Mahoning/Shenango Valley Area AM Stations

570 WKBN Youngstown, Ohio
Owner: Clear Channel
Format: News/Talk

Youngstown’s first radio station went on the air in 1926 at 1400 kHz with just 50 watts. Warren P. Williamson, who was just 26 at the time, operated the station out of his basement. The operations were moved to the YMCA and ownership was under the name Radio Electric Service Company which later became WKBN Broadcasting Corporation. The Federal Radio Commission’s General Order 40 in 1928 moved WKBN to 570 kHz. WKBN was a charter CBS Radio affiliate, a relationship that lasted until the end of the 20th century. WKBN-FM came along in 1948 simulcasting the AM’s programming for many years before becoming a Beautiful Music station. WKBN-TV started in 1953. All three stations remained under the Williamson Family’s ownership until the radio stations were sold  to Jacor in 1999. Clear Channel merged with Jacor that same year. Warren Williamson died in 1996.

600 WSOM Salem, Ohio
Owner: Cumulus Broadcasting
Format: News/Talk

The WSOM calls stand for “The Wonderful Sound of Music” and it served as an Adult Standards station until 2010. That’s when it took on the current news/talk format.

790 WPIC Sharon, Pennsylvania
Owner: Cumulus Media
Format: News/Talk/Information

WPIC is one of the oldest stations in Mercer County, Pennsylvania which presently airs a news, talk and information format. The signal is powerful enough to cover much of the Youngstown region as the transmission facility is located in Sharon. WPIC is the station where Pittsburgh broadcaster Bill Cardille began his career.

830 WKTX Cortland, Ohio
Owner: Nationality Broadcasting (Attila Kossanyi)
Format: Ethnic

WKTX received a construction permit in 1982 and went on the air in 1985 as WLND and was a sister to WLLF Mercer. The station became WKTX in 1989. It was purchased by Nationality Broadcasting in 1991 and was taken off the air for a few months to resolve some issues, but returned carrying the same format. Although it is owned by Nationality Broadcasting, the licensees are still listed as Miklos and Maria Kossanyi. Mr Kossanyi passed away in 2009 with Mrs. Kossanyi assuming the role of station director. The role didn’t last long as Mrs. Kossanyi unfortunately passed away less than a year after her husband. Their son, Attila Kossanyi, owns and operates the station.

940 WGRP Greenville, Pennsylvania
Owner: Vilkie Communications
Format: Oldies

Greenville Broadcasting Company, owned by Kenneth and Merle Anderson, put WGRP on the air in 1959. The station has held the same daytime power since signing on, but didn’t acquire nighttime power until much later. In 1965, WGRP-FM (107.1; WLVX today) signed on as a simulcast and was able to continue broadcasting after sundown. Both stations were sold to Beacon Broadcasting in the 1990s. Vilkie Communications began an LMA with Beacon in 2003 bringing the station back to life after it went dark for a time. The agreement didn’t last long as Beacon opted not to sell. Harold Glunt took over the operations of Beacon and WGRP began simulcasting WLOA. Following Harold Glunt’s death in 2010, Educational Media Foundation purchased WGRP and its local sisters WLOA and WEXC-FM and all three became local outlets for K-Love. WGRP and WLOA were sold to Vilkie Communications.

1200 WKST New Castle, Pennsylvania
Owner: Forever Broadcasting, LLC
Format: News/Talk

WKST signed on in 1938 at 1280 kHz. It became the region’s Mutual Broadcasting affiliate in the 1940s, but perhaps the station is most noted for launching the career of Alan Freed who eventually moved on to become one of the nation’s well-known jocks coining the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll”. In the 1970s, Faye and Herb Scott of Eastern Pennsylvania owned the station under the name Great Scott Broadcasting. They would purchase WFEM-FM in Ellwood City in the mid-1980s and turn it into WKST-FM. The stations were sold to Jacor in 1998 after the death of the principal owners and the company moved on to focus on other properties. In 1999, Jacor moved WKST-AM from 1280 to 1200 exchanging with WBZY which had been purchased a few months prior. Clear Channel merged with Jacor in 2000 and the WKST-FM calls were moved to Pittsburgh’s 96.1. Clear Channel sold WKST-AM, WBZY and what became WJST-FM to Forever Broadcasting in 2004.

