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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; 24 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)
Secondary: Shop at Home Network (c. 1993-2005)
Transmitter power 120 kW
Height 177.5 m
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-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. Syndicated programming on the station includes Entertainment Tonight, Jeopardy!, and The Doctors among others.

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 4:3 CBS SD and syndicated programming


As WQQB[edit]

Although granted a construction permit in 1983, the station did not began 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 WKNT[edit]

In January 1992, WQQB would become the area's first Fox affiliate at the time the station changed its calls to WKNT, and get branded as Fox 40.[1][2] At one time during its time as a Fox station in the 1990s, WKNT broadcast select Southeastern Conference football games via Jefferson Pilot Sports [3] until WBKO took over to air those games to go with JP Sports (now Raycom Sports) SEC basketball broadcasts.[4] During the overnight hours (except Fridays), WKNT also aired programming from the Shop at Home Network from 1:00 to 5:00 a.m. 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.[5]

As WNKY[edit]

On March 21, 2001, the station changed its call sign to the current WNKY, 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, ABC affiliate WBKO had been the only Big Three station in Bowling Green, 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. However, WSMV remains on Mediacom cable in Edmonson and Butler counties,[6] as well as on Glasgow's cable systems, the South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative, and the Glasgow Electric Plant Board.

After dropping Fox, Bowling Green was served on cable and over-the-air by WZTV in Nashville. In March 2003, Max Media bought the station. 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 Electric Power Board in Glasgow. On August 7, 2004, this signal began airing NBC 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.

The station signed a long term affiliation deal with CBS to air the network on a new second digital subchannel. This launched on February 1, 2007. Until then, Bowling Green had been one of the few areas east of the Mississippi without its own CBS affiliate. Nashville's WTVF or Louisville's WLKY-TV were formerly the default CBS stations in the market. The distant CBS and NBC affiliates, including WSMV, have now been mostly removed from cable providers in South Central Kentucky. After adding CBS in 2007, and WBKO adding FOX and The CW in 2006, and WCZU-LD signing on with Antenna TV and MyNetworkTV affiliations in early 2014, Bowling Green currently has an affiliate for every major network except for one syndicated programming service, ION Television. Despite the existence of WNKY-DT2, WTVF remains on Time Warner systems in Bowling Green, Glasgow's Electric Plant Board and SCRTC, and remains the default CBS outlet on Mediacom cable systems serving the Morgantown and Brownsville areas of Butler and Edmonson counties, not to mention Mediacom's cable customers in Park City.[7][8]

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.[9][10]


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.

In October 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. 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 adopted from the Bowling Green/Warren County Humane Society and has served as the station's mascot since the weather shows began with former meteorologist Chris Sowers. 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. 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.


External links[edit]