|Broadcast area||Louisville metropolitan area|
|Slogan||Louisville's News Radio|
|Frequency||840 kHz (AM)
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||July 18, 1922|
|Callsign meaning||We Have A Signal (a backronym, as the call was randomly assigned by the FCC)|
(CC Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WTFX-FM, WQMF (FM), WAMZ (FM), WNRW (FM), WLGX (FM), WKRD (AM), WKJK (AM)|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)|
WHAS, known by the on air branding as "News Radio 840 WHAS", is an AM radio station broadcasting in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a 50,000 Watt clear channel radio station assigned to frequency 840 kHz. With clear channel status, its nighttime signal can be heard in most of the continental U.S. and much of Canada, and even in other countries at times. The station's studios are located in the Louisville enclave of Watterson Park and the transmitter site is in Long Run in far east Jefferson County. WHAS is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.
Its first broadcast was on July 18, 1922. It was originally assigned the frequency of 350 kHz.
On May 16, 1925, the first live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was originated by WHAS and was also carried by WGN in Chicago. The call of the Derby featured an announcer who watched from the windows of one of the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.
On May 15, 1932, WHAS changed from being an NBC affiliate and joined CBS. At that time, WHAS operated on 820 kHz with 10 KW power, but the output was soon increased to 25 KW as authorized by the Federal Radio Commission.
During the 1937 Flood the station aired 115,000 messages. On March 29, 1941 the station moved to its current frequency of 840 AM and made a clear-channel station, both as a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, which relocated the 840 clear channel allocation to Louisville from Toronto, where it was used by CBL. On March 30, 1970 WHAS began 24-hour operation.
The station was originally part of the local media empire ruled by the Bingham family, which also published Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times (now owned by the Gannett Company and merged in 1987) and operated television station WHAS-TV (which, following several mergers and transactions in subsequent years, is now owned by Sander Media and operated by Gannett). WHAS and its FM sister station, WAMZ (the former WHAS-FM) were acquired by Clear Channel Communications (which, as iHeartMedia, continues to own the stations to this day) in 1986 as part of the breakup of the Bingham family's media properties.
The station has been broadcasting on a full-time basis in the IBOC digital radio mode, using the HD Radio system from iBiquity, since September 2007 after an initial testing period which started in 2006. Prior to 1995, WHAS broadcast in C-QUAM AM stereo.
WHAS modernized in the early 1970s from an old-line MOR music outlet into an early form of Hot Adult Contemporary music format, featuring adult-appeal Top 40 hits and rock oldies; one longtime slogan was "Good and Gold" (as in "good music", or adult contemporary, and "golden" oldies). For a time in the 1980s, it was also the Louisville affiliate for Casey Kasem's American Top 40. The station continued to feature a full-service Hot AC format through the 1980s (and was the last 50 kW AM station with a full-time AC format), and by 1995, most of the remaining music programming was oldies-based; this made WHAS one of the last 50,000-watt clear-channel radio stations to feature music programming on a regular basis.
Today the station features The Rush Limbaugh Show (live), The Mark Levin Show (delayed by 2 hours), the last two hours of the national broadcast of Ground Zero, and Coast to Coast AM (live) on its daily lineup. Some other personalities on the weekday lineup have included Terry Meiners on "The Terry Meiners Show" and Lachlan McLean on "SportsTalk 840".
The late morning slot (9 am to noon) has seen two changes in recent years. Francene Cucinello hosted "The Francene Show" until her death on January 15, 2010; she was replaced that summer by Mandy Connell. In turn, Connell left in August 2013 to become the morning host on fellow iHeartMedia (then Clear Channel) station KHOW in Denver; her last show on WHAS was on August 9. For several months after her move, Connell provided daily one-minute commentaries, known as "Mandy Minutes", to WHAS. Connell's slot was filled by Leland Conway, previously a talk radio host in Lexington, Kentucky and most recently Richmond, Virginia, whose show began airing on September 16.
Significant changes came to the afternoon and evening lineup in the first half of 2015. In February, McLean announced he would leave WHAS on May 15 and move to Charlotte, North Carolina, where his wife took a corporate position with the Cedar Fair amusement park company. In April, it was confirmed that Sports Talk 840 would end when McLean left WHAS. Effective May 18, Meiners' show was cut back by an hour, ending at 6:00 instead of 7:00. The 6–8 time slot was filled by Connell, who returned to the Louisville market with a locally focused talk show (although it broadcasts from KHOW's studios) until February 2016. Then long time fill in host Mary Walter took over as the permanent host and continued the local focused format. The Mark Levin Show moved to the 8–11 slot, being delayed by two hours instead of three, and an extra hour of Ground Zero was picked up.
Weekend programming includes The Dave Ramsey Show, The Weekend With Joe Pags (Joe Pagliarulo), The Ric Edelman Show, The Larry Kudlow Show, The Mutual Fund Show (co-hosted by Adam Bold), and Handel on the Law. At the same time as the spring 2015 lineup changes, WHAS replaced The Bill Cunningham Show in its Sunday night lineup with The John and Leah Show, a syndicated weekly news review show hosted by former WHAS personality John Ziegler and Leah Brandon.
