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|Broadcast area||Cincinnati metropolitan area|
|Slogan||"THE Talk Station"|
|First air date||May 1924|
|Power||5,000 watts day|
1,000 watts night
|Call sign meaning||W Kodel Radio Company" (former owner)|
|Former call signs||WFBW (1924)|
|Affiliations||NBC News Radio|
Premiere Radio Networks
Talk Radio Network
Westwood One Network
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
WKRC (550 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station owned by iHeartMedia and licensed to Cincinnati, Ohio. Broadcasting under the branding of 55KRC, the station airs a talk radio format. The studios are on Montgomery Road in Cincinnati, and the transmitter is in Cold Spring, Kentucky. WKRC operates at 5,000 watts by day and 1,000 watts at night.
WKRC is co-owned with another Cincinnati iHeartMedia talk station, 700 WLW. While WLW airs mostly local talk and sports programming, WKRC largely carries nationally syndicated talk shows. WKRC is the former sister station to Channel 12 WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, both having been owned by Taft Broadcasting and later Clear Channel Communications (now known as iHeartMedia), until the television station was sold to Newport Television, LLC.
Despite the similarities in their call letters, WKRC was not the inspiration behind the television show WKRP in Cincinnati. The show's creator, Hugh Wilson, wrote the premise based on his experiences at WQXI in Atlanta. The similarity of the two sets of call letters was used as a joke on the program.
Weekdays begin with a local AM drive time talk show hosted by Brian Thomas. It is followed by nationally syndicated shows include Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Mark Levin, Clyde Lewis, & Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.
Weekends include shows on gardening, cooking, cars, computers, money and real estate. A Premiere Networks syndicated home improvement show, At Home with Gary Sullivan is based at WKRC and airs Saturdays and Sundays. Most hours begin with world and national news from NBC News Radio. Some local news and weather is provided by Channel 19 WXIX-TV, the Fox Network affiliate in Cincinnati.
WKRC is one of the oldest radio stations in Ohio. It was first licensed in May 1924 to the Ainsworth-Gates Radio Co. of Cincinnati, and was issued the sequentially assigned call letters WFBW.
The station changed its call sign to WMH beginning on June 14, 1924. (An earlier WMH, which was Cincinnati's first broadcasting station, had been operated by the Precision Equipment Company until January 1923.)
In 1925, the station was purchased by the Kodel Radio Corporation. Kodel changed the call letters to WKRC to match its initials. WKRC was a charter member of the CBS Radio Network, and was one of the 16 stations that aired the first CBS network program on September 18, 1927. WKRC carried the CBS line up of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio."
CBS purchased WKRC in November 1931, turning it into an owned and operated station. CBS sold it to The Cincinnati Times-Star in September 1939. The Times-Star was owned by the Taft Family, and this purchase was the genesis of Taft Broadcasting, with WKRC as its flagship station.
In 1947, Taft signed on an FM station at 101.9 MHz. The FM station used its own call sign at first, WCTS, which stood for Cincinnati Times-Star. It later switched to WKRC-FM and today is WKRQ. In 1949, Taft Broadcasting added Cincinnati's second television station, Channel 11 WKRC-TV (now on Channel 12).
As network programming moved from radio to television in the 1950s, 550 WKRC switched to a full service middle of the road (MOR) music format and was an affiliate of the ABC Entertainment Radio Network.
In the 1980s, the music moved from MOR to adult contemporary.
On November 29, 1992, after Jacor acquired the station via a local marketing agreement (LMA), WKRC began stunting with a computerized countdown. A week later, WKRC debuted a new talk radio format as WLWA, a complementary service to WLW. In 1994, the failed attempt became 550 WCKY, assuming the call sign (and some programming) used on the original WCKY, itself renamed WSAI.
In 1997 the station's call letters returned to WKRC, offering a schedule of local and national talk programs, some of them from Westwood One. In 1999, Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner of current owner iHeartMedia, acquired Jacor Broadcasting, including WKRC.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 2, 1924, page 3.
- "WFBW is Now WMH", Cincinnati Post, June 11, 1924, page 6.
- "Kodel Buys Station WMH", Radio World, April 4, 1925, page 9.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1925, page 11.
- "Times-Star buys WKRC, Cincinnati", Broadcasting, September 1, 1939, pg. 34.
- "WKRC's transfer approved by FCC", Broadcasting, December 1, 1939, pg. 36.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1948 page 310
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 235
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-160
- "WKRC in Flux", Radio & Records, December 4, 1992, page 16.
- "Horan Heading Up New '550 WLW'", Radio & Records, December 11, 1992, pages 4, 30.
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page 414
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WKRC
- Radio-Locator Information on WKRC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WKRC
- FCC History Cards for WKRC (covering WKRC from 1927-1980)
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