The callsign WDBO-FM was originally used at the 92.3 MHz frequency, as a sister station to WDBO and WDBO-TV. When Katz Broadcasting bought the radio stations (Katz owned WDBO-TV competitor WFTV, now owned by Cox Communications), WDBO-FM re-formatted as a country music station, and changed its callsign to WWKA. WDBO-TV changed its callsign to WCPX, and later to WKMG.
96.5 in Orlando was previously WHOO-FM, sister to WHOO 990 AM. The station was originally owned by T.K. Communications and sold to Granum Communications in 1994. It was acquired by Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio) before it was traded to Cox, along with WMMO and WHOO so Infinity could acquire WCKG in Chicago. It is referenced in the popular Disney ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
The station had a classic rock format, which lasted 23 years. On February 18, 2011, at 5 p.m., after playing Pride (In The Name Of Love) by U2 and after a commercial set, it announced that it would tweak its classic rock format to add new songs, and modify its moniker to "96 Rock", kicking off the tweaked classic rock format with Alive by Pearl Jam. In addition for WHTQ tweaking their classic rock format, WJRR switched formats back to active rock from alternative rock.
On August 19, 2011 at 5 a.m., WHTQ discarded its classic rock format and began simulcasting News/Talk station WDBO AM 580. The change was due to a decrease in WHTQ's ratings and an effort to move AM stations to FM. The last song played as a rock station was "Sad But True" by Metallica. The rock format had continued on the station's HD Radio signal, 96.5-HD2, for a few months after the switch; however, it has since been removed. Currently, WDBO-FM broadcasts in HD on 96.5 HD1, and has no other HD subchannels.
News • Traffic • Weather
WDBO branded itself as FM-96.5 News-Talk WDBO for much of 2012 to emphasize its new availability on FM radio.
Programming changes occurred in October 2012, when Clark Howard rejoined the station's lineup after an absence of several years. The Neal Boortz Show was shortened to two hours and aired from 9am-11am, which pushed up the local Mel Robbins Show to the 11am-1pm timeslot. These coincided with a change in branding to NewsTalk 96.5 WDBO. Shortly afterward on November 12, 2012, the news/talk format became FM-only, as WDBO AM relaunched as a sports radio station affiliated with ESPN Radio. WDBO became the flagship station for the Orlando Magic Radio Network, with WDBO-FM providing simulcasts.
On April 29, 2013, sweeping changes were made to the station as it was rebranded News 96.5: Orlando′s New 24-HR News, Weather and Traffic. (The branding had been unofficially used by hosts since covering the Boston Marathon bombings.) All on-air references to the call-sign were dropped, aside from hourly IDs. (However, as of late November 2015, the call letters have been reintroduced into the branding; select promos and soundbytes still address the station as News 96.5) A segment known as "The 3 Big Things You Need to Know" was introduced, which provides news updates every 15 minutes beside commercial breaks and show lead-ins. Magic games seemed to stop being simulcasted with no announcement, but currently continue to be broadcast on WDBO AM.
In the morning, The Herman Cain Show was expanded to three hours, while a noon newscast was introduced. Mel Robbins moved to Sunday nights and also started simulcasting on WSB (AM). America Now with Andy Dean′s last two hours were added to the lineup at 7pm, pushing Mark Levin to 9pm.
In December 2013, The Herman Cain Show lost its first hour to Brian Kilmeade's new Fox News Radio morning program Kilmeade And Friends.