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Wnky 2009 tv.png

Wnky 2009 cbs.png
Bowling Green, Kentucky
United States
Branding NBC 40
CBS 40 (on DT2)
Slogan Bowling Green's
Channels Digital: 16 (UHF)
Subchannels 40.1 NBC
40.2 CBS
Affiliations NBC (2001-present)
Owner Max Media
(MMK License, LLC)
First air date December 17, 1989; 25 years ago (1989-12-17)
Call letters' meaning We're NBC KentuckY
Former callsigns WQQB (December 1989-January 1992)
WKNT (1992-2001)
Former channel number(s) 40 (UHF analog, 1989-2009)
Former affiliations Primary: Independent (1989-1992)
FOX (January 1992-March 2001)[1]
Secondary: Shop at Home Network (c. 1993-2005)
Transmitter power 120 kW
Height 177.5 metres (582 ft)
Facility ID 61217
Transmitter coordinates 37°2′4″N 86°10′40.8″W / 37.03444°N 86.178000°W / 37.03444; -86.178000
Website wnky.net

WNKY is the NBC and CBS-affiliated television station for South Central Kentucky licensed to Bowling Green. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 16 (virtual channel 40.1 via PSIP) from a transmitter on Pilot Knob in Smiths Grove along I-65. Owned by Max Media, WNKY has studios on Emmett Avenue in Bowling Green.

WNKY can also be seen on Time Warner Cable channels 7 (SD) and 906 (HD), as well as Dish Network channel 40.[2] It is also available on South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative (SCRTC) cable channels 7 and 307.[3]

Digital channels[edit]

Channels PSIP short name Video Aspect Programming
40.1 WNKYNBC 1080i 16:9 Main WNKY programming / NBC HD
40.2 WNKYCBS 480i CBS SD Widescreen and syndicated programming


As an independent station[edit]

Although granted a construction permit in 1983, the station did not begin broadcasting until December 17, 1989. At its sign-on, the outlet operated as an Independent under the call sign WQQB. Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 40, the station had a general entertainment format with a mixture of low-budget syndicated programming, like old movies, sitcoms, and cartoons. In its early days, the picture and sound quality of the station was very poor resulting in a low-budget feel. Programs would often broadcast mis-tracked, sticking, and skipping. Sometimes, the picture would appear clear but the sound would consist of complete static. It had little presence in the market at the time; indeed, most residents didn't even know it existed.

As a Fox affiliate[edit]

On January 10, 1992, WQQB would not only change its call letters to WKNT, but the station would also become the area's first Fox affiliate, and adopt the then-new branding Fox 40.[1][4][5][6] At one time during its time as a Fox station in the 1990s, WKNT broadcast select Southeastern Conference football games via Jefferson Pilot Sports until ABC affiliate WBKO took over to air those games to go with JP Sports (later Lincoln Financial Sports, now Raycom Sports) SEC basketball broadcasts in 2002.[7][8][9] During the overnight hours (except Fridays), WKNT also aired programming from the Shop at Home Network from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m CT until that network’s closure in 2005. Despite being a Fox affiliate, UPN's Disney's One Too also aired on the station from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. weekday mornings and from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. CT Sunday mornings to cover the Children’s educational programming requirements. That programming block, which aired on the station until 2003, was the only UPN programming that was ever available in Bowling Green.[7] Reception of WUXP in Nashville was necessary to receive all other UPN programming, as that station was the default UPN affiliate for the market.

The WNKY Years and Switch to NBC[edit]

On March 27, 2001, the station changed its call sign to the current WNKY.[5] At the same time, the station dropped its Fox network affiliation in favor of NBC, and boosted its power from 776,000 watts to 1,640,000 directional with a null to the east. Previously, WBKO had been the only station in Bowling Green with a “Big three” network, and WSMV in Nashville had been the default NBC affiliate for the area. Even after WNKY flipped to NBC, WSMV could still be received in the Bowling Green market in parts that WNKY could not, and certain cable systems still carried WSMV.

After dropping Fox, Bowling Green was served on cable and over-the-air by Nashville’s Fox affiliate WZTV. In March 2003, WNKY was purchased by Max Media.[10] On December 12 of that year, it signed-on a digital signal on UHF channel 16 from its transmitter tower in Smiths Grove. WNKY-DT was then added to digital cable systems including Insight in Bowling Green and the Electric Plant Board in Glasgow.[11][12] On August 7, 2004, this signal began airing the NBC network programming in high definition. The upgrade was made in time to broadcast special coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics from Athens, Greece. WNKY also installed a Dolby model 569 AC-3 surround sound encoder to relay the 5.1 full surround audio from the network.


