WQAM (560 AM, "Miami Sportsradio 560 WQAM") is a South Florida radio station owned by CBS Radio. The call letters WQAM were jokingly claimed to stand for We Quit At Midnight ... since the station signed off at midnight every night until 6:00 the next morning. Its studios are in Miami Gardens and the transmitter is in Virginia Key, Florida.
WQAM is one of Florida's oldest radio stations, receiving its first broadcasting license, issued to the Electrical Equipment Company of Miami, in January 1923. The station's early history was related to WFAW, also of Miami, which was licensed to the The Miami Daily Metropolis from June 16, 1922 to June 11, 1923. In the beginning, the young station was helped with programming by the newspaper, until the paper ended its participation.
Things were primitive in the early days. Fred W. Barton, president of the Miami Broadcasting Company made many of the electrical parts himself. In 1926 the station increased its power to 500 watts. The station was the first in the United States to install a permanent remote pick-up from the U. S. Meteorological Department. Power was increased to 1000 watts in 1928 and WQAM became a full-time affiliate of CBS. In 1947 it switched to ABC Radio. In 1948 Barton sold his interest and The Miami Herald newspaper became the station's owner.
WQAM is famous for its days in the 1960s, under ownership of Storz Broadcasting, when it presented a Top Forty format and competed vigorously with rival WFUN (at 790 AM). In February 1964, the station interviewed and heavily promoted The Beatles' second and third nationally televised appearances on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show live from the Deauville Hotel in North Beach, Miami Beach. By far Miami and South Florida's preeminent radio station at the time, baby boomers from Jupiter to Key West, and down to Havana, listened to WQAM for the latest in local and American pop music from the 1960s well into the late 1970s. At that time, WQAM was one of the many AM radio stations airing Casey Kasem's American Top 40, and Cuban youngsters used to gather at a friend's house to listen to the countdown of America's most popular songs, especially the 8-hour-long year end show of Billboard's top 100 songs of the year which Watermark had put out on vinyl records at a speed of 33. On February 29, 1980, after many years as contemporary music station, competition from FM competitors forced the station to switch to a country music format, but not after running a montage of music and sound bites from its Top 40 days. From that time WQAM was known as 56 Country WQAM and was successful in the ratings and had many veteran DJ's. WQAM shared studio's with then WKQS now WKIS @ 9881 Sheridan Street in Cooper City, FL then owned by Sunshine Wireless.
By 1989, the station had been unable to achieve a full share point in the Arbitron surveys with its mix of country music and sports. In 1990, WQAM had abandoned its country music format in favor of a satellite-delivered service out of Phoenix, Arizona called Kool Gold, the sounds of the `50s and `60s.
Around 1992, WQAM became an all-sports station. Currently, WQAM is the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, and University of Miami Hurricanes flagship station. WQAM ceased broadcasting in HD Radio during daytime hours only, but is simulcast on WPOW HD3.
On October 2, 2014, Beasley Broadcast Group announced that it would trade 5 radio stations located in Miami (including WQAM) and Philadelphia to CBS Radio in exchange for 14 stations located in Tampa, Charlotte and Philadelphia. The swap was completed on December 1, 2014.
Former sports and talk show hosts
- Hank Goldberg – The Hammer host; now at ESPN
- Jim Mandich – The Mad Dog' host
- Sid Rosenberg – host
- Jon Sciambi – now at ESPN.
- Scott Ferrall – now at CBS Radio
- Michael Irvin – "The Playmaker" host; now an analyst on The NFL Network
- Miami Dolphins (1997–2004, 2007–2009, 2016-present)
- Miami Heat (1988–1993, currently on 790 WAXY/104.3 WSFS)
- Florida Marlins (1993–2007, was on 790 WAXY/104.3 WAXY-FM, but is now on 940 WINZ as of November 6, 2013 )
- Florida Panthers (1993–2007, 2010–present)
- University of Miami Hurricanes (1999–present)