1240 WBBW Youngstown, Ohio
Owner: Cumulus Broadcasting
Format: Sports/Talk

WBBW carries the ESPN Radio sports format.

1280 WJST New Castle, Pennsylvania
Owner: Forever Broadcasting, LLC
Format: Sports

WBZY signed on in 1968 at 1140 kHz and provided immediate competition of the well-established WKST at 1280 AM. 1140 was much more powerful despite being just a daytime station (signing off to get out of the way of WRVA in Richmond, Virginia) giving it an edge over its competitor. In 1980, WBZY was permitted to move to 1200 kHz adding nighttime directional power, but non-directional daytime power. In 1986, Lawrence County Broadcasting sold the station to WBZY Radio Sam made up of three partners whose last initials formed the name “SAM”. The partnership sold WBZY to Jacor in 1999 not long after they had purchased WKST. When Clear Channel took over operations of all Jacor stations, WKST and WBZY swapped frequencies and moved WKST-FM’s calls to Pittsburgh where they are still used today. WKST-AM and WBZY were sold to Forever Broadcasting in 2004 and the WJST calls were moved from the New Castle FM to 1280, but the station remained a simulcast of the new WKPL-FM on 92.1. In 2009, WJST took on the Fox Sports affilation.

1330 WGFT Campbell, Ohio
Owner: Bernard Radio
Format: Classic Hits

1330 signed on in 1963 as the new home to WHOT which relocated from 1570 kHz. WHOT was one of the longest-running top-40 stations in America. The move to 1330 allowed it to operate full-time. Once WHOT’s top-40 format was moved to FM in 1984 and WHOT-AM moved to 1390 in 1990. 1330 then became WYWR. In 1992, the station’s calls became WZKC and then WASN in 1993. WASN’s nighttime power was voluntarily relinquished around the turn of the 21st Century. In 2003, WASN swapped allocations with WGFT. WGFT swiched from a Gospel music format to a talk format in 2007. In 2012, WGFT changed formats to classic hits.

1340 DWSAJ Grove City, Pennsylvania
Owner: Grove City College
Format: Dark

WSAJ began as an experimental station under the leadership of Professor Hubert Harmon. In 1914 it was assigned experimental callsign 8CO, going off the air during World War I. Following the war in 1920, the station was 8YV. The WSAJ calls were issued in 1922 with the frequency at 1310 before moving to 1340 with a longwire antenna strung from two poles atop the Rockwell Science Hall. It was in 1946 that WOYL in Oil City signed on this same frequency with orders from the FCC to sign of for 90 minutes twice a week to protect WSAJ’s limited schedule. This restriction was later deemed unnecessary, but WSAJ never had a full-time schedule. WSAJ-FM signed on at 89.5 in 1968 and moved to 91.1 in the 1990s. Student programming was key to the station’s success until 1995 when a significant power increase to the FM moved that programming to a current carrier at 530 kHz and later an intranet stream. WSAJ-AM’s equipment soon deteriorated beyond repair and in 2006 the license was let to expire while WSAJ-FM returned to student programming.

1390 WNIO Youngstown, Ohio
Owner: Clear Channel
Format: Sports

In 1939, William F. Maag, Jr. put WFMJ (his initials) on the air at 1420 kHz and later 1450. It wasn’t until the mid 1940s that WFMJ would move to 1390. That’s when it became a member of the NBC Blue network which later became ABC. WFMJ-FM joined the AM in 1948 and WFMJ-TV came on the air in 1953. 1390 became WHOT in 1990 when the Maag family sold the station to the owners of WHOT-FM. Once sold to Connoisseur Communications  in 1995, it became WRTK with a talk format. Connoisseur had to sell WRTK with WBBG-FM in 1998 in order to purchase two other stations in the area. The stations were sold to a subsidiary of Bain Gocom with Jacor Communications entering into an LMA a few months later. Enter a merger with Clear Channel in 1999 and 1390 became WNIO moving the calls and the Adult Standards format from 1540 in Niles, Ohio which was later sold to meet ownership regulations. Clear Channel didn’t drop the nostalgic format until 2010 when it became Fox Sports Radio which had been dumped from WANR 1570 to return to its Classic Hits format.

