|Branding||Warren's WHTX 1570|
|First air date||August 17, 1971
October 16, 1955
|Format||Urban AC/Rhythmic Oldies|
|Power||500 watts (day)
116 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||W-"HiTs (X)"|
|Former callsigns||1990-2011: WANR
|Owner||Sagittarius Communications, LLC|
WHTX (1570 AM) — branded Warren's WHTX 1570 — is an urban AC/Rhythmic Oldies radio station licensed to Warren, Ohio and serving the Youngstown-Warren area from sister station WYCL's studio/transmitter facility in Mineral Ridge. Owned by Sagittarius Communications, LLC, the station operates with unlimited hours, with 500 watts during the daytime, and 116 watts in the evening hours.
The 1570 frequency was the original home of WHOT, then a daytime-only station in the 1950s. One of the first Top 40 stations in the United States, WHOT was founded by Myron Jones and Bill Fleckinstein, who first signed on WJET in Erie, Pennsylvania on the 1570 frequency as a daytimer. After upgrading WJET to a full-time signal on the 1400 kHz frequency in 1955, Jones and Fleckinstein used the now-opened 1570 frequency to establish WHOT in the Youngstown suburb of Campbell, Ohio as a 250 watt non-directional daytime-only station. At the time, the station had to sign off at nighttime in order to protect clear channel XERF in Ciudad Acuña, and for a period WHOT was the only daytimer in the Youngstown market.
Despite the technical limitations, WHOT rose to the top of the local ratings in the Youngstown area. Longtime broadcaster Dick Biondi was the afternoon host on WHOT at this time. In 1963, WHOT moved to the 1330 frequency as a full-time operation (and to this day, still operates with a CHR/Top 40 format, although on the 101.1 MHz frequency). The 1570 frequency was reestablished in 1971 as WTCL, licensed to Warren, Ohio. WTCL became WOKG on November 2, 1981, and would eventually come under the ownership of Geraldine Taczak.
In WOKG's later years, it aired a controversial locally-based talk radio format under the "Talk 1570" name. Programmed by Steve Fine, the lineup featured Neil Hagan (host of "Sundown Talk"), A.J., Charles Cunningham, Mike Murphy and Mike Ward. Even while the station had authorization for nighttime operation by this period, WOKG primarily operated during the daytime hours (excluding whenever high school play-by-play would air). As a result, the schedule would vary according to sunrise and sunset times.
On March 23, 1990, the WOKG studios in Warren Township, Ohio were destroyed by a fire, which was ruled arson by local authorities. No suspects were ever apprehended, and the case remains unsolved to this day. The station returned to the air on March 30, 1990 from studios in a pizza concession trailer, located in the parking lot next to the destroyed converted farm house which had previously housed the station. Shortly thereafter, Geraldine Taczak would make plans to sell the station.
In the following months, the station began simulcasting an urban-contemporary format with the 1540 facility in Niles, Ohio, known as "Network 15 - The City." WOKG took the WANR calls on December 15, 1990, while the 1540 facility assumed the complementary WNRB callsign. (WANR initially stood for "WArren's NetwoRk 15", but long after the simulcast ended, it eventually stood for "WArreN Radio.")
The two stations on "Network 15" featured local personalities such as program director/morning host Boots Bell, Sweat William, DC Don Clyde, Will Thomas, and Steve Arnold. The station was most known for the paid General Motors program "GM Together" - which focused on the company's nearby plant in Lordstown, Ohio - and "TMH together," focusing on Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
WANR split off from WNRB in 1994, and carried a basic news/talk and sports format. Beacon Broadcasting, headed by Micheal Arch, acquired WANR in late 1998, and the station added Christian programming to the mix as "The Arrow."
It then carried a mix of oldies music and specialty talk shows as "Crusin' 1570," and then went back to a talk format as "The Talk of the Valley." WANR's studios by this point were located at 124 North Park Avenue in Warren's historic downtown Courthouse Square.
After airing a number of syndicated and local talk programs, in 2005 WANR became the Youngstown/Warren area affiliate of the Air America Radio liberal talk radio network. It also broadcast a local talk radio program called The New Talk of the Town, hosted by local political figure Don Hanni III. The liberal talk format was operated by Hanni and associates under a local marketing agreement.
After a dispute between the station's ownership and the group operating the station, a court settlement returned programming control to owner Beacon Broadcasting. Following the court decision, former Warren steel supply magnate Harold Glunt took exclusive control over Beacon, and soon acquired WGRP and WEXC from Vilkie Communications, WLOA from Holy Family Communications, and former sister station WRTK from D&E Broadcasting. Glunt readjusted Beacon's focus to being a faith-based company that adhered to "family friendly" radio. Consequently, the purchase of WEXC eliminated that station's 50s/60s oldies format in favor of CCM.
