 1,000 watts. In the 1950s, WSBT increased its power to the current 5,000-watt output.
WSBT-TV and WSBT-FM
In 1952, WSBT-TV first signed on. Because WSBT 960 was a CBS Radio affiliate, Channel 22 was affiliated with CBS Television. As network programming moved to TV, WSBT 960 switched to a full service middle of the road format of popular music, news and sports.
101.5 WSBT-FM was added in 1962. At first it simulcast WSBT 960. In the late 1960s, WSBT-FM began separate programming, airing beautiful music. In 1984, the station switched to locally programmed AC music, with the call letters becoming WNSN, as "Sunny 101.5."
Talk and Sports
As music listening switched from AM to FM, 960 WSBT began adding more talk programming and reducing music. By the 1990s, the station was all talk, sports and news. Then as the station moved through the 2010s, WSBT shifted to more sports programming, with the talk shows reduced. Currently, only one non-sports talk show is carried, the syndicated Dave Ramsey Show in late afternoons.
Schurz Communications announced on September 14, 2015 that it would exit broadcasting and sell its television and radio stations, including WSBT, to Gray Television for $442.5 million. The sale, which ended 93 years of ownership by the company, separated WSBT radio from both the station's longtime sister newspaper, the South Bend Tribune (which Schurz initially kept), and WSBT-TV (which was sold separately due to Gray's existing ownership of WNDU-TV). Though Gray initially intended to keep Schurz' radio stations, on November 2, it announced that Mid-West Family Broadcasting would acquire WSBT and Schurz' other South Bend radio stations for $5.5 million. The sale to Mid-West was consummated on February 16, 2016.
Translator 96.1 FM
On March 30, 2012, WSBT began broadcasting on an FM translator at 96.1 MHz in South Bend. The translator had previously been owned and operated by Friends of Christian Radio, Inc. and repeated the Christian Contemporary programming of 104.7 WFRN-FM in Elkhart. It serves mainly to fill in the gaps in WSBT's nighttime signal. WSBT changes its directional antenna after sunset, resulting in marginal nighttime coverage outside St. Joseph County. WSBT now emphasizes 96.1 in its branding, even though 960 is the main signal.
|City of license||ERP
|W241AD||96.1||South Bend, Indiana||210||178.3 m (585 ft)||D||FCC|
Past & present personalities
- Eric Hansen
- John Hoffman
- Darin Pritchett (sports director)
- Sean Stires
Past local personalities have included:
- Jon Thompson ("J.T.") was the longtime morning host. His last broadcast was on March 2, 2018
- Denis Prior and Shelli Harmon hosts of the "Noon News".
- Bob Lux (news)
- Joan Swanson
- Brett Kuntz
- Chuck Whittaker (production director/fill-in)
- Bruce Kayser
- John Patrick Gall (News Director/news anchor)
- Joe Kelly (Program Director)
- Bruce Saunders (Weather)
- Joe Boland (sportscaster); founder of the Irish Football Network
Past marketing campaigns & promotions
- WSBT Salute to Summer Broadcasts: Station personalities would broadcast live from sponsor locations and community events, often serving hot dogs and other snacks courtesy of Martin's Supermarkets.
- Wizzbit: This was a phrase used for various contests.
- Here's the Recipe for a Great Radio Station...: A marketing slogan used in claymation television commercials to promote WSBT's programming and personalities. A claymation chef would stand in front of a large mixing bowl, and add various "ingredients" to create WSBT.
- WSBT AM 960 South Bend, IN
- "Collection: WGAZ/WSBT Station records | Archival Collections". archives.lib.umd.edu. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1935 page 30
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1943 page 94
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1965 page B-56
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1985 page B-94
- "Schurz Communications to sell WSBT and other TV, radio stations". South Bend Tribune. September 14, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Kuperberg, Jonathan (September 14, 2015). "Gray Acquiring TV, Radio Stations from Schurz for $442.5 Million". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Gray Sells Radio Stations From Schurz Deal". TVNewsCheck. November 2, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- Venta, Lance (November 2, 2015). "Gray Television Divests Schurz Clusters To Three Buyers". RadioInsight. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- Allen, Kevin (November 2, 2015). "WSBT Radio Group will have a new owner, again". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- WSBT Radio adds FM signal South Bend Tribune. April 12, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2013
- Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed December 31, 2013
- "Jon Thompson Retires From WSBT". Media Confidential. March 3, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- The Golden Voices of Football - Google Books
- Welcome to GoLive CyberStudio 4
- WSBT Radio
- WSBT in the FCC's AM station database
- WSBT on Radio-Locator
- WSBT in Nielsen Audio's AM station database