1440 WHKZ Warren, Ohio
Owner: Salem Communications
Format: Religious

WRRN (no relation to the current WRRN in Warren, Pennsylvania) signed on in 1941. By 1948 it was taken over by Helen Hart Hurlburt who published the Tribune- Chronicle. The callsign was changed to WHHH. During that time, the station almost gained a television sister at Channel 67, but the station never made it to the air despite the construction permit. Hurlburt owned WHHH until 1981 when she sold to Warren Broadcasting Company who changed the calls to WRRO. In 1996, it was sold to Star Communications who changed the calls to WRBP two years later. Star sold to Salem Communications in 2001 and the calls became WHKW to reflect its new sister station in Cleveland, WHK. Salem temporarily placed the WFHM calls on 1440 for a little over a month that same year before placing  them on 95.5 in Cleveland. WHKW became WHKZ in 2005.

1470 WLOA Farrell, Pennsylvania
Owner: Vilkie Communications
Format: Oldies

In 1954, WFAR signed on founded by Sanford A Schafitz and doing business as Farrell-Sharon Broadcasting Company. The station had just 500 watts daytime, but was granted an increase to 1000 in 1955. In 1957, the station was granted a license to operate at night. In 1961 it began transmitting from a tower site just over the Ohio line in Masury where its facilities stand today. Schafitz also owned WWIZ-AM in Lorain, Ohio and WXTV-TV (Channel 45) in Youngstown, but improper business tactics caused him to lose these stations in 1964 but the FCC allowed the license for WFAR to be renewed. WFAR-FM signed on in 1976 under the same ownership, but licensed to Sharpsville at 95.9. The two stations were operated independently for three years until Schafitz’s death in 1979 and the stations were sold to Broadcast Service Communications. WFAR became WGBU and top-40 was dropped for easy listening in 1980. By 1982, the station returned to a news/talk format but would be sold to National Communications System, Inc. that same year. New owner meant new callsign and WGBU became WMGZ with an AC format simulcast on its FM sister.  In 1989 it became WOJY; WRQQ in 1991; WICT in 1996 (reflecting new sister WICT-FM in Grove City); and WPAO in 1997. WPAO was part of the newly formed cluster of local stations sucked up by Jacor Communications which quickly merged with Clear Channel in 1999. Clear Channel sold WRTK and WPAO to D&E Communications in 2001 with formats galore ending with a Christian format before the 2002 sale to Holy Family Communications who changed the calls to WLOA in 2003 with a Catholic format. Beacon Broadcasting purchased the station in 2005 while at the same time buying WRTK from D&E. But WLOA started repeating programming from WANR along with WGRP. In 2006, WLOA and WGRP aired a sports format followed by Classic Country in 2008. When Beacon’s Harold Glunt died in 2010, the company’s stations were sold to Educational Media Foundation to repeat K-Love. Vilkie Communications purchased WLOA and WGRP in 2011 and the stations simulcast oldies programming.

1500 WASN Youngstown, Ohio
Owner: Bernard Ohio, LLC
Format: Urban-focused Talk

WASN was originally on 1330 until it was swapped in the early 2000s with sister WGFT which operated at 1500. The current urban-focused talk has been on the air since 2010. Prior to that it was a Gospel music outlet and once offered Spanish programming. WASN is a daytime only station protecting Washington DC’s 1500 AM which is licensed for full-time broadcast.

