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|Broadcast area||Canton, Ohio|
|Branding||News/Talk 1480 WHBC|
|First air date||March 9, 1925|
|Power||15,000 watts day
5,000 watts night
|Affiliations||Cleveland Browns Radio Network
Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network
Cleveland Indians Radio Network
Ohio State IMG Sports Network
(NM License, LLC)
WHBC is an AM radio station in Canton, Ohio operating on 1480 kHz and featuring a news/talk format supplemented with sports play-by-play in the evenings and weekends. The station is one of about 40 stations in the country that have split site transmitters—one site for daytime broadcasting and a different site for nighttime broadcasting. WHBC's daytime transmitter is located northeast of Canton off Diamond Street near Middlebranch Road. WHBC's night-time transmitter is located southwest of Canton off Gooding Street near the intersection of Sherman Church Avenue and Fohl Street. Its studios and offices are located in the historic WHBC building at 550 Market Avenue South in downtown Canton, where they have been for over 60 years.
WHBC is the oldest radio station in Canton. The license for the station was granted on February 13, 1925 to Father Edward P. Graham and the St. John Catholic Church . WHBC began broadcasting on March 9, 1925 at 1180 kHz with 100 watts. It was the first Catholic radio station on the air in the U.S., as WLWL in New York was not licensed until August 1925 . By the middle of 1927 the station had moved to 1270 kHz. Broadcasting had moved to 1200 kHz by the middle of 1930.
In 1936 the station was sold to secular interests, when it was purchased by Brush-Moore Newspapers, then owners of Canton's newspaper, The Repository. The station was sold in 1939 to a business group consisting of the Vodrey family of East Liverpool and the Boyd family of Portsmouth. The families organized ownership of the station under the name of the Ohio Broadcasting Company. They obtained approval to increase power to 250 watts daytime, while maintaining 100 watts at night. The station had no network affiliation until 1940 or 1941 when it became a Mutual affiliate. It became an ABC affiliate later in the 1940s . WHBC would remain with ABC Radio until June 22, 2009, when it switched to Fox News Radio.
On March 29, 1941, when most stations in the U.S. changed frequencies due to the NARBA, WHBC moved from 1200 to 1230 kHz. It moved to its present frequency of 1480 kHz on June 4, 1944, when WGAR AM in Cleveland moved from 1480 to 1220. The station obtained an FM license in 1948 and established WHBC-FM on 94.1 MHz which still operates using those call letters.
On September 26, 1967, the ownership was reorganized as WHBC, Inc., which changed its name to Beaverkettle Company on September 13, 1972. The Vodreys purchased WFIR in Roanoke, Virginia in 1969; they sold the station eight years later. In June 2000, the family-owned Beaverkettle Company sold WHBC and WHBC-FM to NextMedia for more than 42 million dollars. , ending 61 years of Vodrey family ownership of the stations.
For many years, WHBC was the only full-time AM station in Canton, as the stations on 900, 1060, and 1520 kHz were all daytimers, as also were 990 in Massillon and 1310 in Alliance (all but 1060 and 1520 were later granted a modest night power under changes in the FCC rules). As such, WHBC enjoyed enviable dominance in the Canton radio market, although stations from Akron and Cleveland could also be heard.
On March 26, 2007, WHBC ended its long-running Full Service format in favor of a full-time news/talk format, eliminating its remaining oldies-formatted dayparts. The station also broadcasts a show resurrected a staple from the '70s called Tradio, where listeners can call in and sell items for sale.
WHBC-AM was one of the first, if not the first, radio station to stream live play-by-play coverage of the Massillon Tigers and Canton McKinley high school football game over the Internet during the 1997 football season. People from all parts of the United States and parts of Europe were able to listen to the game live via the Internet.
NextMedia sold WHBC and their 32 other radio stations to Digity, LLC for $85 million; the transaction was consummated on February 10, 2014.
In November 2014, 20 year veteran sports host Sam Bourquin ended his relationship with the station, after an announcement on WHBC.com and Facebook.com, on WHBCs Facebook.com page, after the station attempted to move Bourquin to a slot in WHBC's morning show, where former Sports Director Jim Johnson had spent the bulk of his career before he retired.
A firestorm of controversy ensued, this time in an era of social media that had not yet been in place when Jim Albright, who Bourquin replaced, was released by former owners NextMedia, or when Conservative Host Brady Russell exited the station.
Bourquin's afternoon drive time slot was taken over by former Cleveland Sports Talk Show Host Kenny Roda, as WHBC sought to perhaps distance itself from its high school sports roots to a more national approach, as it had carried Fox Sports Radio on nights when the Cleveland franchises were off or not in season.
- Carol Adams - commentator/home economist (1956–57)
- History of St. John Church
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WHBC
- Radio-Locator Information on WHBC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WHBC
- Aerial photo of WHBC's daytime transmitter from Google Local
- Aerial photo of WHBC's nighttime transmitter from Google Local