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WNKU 105.9-89.7-104.1 logo.jpg
City Highland Heights, Kentucky
Broadcast area Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky
Branding 89.7 WNKU
Slogan Discover Music
Frequency 89.7 MHz
Repeater(s) WNKN 105.9 MHz Middletown, Ohio; WNKE 104.1 MHz New Boston, Ohio
Format Adult Album Alternative
ERP 12,000 watts horiz
9,900 watts vert
HAAT 97 meters
Class C3
Facility ID 4280
Transmitter coordinates 39°02′21″N 84°27′57″W / 39.03917°N 84.46583°W / 39.03917; -84.46583
Callsign meaning W Northern Kentucky University
Affiliations National Public Radio, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kentucky Public Radio
Owner Northern Kentucky University (sale to Bible Broadcasting Corporation pending)
Webcast Listen Live
Website wnku.org

WNKU (89.7 FM) is a radio station broadcasting an Adult Album Alternative format. Licensed in Highland Heights, Kentucky, United States, it serves the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area. The station is owned by Northern Kentucky University.

Additional frequencies[edit]

WNKU signed on in 1985 on 89.7 FM. As one of the last available frequencies in the Cincinnati area, WNKU was limited by a 12,000 watt directional signal.[1] In 2011, Northern Kentucky University purchased WPFB & WPFB-FM in Middletown, Ohio and 104.1 WPAY-FM in Portsmouth, Ohio, and increased the potential reach of WNKU to 3.1 million listeners. WNKU began simulcasting on WPFB (now called WNKN) and WPAY (now called WNKE) on February 1, 2011.[2]

2015 format changes[edit]

In February 2015, WNKU announced a new General Manager, 25-year radio veteran Sean O'Mealy.[3] In April 2015, longtime WNKU Music Director John McGue was promoted to Program Director[4] and WAPS Music Director Liz Felix was named Assistant Program Director.[5] The new programming team made changes to WNKU's format, increasing the focus on new alternative music and decreasing the heavy lean on folk and roots music. The changes were in response to evidence that, despite the signal expansion of 2011, station revenue was not keeping pace with growing expenses.[6][7]

While WNKU had always supported music from the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area, the format changes included an increased focus on local music. In October 2015, WNKU announced a new initiative to play at least one song by a local artist every hour.[8]

WNKU also began featuring music from the Cincinnati-based label King Records, mixing in classic soul music during regular programming hours.[9]

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." [10]On February 14, 2017, the NKU Board of Trustees voted to approve the sale of WNKU's license and transmitter site to the Bible Broadcasting Corporation for $1.9 million. The sale does not include the WNKU call letters, studio and equipment or personnel. In a separate transaction, the WNKE repeater was sold 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. The stations would continue to be operated by NKU as WNKU until the sales are approved by the Federal Communications Commission. [11] At the time of the announcement, no decision was announced on the future of the WNKN repeater.

Weekend and specialty programs[edit]

In 2015, WNKU changed its programming schedule, dropping several nationally syndicated programs (including eTown, UnderCurrents, and Little Steven's Underground Garage) in favor of content produced in-house. Former WOXY DJ Matt Sledge was added to the weekend lineup.[7]

As of 2016, weekend programs on WNKU include Americana music on the Front Porch, hosted by Pam Temple, Roadhouse Blues with Ken Hanes, classic rock and deep cuts with Mary Peale, soul and R&B with Mr. Rhythm Man, family music from Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, and bluegrass music with Katie Laur and Oakley Scot on Music From the Hills of Home.[12]

On January 22, 2016, WNKU introduced a new program focused on funk music, hosted by Cincinnati musician Freekbass.


External links[edit]