WHBQ (AM)

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WHBQ
WHBQ SPORTS56 logo.png
City Memphis, Tennessee
Broadcast area Memphis, Tennessee
Branding Sports 56 WHBQ
Slogan Real Sports Talk
Frequency 560 kHz
Repeater(s) simulcast on 87.7FM WPGF-LP
First air date 1925
Format Sports
Power 5,000 watts day
1,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 21727
Transmitter coordinates 35°15′12.00″N 90°2′51.00″W / 35.2533333°N 90.0475000°W / 35.2533333; -90.0475000
Callsign meaning We Have Better Quartets[1]
Owner Flinn Broadcasting Corporation
Webcast Listen Live
Website sports56whbq.com

WHBQ is an AM radio station in Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States of America. Its frequency is 560 kHz. Although today it broadcasts sports news exclusively, the station became famous in the 1950s for playing rhythm and blues. Owned by Flinn Broadcasting, the station's studios are located in Southeast Memphis, and the transmitter site is in North Memphis.

WHBQ was once owned by RKO General. Its reputation was developed by Dewey Phillips, a disc jockey who played rhythm and blues music on his night-time show, Red, Hot and Blue. In 1954, Phillips played a recording of "That's Alright Mama" by Elvis Presley, a young truck driver, marking the first time an Elvis recording was broadcast on the radio.[2]

Disc jockey George Klein was indicted and convicted of mail fraud in 1977. Klein, the former Program Director for WHBQ, went to trial after being indicted on four counts of conspiring with a former postal employee to steal Arbitron diaries. Klein admitted to filling out diaries in order to inflate WHBQ’s ratings. Klein was found guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to 60 days in federal prison.[3]

For many years, WHBQ was considered a "farm club" for RKO. Young, aspiring DJs, such as Rick Dees and game show host Wink Martindale would work there with hopes of being moved up to RKO's bigger markets, like Boston, New York City, San Francisco, or the holy grail, KHJ in Los Angeles.[citation needed] In the 1960s, under the guidance of Bill Drake, WHBQ became Boss Radio. By the early eighties, the once-mighty music station could no longer compete with the increasing popularity of FM-band musical stations. They tried an oldies oriented format from 1981 to 1983 before switching to News/Talk. In 1988, RKO sold WHBQ to Flinn Broadcasting, a local media company, who tried oldies again, country and even heavy metal late at night.

Today WHBQ's focus has shifted from music to sports. It serves as the Memphis area home for the University of Mississippi's SEC football and basketball teams, and is also the main outlet for the Memphis Redbirds of baseball's Pacific Coast League. It supplements its national coverage with Yahoo! Sports Radio.

The station's hosts include: Peter Edmiston, David Basham, Dave Woloshin, Greg Gaston, Eli Savoie, Rob Fischer, Brett Norsworthy, Keith Parker, Elliot Wender and John Hardin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web. 
  2. ^ Fisher, Marc. Something in the Air. Random House. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-375-50907-0. 
  3. ^ "George Klein's Radio Ratings Fraud". [1]. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 2017-08-17.  External link in |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]