1540 WYCL Niles, Ohio
Owner: Whiplash Radio, LLC
Format: Classic Country

The original home to WNIO, it was first owned by The Niles Broadcasting Company. It was a top 40 station in 1963 attempting to compete against market leader WHOT. In 1973 it became a country station and was subsequently sold to James Psihoulis’ PS Broadcasting Corporation thereby making it a sister to Mercer’s WWIZ-FM. WNIO retained the country format through the late 1980s but was sold to WNIO Broadcasting, Inc. in 1980 who began WNCD-FM in 1988. In 1990, 1540 became WNRB and simulcast WANR-AM 1570 with local talk and Urban Contemporary music. WANR was sold and the simulcast ended. 1540 became WFNE in 1994 with a rare all-comedy format which didn’t last long. In 1995, the WNIO calls returned and became an Adult Standards outlet. WNIO and sister WNCD were sold to Jacor Communications in 1997. A complex ownership schedule resulting in a majority of the stations being owned or operated through agreements by Jacor had that company in charge of as many as ten stations in the regional market by the time they merged with Clear Channel. WNIO moved to 1390 in 1999 and 1540 became WRTK but as a simulcast of WNCD and later WBBG. WRTK was later sold along with WPAO to D&E Broadcasting. D&E filed an application with the FCC to move WRTK to Lakewood Ohio and 1180 kHz, but the move never happened. WRTK was sold to Beacon Broadcasting in 2005 and a year later a Gospel format was put on replacing R&B. In 2009 the format was tweaked to include Contemporary Christian and Southern Gospel. When Beacon’s owner Harold Glunt died in 2010, the company’s stations were put up for sale. WRTK and sister WANR went to Whiplash Radio, LLC owned by Chris Lash. The old transmitter facility was remodeled and re-claimed as studio space for both stations. It adopted the Classic Country format later that year and became WYCL later on. The following year, WYCL’s operation was leased out to Skylar Cato Broadcasting with a locally-produced talk format. The Classic Country format returned later. Whiplash sold the station in 2012 to Sagittarius Communications but the deal never went through. Whiplash retains ownership of the station, but made the decision to go dark on October 1, 2013 until new arrangements could be made for the station..

1570 WHTX Warren, Ohio
Owner: Whiplash Radio, LLC
Format: Adult Standards

Originally the home to WHOT beginning in 1955, this was one of the first Top-40 stations in the country. Myron Jones and Bill Fleckinstein originally signed WJET in Erie at 1570 but moved it to 1400 kHz in 1955 thereby allowing WHOT to go on the air in Campbell, Ohio. 1570 went dark when WHOT moved to 1330 in 1963, however it was re-licensed in 1971 as WTCL and Warren, Ohio. In 1981, it was changed to WOKG and was owned by Geraldine Taczak. During the later years of WOKG, the station had a local talk format. The studios in Warren Township were destroyed by fire in 1990 which was determined to be the work of arsonists. The station returned to the air a week later in the old studio building, but Taczak decided to sell the station. WOKG began simulcasting 1540 WNRB and later adopted the WANR calls. WANR began separate programming in 1994 and was purchased by Beacon Broadcasting in 1998. From there it had a few formats such as Christian programming, oldies and talk. In 2005, the station became the area affiliate of Air America Radio with local programming being operated by Hanni and Associates under LMA. A legal dispute erupted and the courts returned programming control back to Beacon Broadcasting. WANR went through another bunch of format changes before adapting an oldies trimulcast with WLOA and WGRP. In 2006, WANR took on a Classic Hits format which was dropped for Fox Sports in 2009. Following Harold Glunt’s death in 2010, the Beacon stations were sold and WANR (along with WRTK) was sold to Whiplash Radio LLC. Principal owner Chris Lash moved the stations to WRTK’s old transmitter site and dropped the Fox Sports format for Classic Hits. In 2011, Whiplash changed WANR into WHTX (the old calls for 96.1 FM in Pittsburgh) and a month or two later flipped the format to Adult Standards. Later that year, operating control was leased to Jim Davison who has retained the format, but adding various programming elements. Whiplash sold the station to Sagittarius Communications in 2012. The deal, however, never went through. Whiplash retains ownership and control of the station.