Naming of Radio Road
One of the questions people ask all the time is how the roads in Naples got their names. The Naples Daily News offers an “In the Know” section on Monday and Wednesdays in their on-line publication at www.naplesnews.com. It is worth reading as it answers all kinds of question. One reader asked how Radio Road got its name and this is the answer: the road was named after Naples' first radio station, WNOG, which had its transmission towers off Radio Road for nearly 30 years.
WNOG, broadcasting at 1270 AM with call letters said to denote “Wonderful Naples on the Gulf,” went on the air in 1954. Its original studio and transmitters were not located on what would be named Radio Road, though. WNOG’s initial home was on Palm Street, off U.S. 41 East, until Hurricane Donna hit Naples in September 1960, flooding the radio station and changing the local landscape. In 1961, WNOG relocated more inshore just south of what was known as County Road 856, an unpaved, east-west access road into what then was the wilderness off Airport Road in East Naples. The station’s two towers were just south of where Rick Johnson Auto & Tire is today on Radio Road, according to Collier County’s Growth Management Division.
Across Radio Road, near where Corporate Square industrial park is now, was the initial site of the swamp buggy races before the Mile ‘O Mud track was created off Rattlesnake Hammock Road. This area also was an early home for the Collier County fair, a horse ring and the Collier County Speedway, which hosted stock car races every Saturday night, said Jack Spiess, a local radio and television engineer who began at WNOG about 40 years ago.
WNOG’s towers were moved from Radio Road to their current location in northern Collier County between 1988 and 1990, said Jim Schwartzel, owner of the radio station. Now a sports talk network, WNOG is actually a simulcast of WFWN 1240 AM, a sister Sun Broadcasting sports radio station licensed to Fort Myers. Today, two radio stations are transmitted from a four- tower array located on 18 acres on Massey Street, a small road off the north side of Vanderbilt Beach Road extension, Spiess said. This site also once was in a secluded part of the county, but it is quickly becoming an island between at least three future residential developments. Mockingbird Crossing and Canopy are under construction to its east and west, respectively. WNOG has a connection to the names of a couple of other local thoroughfares. Former Collier County Commissioner Dick Goodlette, who first was the radio station’s general manager from 1954 to 1956, is one of the namesakes of Goodlette-Frank Road. The name of the north-south corridor is shared with a nod to Ed Frank, the developer of the original swamp buggy. Frank operated an early auto repair shop near where Goodlette-Frank meets U.S. 41 East.
Source: 2015 Journal Media Group.
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