|Broadcast area||Dayton, Ohio
|Translator(s)||98.7 W254BA (Riverside, relays HD3)|
HD2: 80s Classic hits (WZLR simulcast)
HD3: Urban Oldies "The Soul of Dayton"
|Callsign meaning||A portmanteau of former WHIO callsign and K99.1 branding|
|Owner||Cox Media Group
(Cox Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WHIO, WHIO-FM, WHIO-TV, WZLR|
WHKO (99.1 FM, "K99.1") is a country music radio station licensed to Dayton, Ohio. The station is owned by Cox Media Group. With its 50,000 watt signal, WHKO is one of the strongest FM stations in the Southwestern Ohio area, and frequently makes mention of this during on-air promos. Its studios are co-located with the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-AM-FM-TV and two more radio stations in the Cox Media Center building near downtown Dayton. WHKO has a transmitter in Dayton's westside.
K99.1FM plays a mix of "New country and your familiar favorites" and has historically played more music and fewer commercials than most radio stations in the Dayton/Cincinnati radio market. With a strong signal and a commitment to playing more music than the competition, WHKO has a long history of being near the top of the Dayton Arbitron ratings since it began its country format in March 1989. K99.1 also shows up regularly in the Cincinnati Arbitron ratings, as its signal comes in clear throughout the greater Cincinnati market as well.
WHKO was founded in 1946 as WHIO-FM, with a beautiful music format which since the 1960s was a kindred compliment to the middle of the road format of WHIO (AM). Though many FM stations at first floundered and failed during its inception in the 1950s in favor of AM, WHIO-FM remained solid. It eventually became the reigning number 1 station in the Dayton market for many years as FM was considered to be an easy alternative to commercial pop music and the rise of Top 40 and country music on the AM dial during that time. During the final years WHIO-FM ran the Bonneville live assist beautiful music format. During the final year of operation the 25-54 demographic ratings were slipping, so WHIO-FM inserted soft adult contemporary vocals to help increase ratings. The tactic did not really work which led Cox Broadcasting to research the market for a format hole.
In November 2006 the WHIO-FM calls were resurrected at 95.7 FM in Piqua (the former WDPT) as a simulcast of WHIO-AM's news talk format.
On March 17, 1989, the calls switched to WHKO and with it the format flipped from beautiful music to country. The last song on WHIO-FM was Rick Ashley's "Together Forever." The announcer pre-promoted another 30 minutes of easy listening music, but after the last song the station switched to country. The first song played was "I was country when country wasn't cool" by Barbara Mandrell. The change was well received in the market, after 2 ratings periods WHKO was #1 25-54, however the older audience was very upset about the change after decades of easy listening music. The station received hundreds of letters of complaints for several months after the switch. Prior to the switch, the top-rated country station in Dayton from 1969 to 1990 was WONE (AM) which now employs a sports/talk format.
At first the station was 'easy listening country' playing soft crossover hits from Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Rita Coolidge, Gordon Lightfoot and more. The DJ style was very laid back, at times it sounded almost like the previous format. Over the next several years the station modernized the format and today is reminiscent of a CHR country format with tight rotations, upbeat jocks and community involvement.
WHKO's HD-2 digital subcarrier airs a simulcast of 80s classic hits formatted WZLR The Eagle 95.3FM Xenia, Ohio.
WHKO's 99.1 HD-3 digital subcarrier is leased to BC Dayton Broadcasting as "The Soul of Dayton," a possible reference and tribute to the former WDAO-FM (now WMMX) which airs an urban oldies format. The service made its debut on Monday September 9, 2013 and is re-transmitted on analog 98.7 FM (translator W254BA)
- K-99.1 FM
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WHKO
- Radio-Locator information on WHKO
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WHKO
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W254BA
- Radio-Locator information on W254BA
- List of "grandfathered" FM radio stations in the U.S.