|Broadcast area||Washington, D.C.|
|Branding||Federal News Radio|
|Slogan||Your source for federal news... now.|
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||September 25, 1926 (in Brooklyn; moved to Washington in 1927)|
|Format||News Talk Information|
|Transmitter coordinates||39°02′31″N 77°02′47″W / 39.04194°N 77.04639°W|
|Callsign meaning||FEDeral News Radio|
1250 kHz (1927)|
1470 kHz (1927)
1480 kHz (1927-1928)
1460 kHz (1928-1941)
Voice of America
Hubbard Broadcasting |
(Washington DC FCC License Sub, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBQH, WTOP-FM/WWWT-FM|
WFED (1500 AM) is a 50,000 watt Class A radio station in the Washington, D.C. region. The station broadcasts a news, talk and information format targeted towards U.S. government employees under the moniker Federal News Radio.
WFED transmits with a power of 50,000 watts continuously. While it is the most powerful AM radio station in the city, WFED has a nighttime signal oriented north-south to avoid interference with sister station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota; KSTP is also a 50,000 watt Class A station on 1500 AM. WFED's signal can be heard across most of the eastern half of North America with a good radio, and is often heard by radio enthusiasts in Europe. WFED recently became a Primary Entry Point station for the Emergency Alert System. In 2006, the station began broadcasting in digital "HD Radio", utilizing iBiquity Digital Corp.'s IBOC (in-band on-channel) technology. As of July 1, 2017, WFED is also available on WTOP-FM-HD2 in the Washington, D.C. area. Its daytime signal provides secondary coverage to large portions of Maryland (including Baltimore) and Virginia.
Formation of Federal News Radio
The format itself was launched by Bonneville International, owners of terrestrial-based all-news station WTOP, as FederalNewsRadio.com—the first Internet-only all news station, and the first Internet station to make the jump to terrestrial radio—on February 22, 2000. For some time before then, WTOP had significant listenership among federal employees, and many of them had emailed the station asking for more coverage tailored to federal employees.
The programming concept has changed little to this day, except that the Associated Press' All News Radio service originally filled in during the overnight hours, as a complement to WTOP.
Federal News Radio is one of a few radio stations that originated on the Internet prior to moving onto a traditional broadcasting signal. It first found a home on the radio dial in 2004, on the 1050 kHz frequency licensed to Silver Spring, Maryland; that station was founded in 1946 as beautiful music station WGAY, but had become business radio station WPLC by 2004, when Bonneville bought the station and converted it to Federal News Radio and the WFED call letters.
When AP All News Radio was terminated, the station began an affiliation with CNN Headline News, which itself was phased out in 2007 by provider Westwood One. In November 2007, the 1050 frequency increased its daytime power from 1 kW to 3.5 kW in order to better reach the government office workers in Washington, D.C. who comprise its core audience.
"Washington Post Radio"
The current WFED, along with WWFD, WWWT-FM and W282BA, were former frequencies and simulcasts of WTOP. On March 30, 2006, WTOP transitioned entirely to FM, with 1500 AM (previously the main frequency) and 107.7 becoming "Washington Post Radio" under the calls WTWP and WTWP-FM, respectively.
The primary AM station was one of the oldest frequencies in the capital. It had originally been founded as Brooklyn, New York station WTRC in 1926, moving to Washington in 1927 as WJSV. A series of power increases culminated in its current 50,000-watt facility in Wheaton in 1940. The call letters became WTOP in 1943.
WWWT-FM had operated as a simulcast of WTOP since 1998. WWFD had simulcast WTOP since 2001 (and carried the WTOP calls on the AM band following the sign-on of WTWP) before switching to a simulcast of WTWP as WTWT on June 28, 2007.
As WTWP, these stations provided news and commentary during the weekday hours in a long-form style similar to that of National Public Radio, but on a commercial station staffed and programmed jointly by the Washington Post and WTOP. From 8 PM to 5 AM ET, the station was programmed as a general interest talk radio station, featuring hosts such as Clark Howard, Larry King and Jim Bohannon. On weekends, WTWP rebroadcast programs produced by Radio Netherlands and George Washington University.
WWWT: "Talk Radio 3WT"
Bonneville International officially launched personality driven talk format Talk Radio 3WT, with the WWWT call letters on September 20, 2007 (with 820 using the call letters WWWB). The call letters stood for "Whatever We Want" talk radio from the station's imaging. The morning show with David Burd and Jessica Doyle was retained along with all live sporting events, The Tony Kornheiser Show and automotive commentator Pat Goss. Syndicated talkers Neal Boortz, Bill O'Reilly, Randi Rhodes and Phil Hendrie were initially added to the lineup, as was a simulcast of sister station KSL's Nightside with Michael Castner overnight program. Stephanie Miller was added in November after the Washington Nationals' season ended, and Glenn Beck was added, replacing Randi Rhodes on the 1500 and 107.7 frequencies, in January 2008.
