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|Broadcast area||Dayton metropolitan area|
|Slogan||Dayton's 24-Hour News, Weather and Traffic|
|First air date||February 9, 1935|
|Affiliations||Cleveland Browns Radio Network
Fox News Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
Westwood One Network
(Cox Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WHIO-FM, WHIO-TV, WHKO, WZLR|
|Website||News/Talk Radio WHIO|
WHIO (1290 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Dayton, Ohio. The station is owned by Cox Radio, and airs a News/Talk radio format with nationally syndicated programming from Fox News Radio, the Westwood One Network and Premiere Networks. Its studios are co-located at 1611 South Main Street in Dayton with its partners: 95.7 WHIO-FM, Channel 7 WHIO-TV, the Dayton Daily News and two more radio stations in the Cox Media Center building.
WHIO broadcasts with a power of 5,000 watts 24 hours a day from a transmitter near East David Road in Kettering, Ohio. The antenna is non-directional in the daytime, but it operates with a directional antenna at night using a three-tower array, to avoid interfering with other stations at 1290 kHz.
WHIO is home to popular syndicated talk radio shows such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade, Dana Loesch and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. WHIO also carries two syndicated shows based at Cox Radio flagship station WSB Atlanta: Herman Cain and Clark Howard. "Miami Valley's Morning News" is WHIO's news and interview wake-up show from 5 to 9 am weekdays. Also on weekdays day, news is delivered every 30 minutes with traffic and weather. On weekends the station airs shows on money, health, cars, computers and gardening. Weekend syndicated hosts include Glenn Beck, Kim Komando and Ric Edelman. Some weekend shows are paid brokered programming. WHIO serves as the broadcast home for University of Dayton football and basketball. The station is a Fox News Radio network affiliate.
WHIO was Cox Radio's first station started by company founder Ohio Governor James M. Cox in 1935 in the Dayton Daily News building downtown. To get permission to create the new station, Cox had to purchase WLBW in Oil City, Pennsylvania, and move it to Dayton. The station was first broadcast on 1260 kHz which was the frequency of WLBW, but in the early 1940s it moved to the 1290 kHz frequency where it currently resides.
WHIO's long history in the market included Lou Emm. Emm started at WHIO in the early 1940s and retired in 1992. When Emm died a few years later, all Dayton radio stations paused for a moment of silence. Phil Donahue started at WHIO as the host of the weekday talk show "Conversation Piece" in the 1960s before his move to television and competitor Channel 2 WLWD (now WDTN) in 1967. His show became nationally syndicated beginning in 1970. During this era, Winston Hoehner was news director at WHIO-AM for 25 years and was a member of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcast Journalism Hall of Fame. He died in 1990.
The format of the station during the music era was always either what we would call "Adult standards" "Middle of the Road" or "Soft adult contemporary." WHIO was the originating station of a regional news network in the 1960s and 70s which was aired late afternoons on stations in surrounding communities throughout the Miami Valley as "The DP&L News Network"(for its sponsor, The Dayton Power and Light Company). A similar network aired in the 1990s during this same time frame as "The Newscenter 7 Radio Network."
On October 30, 2006, Cox Radio pulled the plug on All-1980's format on WDPT (95.7 The Point) and it now simulcasts WHIO's News/Talk format on the 95.7 FM frequency. 95.7 is 50,000 watts and covers the entire south central Ohio region and reaches into Eastern Indiana.
The following comes from a station history written on January 14, 1965. It was discovered inside a box of reel to reel tape at the station in 2007, written on the letterhead of the Miami Valley Broadcasting Corporation (which was a division of Cox Broadcasting Corporation then.) Any updated information inside this history was added by the editor:
- "At 4 pm Tuesday, February 9, 1965, WHIO, a pioneer radio station in this area will have been on the air 30 years and will start the celebration of another anniversary.
- It was 4 pm Saturday afternoon in 1935 when the station signed on the air with a prayer given by Rev. Herman Page of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Later that evening, a dedicatory dinner was held at the Miami Hotel attended by approximately 900 invited guests.
- At 6 pm, the full NBC network saluted the station with a half-hour program which included the late Will Rogers, Amos 'n' Andy-the top entertainers at that time, The Pickens Sisters, Tim and Irene-a comedy team, and former Daytonians Carol Deis and John Alda Lewis.
