Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pepsi Bottling Radio?

The Dr. Pepper&Pepsi Cola Bottler of Dyersburg, TN owns two radio stations. 100.1 WASL-FM and 1450 WTRO-AM. At first blush it would appear to be a bit of a non sequitur. What's the synergy (to use the modern colloquial) between bottling fizzy drinks and broadcasting?

The Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dyersburg was founded in 1935 by A.D. Burks. his son W.E. Burks was elected president of the company in 1969. At about the same time WASL-FM signed on as WTRO-FM.
  WTRO-AM was originally licensed on 1330 kHz in 1957 owned by McQueen & Co.100.1 WASL signed on in 1968 in Stereo as WTRO-FM also owned by McQueen & Co. In 1971, W.E. Burks purchased the Pepsi-Cola franchise creating the Dr Pepper & Pepsi bottling co. In 1976 WTRO-FM became WASL-FM, probably toward the end of a simulcast. In 1983 W.E. Burks bought the pair of stations, The Broadcasting Yearbook listed the owner as MDR &Co. In 1987 they changed the name to The Dr. Pepper & Pepsi Bottling Co.

WDSG-AM was first licensed in 1946 under the ownership of the Dyersburg State Gazette. In those days five other newspapers also owned radio stations: WOPI-AM owned by the Bristol Herald-Courier, WTJS-AM owned by the Jackson Sun Newspaper, WKPT-AM owned by the Kingsport Times News, WNOX-AM owned by the Knoxville News Sentinel, and WMC-AM owned by the Memphis Commercial Appeal. That always made sense to me mass media is mass media. There is an obvious connection between print and broadcasting. In 1992 WDSG-AM was deleted and WTRO-AM moved to their 1450 frequency.

The presently own 97.3 WTNV which for the life of me I don't know when they bought. I know it was between 1995 and 2006 and that the previous calls were WOGY. I read that only in 2009 into the new studios with Burks Dr.pepper and Pepsi building just of hwy 211 north.They are now literally inside the bottling plant. I don't know what they're doing, but it's clearly working. By comparison, not a single one of those five newspapers still owns a radio station. (Interesting to note that all 5 stations and all 5 newspapers all still exist)