WILK originally signed on the air around January 1947. The studios were located at 88 North Franklin street in Wilkes-Barre. The station's original broadcast frequency was 1450 kHz at 250 watts during its early years. In 1951 WSCR in Scranton moved from 1000Kkz to 1320,making it possible for WILK to move to 980 with a three tower array, broadcasting 5 kW non-directional day and 1 kW directional night time. It was an ABC radio affiliate. As such, it spawned WILK-TV channel 34, one of northeast Pennsylvania's two original ABC affiliates. That station merged with Scranton's WARM-TV to form WNEP-TV, which still operates under WILK-TV's license.
From the 1990s until 2005, it was the originating station in the WILK Radio Network. However, that distinction now belongs to FM sister WILK-FM.