WSPZ (570 AM) — branded SportsTalk 570 — is a sports radio station licensed to Bethesda, Maryland and serving the Washington metro area. It has a daytime power of 5,000 watts from a transmitter in Germantown, Maryland.
WSPZ's current programming is sports radio, chiefly as an all-network complement to sister station WTEM. It is the flagship for Yahoo! Sports Radio's morning show hosted by WTEM afternoon personality Steve Czaban, and carries the ESPN Radio programming lineup throughout the rest of the day, while WTEM has an all-local lineup. WSPZ also airs Virginia Cavaliers football and select Baltimore Orioles games not aired on WTEM.
In the 1960s through the early 1990s, WSPZ was WGMS, broadcasting classical music. A proposal in the 1970s to convert WGMS to a Top-40 station upset many of its influential listeners; WGMS received an exception from the then-existing rule to simulcast its programming with its sister station, WGMS-FM.
WGMS was sold to Washington, D.C. venture capitalists Steven and Mitchell Rales, which converted the music station into WTEM, a sports-talk station, on May 24, 1992. Chancellor Broadcasting purchased the station in August 1996. Chancellor Broadcasting restructured and became known as AMFM Inc. in 1999. In 2000, AMFM Inc. merged with Clear Channel Communications.
As Chancellor gained ownership of more stations in the area, WTEM moved to 980 kHz and WWRC was reassigned to 570 kHz on March 9, 1998. On April 9, 2001, WWRC moved to 1260 kHz and the callsign of 570 kHz was replaced by WTNT. The original slogan was "Dynamite Talk" (which was dropped in 2005) and since their launch has aired a variety of conservative-leaning syndicated programming. These past programs included local hosts Michael Graham and Paul Berry, and syndicated shows hosted by G. Gordon Liddy, Don Imus, Bill Bennett, Monica Crowley, Mike Gallagher, Mancow, Glenn Beck and Jim Bohannon, in addition to Coast to Coast AM.
On September 15, 2008, WTNT was branded as "McCain 570" while maintaining its conservative talk plus news coverage from Fox News. (WWRC was likewise dubbed "Obama 1260.") The temporary branding lasted throughout the 2008 Presidential Election. On November 10, 2008, WTNT was renamed "Freedom 570," and eventually retook the "570 WTNT" brand early in 2010.
For several months in 2009, Ed Schultz aired in middays in a dramatic contrast to the rest of the schedule. Schultz was the most successful show that aired on then-sister station WWRC, which had dropped their progressive talk format for business news programming. Schultz was eventually replaced by Jeff Kuhner, and after WWRC was sold to Salem Communications to become an outlet for that chain's conservative talk radio format, the highest-rated host on WWRC's business lineup, Ray Lucia, moved into Kuhner's slot, displacing him to late afternoons.
The final programming lineup for WTNT's talk radio lineup included Talk Radio Network products "America's Morning News" (which, until late August 2010, was produced in conjunction with the Washington Times), Laura Ingraham, Jerry Doyle, Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie. (In the case of "America's Morning News" and Laura Ingraham, WTNT served as the flagship station for both shows.) Frank Gaffney and Lars Larson (the latter distributed by Compass Media Networks) were also carried, in addition to a live and local midday show hosted by Kuhner. Tony Kornheiser's midday talk show on WTEM was replayed in the overnight hours.
In late summer 2010, WTNT changed to an all-sports format, and was rebranded as "SportsTalk 570," a partial throwback to WTEM's former "SportsTalk 980" nickname and logo. The station changed callsigns to WSPZ that October 18, after Red Zebra sold off the 730 kHz facility to Metro Radio, which picked up WTNT's call letters and previous conservative talk format.