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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"
Frequency 860 kHz
First air date 1947
Format Religious
Southern Gospel
Power 10,000 watts (day)
5,000 watts (critical hours)
11 watts (night)
Class D
Facility ID 12550
Transmitter coordinates 37°57′30.0″N 81°9′3.0″W / 37.958333°N 81.150833°W / 37.958333; -81.150833
Callsign meaning WOAK was intended
handwritten application was misread by FCC
Owner Foothills Broadcasting
(Mountainner Media, Inc.)
Website WOAY Online

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.[1][2] 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,[3] though they continue to own WOAY-TV as of 2017.

Former West Virginia state senator Shirley Love began his broadcasting career at the station as an announcer and sportscaster.

The station must power down to 11 watts at night to protect CJBC in Toronto, rendering it all but unlistenable even in Oak Hill.


  1. ^ Grubb, Barbara. "$3 million fire to idle TV station 2 to 4 weeks." The Raleigh Register (Beckley, W. Va.), September 30, 1977, pg. 1.[1]
  2. ^ "In brief." Broadcasting, October 3, 1977, pg. 32.
  3. ^ "Changing hands." Broadcasting, April 23, 1990, pg. 62.

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