|Broadcast area||Akron-Canton metro areas|
|Slogan||Akron Canton's News Talk|
|First air date||January 5, 1927|
|Power||5,000 watts (daytime)
500 watts (nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||HELLO Radio|
|Former callsigns||WJAY (1927–36)
|Former frequencies||610 kHz (1927–45)|
Kent State Golden Flashes
Wall Street Journal Radio Network
(CC Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||WARF, WHOF, WKDD, WRQK-FM|
WHLO (640 AM) – branded 640 WHLO – is a commercial radio station licensed to Akron, Ohio, serving both the Akron and Canton metro areas. Owned by iHeartMedia, the station broadcasts primarily a news/talk format. WHLO is the local affiliate for Fox News Radio; conservative talk programs The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, The Mark Levin Show, and The Schnitt Show; and overnight night talk shows The Dave Ramsey Show and Coast to Coast AM. The station also serves as the radio home of the Kent State Golden Flashes. The WHLO studios are located in North Canton, while the station transmitter resides in Copley. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WHLO is available online via iHeartRadio.
The station traces its origin to WJAY, which began broadcasting in Cleveland on January 5, 1927, on 610 kHz. WJAY was purchased on October 30, 1936 by United Broadcasting, which also owned WHK in Cleveland. The new owners changed the call sign from WJAY to WCLE. In 1945 as the FCC began implementing a ruling limiting station owners to a single AM outlet in a market, United Broadcasting moved WCLE to Akron, and changed the call sign to WHKK and the frequency to 640 kHz. In turn, United moved the 610 frequency to Columbus, Ohio to create WHKC from WAIU (formerly WBAV) which had been broadcasting daytime only on 640. WHKC became WTVN in the 1950s.
In the 1950s, WHKK was in the forefront of stations broadcasting rock and roll, led by Pete "Mad Daddy" Myers. Myers' contribution to the story of rock and roll has been overshadowed by other better known DJs such as Alan Freed. He began his career in 1957 at WHKK, and he developed into one of the most distinctive DJs in the northeast. As Mad Daddy, he had a frenetic, rapid-fire patter delivered entirely in rhyme. Playing an eclectic mixture of rock and roll and rhythm and blues, he coined phrases still used today, such as "wavy gravy" and "mellow jello". By January 1958 he moved on to WJW radio in Cleveland, which he promptly left in June of that year. After staying off the air until August 1958 as required by his WJW contract, he switched to WHK in Cleveland, where he reached the peak of his popularity, hosting record hops and live after-midnight shows dressed in a Dracula costume.
WHKK became WHLO by 1960, reflecting "Hello Radio" due to its low dial position. The station continued to operate as a "daytimer" for many years, having to sign off at Los Angeles sunset for I-A clear channel signal KFI. This would mean that WHLO would stay on until around 7:30pm during the winter, and as late as 11:00pm during certain summer months. WHLO would attain nighttime service many years later, but it would only be at 500 watts as opposed to their 5,000 daytime signal. After airing a popular top-40 format featuring disk jockeys known as "The Good Guys," WHLO turned to news/talk radio in the mid-1970s. By then, the station came under the ownership of Susquehanna Radio Corporation, which had acquired WNYN-FM in Canton, changing the FM station's call sign to WHLQ in the process.
Some of the personalities on WHLO's first talk incarnation include Nick Anthony (now an executive at Rubber City Radio), Steve Cannon (later at WTVN), Steve Fullerton (later at multiple Cleveland stations), Ron Vereb (today with WKBN as "Ron Verb"), and Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton (heard today on XEPRS in San Diego).
After a brief attempt at an all-news format, WHLO aired "Middle of the Road" music until Mortenson Broadcasting changed it to a religious format. This "Middle of the Road" format was a mixture of Big Band and ballads of the 40's, 50's & 60's. If you tuned in then you would have heard the likes of Don Dempsey in morning drive, Tom Joliffe, Norm Marriott, Brooks Morton, Chris "Daniels" Eicher, and Brad Davis. In news department was Christy Gibbs, Joe Shaheen, and Don Olson. On the weekends there was specialty programming including the Dick Waco show. After the purchase by Mortenson Broadcasting the religious format continued under different versions throughout the late 1990s. The station itself came under ownership of Salem Communications, and picked up Salem's syndicated "Solid Gospel" format service. In 1998, Salem relocated WHLO's operations to their Independence facility.
In the fall of 2001, WHLO was sold to Clear Channel Communications (which would become iHeartMedia in 2014). The station briefly simulcast Hot AC WKDD during this period, and adopted their second talk format (this time featuring syndicated talkers) in June 2002. The station airs a number of syndicated talk programs carried by other Clear Channel stations, including Glenn Beck Program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, and Coast to Coast AM.
On April 28, 2008, Matt Patrick began a local late-afternoon talk show, which later moved to late mornings. Patrick was known as the long-time morning host at WKDD, and continued that role along with the late afternoon show on WHLO. In December 2009, Patrick left his programs on both stations. In July 2009, WHLO began simulcasting on the FM radio band, via the HD-2 (digital radio) subchannel of sister station WRQK (106.9 FM). On September 12, 2010, it moved to broadcasting on the HD2 of other sister station WKDD replacing the Club Phusion programming on the station's HD2 signal.
During weekday mornings, the station airs syndicated talk program The Wall Street Journal This Morning, followed by a local talk show hosted by WHLO personality Jim Albright. Syndicated conservative talk programs account for nearly all other weekday content: The Rush Limbaugh Show middays; The Sean Hannity Show afternoons; America Now with Meghan McCain evenings; and The Schnitt Show late nights on delay. Coast to Coast AM airs weekend overnights. WHLO also airs regular updates from Fox News Radio. In 2012, WHLO became the radio home for Kent State athletics. Although WHLO itself does not broadcast in HD Radio, the station does simulcast over the HD2 digital subchannels of sister stations WKDD and WRQK-FM.