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WTOB’s History

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WTOB 1380 came to life in 1947 on 710 AM. The station moved to 1380 shortly afterwards and became one of the most innovative and beloved stations in the Southeast. The call letters, of course, refer to tobacco, the heritage crop for Winston-Salem. The station is credited with bringing Rock and Roll to the area, and was often Winston-Salem’s most listened to radio station into the 1970s.

Popular DJs or “the Good Guys”, over the years have included George Lee, Dick Bennick, John Stanton, The Flying Dutchman, Lee Bryant, Willie Edwards, Good Buddy Bob Langdon, Buddy Latham, Jay McDaniel, Don Martin, Bob Dale, Ron Powers, Bill Cox, Russ Spooner, Tommy Walker … really too many to mention … but it might be noted that legendary personality Rick Dees is among WTOB’s Hall of Fame Personalities.

The original WTOB studios were downtown, later at Thruway Shopping Center, then back downtown, and now on Reynolda Road. WTOB once had a sister television station, WTOB-TV, Channel 26. The radio station has had many owners over the years, including Southern Broadcasting Company, Truth Broadcasting, Davidson Media, and most recently TBLC.

In November 2015, the new licensees began programming for the Hispanic community on 1380 WTOB and the Good Guys and the classic hits music moved to 980AM WEGO.

In December 2015, Southern Broadcast Media, LLC was formed to purchase 980AM WEGO from Truth Broadcasting and the music and the memories of WTOB were preserved as the new owners made plans to move studios to Trade Street in the Arts District of Downtown Winston-Salem.

What a difference a year makes. WEGO station owners announced in late November 2016 that they had acquired the WTOB call letters and were moving them to the 980AM frequency beginning Tuesday morning just before Thanksgiving. 

After the Rock and Roll years, the station was host to many formats including adult standards, news/talk, and even Spanish.

The station, in the golden years, had a large playlist and that tradition continues today. Today, when you tune in to AM 980 WTOB, you’ll enjoy the style and music that made the radio station tops in Winston-Salem in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Jingles from the era are being used on-air.

Our strong commitment to the community continues, as well, with the formation of a Community Committee that meets under the radio station’s direction to talk about and develop plans to address the needs of the community.


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