The current WKBZ is the former WMUS (AM). WMUS began operations in 1947 and became the second radio station serving Muskegon, after the original WKBZ (see below); it began as a general-interest independent variety station featuring Associated Press newscasts. WMUS also inaugurated the first FM broadcasts in Muskegon in the summer of 1947, just a few months after the AM signed on, with WMUS-FM at 100.5; the FM station was dark by the start of the 1950s but came back on at its current frequency in 1962.
WMUS moved into a MOR/beautiful music format in the early 1960s, promoting itself as "the AM station with the FM sound" (1). Then in 1965, WMUS changed format to country music using the moniker "Top Gun Radio." A few years later WMUS-FM 106.9 began to simulcast WMUS's country format, and eventually the roles were reversed, with WMUS-FM becoming the primary signal and WMUS becoming the simulcast. This continued until April 2001, when both stations were sold to Clear Channel Communications. The AM facility adopted a news/talk format, while the FM facility remained unchanged. In April 2005, the call sign of WMUS was changed to WKBZ, marking the return of the callsign to the radio market after 4 years of absence.
The original WKBZ went on the air in Ludington, Michigan in 1926 on 1500 AM. The city of license was later changed to Muskegon as well as the frequency. The station was moved to Muskegon in 1934 by its original owner, Grant Ashbacker, and is the oldest station serving Muskegon. (Ashbacker's father, Karl L. Ashbacker, later founded WKLA in Ludington in 1944, taking his initials for the station's callsign.)
The frequency moved from 1500, to 1490, and finally to 850. During the 1990s, there were several ownership changes. In March 1999, a major reorganization occurred. The station was donated to Grand Valley State University and the callsign changed to WGVS. The callsign WKBZ, the station's staff, and programming were transferred to a sister station, WQWQ AM 1520. However the owner of WKBZ, WLC Communications, was financially troubled. The station went off the air in March 2001 when WLC Communications became bankrupt and its assets claimed by creditors. The station became an affiliate of Radio Disney during its final month of operation. The station's license was officially cancelled in June 2002.