See also: WNKY-DT2

In October 2006, WNKY reached an agreement with CBS to air that network on a new digital subchannel.[13] It was officially launched as WNKY-DT2 on February 1, 2007. Until that point, the Bowling Green media market was one of the few areas east of the Mississippi River without its own CBS affiliate. The default CBS affiliates for the area were WTVF in Nashville and WLKY-TV in Louisville. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, they were both available on cable in Glasgow and Bowling Green. The distant CBS and NBC affiliates, including WSMV, have now been mostly removed from cable providers in Bowling Green. WBKO had launched two new subchannels to serve as Fox and CW affiliates, respectively, in September 2006. After WNKY added CBS in 2007, with WCZU-LD signing on in the first quarter of 2014 with MyNetworkTV and Antenna TV programming, Bowling Green now has all major television networks available in the area except for the ION Television programming service, which is majorly available on cable and satellite television via its national feed, or over-the-air via Cookeville-licensed ION Owned-and-operated station WNPX-TV. In spite of the existence of WNKY-DT2, WTVF remains available on Time Warner systems, and the cable systems of the South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative and the Glasgow Electric Plant Board.[11][14] Both WNKY-DT2 and WTVF is also available to Mediacom cable customers in Butler and Edmonson Counties, including Morgantown and Brownsville, respectively.[12] WTVF and WLKY are both available to Mediacom’s customers in Park City.[15]

Analog-to-digital Transition[edit]

WNKY shut down its analog television signal on June 12, 2009 as part of the nationwide Digital television transition in the United States. WNKY was the last full-power station in Bowling Green to make the conversion. WNKY-DT, which has been in operation since December 13, 2003, remained on its pre-transition digital UHF channel 16.


On November 5, 2013, the station's licensee, MMK License, was assessed a $39,000 fine by the Federal Communications Commission due to a mid-June 2012 ad filmed by and aired on the WNKY stations for a licensed sports apparel store which featured Emergency Alert System tones being used in a promotional and non-warning situation which went out over the air. WNKY's stations, in addition to the FCC fine, will also launch a local campaign about the EAS through their programs and the station's website, air additional emergency preparation public service announcements, and lease space on their tower to the Warren County Emergency Management agency and the City of Bowling Green for modernized warning equipment.[16][17]


Outside of NBC programming, syndicated programming on WNKY includes Entertainment Tonight, Jeopardy!, The Doctors, and Dish Nation, among others. The station also airs reruns of The Simpsons on weekends. Syndicated reruns of The Simpsons were a longtime fixture on WNKY’s programming schedule since the mid 1990s. The station previously aired syndicated reruns of King of the Hill for several years until The CW Plus feed, which is run on WBKO-DT3, began assuming the rights. All sports programming originates from NBC Sports, including the Kentucky Derby, and all upcoming Summer and Winter Olympic Games through at least the 2020 Summer Olympics.


Weekday morning show logo.

As the first commercial television station to launch in Bowling Green, ABC afifliate WBKO has been a longtime leader according to Nielsen ratings. Even after the sign-on of WQQB (now WNKY) in 1989, the station has remained the dominant outlet for South Central Kentucky. However, it has also competed with Nashville stations transmitting rimshot signals into parts of the Bowling Green area. As the area's original Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s, WNKY established its own news department. Unable to gain consistent viewership and ratings against WBKO, that station's short lived full news operation was eventually shut down.

After the station’s switch to NBC, WNKY simulcast WSMV’s 10 p.m. newscasts from April 2001 until the end of the 2002-03 television season. However, only the intro originated from WNKY, and a WNKY logo was covering up WSMV’s channel 4 logo, and WNKY’s commercials usually cover up the commercials run by WSMV.

On September 10, 2005, WNKY slowly re-entered the market with an unusual weather-only approach. Instead of full newscasts, it offers weekday morning and nightly local weather forecast cut-ins provided through AccuWeather of State College, Pennsylvania. It began airing five-minute First Look AccuWeather forecasts on weeknights. In December of that year, weekend weather forecasts were added to the schedule at 10.[10] In January 2006, local weather updates began airing during NBC's Today on weekday mornings from 7 until 11. It covers severe weather events in addition to the regular updates. Its weather team currently consists of three people although a fourth non-human member of the weather team, "Radar the Weather Dog", can also be seen on-air.

