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Wnky 2009 tv.png Wnky 2009 cbs.png
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Branding NBC 40
CBS 40 (on DT2)
Slogan Bowling Green's
Channels Digital: 16 (UHF)
Subchannels 40.1 NBC
40.2 CBS
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 (1989-1992)
WKNT (1992-2001)
Former channel number(s) 40 (UHF analog, 1989-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1989-1992)
Fox (1992-2001)
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 King of the Hill, Entertainment Tonight, Jeopardy!, and The Doctors among others.

Digital channels[edit]

Channels PSIP short name Video Aspect Programming
40.1 WNKY-NB 1080i 16:9 Main WNKY programming / NBC
40.2 WNKY-CB 480i 4:3 CBS and syndicated programming


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 sitcoms, old movies, 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. WQQB would become the area's first Fox affiliate and change its calls to WKNT in 1992. Ultimately the station became a NBC affiliate in 2001, changed its call sign to the current WNKY, 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.

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. Bowling Green currently has every major network affiliate except for ION Television and MyNetworkTV. Despite the existence of WNKY-DT2, WTVF remains on Time Warner systems.

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 system 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.[1][2]


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 WBGN-AM 1340, WBVR-FM 96.7, WUHU-FM 107.1, and WLYE-FM 94.1.

SkyWatch 40 Meteorologists

  • Jay Brandon - Lead seen Sunday through Friday nights (also "Around Town" and "Finding Forever Families" segments producer)
  • Morgan Watson - weekday mornings and Bowling Green Today host
  • Emily McKinney - Saturday nights and "Word from Radar" segment producer


External links[edit]