WHAS is Louisville's home for University of Kentucky athletic broadcasts, carrying Wildcats football and men's basketball games. Previously, it had been the flagship for Louisville Cardinals football and basketball, and still serves as the Cardinals' effective flagship station when there is no conflict with Wildcats games.
WHAS is the flagship radio station of the annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethon. The station also broadcasts The Moral Side of the News, one of the oldest public affairs programs in American broadcasting, dating back to the 1940s. The show has also been shown on WHAS-TV since the 1950s. The show's panel of clergy members have been involved in distributing the proceeds of the Crusade for Children among local charities since the telethon's beginning.
WHAS radio has solidifed its reputation over the years as a leader in coverage of crisis situations, particularly severe weather.
During the flood of 1937, the station gained nationwide notice for its coverage of the disaster, which included broadcasting Louisville flood bulletins over the facilities of WSM in Nashville after Louisville authorities were forced to cut electrical power to the city because of the rising flood waters (thus forcing WHAS' own signal off the air).
On the afternoon of April 3, 1974, Louisville was hit by an F4 tornado that developed during the 1974 Super Outbreak. WHAS broke away from regular programming to track the storm as it passed through the Louisville metropolitan area. In the hours immediately following the storm, the station delivered important information about what areas had been directly impacted by the storms, and traffic reporter Dick Gilbert followed the tornado in his helicopter, reporting on the damage as he flew at a safe distance behind the storm. The station stayed with continuous coverage of the disaster in Louisville and across the state of Kentucky and the southern portion of Indiana until well into the early morning hours of April 4. For their efforts, the station's personnel earned thanks from then-Kentucky Governor Wendell Ford and President Richard Nixon.
WHAS continued to provide valuable severe weather coverage in the 1990s. On January 17, 1994, a record overnight snowstorm paralyzed the city and much of the state of Kentucky. WHAS had round the clock updates and closings information for nearly a week. On May 28, 1996, another tornado outbreak occurred in Kentuckiana and the station suspended their election coverage that night to cover the storm.
Notable former on-air personalities
- Randy Atcher, children's host, cowboy singer
- Ford Bond, network announcer in the era of old-time radio
- Foster Brooks, show host
- Gary Burbank, afternoon DJ
- David Dick, newscaster, later with WHAS-TV and from 1966 to 1985 CBS News
- Joe Donovan, overnight DJ, show host (1977-1998)
- Dick Gilbert, helicopter traffic reporter (1970-1984), received national recognition for broadcasting live coverage of the April 3, 1974 Louisville tornado
- Cawood Ledford, sports
- Lachlan McLean, sports; final host of Sports Talk 840
- Don McNeill, national morning radio host
- Milton Metz, talk show host, notable for live broadcast after April 3, 1974 tornado that shared information about the aftermath.
- Hugh Smith
- Fred Wiche, Farm & Garden Director, "The Weekend Gardner" (1979-1998)
- John Ziegler, talk show host
- "Derby To Go On The Air", The New York Times, May 16, 1925, p. 11
- "CBS Adds WHAS and Windsor Unit" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 15, 1932. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Changing Hands." Broadcasting. June 16, 1986, pg. 63. 
- "HD Radio station guide for Louisville, KY".
- "Offenders of The Faith". eastlink.ca.
- News Release (April 9, 2015). "Terry Meiners Renews With NewsRadio 840 WHAS". WHAS.
- Ostrow, Joanne (July 24, 2013). "KHOW's successor to Peter Boyles is Mandy Connell". Ostrow Off the Record. The Denver Post. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Bullard, Gabe (July 24, 2013). "Mandy Connell Leaving WHAS for Denver". Louisville, KY: WFPL. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Ritchie, Christa (September 4, 2013). "Leland Conway replaces Mandy Connell at 84 WHAS radio". The Buzz. The Courier-Journal. Retrieved September 19, 2013. (soft paywall)
- Crawford, Eric (February 21, 2015). "Lach going off the clock -- host to leave WHAS SportsTalk in May". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
- Crawford, Eric (April 15, 2015). "Mandy Connell back in, Sports Talk out for WHAS Radio". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
- "Crusade for Children » Who We Are". archive.org.
- "The Whole World Is Listening: WHAS Radio Coverage of the 1937 Ohio River Flood". History Net: Where History Comes Alive - World & US History Online.
- WHAS April 1974 Tornado Coverage. LKYradio.com. (MP3) Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Willis, Scott. "Welcome to LKY Radio - Classic Louisville, Kentucky radio - WHAS Airchecks". LKYradio.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- Thomas, W.J. (November 20, 1932). "Ford Bond Would Like to Become Football Announcer". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 66. Retrieved December 27, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Joe Deuth Obituary - Louisville, KY - The Courier-Journal". The Courier-Journal.
- "Welcome to LKYRadio - Classic Lexington, Kentucky Radio - Joe Donovan Page". lkyradio.com.
- "The Gilbert Foundation - Our History". gilbertfoundation.org.
- Doug Proffitt, Special to The Courier-Journal; (April 2, 2014). "WHAS TV news anchor recalls 1974 tornado coverage". The Courier-Journal.
- Chris Ansman. "84 WHAS". lmpd.com.
- "Obituaries in the News". apnewsarchive.com.
- "Local Radio Personalities React To Ziegler Ruling". wave3.com. May 25, 2005.