WKRO (AM)

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WKRO
City of license Cairo, Illinois
Broadcast area Alexander County, Illinois and Bird's Point, Missouri
Frequency 1490 (kHz)
First air date February, 1942
Format Urban AC
Power 1,000 Watts
Class C
Callsign meaning W K-RO (representing the local pronunciation of Cairo)
Owner Benjamin Stratemeyer

WKRO was an AM radio station located in Cairo, Illinois. It's now "silent" as broadcasting was ceased by Stratemeyer Media in 2013. The station was assigned the AM frequency of 1490 by the Federal Communications Commission in late 1941 and began broadcasting with a power of 250 watts in February 1942. According to Broadcasting Yearbook, the station raised its daytime power to 1000 watts around 1975. The original station owner was Oscar Hirsch. Mr. Hirsch had previously started KFVS Radio in Cape Girardeau in the 1920s and expanded his broadcast group in the 1940s to also include radio stations in Sparta, Illinois (WHCO), Flat River, Missouri (KKMO) and Sikeston, Missouri (KSIM). By the mid- 1950s, Mr. Hirsch expanded into the fledgling television industry with the formation of KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Hirsch family operated WKRO until 1984, when the station was sold to a local funeral director, William T. "Bill" Crain. Mr. Crain operated WKRO for close to ten years. During the 1990s, WKRO was owned and operated by a succession of short lived owners, including Roger Price, Sr. and Dan Mueller. Eventually, in an unusual arrangement for a commercial broadcast license, the station was briefly operated by Alexander County and overseen by the county commissioners before the current license holder, Stratemeyer Media, based in nearby Metropolis, Illinois, took over operations and programming of the station.

For much of its existence, WKRO broadcast a "block format" featuring different genres of music throughout the day and evening -- such as country, adult contemporary and urban -- interspersed with frequent news and information segments. The most notable were the longstanding "10 O'Clock Local News", broadcast every morning at 10:00 a.m.; "In Memoriam", a daily report of local obituaries; "Moments with the Master", a daily devotional with local pastor Dr. Larry Potts; and, "The Ilmoky Phone Quiz", a daily quiz show where listeners were called at random and asked to answer a trivia question for cash prizes. WKRO was a longtime affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals Radio Network and broadcast an extensive schedule of local high school football and basketball games each season. Memorable announcers on WKRO include Danny Mac, Bob Stout, Harry Stout, Charles Walker, Delores Kerricker, John Jones, Tyrone Coleman, I.J. Hudson III, Derrick Hill, Owen Evers, Merrill C. "Red" Currier and Walter "Wally" McCowen.

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Coordinates: 37°02′36″N 89°11′02″W / 37.04333°N 89.18389°W / 37.04333; -89.18389