Although WSB is licensed for using the technology, it is not currently broadcasting in HD Radio. The HD Radio system has apparently been turned off due to listener complaints. WSB programming is simulcast in HD radio on sister station 97.1 WSRV's HD-2 sub channel.
WSB was the first radio station in the South, and the callsign stands for "Welcome South Brother. Founded by the Atlanta Journal newspaper (once a competitor of the Atlanta Constitution, now merged), the station began broadcasting on March 15, 1922. The station was only authorized to broadcast weather bulletins at first, receiving its full license later that year. In February, 1924, Lambdin Kay called Art Gillham "The Whispering Pianist" while performing on WSB, a name he used in billing on Columbia Records, radio and theatre. Gillham returned to WSB in 1937 for regular programs. In 1927, WSB became an NBC radio affiliate; in fact, the trademark three-tone NBC chimes were first played in the WSB studios. In 1939, the Journal newspaper and WSB radio station were sold to James Middleton Cox, the founder of what would become Cox Enterprises.
Wright Bryan, a WSB news reporter as well as managing editor of the Atlanta Journal, was also a stringer for NBC during World War II. He was the first war correspondent to broadcast an eyewitness account of the D-Day invasion from London in the early hours of June 6, 1944.
Elmo Ellis, who programmed WSB in the 1950s and 1960s, is remembered fondly as an innovator among Southern broadcasters. He provided the on-air editorials for the station, and in the 1960s, consistently supported civil rights.
From 1925 to 1956, WSB radio, along with sisters WSB-FM and WSB-TV (Channel 8, later Channel 2), operated out of the top floor of the Atlanta Biltmore Hotel in lower Midtown. Afterward, the WSB stations broadcast from a Colonial-style mansion specially built for broadcasting, informally known as White Columns, also located in Midtown, where Peachtree Street crosses West Peachtree Street near Ansley Park. In 1998, all of the Cox Radio stations located in the Atlanta radio market, as well as WSB-TV, moved into "Digital White Columns" on the same property.
WSB formerly broadcast in AM stereo using the Motorola C-QuAM system during the 1980s, a period when music could still be heard on the station. However, as WSB's format progressed to a full time News/Talk radio format by the late 1980s, the AM stereo system was turned off.
Two WSB talk-show hosts, Neal Boortz (political talk) and Clark Howard (consumer advice and travel), became so popular in the late 1990s that they received national syndication deals through Cox Radio. Neal Boortz and Clark Howard can now be heard on talk stations across the U.S. Other on-air news and features personalities include "Captain" Herb Emory (traffic weekdays/auto racing show weekends), Scott Slade (morning news), Kirk Mellish (weather), Walter Reeves (gardening), and Mike Kavanagh (financial advice).
In April 2006, WSB began airing "The Allen Hunt Show" hosted by Allen Hunt on Sunday nights from 6 - 8 p.m. In March 2007, WSB added an extra hour to the Sunday night show and a second night - Saturdays from 9-11 pm. In July 2007, The Allen Hunt Show was picked up on WSB sister stations WOKV (Jacksonville) and WHIO (Dayton). Three months later in October, they signed with Jones Radio Network to syndicate its Sunday night show and can currently be heard in 16 markets. Allen Hunt is not the network studio producer for UGA Football and men's basketball broadcast, that would be Alan Hunt, in his 12th year at WSB and the UGA Network.
WSB airs a show hosted by Herman Cain, 2004 Republican US Senate Candidate. "The Herman Cain Show" is syndicated to several other stations in the southeastern U.S. by Cox Radio. WSB carries nationally syndicated shows by Sean Hannity (political talk), Kim Komando (computing), Michael Savage (political talk), and Bill Handel (law talk).
Before national syndication, Sean Hannity appeared locally on rival WGST in Atlanta and developed a strong local following before being hired by the Fox News Channel, and later ABC Radio. Hannity had replaced Boortz on WGST when Boortz left for WSB in 1992 (although Boortz did not appear on WSB until March 1993 because of a non-compete clause he had with WGST).In 2001 when Hannity's radio show first went national WSB would air Hanity's show during overnight hours or on nights when there were no Atlanta Braves or Hawks games. In early 2002 WSB began airing Hanity live. Clark Howard's show was also on WGST in the 1980s and very early 1990s.
WSB (AM) serves as the Atlanta flagship radio station for the University of Georgia Bulldog Radio Network, carrying all UGA NCAA college football and NCAA college basketball games. WSB has also served as the flagship station for Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball, Atlanta Falcons NFL Football, and Atlanta Hawks NBA basketball. WSB carried Atlanta Braves baseball coverage from 1966, when the Braves moved from Milwaukee, until 1991. In 1992, the Atlanta Braves game coverage moved to rival WGST until 1994. In 1995, the Braves coverage returned to WSB,the year the Braves won their only World Series Title. That same year the Atlanta Hawks game coverage was also picked up by the station. From 1995 until 2004, WSB was branded as the "Sports Voice of the South", carrying play-by-play game coverage of Braves baseball, Hawks basketball, and UGA college football and college basketball.