- At 7:30 pm, a program from the hotel was broadcast over the network which included the late Graham McNamee as announcer, Paul Katz directing the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, The Wilberforce Mixed Octet, vocalist Marjorie Squires, Gene and Glenn, Hiram and Henry, Jesse Crawford at the WHIO pipe organ, and talks by former Governor James M. Cox, James M. Cox, Junior - President of the Miami Valley Broadcasting Company and Colonial Richard Patterson, executive Vice President of NBC, who came to Dayton for the dedication.
- At the speaker's table sat 32 prominent business and industrial leaders, the presidents of seven colleges, Orville Wright and the commander of Wright Field, Lt. Col. C.H. Pratt.
- The first transmitter was built on the Brandt Pike, utilizing two towers each 293 feet high. The studios were in the building next to the Daily News building at 45 South Ludlow Street. All of the equipment and furnishings were new and the studios were especially built "floating type", which meant no building vibration was transferred through the building into the studios.
- Only 3 stations in the country used the 1260 kHz frequency in 1935, of which WHIO was one, and the station broadcast with a power of 1,000 watts. On Sunday, June 28, 1936, the power was increased to 5,000 watts, the present power.
- In January, 1941, the FCC changed all radio frequencies, moving them ahead 30 Kilocycles and from that date, WHIO has been on 1290 KC. It was also early in 1941 when land was purchased on Hempstead Road south of Dayton and a new tower system installed. The transmitter is still in this location, but, through the years, new equipment and modification of the old to maintain peak technical performance has been installed. (Editor's note: Hempstead Road is now known as East David Road.
- One other change was made 18 months after going on the air. On October 1, 1936, WHIO became a basic station of the Columbia Broadcasting System, and has been a member of the leading network since that date. Editor's note: WHIO remained a CBS affiliate until the 1990s. It first switched to A.P. (Associated Press) Network News, then to CNN Radio and finally, Fox News, its present affiliation.
- The brief address of Governor Cox given on the network the night of the dedication has since become the hallmark of the radio station. It dedicated the station to service to the community and gave the steel construction and electronic equipment an immediate personality and prestige which was magnified in the programs which have been presented in the past 30 years. Titled, "The Soul Of Radio", dedication talk in part reads as follows:
- Birth is always a solemn thing and our emotions are deeply stirred as WHIO is announced as a new thing of life. May I express this christening sentiment - that the voice of this Miami Valley empire will always be an instrument of dignity, culture and practical service, that it will carry the light of joy to places that are dark, that it will build a love of googness and beauty, that it will plant in the hearts of men a philosophy that will help them to see Divinity in sunshine and shadow, that it will sense its obligations to the more than a million people who are by common interest to be our immediate radio fireside. In brief, may WHIO in its long watches of the night and in its endless days be conscious of its duty to God and humanity.
- During its first year of operation the station marked up many "firsts" for radio in this area. Among these were the first broadacst [sic] from a courtroom when microphones were taken into the Municipal Court of Judge Null M. Hodapp for live broadcasts of traffic cases, the first broadcast of a Montgomery County basketball tournament, when former Congressman Paul F. Schenck was tournament chairman, the first remote broadcasts from Russells Point Ballroom on Indian Lake where all the big band names of the day made their appearance, and many more firsts of significant local nature.
- In its 30 years of operation, WHIO always prided itself on not following the foolish fads in broadcasting and temporary tastes in music. Rather it has, over the 30 years, played the type of music and presented the kind of programs which has appealed to the great majority of listeners. Thus, it has earned its position as one of the great local stations in the country."
- Editor's note: Oddly enough, in 1984, then WHIO Program Director Mike Scott, in an attempt to make the station's audience younger and hipper, flipped the musical format to a Hot AC-Adult CHR hybrid. It seemed unusual to hear longtime morning host Lou Emm introducing songs such as "Like A Virgin" by Madonna and "I Want A New Drug" from Huey Lewis and the News. The experiment was a miserable failure and the Corporate office immediately flipped the station back to its original Middle of the Road formula, featuring artists such as Anne Murray and Christopher Cross.''
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
- "WHIO Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WHIO Will Open Feb. 2 Over NBC Red Network; Rate Card Is Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 1, 1935. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977
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