|Broadcast area||Dayton, Ohio|
|Branding||"ESPN WING 1410AM"|
|Slogan||Dayton's ESPN Radio|
|First air date||May 24, 1921 (as WXAX,later WDBS)|
|Power||5,000 watts unlimited|
|Callsign meaning||In honor of Dayton's history as the birthplace of aviation|
|Former callsigns||WXAX (1921)
|Sister stations||WDHT, WGTZ, WCLI-FM, WROU-FM|
|Website||ESPN 1410's website|
WING "ESPN 1410" is a commercial AM radio station in Dayton, Ohio operating with 5,000 watts at 1410 kHz with studios, offices and transmitter located on David Road in Kettering. It is the first (and oldest) full-time commercial radio station in Dayton. It is currently an affiliate of ESPN Radio, but is best known and remembered as Dayton's first Top 40-formatted station.
WING was founded on May 24, 1921 under the original call sign WXAX with only 5 watts of power but changed to WDBS (for Dayton Broadcasting Service, its original company which also stood for "Watch Dayton's Broadcasting Station") at the beginning of radio's golden age, then becoming WSMK in 1926 (for Stanley M. Krohn who founded the station and the company). It also upgraded its power to one thousand watts that same year. Programming hours were sporadic and operated on several different frequencies. Its first studio was located in the former Beckel House Hotel on East Third Street in downtown Dayton. Actor/dancer/singer/musician Scatman Crothers got his start at the station during the WSMK era in 1932. Another ownership change took place in 1939 when Cincinnati businessman Charles Sawyer bought the station from Krohn and switching the calls, at the suggestion of Jack Snow, to WING to become synonymous with Dayton's aviation history. It then moved to the Lowes Theater also located downtown where it remained until 1960. It was that same year when WING was granted by the FCC to upgrade its power to 5 thousand watts and to construct a new transmitter site on David Road in Kettering.
"High Flying" WING in the 50s, 60s and 70s
It was in the 1940s during the Big Band era and later with the advent of R&B-fusioned rock n' roll in the 1950s when WING became Dayton's original hit music station. Charlie Reeder, inducted into the Dayton Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007 was one of its first morning personalities during this era with his program "Sunny Side Up". Local DJ legend Gene "By Golly" Barry came on board with the evening program "Swingin' With Wing" and became a staple there from that point up through the 1960s when WING (then, owned by Dayton-based Air Trails Broadcasting, later Great Trails Broadcasting) became Dayton's first official Top 40 station. It was also the chain's flagship station. Its sister stations included WIZE in Springfield and the legendary WCOL (AM) (now Fox Sports Network station WYTS) in Columbus which all had the same format at that time as well. During this time a downtown studio with a showcase window was opened in 1960 at 128 West First Street in the Talbott Tower building...which became the affectionately nicknamed "WING Island."
A weekly "super hot hits" survey was issued regularly to record shops and other retailers across the Miami Valley. With that, the format was tightened with a stable of personalities who became known as WING's "Lively Guys" (possibly inspired by WSAI's "Good Guys" in Cincinnati) which included Barry along with such personalities over the years as Lou Swanson, Jerry Kaye, Ken Warren, Big Jim Quinn, Dave Parks, Al Morgan (the former morning disk jockey from WTUE-Dayton), Goldie, Bob Holiday, Ritchie "Duke of Dayton" Allen, Jerry "Big D" Dennis, Don Robertson, Dan Clover, John Alexander, let's not forget Chuck McKibben who later worked as a producer for Mel Blanc in Hollywood, WING radio news staff was headed by National Broadcasters Hall Of Fame inductee Rod Williams who won numerous awards including a commendation from the Ohio General Assembly for his combat reporting in Vietnam. Broadcasters Hall Of Fame induction ceremony http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1527972980220648955#
Wolfman Jack was aired late at night in syndicated form in the 1970s.
Aside from Gene "By Golly" Barry, the "lively guy" who enjoyed the most extended stay from 1967 to 1992 was morning man Steve Kirk (formerly from Cincinnati's WSAI) best known for his telephone "put-ons" and other screwball on-air gags and drop-ins from 1966 until well into the late 1980s. He was equally known for his familiar and flamboyant on-air self-introduction: "Hi-ya gang...Kirkie here...ha-chi-chi-chi-chi-chi!"
Its news department was also legendary with Jim Briggs, George Wymer (Jack's son), G. Paul Tantum, Terry Lafferty, Doug Ritter (Doug Ritterling, who began his WING newscasting career at 17 years of age, then became a disc jockey at sister stations, WCOL-AM & 92X, Columbus), Randall Carlisle (who later gained fame as a sensational newscaster at CKLW-Windsor/Detroit), Mark Greco (Mark Giangreco, who later became a sportscaster on the NBC Television network), Bill Nance, Roy Dittman, Dave Thomas (who also worked at sister stations WCOL-FM, Columbus, and WJAI-FM, Eaton, and later became an award-winning broadcaster in Colorado), Kathy O' Connor (Dayton's first female news reporter) and Retha Phillips among others. Nance and Phillips were also 2007 inductees into the Dayton Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In the early 1960s it was at first a top of the hour "rip and read" newscast from wire services with an echoed voice shouting the dateline location at the beginning of a story (replaced in 1965 by a tone chord simulating an electronic telegraph key sounder). The newscast was also upgraded by world news actualities from Metromedia Radio, a predecessor of UPI Audio Network who bought the news-feed service in 1971. By 1968, it switched to the Drake-inspired "20-20" News (aired at 20 minutes before and after the hour) with expanded local news coverage. Top of the hour news returned in 1980 from ABC Radio's American Information Network followed by a local newscast and weather without the catchy elements of the 1960s.
