In a major conversion at WEEL-AM (1310), the new general manager announced this week that the station would switch to a 24-hour religious talk and music format and change its call letters to WDCT next month.
"This is the newest format in religious radio," said general manager Steve Kovach, a consultant to religious broadcasters for the last 10 years who has engineered the turnaround of 35 stations. WEEL is being purchased by Universal Broadcasting Inc. from the George Mason University Foundation for $750,000. The deal is expected to be finalized March 1.
Mornings will be devoted to teaching and counseling programs, including two well-known shows from James Dobson and Chuck Swindoll. In the afternoon the station will switch to talk and call-in shows. Two will originate from the Fairfax studios, including the national talk show with Beverly and Tim La Haye. The evening programs haven't been finalized yet, because Kovach wants to include the sports schedule of the University of Virginia and George Mason University, which WEEL currently offers.
So far the late-night plans in the 24-hour schedule call for easy-listening religious music. But, said Kovach, "we are also considering an all-night show, a sort of religious Larry King."
The base of the new format will be provided by Moody Broadcasting Network. Both religious and local news programs are included in the format, and will be supplied by International Media Service News and the station's staff.