Following the dropping of the liberal talk format, WANR picked up a variety of Christian and secular oldies music until adopting a "Family Friendly" oldies trimulcast with WLOA and WGRP (a semi-continuation of WEXC's former oldies format. Initially identifying itself with the anachronistic "Wexy 107" name, this arrangement later was known as "1570, 1470 and 940 - Your Family Friendly Frequencies."
It ended in December 2006, with the two other stations adopting separate formats, while WANR became "Classic Hits 1570," featuring hits from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and including local broadcasters such as Gregg "Allen" Robison in the morning, Johnny Rogers in afternoons, John Madden in evenings and Emanuel "Manny" Strother.
This format was dropped in favor of the Fox Sports Radio-based sports format on July 4, 2009. At the time, Cumulus-owned ESPN affiliate WBBW carried The Dan Patrick Show on their weekday schedule (which is normally on Fox Sports Radio's main lineup, but produced by DirecTV Sports Group and syndicated separately by FSR's parent company, Premiere Radio Networks). WANR instead offered a three-hour syndicated program devoted to professional boxing during the latter days of Beacon ownership. Following Whiplash Radio's takeover of the station, FSR's alternate morning show, The Zakk and Jack Show, aired on a tape-delayed basis in that time slot, moving the boxing program to the evening hours.
Following the death of Harold Glunt in January 2010, all of the Beacon stations, including WANR and WRTK, were put up for sale. Concurrently, WRTK also began a full-time simulcast of WANR's sports format (albeit only during the daytime hours). Whiplash Radio LLC purchased the stations on Friday, August 13, 2010. The company is headed by radio veteran Chris Lash, who has built, owned and operated stations in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida and Ohio. Both WRTK and WANR then moved to WRTK's studio/transmitter site in Mineral Ridge a few weeks later, with WRTK assuming a separate classic country format known as "Youngstown's Country Legends," WYCL 1540 The Farm, on September 1, 2010.
The sports radio format and Fox Sports Radio affiliation was dropped in November 2010 after Clear Channel announced a new affiliation agreement between the network and WNIO. In exchange, WANR revived their previous classic hits format christened as "The Blizzard," including legendary personalities Jim Zippo, Larry James, Eric Chase, John Records Landecker, Randy Hames, and Rick Dees via the TKO Radio Network.
On January 20, 2011, Whiplash Radio LLC of Ohio applied to change WANR's call letters to WHTX, call letters previously used on the 96.1 MHz frequency in Pittsburgh (now WKST-FM) and later on the 95.9 MHz frequency in Sharpsville (now WAKZ).
WHTX then switched formats again to adult standards on March 22, 2011, filling a format hole in the market after both WNIO and WSOM both switched from standards to spoken word formats. The music playlists came from Dial Global Local's The Lounge format, with longtime Youngstown radio personality Gary Rhamy in morning drive. Citing health concerns, owner Chris Lash leased out operating control of WHTX to Cleveland broadcast veteran Jim Davison that June 6, who then teamed up with Laurel Taylor to form JL Communications LLC in November 2011, in addition to assuming operating control of WYCL.
Weekend and specialty programming on WHTX included The Sounds of Sinatra with Sid Mark, Rock, Roll and Remember with Dick Clark, American Standards By The Sea with Dick Robinson, Weekend Radio with Robert Conrad, and Elvis Only with Jay Gordon. From 2011 until 2012, hourly newscasts were provided by CBS Radio News, supported locally by a news-sharing agreement with the Warren Tribune Chronicle, and had weather updates provided by Accuweather.
The station also featured local high school sports coverage with Warren JFK and Warren Harding High Schools, and was the flagship station of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League from 2011 to 2012, the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2011 through 2012 (and a portion of the 2013 season) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football for a portion of the 2013 season.
Sagittarius Communications, LLC, took over WHTX and WYCL on October 1, 2012 via a local marketing agreement with a lease-to-purchase option from Whiplash Radio, LLC. After initially dropping Dial Global's "The Lounge" service and all weekend programming, WHTX continued programming adult standards until dropping it for a satellite-programmed rhythmic oldies format on January 1, 2013.
Sagittarius' lease-to-purchase option with WHTX and WYCL failed to close, and another local marketing agreement was established in May 2013 by "Group Radio, LLC," headed by former Akron radio personality Tim Phillips and WHTX staffers Bob Church and Gary Rhamy, who reimplemented an adult standards format on WHTX. This incarnation of the format featured Gary Rhamy in morning drive and Johnny Rogers in afternoons, and the station's music was locally produced with a soft AC slant.
Following a court settlement in late October 2013 between Sagittarius and Whiplash Radio, WHTX and WYCL were returned to Sagittarius. Concurrently, WHTX flipped back to a rhythmic oldies format on November 2, 2013, again primarily featuring Cumulus Media Networks' "The Touch" programming service.
In October 2015, WHTX updated it's branding and on-air presentation to "Warren's WHTX-1570" in addition to dropping "The Touch" programming service.