WNAX (AM)

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WNAX
City of license Yankton, South Dakota
Broadcast area Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux City, Iowa
Omaha, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Des Moines, Iowa
Branding WNAX Radio 570
Slogan The Voice of the Midwest
Frequency 570 AM (kHz)
Translator(s) 99.9 K260BO (Yankton)
Format Commercial; News/Talk
Power 5,000 watts
ERP 250 watts (FM translator)
Callsign meaning North American radio eXperiment
Affiliations CBS
Owner Saga Communications
Sister stations WNAX-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website WNAX.com

WNAX (570 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a News/Talk format. It is licensed to Yankton, South Dakota. Due to the flat landscape of the Upper Great Plains with near-perfect ground conductivity and its location near the bottom end of the AM band, the station's 5,000-watt signal covers large portions of South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota. Besides Sioux Falls (its "home" market) and Sioux City, it can be heard clearly in Omaha, Lincoln and Des Moines. Under the right conditions, it can be heard as far south as Kansas City and as far north as Fargo. It has the second largest daytime land coverage area of any US based radio station, after KFYR in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The station is currently owned by Saga Communications.

History[edit]

WNAX signed on the air in 1922. The call-letters represented "North American radio eXperiment".[1] The station was purchased by Gurney's Seed and Nursery Company in 1926 and became known as "WNAX—Voice of the House of Gurney in Yankton". The station was used to promote Gurney products and services, making Gurney's a household name.[2]

On February 10, 1933, the Federal Radio Commission authorized an increase in daytime power from 1 KW to 2,500 W.[3] Less than two years later, December 18, 1934, the new Federal Communications Commission authorized another increase in power, to 5,000 W.[4]

The radio station launched the careers of many stars, both local and national. Starting in the late 1920s, Lawrence Welk spent a decade performing daily without pay on WNAX. In 1939, Wynn Hubler Speece started her radio program and became known regionally as "Your Neighbor Lady". Speece was still continuing to do her Marconi Award winning broadcast more than sixty years later when WNAX celebrated its eightieth anniversary in 2002. Other well-known regional radio personalities from WNAX have included Norm Hilson, Whitney Larson, "Happy" Jack O'Malley, Bob Hill, Ed Nelson, Steve (Mike) Wallick, George B. German, and the hillbilly performers on the WNAX Missouri Valley Barn Dance show.[5]

In October 2005 Speece announced her retirement after almost 66 years of continuous broadcasting. She died on October 22, 2007, at 90 years of age.[6]

In 1983 a fire destroyed the main WNAX building. All of the station's historic live recordings as well as thousands of records were destroyed. The staff of WNAX went to the station's transmitter site and continued broadcasting. Eventually, the station recovered when a new building was constructed on Highway 50 in Yankton.

In 1942 the station built a 283.2 meter tower at Yankton, which was the tallest radio broadcasting tower at the time.[7]

The current tower is 911 feet tall.

Today WNAX continues many of the traditions started in 1922 with frequent news, sports, weather and farm market updates. The station continues to be affiliated with CBS Radio, an association that began in the late 1920s.

WNAX is also the flagship for South Dakota State University sports. WNAX also carries Minnesota Twins baseball and Minnesota Vikings football.

Honors and awards[edit]

In May 2006, WNAX won one first place in the commercial radio division of the South Dakota Associated Press Broadcasters Association news contest.[8]

Staff[edit]

  • Steve Crawford—Morning Show Host
  • Jerry Oster—News Director
  • Steve Imming—Morning Sports
  • Eric Roozen—Sports Director
  • Erin Tycz—Web/Promotions
  • Jim Reimler—Midday
  • Dee Davis—Midday
  • Michelle Rook—Farm Director
  • Tom Riter—Farm Reporter
  • Fred Foreman—Host of Drive Time in the afternoon & also a morning show personality

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°54′47″N 97°18′58″W / 42.91306°N 97.31611°W / 42.91306; -97.31611