WTLS began broadcasting in 1954. The original owner was Bert Bank, former state senator and founder of the Alabama Radio Network; now the Crimson Tide Sports Network, provider of University of Alabama sports broadcasts. The radio station's first engineer, Ned Butler, purchased the radio station from Bank in 1957. Butler put the first FM station in Tuscaloosa on the air for Bank in 1953. In addition, Butler built stations in Ozark, Luverne and Talladega in the 1950s.
The WTLS station manager for decades was Betty Butler (Ned's wife). Betty also hosted a morning show, Coffee Time, which featured styrofoam puppets "Happy" & "Menace." Harold Shedd, original producer of the Country music group, Alabama, worked for Butler in 1956. In 1970, Steve Butler (Ned's son), made WTLS the first All-Country radio station in Central Alabama.
Third generation broadcaster Michael Butler (Steve's son), took over the operation in 1999 after working as Program Director for a Montgomery radio group. Akin to the early days with Betty and Ned, Michael's wife Leigh Anne serves as WTLS station manager today. Michael Butler Broadcasting also owns and operates Tallassee Times, an-online newspaper.
WTLS has a sports/talk format, featuring a local morning show, The Wake-Up Call, with Michael, Shane Yankey, Trey Taylor, Gary Buchanan, and Carl Wayne Mullins, the brother of the late "Dr. Earl Fever," a former disc jockey at the station.
Other popular programs include nationally syndicated talk show hosts, Dennis Miller, Dave Ramsey and Phil Hendrie. Local sportwriter Graham Dunn hosts River Region Sports. Paul Finebaum, a highly acclaimed Birmingham-based columnist and air talent, hosts Alabama's most popular sportstalk show every afternoon. The weekend line-up includes, "80's Flashback Parking Lot Fridays," with Ryan Merrett and Keith Chambers, plus 80's and More Music. WTLS also broadcasts live play-by-play sports, including Tallassee Tigers' high school football, basketball and baseball. Football broadcasts are on Bright House Networks Public-access television cable TV Channel 15. All programming is streamed live on the WTLS website.
WTLS was the flagship station for the long-running program, Prep Sports Weekly, a statewide high school sports show with Doug Amos & Rick Cleveland that first aired in 1994. WTLS also has produced the regionally syndicated, In the Trenches, featuring former Alabama Crimson Tide center Roger Shultz and former Auburn Tigers quarterback Stan White. Yellowhammer Outdoors with Wes Allen, a daily production of WTLS, was also distributed throughout Alabama. In 2013, WTLS began producing the Lindy's Football Report, a weekly program airing on stations throughout Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
Michael Butler received the 2004 Greater Tallassee Area Chamber of Commerce "Business Person of the Year," award. WTLS was presented the Alabama Broadcasters Association "Station of the Year" in 2007.
In October 2007, WTLS began broadcasting on an FM translator at 106.5 FM (W293BK). WTLS was one of the first radio stations in the country authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast with this type of license. The broadcast facility is located in the Tallassee Industrial Park on the west bank of the Tallapoosa River.
In November of 2011, WTLS erected a new 430-foot tower in West Tallassee to broadcast its FM signal. The FCC approved the upgrade in power to 250 watts for the translator. The directional antenna has improved the signal on FM into Montgomery, Wetumpka, Millbrook, Prattville and portions of the Lake Martin area. The AM frequency continues to be transmitted from the studio site.