WHAS (AM)

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WHAS
WHAS Logo.png
City of license Louisville, Kentucky
Broadcast area Louisville, Kentucky
Branding 840 WHAS
Slogan Louisville's News Radio
Frequency 840 kHz (AM)
(also on HD Radio)
First air date July 18, 1922
Format News/Talk
Power 50,000 Watts
Class A
Transmitter coordinates 38°15′40.66″N 85°25′42.99″W / 38.2612944°N 85.4286083°W / 38.2612944; -85.4286083
Callsign meaning We Have A Signal (a backronym, as the call was randomly assigned by the FCC)
Affiliations Fox News Radio
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
(CC Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations WTFX-FM, WQMF (FM), WAMZ (FM), WNRW (FM), WLGX (FM), WKRD (AM), WKJK (AM)
Webcast Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)
Website WHAS.com

WHAS, known by the on air branding as "News Radio 840 WHAS", is an AM radio station broadcasting in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a 50,000 Watt clear channel radio station assigned to frequency 840 kHz. With clear channel status, its nighttime signal can be heard in most of the continental U.S. and much of Canada, and even in other countries at times. The station's studios are located in the Louisville enclave of Watterson Park and the transmitter site is in Long Run in far east Jefferson County. WHAS is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.

History[edit]

Its first broadcast was on July 18, 1922. It was originally assigned the frequency of 350 kHz.

On May 16, 1925, the first live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was originated by WHAS and was also carried by WGN in Chicago.[1] The call of the Derby featured an announcer who watched from the windows of one of the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.

On May 15, 1932, WHAS changed from being an NBC affiliate and joined CBS. At that time, WHAS operated on 820 kHz with 10 KW power, but the output was soon increased to 25 KW as authorized by the Federal Radio Commission.[2]

During the 1937 Flood the station aired 115,000 messages. On March 29, 1941 the station moved to its current frequency of 840 AM and made a clear-channel station, both as a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, which relocated the 840 clear channel allocation to Louisville from Toronto, where it was used by CBL. On March 30, 1970 WHAS began 24-hour operation.

The station was originally part of the local media empire ruled by the Bingham family, which also published Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times (now owned by the Gannett Company and merged in 1987) and operated television station WHAS-TV (which, following several mergers and transactions in subsequent years, is now owned by Sander Media and operated by Gannett). WHAS and its FM sister station, WAMZ (the former WHAS-FM) were acquired by Clear Channel Communications (which, as iHeartMedia, continues to own the stations to this day) in 1986 as part of the breakup of the Bingham family's media properties.[3]

The station has been broadcasting on a full-time basis in the IBOC digital radio mode, using the HD Radio system from iBiquity, since September 2007 after an initial testing period which started in 2006. Prior to 1995, WHAS broadcast in C-QUAM AM stereo.[4]

Programming[edit]

WHAS modernized in the early 1970s from an old-line MOR music outlet into an early form of Hot Adult Contemporary music format, featuring adult-appeal Top 40 hits and rock oldies; one longtime slogan was "Good and Gold" (as in "good music", or adult contemporary, and "golden" oldies). For a time in the 1980s, it was also the Louisville affiliate for Casey Kasem's American Top 40. The station continued to feature a full-service Hot AC format through the 1980s (and was the last 50 kW AM station with a full-time AC format), and by 1995, most of the remaining music programming was oldies-based; this made WHAS one of the last 50,000-watt clear-channel radio stations to feature music programming on a regular basis.

Today the station features The Rush Limbaugh Show (live), The Mark Levin Show (delayed by 3 hours), the last hour of the national broadcast of Ground Zero, and Coast to Coast AM (live) on its daily lineup. Some other personalities on the weekday lineup include Terry Meiners on "Terry Meiners and Company" and Lachlan McLean on "SportsTalk 840".

The late morning slot (9 am to noon) has seen two changes in recent years. Francene Cucinello hosted "The Francene Show" until her death on January 15, 2010; she was replaced that summer by Mandy Connell. In turn, Connell left in August 2013 to become the morning host on fellow Clear Channel station KHOW in Denver;[5] her last show on WHAS was on August 9.[6] Connell still contributes daily one-minute commentaries, known as "Mandy Minutes", to WHAS.[6] Connell's slot was filled by Leland Conway, previously a talk radio host in Lexington, Kentucky and most recently Richmond, Virginia, whose show began airing on September 16.[7]

Weekend programming includes The Dave Ramsey Show, The Ric Edelman Show, The Larry Kudlow Show, The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold, Handel on the Law, and The Bill Cunningham Show.

WHAS is Louisville's home for University of Kentucky athletic broadcasts, carrying Wildcats football and men's basketball games. Previously, it had been the flagship for Louisville Cardinals football and basketball.

Public service[edit]

WHAS is the flagship radio station of the annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethon. The station also broadcasts The Moral Side of the News, one of the oldest public affairs programs in American broadcasting, dating back to the 1940s. The show has also been shown on WHAS-TV since the 1950s. The show's panel of clergy members have been involved in distributing the proceeds of the Crusade for Children among local charities since the telethon's beginning.[8]

WHAS radio has solidifed its reputation over the years as a leader in coverage of crisis situations, particularly severe weather.

During the flood of 1937, the station gained nationwide notice for its coverage of the disaster, which included broadcasting Louisville flood bulletins over the facilities of WSM in Nashville after Louisville authorities were forced to cut electrical power to the city because of the rising flood waters (thus forcing WHAS' own signal off the air).

On the afternoon of April 3, 1974, Louisville was hit by an F4 tornado that developed during the "Super Outbreak". WHAS broke away from regular programming to track the storm as it passed through the Louisville metropolitan area. In the hours immediately following the storm, the station delivered important information about what areas had been directly impacted by the storms, and traffic reporter Dick Gilbert followed the tornado in his helicopter, reporting on the damage as he flew at a safe distance behind the storm. The station stayed with continuous coverage of the disaster in Louisville and across the state of Kentucky and the southern portion of Indiana until well into the early morning hours of April 4. For their efforts, the station's personnel earned thanks from then-Kentucky Governor Wendell Ford and President Richard Nixon.

WHAS alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Derby To Go On The Air", The New York Times, May 16, 1925, p. 11
  2. ^ "CBS Adds WHAS and Windsor Unit". Broadcasting. April 15, 1932. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Changing Hands." Broadcasting. June 16, 1986, pg. 63. [1]
  4. ^ Offenders of The Faith
  5. ^ Ostrow, Joanne (July 24, 2013). "KHOW's successor to Peter Boyles is Mandy Connell". Ostrow Off the Record (The Denver Post). Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Bullard, Gabe (July 24, 2013). "Mandy Connell Leaving WHAS for Denver". Louisville, KY: WFPL. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ Ritchie, Christa (September 4, 2013). "Leland Conway replaces Mandy Connell at 84 WHAS radio". The Buzz (The Courier-Journal). Retrieved September 19, 2013.  (soft paywall)
  8. ^ Crusade for Children » Who We Are

External links[edit]