|City||Oak Hill, West Virginia|
Oak Hill, West Virginia|
Beckley, West Virginia
|Branding||"AM 860 WOAY"|
|Slogan||"Helping You Grow in the Faith"|
|First air date||1947|
10,000 watts (day)|
5,000 watts (critical hours)
11 watts (night)
WOAK was intended|
handwritten application was misread by FCC
Foothills Broadcasting |
(Mountainner Media, Inc.)
WOAY (860 AM) is a Religious/Southern Gospel-formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Oak Hill, West Virginia, United States, serving Oak Hill and Beckley. WOAY is owned and operated by Foothills Broadcasting.
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.