WWWT remained a member of the CBS Radio Network (WTOP was a charter affiliate and formerly owned by in the 1930s and 1940s, and WTWP was also an affiliate in its short life), and retransmitted the audio portion of the CBS television shows Face the Nation and 60 Minutes. Also surviving the change in format were Larry King and Jim Bohannon, who were carried in the late-night time slots, although King's show was phased out (as part of a nationwide phaseout of all CNN television simulcasts) by Westwood One in 2008.
On August 11, 2008, Bonneville announced the canning of 3WT. WWWT-FM began simulcasting WTOP-FM (which kept its two other frequencies), while WFED took over WWWT and WWWB's signals. August 11 was the last day for the morning show, The Inner Loop, with David Burd and his team. Even with the 2007 power increase, WFED's nighttime coverage was severely limited on 1050 AM; it had to reduce power to an all-but-unlistenable 44 watts at sunset. The move to the capital's most powerful AM facility also significantly improved WFED's daytime coverage as well.
Sports that had been broadcast on 3WT continued on 1500 kHz and 820 kHz. The stations remained the flagships of Washington Nationals baseball until 2011, when the team changed its primary station to WJFK-FM.
Bonneville announced the sale of WFED and WWFD, as well as 15 other stations, to Hubbard Broadcasting on January 19, 2011; this put WFED under common ownership with KSTP, Hubbard's flagship station and the other clear-channel station on 1500 kHz. The sale was completed on April 29, 2011.
Cully Stimson controversy
On January 11, 2007, while being interviewed on WFED's morning program The Federal Drive, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Charles "Cully" Stimson criticized some major U.S. law firms for representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay free of charge. Stimson further suggested that U.S. corporations who retained these same U.S. law firms should reconsider their associations with those firms. His comments drew immediate criticism from legal scholars, professional legal associations and the ACLU, and even the Pentagon itself sought to distance itself and the Bush administration from Stimson's comments. Although he apologized a few days later, on February 2, 2007 Stimson resigned his position with the Pentagon, saying he believed the flap would prevent him from effectively doing his job. The controversy broadened the reputation of Federal News Radio, however, as the station's morning hosts and reporters were interviewed by news organizations around the world about the controversy.
WFED's weekday programming consists primarily of original news and talk content for Federal government employees, the Senior Executive Service, and contractors. While most of this programming airs on a daily basis, various programming is rotated in the midday hours. This programming, in the past, has included several Voice of America programs, including Issues in the News, Press Conference USA, and Our World. WFED also carries syndicated host Jim Bohannon, which was carried over from WWWT after its discontinuation. Most weekend programming on WFED is a mix of brokered programming and replays of weekday programming.
WFED is the flagship station for George Washington Colonials basketball, and American Eagles basketball. It also carries selected Navy Midshipmen football, basketball and lacrosse games as an affiliate station. WFED is the flagship station of the Washington Wizards. The station was dropped as the flagship of the Washington Nationals Radio Network in favor of WJFK-FM in 2011. WJFK-FM also replaced WFED as the flagship of the Washington Capitals radio network beginning in the 2012-13 season. WFED temporarily returned as the Capitals' flagship in the 2016-17 season when the team and WJFK-FM owner CBS Radio could not extend their agreement.
WFED lost its flagship status with the Nationals and Capitals in part because it only provides a grade B signal to some of Washington's western suburbs, even as close in as Fairfax. However, it remains an affiliate of both teams' radio networks. This allows the Nationals and Capitals to take advantage of the station's extended nighttime coverage along the East Coast, especially when either team makes the playoffs.
- "Radio Sputnik Off WTOP - 6/29". www.dcrtv.com. June 29, 2017. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- Farhi, Paul (August 28, 2007). "With Low Ratings, Post Radio Venture To End Next Month". The Washington Post.
- Federal News Radio Expands to Full Market Signal (3wtradio.com)
- "$505M sale: Bonneville sells Chicago, D.C., St. Louis and Cincinnati to Hubbard". Radio-Info.com. January 19, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
- WTOP news radio to be sold to Minnesota broadcaster
- "Hubbard deal to purchase Bonneville stations closes". Radio Ink. May 2, 2011. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- "Pentagon Official Who Criticized Detainee Lawyers Quits", The Washington Post (February 7, 2007), p. A06.
- "'Cully' Stimson Stepping Down", Federal News Radio (February 2, 2007).]
- "Capitals 2012-13 Regular-Season Schedule". NHL.com.
- Steinberg, Dan (4 October 2017). "Capitals radio broadcasts will return to 106.7 The Fan this season". Washington Post.