Jumping into the Motivation Market, Joe Nuckols Gives America Its First Self-Help Station

UPDATED 04/18/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/18/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

Horatio Alger would be all ears. So would Dale Carnegie, if his shade could somehow tune in to Pompano Beach, Fla., radio station WWNN-AM (Winner's News Network). And why not? For 24 relentlessly upbeat hours daily, WWNN airs nothing but taped pep talks from such motivational cheerleaders as Wayne (Pulling Your Own Strings) Dyer, Leo (Living, Loving & Learning) Buscaglia and Norman Vincent (The Power of Positive Thinking) Peale. Listening to WWNN's "news you can use," its audience learns to lose weight, fatten the bank account, meet a mate, bring up baby and do it all with less stress. Yes, folks, on the heels of all-news, all-sports and all-business radio, America now has an all-self-help radio station.

What a depressing thought, some might say, but no one can deny WWNN's success. The station expects to gross $1 million in revenues by its first anniversary in August, an exceptional performance for a small, 5,000-watt operation. "There's a hunger out there for self-improvement," says Joe Nuckols, 40, WWNN's president, general manager and principal owner. "If your dominant thoughts are success oriented and positive, that's what you're going to get out of life."

Nuckols practices what he broadcasts. A Richmond native, he got the idea for Winner's News while he was general manager of a nostalgia station in Palm Beach. After he happened to hear an uplifting tape by Zig (See You at the Top) Ziglar, Nuckols says, "I thought why not do this as a whole format and play hit ideas instead of hit records?" His wife of 15 years, Terry, is hardly a down-in-the-mouth sort either. Her reaction when she learned her husband had quit his job, raised $1.4 million and bought the Pompano Beach station? "I was 100 percent behind him," says Terry, 44, WWNN's office manager.

Critics who make fun of the format hardly ruffle Joe. "I love it," he insists. "So many listeners have found us because of others talking about us." Then Nuckols leans back in his office chair and listens once again to WWNN's jingle: For winners only/ Take hold of your fate/ The future looks great/ For winners only.

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