Friday, January 10, 2014

Longtime Big-Band Station WAMB Changes Formats in the Wake of Owner Bill Barry's Death

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM

WAMB owner Bill Barry (1925-2013), pictured here in 2012
  • Photo: Stephen Jerkins
  • WAMB owner Bill Barry (1925-2013), pictured here in 2012
Sad news for longtime listeners of local radio station WAMB, which broadcasts on 99.3-FM and 1200-AM. WAMB — long known for its format of "big bands," "beautiful ballads" and "adult standards" (think Glenn Miller, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland and beyond) — has switched formats to "Latin pop music" and "English pop hits."

WAMB founder and owner Bill Barry — a Vanderbilt graduate and World War II veteran who started the station in 1971 — died in September at the age of 88. His daughter Susie James, who also owns and operates Lebanon stations WANT-FM and WCOR-AM, tells us that they don't plan on selling the station just yet, but began leasing airtime in the New Year, and thus the new format. From the release sent our way by James:

WAMB FM 99.3 and AM 1200 are proud to bring full time Latin Pop Music and English Pop Hits to the Middle Tennessee area. WAMB owner, the late Bill Barry was regarded as modern day pioneer in the Broadcast industry. He was proud to be the first one to bring Hispanic programing to Nashville and had been working with the Silva Entertainment family for over 2 decades. The new format will target first and second generation Latin American Market.

WAMB regrets the end of 42 years of previous programming which included “Big Band” and the music of yesteryear. The family of Bill Barry greatly appreciates the staff, loyal listeners and advertisers that have touched our lives. However, this beautiful music can still be found weekdays from 12 noon until 3pm on WCOR AM 1490.

Information on the new format can be found here — but if you don't speak Spanish, you might have a hard time following along.

Go here to check out an absolutely excellent 2012 photo essay on WAMB by local freelance photog, Nobility member and WAMB listener Stephen Jerkins.

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