|Broadcast area||Johnstown, Pennsylvania|
|Branding||The Edge 850-1400|
|First air date||1922|
|Callsign meaning||W K EDGE|
|Former callsigns||WJAC (1922–1999)
|Owner||Birach Broadcasting Corporation|
First signing on the air in 1922 on a number of frequencies including 833 kc., 1170 kc., 1310 kc. and finally in 1941 to 1400 kc., this station was known for much of its history as WJAC, under common ownership with WJAC-TV for many years. WJAC broadcast on 1400 until 1963 when the station migrated to 850 kHz and increased power from 500 watts to 10,000 watts. The station uses a very complex directional array to protect adjacent clear-channel stations WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky and CJBC in Toronto, Ontario.
St Francis College (now University) in Loretto subsequently filed for the soon to be vacant 1400 frequency. The 1965 Broadcast Yearbook lists the start date for WWSF as October 7, 1963. Some radio historians date 1400 in Cambria County back as far as 1925, however the station owned by Johnstown Automobile Company (WHPB) originally broadcast in 1925 on 1170kc. then 1310kc., changed call letters to WJAC in 1930 but didn't move to 1400 until sometime between 1935 and 1942, probably 1941. WWSF (now WWGE) licensed to Loretto, Pennsylvania started broadcasting in 1963.
WJAC (as AM 850) and sister station WKYE were under common ownership with WJAC-TV until 1984, when both stations were spun off to Winston Radio, Inc. Because all three stations were owned by shareholders in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, the city's daily newspaper, the radio stations were sold off in order to comply with recently enacted FCC regulations regarding newspaper cross-ownership in the same market. Though no longer owned with the TV station, WJAC, Inc. allowed Winston Radio to continue using the WJAC call letters for 850 AM for the duration of its ownership. This privilege expired upon Forever Broadcasting's acquisition of 850 AM in 1997.
Forever Broadcasting moved the calls and format of WNTJ over to 850, where it had been operating as a simulcast of the news–talk programming on WNTW in Somerset, Pennsylvania. It has since moved back to 1490 kHz with Forever's divestiture of the 850 signal and subsequent LMA of the 1490 signal. Birach, who purchased the 850 signal in November 2007, now airs a simulcast of talk station WWGE in Loretto.
The former license holder, Forever Communications of Altoona, Pennsylvania announced an agreement to sell WNTJ to Birach Broadcasting of Southfield, Michigan, with the transfer of ownership finalized by the end of 2007, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website. Birach had acquired both WNTJ and WCND in Shelbyville, Kentucky in the transaction, but no studio or office building was acquired for WNTJ. Birach instead opted to simulcast talk station WWGE in Loretto, Pennsylvania via an agreement with WWGE's owner, Pennsylvania Radiowerks. WWGE also went off-air during July 2012, the future of that station is unclear.
WKGE is operated using an unusual directional nine-tower array that requires a lot of maintenance, and Forever Broadcasting was trying to sell the station for a while. The array, sitting on 115 acres (0.47 km2) of land, is located in Paint Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Off the air
After being off-air since July 2012, during October 2012 WKGE was listed as Off-Air in the FCC database.
According to the FCC, Birach Broadcasting filed July 24, 2014 for Special Temporary Authority (STA), requesting to keep the station silent for a maximum period of 180 days from the date of file. The FCC granted the petition on September 11, 2014. As in previous filings, ownership cited main transmitter problems as the reason to keep the station silent, and had only intended a 90-day silence period, but as that window has come and gone, it will likely remain silent for the duration of the STA.
In another application filed March 3, 2015, Birach again requested a stay-silent authorization of 90 days while efforts continue to secure a new transmitter, as the current one is constantly failing. The FCC granted the request on April 3, 2015.
A return to the airwaves
In mid April 850 could be heard playing a mix of music, for hours or days at a time with no station identifier. On May 2, 2017 Legal IDs and a message stating that repairs to the facility were underway, and the station would be on and off the air for the next few weeks while repairs were made and during that time an interesting mix of music would be played. The station's carrier was initially horrible, presumably the aging Continental transmitter was having tube issues or possibly overheating as the door to the modulation cabinet must be kept open. The station's clear null points in the pattern are somewhat consistent (from a distance) with normal operation.
WKGE has not aired programming for in excess of two years.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WKGE
- Radio-Locator Information on WKGE
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WKGE
- Edge Radio Web Site