|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2007)|
|City of license||Columbus, Mississippi|
|Broadcast area||Columbus-Starkville-West Point|
|Slogan||"Today's Country Favorites"|
|Callsign meaning||King of Rock|
|Former callsigns||WXZD (1990-1990)
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
WKOR-FM (94.9 FM, "K94.9") is a country music formatted radio station based in Columbus, Mississippi. WKOR is owned by Cumulus Licensing LLC. WKOR serves East Central Mississippi and parts of West Central Alabama with an ERP of 50,000 watts. Cities in the primary coverage area are Columbus, West Point and Starkville, Mississippi.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
WKOR's AM station has been around for many years. Aside from a series of late night broadcasts for testing purposes, WKOR (980 kHz) went on the air for the first time at Noon July 9, 1968. First DJs were Program Director Bill Tanner (who went on to Y-100 in Miami and KLVE in Los Angeles), Butch Luke (former Mississippi State football player and later continued as a big local personality) and Jon Robin (from WACR in Columbus). The station, known then as "The Voice Of The Golden Triangle", was Top 40. First GM was former TV newsman Lep Boyd (he later ran an airplane banner service in the Carolinas) and the sales manager was Lew Sadler. The owner was C.K. "Ken" Irby.
Later DJs included Giles K. Ward (Louisville, MS), Stan Ryder (he later worked for Wurlitzer, the piano and organ company), J. Mark Shands (a Starkville High student who also used the name Terry McGrew at first and went on to WJDX-WZZQ/Jackson, Y-100/Miami, WRNO/New Orleans, Power 96/Miami and DMX MUSIC/Los Angeles), Tom Collins (later Gary Gallagher - KIKK Houston, KYTE Portland), Grady Moates (who was also station engineer while at WKOR and is now a nationally known audio and broadcast engineer) Larry London (who, using his real name, Randy Bell, became a well known newsman in Jackson), Mike Grace, and Dalton Middleton. Other former KOR talents included Dontan Smith, Bill Evans (now a meteorologist at WABC-TV in New York City), Glen James, Larry Blakeney, John "Boogie" Bailey, Fred Wilson, Rob Grayson, Josh "Buckshot" Taylor, "Skinny Johnny Franklin" (John Weeks, who owns John Weeks Audio, his own voice over and audio production company), Burt Brown (video producer and former KZLA-Los Angeles DJ) and news director Jodi Roberts, now heard on WWMS-FM in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D. in Mass Communication, and former air talent, has written The Big 98, WKOR: A Pop Cultural Phenomenon.
The station studio was located at 201 Lampkin Street in Starkville. Sometime in the distant past, the WKOR-AM station building was a doctor's office which was next door to a funeral home. It seems that bodies were sometimes stored in the basement of the doctor's office, which is where the WKOR control room was later located. Many former WKOR-AM staffers report tales of ghosts and strange noises in the night there in the old WKOR building back in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. One former program director, Dennis Hudson (Who became a well known TV newsman in the area), said he thought the ghost was the old doctor who once worked there.
After the national anthem, the first song KOR played was "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles & Co. Other early songs include "Sky Pilot" by Eric Burdon and The Animals, "MacArthur Park" by Richard Harris, "Grazing in the Grass" by Hugh Masekela, "Don't Take It So Hard" by Paul Revere and The Raiders, "Some Things You Never Get Used To" by The Supremes, "Indian Lake" by The Cowsills, "People Got To Be Free" by The Rascals, "Angel Of The Morning" by Merilee Rush, "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream, "Stoned Soul Picnic" by 5th Dimension and "Here Comes The Judge" by Pigmeat Markham. Early in WKOR's life the station received a gold single award for "Hooked On A Feeling" by BJ Thomas, which was displayed in the station lobby for many years.
In the early days of the station, WKOR had a huge old style mobile home, known as the "KOR Caravan" for remote broadcasts, the first being at Woolco in the Gateway Shopping Center. On a Saturday afternoon in October 1968 the caravan was in the nearby town of Maben. Butch Luke had so many groupies into the back of the caravan that it stood up on its end. Bill Tanner was on the air when suddenly all he could see was the sky. J. Mark Shands rushed back to the main studio in Starkville and nervously went on the air, his first time.
WKOR had listener reports from as far away as Memphis, in 1968. It is the station that ended WSSO's radio monopoly in Starkville and was the first media in the area dedicated to young people.
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WKOR
- Radio-Locator information on WKOR
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WKOR