|City of license||Irwin, Pennsylvania|
|Broadcast area||Pittsburgh metropolitan area|
|First air date||October 28, 1934 (as WHJB, Greensburg)|
|Power||5,500 watts (day)
50 watts (night)
|Owner||Broadcast Communications, Inc.|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2007)|
WKHB is an AM radio station licensed to Irwin, Pennsylvania, United States, which serves the greater Pittsburgh area. Known as 620 KHB, the station operates with 5,500 watts daytime (reduced power at night) and airs a mix of health talk and paid programming with oldies music in the morning, evening and overnight hours. It is also known for its weekend polka shows.
WKHB's high power on a low frequency yields what is generally considered to be the second-best daytime AM signal in the Pittsburgh area (behind KDKA), covering nearly two million people in various portions of five states. Veteran Pittsburgh radio personality and programmer Clarke Ingram was named Program Director in 2005 and promoted to Operations Manager in 2006. Michael J. Daniels was hired as Assistant Program Director in 2007 and appropriated the Operations Manager position from Ingram in 2010; Ingram relinquished his remaining duties in 2011. Station owner Bob Stevens now holds the dual titles of General Manager and Program Director.
In 2011, WKHB began simulcasts on translator W231BM 94.1FM from Clairton, Pennsylvania.
Beginnings as WHJB
620 began as WHJB, formerly licensed to Greensburg. The station began as a daytime-only operation, operating at a power of 250 watts, non-directional.
The station was founded by H.J. Brennen, whose initials the station call letters stood for. WHJB, doing business as Pittsburgh Radio Supply House, first operated beginning October 28, 1934 from a studio at 128 North Penn Avenue in Greensburg.
WHJB, as the first radio station on the air in suburban Pittsburgh, experienced steady growth and prospered over its formative years, getting nighttime power authorization by 1955, as well as a daytime power increase, with power settings at 1,000 watts during the day, and 500 watts at night, adopting a directional antenna pattern with changing patterns for night and day operation. By 1960, the name of the licensee had changed its name to WHJB, Inc., though the station still was owned by the Brennen family. That changed in 1962 when control was transferred to others after the Brennen family's interests were sold to Robert Burstein, and then to general manager Melvin Goldberg by 1967.
John Longo, who today owns Latrobe-based competitor WCNS, was one of the managers of WHJB, and also served as a consultant to other affiliate stations of its then-corporate ownership.
WHJB-FM signs on
On November 1, 1964, WHJB welcomed WHJB-FM, its like-named FM sister station to the air. Though the stations shared identical call letters, they were initially programmed separately, until 1967, when several changes took place.
That year, WHJB and its FM sister, by this time named WOKU-FM, now simulcasting for half the broadcast day, moved to new studios and offices at 227 West Otterman Street in Greensburg. The stations moved to another location at 245 Brown Street near the Greensburg city limits in 1974, where they remained for the rest of the 20th century.
As "Disco 107" in 1979, WOKU won an award from Billboard magazine as "Large-Market Disco Station of the Year."
In 1980, WHJB upgraded its transmitting facilities again, increasing its power to 2,500 watts daytime and 500 watts at night, which it kept until shortly after its sale in 1996. WHJB's antenna array along U.S. Route 30 (four towers for the AM directional pattern, plus a fifth tower for the FM, later used as an auxiliary site) could be seen overlooking Greensburg for many years, but came down after the sale was completed.
The station was sold in 1996 to Bob Stevens, who had put WKYN-FM (now WDDH) on the air in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania and sold it as soon as he learned that WHJB was for sale. Stevens formed Broadcast Communications, Inc. and purchased WHJB, spinning off its sister FM station WSSZ (now WHJB-FM) to Pittsburgh-based Sheridan Broadcasting. As a condition of the sale, the transmitter site was not included and had to move within a short period of time, as the property was being sold for development of a shopping center in the area.
Stevens moved WHJB's transmitter site closer to Pittsburgh, raised its daytime power twice, and changed its city of license to Irwin, a nearby suburb. WHJB had always been primarily a Westmoreland County radio station while WKHB, with its higher power and closer tower, aspires to serve Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
WHJB had suffered in its last few years from obvious disinvestment and the loss of its transmitter site. Although Stevens continued to operate the station as a music-formatted, stand-alone AM outlet for several more years, the call letter change to WKHB in 1999 was more or less concurrent with a format switch to all paid programming. Music continued to air in the station's off-peak hours, Contemporary Christian music at first, then a selection of 1970s hits, followed by the present mix of 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s oldies.
On-air staff and programs
For a brief time, former KDKA and WJAS personality Jack Wheeler hosted the morning show on 620 KHB. Wheeler left the station at the end of 2003, moving back to Florida. Morning host and station manager Barry Banker celebrated 40 years with the station in 2006, and was joined in the morning by veteran Bill DeFabio and his daily sports updates until Banker's retirement. Banker was replaced in morning drive by veteran Bill Korch from nearby WEDO.
Caleb Michaels (a nom de air for the station's owner) and Michael J. Daniels appeared at irregular times, often at night, doing the oldies format or filling time between paid programs. For a number of years, Clarke Ingram hosted a regular Saturday-afternoon oldies show, often counting down the biggest songs from the same day in a previous year. With the debut of sister FM station WKVE in May 2010, these shows all but disappeared. Automated oldies are now heard evenings and overnights.
Regular non-music programs include "Health Breakthroughs" with Dr. James Winer, "Alternatives to Medicine" with Dr. Martin Gallagher, and the daily Scriptural Rosary, which has now aired on Pittsburgh radio for over 35 years. There is an extended lineup of polka shows on Saturday, and midday Sunday, with a schedule of local religious programs on Sunday morning and afternoon.
- 1945 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1956 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1960 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1963 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1965 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1967 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1975 Broadcasting Yearbook
- 1981 Broadcasting Yearbook
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WKHB
- Radio-Locator Information on WKHB
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WKHB
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W231BM
- Radio-Locator information on W231BM
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for W231BM
- KHB Coverage Map