WFLZ-FM (93.3 FM, "93-3 FLZ") is a Top 40 (CHR) station broadcasting in the Tampa Bay area, Florida, United States. Owned and operated by iHeartMedia, the station has a class C signal operating at 97,000 watts effective radiated power, and is one of the most powerful FM radio stations in Florida, covering four of the state's radio markets. The station's studios are located in South Tampa and the transmitter site is in Riverview.
|Broadcast area||Tampa Bay area, Florida Suncoast, Nature Coast, Central Florida|
|Slogan||Tampa Bay's #1 Hit Music Channel|
|Frequency||93.3 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1948 (as WFLA-FM)|
|Format||Top 40 (CHR) |
HD2: Pride Radio
|ERP||97,000 watts (Analog)|
MAX: 100,000 watts (Analog)
3,860 watts (Digital)
|HAAT||472 meters (1,549 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||disambiguation of WFLA calls (for FLorida), using opposite-end Z for last call letter|
|Former callsigns||WFLA-FM (1948-1981)|
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WBTP, WDAE, WFLA, WFUS, WHNZ, WMTX, WXTB|
The early years
The station began in 1948 as WFLA-FM, one of Tampa Bay's, and Florida's, first FM stations. For most of its early life, WFLA-FM carried a light, "beautiful music" format. The station was owned by The Tampa Tribune, which also owned WFLA and WFLA-TV in Tampa. In 1966, the Tribune and its three stations were sold to Richmond Newspapers, which became Media General in 1969.
In 1981, after spending most of its early life as a beautiful music station, it changed to a country format, as WOJC, "Orange Country 93". However, it was unable to compete against country powerhouses at the time, WSUN and WQYK-FM.
In the mid-1980s, it changed again to a more-conventional adult contemporary format, bringing back the WFLA-FM calls and using the name "93 FLA". While it was a little more successful, it still faced competition from WNLT and WIQI.
It was then reformatted into WPDS ("Paradise 93"), a soft adult contemporary formatted station, but this too was unsuccessful.
WFLA-FM and its AM sister, WFLA, were purchased by Jacor Broadcasting in 1988. It changed its calls to WFLZ and soon changed to oldies, as "Z93". Competing against WHBO, it lasted only a year. The Tampa Bay radio landscape change was influenced by a St. Petersburg Times "Favorite DJ" contest. WHBO won the mail-in voting contest. WRBQ cried foul, claiming ballot stuffing. Regardless, this episode suggested to Jacor that WFLZ had significant competition from a little AM station, and it suggested that longtime CHR WRBQ might not be insurmountable.
The birth of The Power Pig
During a week of stunting in September 1989, including an hour of an urban contemporary micro-format, Z93 DJs demanded that WRBQ-FM (known as "Q105") pay them up to $4 million if they wanted to remain the only Top 40 station in the Tampa Bay market. Q105 didn’t budge, ignoring the demands and now parodies of the Q jocks airing on Z93. They also had to ignore the daily newspaper and TV news coverage the ransom request was receiving. Not one to be ignored, station manager Randy Michaels gave the go ahead for the change. Before the flip officially occurred, at 8:15 AM on the 25th, Z93 DJs Jack Harris & Dr. Don Carpenter called Q105’s owner, Gary Edens, at a private hotel room on the other coast (5:15a.m. Gary’s time) waking him up to offer him one last chance to pay the now $4 million ransom to keep Z93 from switching to Top 40. Live on 93.3 then, Gary's response was just truly simple: “Come on guys! Looking forward to it. Let’s go! Have a happy day!” For Gary had just said the magic words that launched “Power 93, The Power Pig". The first song under the new format was "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul. The station aggressively targeted Q105 with promotions such as handing out "Screw The Q" T-shirts at various on the street events. Within 71 days of the format flip, The Power Pig had taken over first place in the Tampa market from Q105.
In March 1995, The Power Pig dropped its aggressive image and change to "93-3 FLZ". Its slogan was "The New Music Revolution". FLZ disc jockey Bubba the Love Sponge soon syndicated to WJBT in Jacksonville for 2 hours. For a few months, WFLZ simulcasted on KHTS-FM in San Diego as a CHR format was created for that market. In 1998, Jacor Broadcasting was acquired by Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia), putting WFLZ under the same roof as its former competitor, WRBQ, until it was sold off to Infinity Broadcasting. This created an awkward situation, as the staff of WRBQ, who were subject to personal attacks from WFLZ, had moved to higher positions in Clear Channel that oversaw their old rivals at WFLZ.
In 2000, the station underwent a slight re-imaging, adopting a new logo and the slogan "The #1 Hit Music Channel" and long time morning man and operations manager BJ Harris left WFLZ for Cincinnati to do afternoons and PD work. MJ remained at mornings on WFLZ, turning it into The MJ Morning Show. The station was the flagship station for the MJ Morning Show hosted by Todd Schnitt, which was also played on other Clear Channel FM stations in Florida and Missouri.
Upon the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' victory at the Super Bowl, WFLZ changed its branding to 93.3 B-U-C temporarily. In 2004, it earned the "CHR Station of the Year" and "CHR Personality of the Year" (for Kane) awards in the Radio Music Awards. In 2011, it was named FMQB "CHR Station of the Year".
On January 19, 2012, Clear Channel announced that after 18 years, the MJ Morning Show would be discontinued. The final broadcast was on February 17, 2012. Clear Channel announced that the Kane Show would take over the morning spot.
On April 4, 2014, radio DJs Jeff Daly and Josh Foreman, also known as Ratboy and Staypuff, announced they would be moving to Philadelphia to host an afternoon-drive slot from 3 to 7 pm at WIOQ. They thanked fans for listening for many years. Radio DJ Nathan "Brody" Halegua took over the slot from 7 pm to midnight on April 7.
On October 30, 2015, at 3:00 PM Eastern Time, WFLZ temporarily changed its name to Taylor 93.3 with a Halloween-themed logo, as the name change fell on Halloween and Taylor Swift's last concert in her 1989 World Tour in the U.S. was in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium.
Today, 93.3 FLZ remains the number 1 top-40 radio station in Tampa Bay with an audience of over 800,000 tuning in each week.
WFLZ-FM's HD2 subchannel, which signed on in 2006, programs a Dance format that since its inception has hosted different incarnations of the genre. At the start, it was launched as an extension of its popular weekend mix show The House Party. In 2015 the station adopted the "Evolution" EDM brand, but customized for Tampa-St. Petersburg listeners, billed as "Evolution 93.3 Tampa Bay." The station also served as a reporter to Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay Chart, in part due to having more of a local content apart from the national "Evolution" network.
- WFLZ Becomes The Power Pig from Format Change Archive September 25, 2014
- "MJ Calls It A Day At WFLZ" from All Access (January 19, 2012).
- iHeartMedia Expands Pride Radio to 12 Additional Markets
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WFLZ
- Radio-Locator information on WFLZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WFLZ