"High Flying WING" was the theme of a high energy upbeat jingle package in the mid-1960s produced by PAMS Productions in Dallas. In the early 70s, the famous Drake "rum-pum" Boss Radio jingles featuring the Johnny Mann Singers were used, the same package used by then-legendary CKLW in Windsor, Ontario during the late 60s and 70s.
Adult Radio 1410 WING
In the mid-1970s FM rock stations started to chip away at AM radio's Top 40 audiences. During this transitional time, WING began to soften its format to adult contemporary as "Adult Radio 1410." "Kirkie" continued his morning show (followed by John Alexander on mid-days) with the addition of John King and Terry Dorsey doing afternoons. The highly popular mock ads and comedy sketches of the fictitious Babs Knieiven's Bar and Grill of New Carlisle, Hiney Wine and a comedic spoof on current events called "The King and Dorsey Report" kept its fans laughing and listening, even with the 80s onslaught of FM competitors WTUE and WDJX in nearby Xenia (now WXEG licensed to Beavercreek). It was also during this time when Great Trails decided to acquire an FM sister station for the now declining WING..in so doing purchased the original WCTM-FM in nearby Eaton from Stanley Coning renaming it WJAI with the branding "WJ-93" (inspired by the Florida sport known as Jai-Alai) at first continuing WCTM's beautiful music until 1979 when it switched to country (later Big Band/Nostalgia) and adding one of its first female on-air personalities Kim Faris. Faris was soon followed by Nancy Cartwright, who would go on to have a successful voiceover career.
Jingles on WING during the 1970s and 1980s included PAMS' "Energy One" and "Music and More" TM's "You", and several jingle series from JAM Creative Productions, including "I'd Rather Be...", "The Best Show," "The Best Show 2" and "Good Time Radio". It was also during its time using JAM jingles that the station aired American Top 40, which would contain TM Jingles until 1983 and JAM jingles from 1984-1987.
End of an era
WING in the 1980s and 90s showed more signs of listener burnout as even more listeners switched to FM. "Adult Radio 1410" added a supplemental tagline "Your Fun Oldies Station" with its vast record and jingle library featuring "The Sixties at 6" with King and Dorsey. An on-air reunion of the original WING Lively Guys took place in 1985.
Eventually its Top 40 format was moved to its Eaton FM sister re-branded in 1984 as WGTZ "Z-93" (formerly WCTM-FM and WJAI respectively, and now "Fly 92.9" with an Adult Hits format) which at first used the catchy (and barely legal) ID "WGTZ Eaton/Dayton and Springfield ALIVE!" (as in "Eatin' Dayton and Springfield ALIVE!" when said fast) and with it John King moving to mornings with Terry Dorsey on a tape-delayed basis from a station in Texas where he was working at the time. Kim Faris, already there since the WJAI days stayed there doing mid-days and later as a morning sidekick to Jeff Wicker. Faris (who now works at WLQT after briefly moving to sales in 2007 for Z-93) occasionally did late evenings at WING in the mid-1980s as well. Carl Day did afternoon drive for a period of time after John King moved to mornings at Z-93.
WING switched to a satellite oldies format during daytime hours after Kirkie's morning show. A talk program with Stacy Taylor was added to the early evening shift with Mutual's Larry King Show from midnight to 6am. After Steve Kirk's departure for a brief gig at Beavercreek's WYMJ-FM "Oldies 104" he retired and eventually moved to Florida where he resides today. WING's "High Flying" era was now a thing of the past.
In the fall of 2006, former newsman Bill Nance (now with WFCJ in Miamisburg) and Z-93's Kim Faris (now with FM competitor WYDB) organized a reunion party of WING's past and present air personalities at the Holiday Inn near Dayton Mall with a special memorial tribute to Gene "By Golly" Barry who died in 2001.
After a stint as a CNN Radio affiliate in the 1990s and various network talk programs, it found its new niche in sports/talk as a competitor to WONE (AM) (which it also competed with in the 1960s for its Top 40 audience.) WING now airs the programming of ESPN Radio in addition to local sports coverage of Ohio State Buckeyes Football and Basketball. Mike and Mike in the Morning (Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg) is aired here. WING was owned by Radio One which acquired its previous owner, Cincinnati-based Blue Chip Broadcasting in 1999.
On May 17, 2007 Philadelphia-based Main Line Broadcasting announced the acquisition of Radio One's stations in the Dayton and Louisville market areas. Main Line took over the Dayton stations on September 14, 2007
The current Program Director of WING is Mark Neal, and he has held that position since April 2006. Neal, a University of Dayton graduate, hosts Dayton Sports Scene, which can be heard on WING 5:00 pm –6:00 pm weekdays.
- Official WING "ESPN 1410" site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WING
- Radio-Locator Information on WING
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WING
- 1960s aircheck of Lou Swanson's "Camp 1410" morning drive show on WING with vintage photos
- Audioclip of Gene "By Golly" Barry's classic sign off line
- 1994 interview with 1960's-1980's WING DJ Steve Kirk
- Audio and video clips of WING DJ Steve Kirk