WKRD (AM)

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WKRD
City of license Louisville, Kentucky
Broadcast area Louisville, Kentucky
Branding My Sports 790
Frequency 790 kHz
Format Sports
Power 5,000 watts day
1,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 53587
Callsign meaning Kards Radio (as in Louisville Cardinals)
Former callsigns WGRC, WAKY, WVEZ, WWKY, WXXA
Affiliations Fox Sports Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Westwood One
Owner Clear Channel
Sister stations WTFX-FM, WQMF (FM), WAMZ (FM), WNRW (FM), WLGX (FM), WHAS (AM), WKJK (AM)
Webcast Listen Live
Website mysports790.com

WKRD (790 AM) is a sports talk formatted radio station in the Louisville, Kentucky metropolitan area. It is currently owned by Clear Channel Communications, and is known as My Sports 790. The station is best known for being a Top 40 powerhouse in the 1960s and 1970s as WAKY. The station's studios are located in the Louisville enclave of Watterson Park and the transmitter site is in east Louisville southwest of the I-64/I-265 interchange.

With the exception of some sports play-by-play, the WKRD programming is also broadcast on WVKY, 101.7 MHz, licensed to Shelbyville, Kentucky.

History[edit]

790 AM in Louisville was originally WGRC and featured a variety of programming typical of radio in the pre-rock era. In 1958, broadcaster Gordon McLendon, a Top 40 radio pioneer best known for his legendary KLIF in Dallas, Texas, purchased WGRC. After stunting with the novelty record "The Purple People Eater", WGRC became WAKY on July 7, 1958, and immediately shot to the top of the Louisville ratings as the market's first Top 40 music station. WAKY (known affectionately to its listeners as "Wacky") competed with 1080 AM WKLO during the 1960s and 1970s, with WAKY usually being the dominant station of the two. The station's popular personalities included Bill Bailey ("The Duke of Louisville"), Dude Walker, Gary Burbank (later of CKLW, WHAS, and WLW), Mason Lee Dixon, and the late Bert Markert (known on the air as "Weird Beard"). The station solidified its mass appeal by playing a great deal of country and R&B product mixed in with the mainstream pop and rock, owing to the large audiences for both genres of music in the Louisville market and the lack of a 24-hour R&B/soul station at the time (1350 WLOU, the area's primary black-oriented station, was a daytimer).

Having lost listeners during the 1970s to FM rock stations such as WQMF and WLRS, WAKY softened its music format to a more adult contemporary sound in about 1978, declaring, "The station you grew up with has grown up with you." This was followed by format changes to oldies in 1982, to automated beautiful music in June 1986, to automated country music, back to adult-contemporary in March 1988 as WVEZ-AM (dropping the heritage WAKY calls to reflect its simulcast with 106.9 FM), to classic country in 1989 as WWKY, and then to a talk format in the early 1990s. In 2001 WWKY changed to the current sports-talk format as WXXA ("Xtra Sports 790") before changing to the current WKRD call.

The legendary WAKY calls, which had been used by a station in Springfield, Kentucky, returned to the Louisville market on May 11, 2007, as oldies station WASE (103.5 FM), licensed to Radcliff, Kentucky with studios in Elizabethtown, became WAKY. The new station includes many nods to the original WAKY, including original and re-sung versions of "The Big 79"'s classic jingles.

Sports programming that airs on WKRD include NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Truck Series, Cincinnati Bengals football, plus University of Louisville women's basketball and volleyball. Since August 2007, Louisville football and men's basketball have aired on WKRD when their games conflict with University of Kentucky football and men's basketball on WHAS radio. On April 16, 2007, WKRD began simulcasting on WKRD-FM 101.7 (formerly WLPP).

Cincinnati Reds games were broadcast on AM 790, before they were moved to 101.7 in favor of Louisville Bats games.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°11′34″N 85°31′14″W / 38.19278°N 85.52056°W / 38.19278; -85.52056