|Broadcast area|| (Daytime)
|Branding||Ann Arbor's Talk Station|
|First air date||1958|
|Power||500 watts (Daytime)
26 watts (Nighttime)
|Former callsigns||WHNE (7/02-8/04)
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|Sister stations||WQKL, WTKA, WWWW-FM|
WLBY, "Ann Arbor's Talk Station", is a talk radio station broadcasting from Saline, Michigan. They carry nationally syndicated programs such as The Mike Huckabee Show, Geraldo Rivera, and John Bachelor. The station is also home to former WAAM morning host Lucy Ann Lance. Top of the hour news updates are provided by CNN Radio. WLBY is owned by Cumulus Media.
1290 on the AM dial has had quite a varied history since it first signed on in 1958 as WOIA. In 1962, WOIA jumped to the FM dial (102.9) and the AM signal was re-dubbed WOIB. (For more on the FM station, see WWWW-FM.) After several years as a MOR outlet, WOIA/WOIB began to simulcast a Top 40 format in 1967. On February 14, 1970, both stations were re-branded as "The Winners", with the 1290 calls changed to WNRS. Initially the "Winners" retained the WOIA/WOIB Top 40 format but later switched to country; WNRZ-FM also played progressive rock for a time while the AM side continued with the country format.
In 1975, WNRZ-FM brought the "Winners" simulcast to an end when it changed to album oriented rock as WIQB. WNRS continued on with country and later a fairly successful Oldies format under the moniker "Ann Arbor's Solid Gold." The oldies format continued until 1992, when the oldies format moved to new sister station WAMX-FM 107.1 as WQKL (or "Kool 107"). AM 1290 picked up WAMX's New Age/Adult Contemporary format and later the WAMX calls, after briefly using the call letters WIQB.
More changes followed: in the early-1999, Tom Monaghan bought the station and changed it to an all-Catholic format and changed the calls to WDEO; later that year, the religious programs (and the WDEO calls) were shifted to the former WWCM at 990 AM, and 1290 changed formats again: now, under new owners Cumulus, it was "WYBN, Your Business News".
In May 2000, Clear Channel Communications acquired Cumulus' Ann Arbor stations, including WYBN. The following year, Clear Channel switched it to WCAS, with an adult standards format dubbed "American Music Classics." Then, in July 2002, 1290 saw the revival of "Honey Radio", an all-oldies format that was popular on the former WHND (now WRDT) in the 1980s and 90s; now the calls were WHNE (also the calls of WHND's old FM outlet in the 1970s, now WCSX). "Honey Radio" took the "Real Oldies" approach that Clear Channel tried at WSAI Cincinnati, WRLL Chicago and several other AM stations, playing mostly 1950s' and 1960s' hits with very limited post-1970 material. The format was AM 1290's most successful in some time but lasted only about two years, until August 2004, when WHNE became WLBY—the 10th callsign the station has used.
In December 2006, Cumulus reacquired Clear Channel's Ann Arbor stations, including WLBY, as part of a multi-station swap. Cumulus' future plans for WLBY remain unknown at present, although Cumulus has said it does not plan to change the formats of any of its Ann Arbor stations.
In the following two years, WLBY has added new programs to feature more of a news-talk format, and not just business talk. Weekday programs and hosts include: The Steve Gruber Show featuring Steve Gruber, The Luce Ann Lance Show, Mike Huckabee, Geraldo, The HUGE Show, and John Batchelor. Weekends consist primarily of the Bloomberg Radio feed, but also include: The Financial Fitness Show, USA Financial Headquarters, and The Michigan Business Show.