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City New Boston, Ohio
Broadcast area Portsmouth, Ohio-Ashland, Kentucky-Huntington, West Virginia
Slogan Public Radio That Rocks
Frequency 104.1 MHz
First air date 2003
Format Adult album alternative (WNKU simulcast)
Audience share 1.3 (Fa'07, R&R[1])
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 450 meters
Class C0
Facility ID 54813
Transmitter coordinates 38°41′0.00″N 83°0′46.00″W / 38.6833333°N 83.0127778°W / 38.6833333; -83.0127778
Callsign meaning Northern KEntucky University
Former callsigns WPAY
Affiliations National Public Radio, PRI, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kentucky Public Radio
Owner Northern Kentucky University (sale to Educational Media Foundation pending)
Sister stations WNKU, WNKN, WPFB
Webcast Listen Live
Website wnku.org

WNKE (104.1 FM) (formerly WPAY-FM) is a radio station licensed to New Boston, Ohio.[2] Its original call letters were a carryover from its former sister station WPAY (1400 AM; licensed to Portsmouth, Ohio), which signed on in 1933 as a country yodeling and country music station, from which the call letters were derived (Pay Any Yodeler). The station became notable when it stayed on air during the floods in Portsmouth in 1937, giving up-to-the-minute news and announcements to those separated and weary from the floods. In the 1960s, WPAY started to play country music on its FM while the AM was reassigned to have a news/talk format. The AM signed off the air on June 3, 2011 after 80 years. WNKE is currently a public radio station owned by Northern Kentucky University offering an adult album alternative format, simulcasting WNKU.

WNKE has one of the most powerful radio antennas in Southern Ohio and had one of the tallest radio towers, standing over 200 meters high overlooking the Ohio River in Kentucky. Due to the station having an ERP of 100,000 watts, its signal can be heard as far away as Columbus, Ohio, Beckley, West Virginia, and Cincinnati, Ohio. The old tower collapsed from the weight of the ice during an ice storm on February 19, 2003 and put the station off the air for a couple of days. The fall of this tower not only put out WPAY radio, but all of Scioto county public safety communication services. All services were restored by nightfall, February 21. Just recently, a new tower just to the southwest of Portsmouth and the location of their old tower has been built. It is 356 meters tall, or 453 meters above average terrain and features an ERI brand 12 bay directional antenna.

Switch to Public Radio[edit]

Beginning on February 1, 2011; WPAY, along with its sister station WPFB-FM 105.9 in Middletown, Ohio, began simulcasting the signal of Northern Kentucky University-owned WNKU. At that time, WPAY-FM switched from a country format to an adult album alternative (AAA) format. While this management and format change was initially completed under a management operating agreement, NKU assumed ownership of both stations once approval was received from the Federal Communications Commission.[3] WPAY's AM station was not included in the sale, and continued to broadcast conservative talk programming until closing down at 2 p.m. on June 3, 2011, due to the station's entire staff being terminated as a result of the sale of WPAY-FM.[4] The sale was approved by the FCC on June 20, 2011 and the station officially changed their call letters to WNKE on that date.

2017 Sale[edit]

In April 2016, citing state budget cuts to education, Northern Kentucky University announced that it would "explore the possibility of a sale of WNKU-FM and its assets." [5]On February 14, 2017, the NKU Board of Trustees voted to approve the sale of the WNKE repeater to the Educational Media Foundation for $750,000 plus 75% of the net sale proceeds of EMF-owned K-Love affiliate WEKV in South Webster, Ohio. This was done at the same time the sale of WNKU's license and transmitter site to the Bible Broadcasting Corporation was approved for $1.9 million. The stations would continue to be operated by NKU as WNKU until the sales are approved by the Federal Communications Commission. [6]


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