WDNG (1450 AM, "Newstalk 1450") is a radio station licensed to serve Anniston, Alabama, USA. The station is owned by WDNG, Inc. We air a News/Talk format and features programming from ABC Radio.
We shifted to a news/talk format during the mid 1980's and very early 1990s. The station first made a mark playing top forty music with a huge local news focus. Our first morning local talk show featured fiery host Ed Benedict in 1985. In time we moved away from music and to all talk and news. This move was made easier by our long time commitment to local news coverage having once operated a three person local news department covering Calhoun and North Talladega Counties. WDNG News was in operation as far back as 1959 under former station owner the late Tom Potts. We were the only Anniston radio station to offer same day coverage of the May 14th, 1961 Freedom Riders bus burning, which is considered one of the landmark events of the Civil Rights era. We often had news reports air on the national level by various employees who worked as "stringers" for the networks.
On March 22, 2009 FBI files were released under a Freedom of Information Act request made by The Anniston Star that included several references to WDNG's coverage of the civil rights movement. In one notable telegram from the Anniston FBI field office station assistant general manager Bobby Price is referred to by name as having reported in a newscast facts surrounding the Willie Brewster murder case. The telegram was went to the Washington office and was directed to J. Edgar Hoover FBI chief at the time. WDNG was at the forefront of coverage of the Brewster slaying. The black man was shot down in July 1965 while driving home from work at an Anniston pipe shop. A white man was convicted in the murder in December 1965 by an all white all male jury. WDNG news provided national radio coverage of the trial for several news organizations (UPI and Mutal Radio News) under the leadership of then station News Director Dave Fitz. So strong was WDNG's coverage of the civil rights movement that the station's transmitter building was bombed in the early 1960s. The case was never solved, but it was thought to be an act of violence aimed at it for its news coverage of various stories dealing with the civil rights movement in Anniston.