"Radar" is a Border Collie that was adopted from the Bowling Green/Warren County Humane Society in 2005, and has served as the station's mascot since the weather shows began with former meteorologist Chris Sowers.[18][19] Viewers can often catch "Radar" interacting with one of the three meteorologists as they begin the weather updates. The weather dog idea may have been inspired by KPRC-TV in Houston which once had a "Radar, the Weather Dog". WNKY's former sister station in Tyler, Texas, KYTX, took a similar approach with "Stormy, the Weather Dog."

In late-January 2009 in an attempt to increase its presence against WBKO, WNKY launched a weekday morning show known as Bowling Green Today. Airing for a half-hour at 6:30, the broadcast is produced in partnership with the Bowling Green Daily News.[10] The newspaper provides short local news updates and WNKY produces traditional weather segments. The show is replayed at 9 in the morning on WNKY's CBS-affiliated second subchannel. Weather forecasts from this station can be heard on these radio stations: WBGN-AM 1340, WBVR-FM 96.7, WUHU-FM 107.1, and WLYE-FM 94.1.

During the Summer of 2012 television season, WNKY debuted a weekend news magazine program called In K.Y. News, which includes interviews and highlights many happenings in and around south central Kentucky.

Out of Market Coverage[edit]

WNKY has limited out of market coverage, due in part of the station’s 120,000 watts and the small signal coverage area, especially since the 2009 Digital TV transition. On the other hand, the station’s signal can cover the northernmost areas of the Nashville media market, including Allen, Monroe, Simpson, and much of Logan County in southern Kentucky, along with much of Macon and Sumner counties of northern Middle Tennessee. Some Louisville market counties like Grayson and Green counties can also pick up WNKY’s signal.

Suddenlink cable customers in Logan County, including Russellville and Lewisburg (but excluding Adairville), can access WNKY’s main subchannel on cable channel 15.[20] Both WNKY and WNKY-DT2 are available to Mediacom’s cable customers in the Sonora and Upton area along Hardin County’s boundary with Larue County.


  1. ^ a b FOX Across America - FOX.com”. Archived from the Original October 19, 1996. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  2. ^ Time Warner Cable - Channel Lineup for Bowling Green
  3. ^ SCRTC Channel Lineup for Barren, Metcalfe, and Hart Counties (2015)
  4. ^ http://oldtvguides.com/all_thumbs/40-wknt%20%20%20bowling%20green,%20ky%20%20%20%20329%20mi.html
  5. ^ a b Digital TV Market Listing for WNKY
  6. ^ Home - WKNT.com Archived from the Original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  7. ^ a b WKNT - Program Schedule. Archived from the Original November 19, 2000. Retrieved October 29, 2000.
  8. ^ JP Sports and Entertainment - SEC Football Game of the Week - 1997 TV Schedule. Archived from the Original January 5, 1997. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  9. ^ JP Sports and Entertainment - SEC Basketball Game of the Week - 1998 TV Schedule. Archived from the Original February 16, 1998. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c "WNKY History and Future - WNKY.net: Your Weather Source in Bowling Green, KY". WNKY. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Glasgow EPB Cable Channel Lineup
  12. ^ a b Mediacom channel lineup: Morgantown, Brownsvile, Butler Co., and Edmonson Co., Kentucky
  13. ^ Press Release (October 11, 2006). Breaking news - CBS Signs Long-Term Affilation Agreement with Max Media for Station in Bowling Green, Kentucky. TheFutonCritic.com. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  14. ^ SCRTC.com SCRTC Cable Channel Lineup for Barren, Metcalfe, and Hart Counties
  15. ^ Mediacom Channel Lineup: Park City, KY
  16. ^ "MMK License LLC Agrees to Settle EAS Investigation". Federal Communications Commission. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Eggerton, John (5 November 2013). "FCC Proposes Fining TBS $25,000 Over 'Conan' Promo; Issues general warning to industry about seriousness of bogus EAS warnings". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  18. ^ Radar the Weather Dog - WNKY.net: Your Weather Source in Bowling Green, KY
  19. ^ "Radar and the Humane Society - WNKY.net: Your Weather Source in Bowling Green, KY". WNKY. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  20. ^ Suddenlink cable channel lineup - Russellville, KY

External links[edit]