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|Broadcast area||Toledo metropolitan area|
|Slogan||Toledo's New Country|
|First air date||1963 (as WTTF-FM)|
|Callsign meaning||BuCKeYe Country|
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
WCKY-FM (103.7 FM, "103-7 CKY") is a radio station licensed to Pemberville, Ohio, serving the Toledo market. It operates a country music format. From its inception until 2008, the station was licensed to (and originally broadcast from) Tiffin, Ohio. Originally it simulcast and was a sister station to WTTF, now an AM station at 1600 kHz.
Beginnings: as WTTF-FM
WCKY first signed on the air as WTTF-FM in 1963, four years after the premiere of its AM sister. The station was founded by Robert G. Wright and Milton Maltz, who formed Malrite Communications, based in Cleveland, Ohio. The station first broadcast from its AM transmitter site at an effective radiated power of 3,000 watts at the time of its inception.
In the mid-1980s, WTTF-FM was granted a construction permit to operate at an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts making 103.7's signal listenable over much of Northwest Ohio as far west as Defiance, to the east where almost makes to Cleveland, to the south also almost making it to Columbus. WTTF, Inc. built a new tower on County Road 48 to accommodate the larger antenna needed for the upgrade, on the property of its then vice president, Richard J. Wright. After the upgrade, there were few changes in the station's program offerings.
As one of the few high-powered FM radio stations in rural northwest Ohio, the station offered a full-service format of both oldies and adult contemporary music, with high school sports and college sports from Heidelberg College and Tiffin University.
Break from Malrite
In the late 1970s, Wright sold his interest in Malrite to his partner. The transaction resulted in the split of WTTF-AM-FM from Malrite and operated as a separate entity under Wright's management. Wright died of lung cancer in the early 1980s.
His younger son Richard, who served as the station's engineer, ascended to the position of General Manager. Wright's other son Robert (who answered to his middle name Ed until his father's death, then took the nickname "Bob") E. Wright, continued in his capacity as Program Director.
WTTF in its heyday
WTTF prided itself on community service and had a full contingency of live on-air personnel at a time when most stations were automating. Music was delivered almost exclusively on records and the station had an extensive record library encompassing adult contemporary, country and some rock and roll. There was a special Saturday oldies programming, on vinyl records supplied by the station and by the disc jockeys.
Prior to the FCC Telecommunications Act of 1996, which made the EAS (Emergency Alert) system the law of the land, radio stations broadcast emergency information through EBS (Emergency Broadcast System). Rather than pay full price for an expensive unit to receive EBS messages, Richard Wright built his own receiver, called the DW-76 (meaning Dick Wright and the year it was manufactured). The unit field-tested successfully, and received FCC Type Acceptance for legal use, but only for WTTF-AM-FM.
Bob Wright handled morning DJ duties with two others handling the midday and evening on-air DJ shifts, as well as a news staff of two. Bob also did a daily talk and opinion show called "Sound Off" from 11-11:30 a.m. Under the Wright ownership, the station only broadcast about 16 hours a day.
The station had a community service and adult contemporary music format during the day. During the evenings after 6pm, the station played country music on a program called the "Double T Roundup," which lasted until the early 1980s. The AM station (1600) signed off at local sundown until 1990, after receiving nighttime broadcasting rights. The FM station (103.7) broadcast until 10pm. During the day, the two stations simulcast.
Among the many announcers that had peopled WTTF over the years were Jack Kagy (who served as news director for 19 years), Rick (Cochran) West (nearly eight years in the mid-day slot), Kevin Craig, Randy Dean, Ken Hawk, Andree Sterling, and Frank Barber. Many of these announcers and many others went on to larger markets for many years as WTTF provided a fertile training ground.
Tragedy Strikes: Bob Wright dies
The Wright family's ownership came to an abrupt and tragic end in the winter of 1996 when Bob Wright was killed in a head-on collision during a snowstorm north of Tiffin on Ohio Route 53, when his Jeep Wrangler went left of center and struck an oncoming pickup truck. The 65-year-old woman driving the pickup also died in the crash.
Wright, who never married nor sired offspring, was 56. Surviving co-owners Richard Wright, along with his mother, Florence, agreed to sell WTTF to Jacor Communications later that year. Jacor eventually was absorbed into Clear Channel Communications, which continued to operate both stations separately as WTTF and WCKY-FM.
Today as WCKY-FM
After the sale of the station, former co-owner Dick Wright remained as an assistant engineer on a contract basis, up until his death January 1, 2008 .
Clear Channel initially was selling their Findlay cluster, along with other small market clusters, over to Florida-based GoodRadio.TV LLC in May 2007, but the deal soon collapsed prior to FCC approval. Clear Channel ended up spinning off WTTF, along with the Sandusky cluster and WPFX over to Fremont-based BAS Broadcasting on January 15, 2008. BAS took over WTTF on February 1, and as WCKY-FM is not included in the deal, this ended 45 years of common ownership between the two stations.
As of December 2007, the station has dropped the "Buckeye Country" identifier and is identifying simply as "103-7 CKY." under former Toledo radio personality Johny D (formerly with WVKS and WKRK and WTWR-FM). Johny D now does morning's in Toledo on WPFX "107.7 THE WOLF". The station has also changed its city of license to Pemberville in the hopes of better targeting the Toledo market, where it currently has a minimal ratings presence competing with Toledo's other country stations WKKO, WPFX and WMIM.
July 2014 "103.7 CKY" started calling itself "New Country 103.7CKY".
- 103.7 'CKY
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WCKY
- Radio-Locator information on WCKY
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WCKY