|City||Oak Hill, West Virginia|
|Broadcast area||Oak Hill, West Virginia|
Beckley, West Virginia
|Branding||"AM 860 WOAY"|
|Slogan||"Helping You Grow in the Faith"|
|First air date||1947|
|Power||10,000 watts (day)|
5,000 watts (critical hours)
11 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||WOAK was intended|
handwritten application was misread by the FCC
|Owner||Foothills Broadcasting |
(Mountainner Media, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WRJZ, WKTS, WETR|
WOAY was founded in 1947 by local businessman Robert R. Thomas, Jr., and was the flagship of a family-owned communications group that would later include WOAY-FM (94.1, now WAXS) in 1948 and WOAY-TV (channel 4) in 1954. Thomas originally planned to use "WOAK" as the call sign (standing for its city of license "OAK" Hill), but the handwritten application was misread by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with the "K" mistaken for a "Y". Early programming on the station included country, bluegrass, and Southern gospel music.
On January 1, 1953, WOAY began its broadcast day with what may have been the first announcement of the death of Hank Williams, Sr.. The performer was discovered dead in Oak Hill in the early morning hours of New Year's Day of an apparent heart attack, while en route to an appearance in Canton, Ohio.
In the early morning hours of September 30, 1977, WOAY's studio building was destroyed in a fire. The radio and television stations reset their operations in an adjacent auditorium, and would resume operations over the following weeks; WOAY (AM) returned to the air five weeks after the fire. By this time the station had changed formats and was playing rock music in a simulcast with WOAY-FM.
In the mid-1980s WOAY began to evolve into a full-time Christian station, with music and teaching programs; the station was also affiliated with the Moody Broadcasting Network. The Thomas family sold both radio stations in 1990, though they continue to own WOAY-TV as of 2017.
- AM 860 WOAY Online
- History of WOAY Radio and Television
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WOAY
- Radio-Locator Information on WOAY
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WOAY