|Branding||NewsRadio 97.7/1290 AM WTKS|
|Slogan||Savannah's News Talk Station|
|Translator(s)||97.7 FM (W249BS): Savannah|
|First air date||October 1929|
|Power||5,000 watts (unlimited)|
|Former callsigns||WTOC (1929-1979)
|Affiliations||Fox News Radio, Premiere Radio Networks|
(Capstar TX LLC)
|Sister stations||WSOK, WAEV, WQBT, WYKZ, WLVH|
WTKS (1290 AM, "NewsRadio 1290") is a radio station licensed to serve Savannah, Georgia. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and licensed to Capstar TX Limited Partnership. It airs a talk radio format. The station was assigned the WTKS call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on January 25, 2002. Its transmitter is located behind WTKS's studios in Garden City, Georgia (with a Savannah address).
Notable WTKS programming features syndicated personalities such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Dave Ramsey, Michael Savage, and Rusty Humphries. Other notable weekday shows include the syndicated "Coast to Coast AM" with George Noory and the local "Savannah's News Now" with WTKS news director Bill Edwards.
In October 1929, WTOC signed on as the first broadcasting station in the Savannah area. It was an enterprise of the civic group Junior Board of Trade that was the forerunner of the Savannah Jaycees. It was later purchased by William Knight, Jr., who eventually added an FM station in 1946.
On February 14, 1954, Knight took a great financial risk and established WTOC-TV as the first television station in the Savannah area. WTOC-AM-FM had long been the area's CBS Radio affiliate, so WTOC-TV joined CBS and has been with the network ever since.
WTOC was the first station in Savannah, on 1260 kc. with 500 watts day and night, omnidirectional. Later, they increased to 1,000 watts daytime, finally settling on 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts at night. The NARBA nationwide frequency shift in 1941, moved them to 1290 kc. Shortly thereafter, they built their four tower array in Garden City, and increased to 5,000 watts at night (directional).
WTOC ("Welcome To Our City"), was owned for many years by the Knight family, and was always a CBS affiliate. WTOC added an FM in 1946, first at 97.3 MHz, later moving to 94.1 MHz. Following the end of significant network programming for radio (with the shift to television), WTOC became a MOR station. They were feature (both network and local) heavy, as well as having significant news programming. It was not until the mid-1970s that WTOC became much more contemporary with their programming. For a while, they were "The Love Rock", and played primarily what we'd today call adult contemporary. They used TM's "Sound Of Chicago" jingle package, which had been created for WMAQ.
Over on the FM, they dropped BPI's music format, in favor of BPI's country format, and became "Country 94".
In 1979, the Knights sold WTOC radio and television to the American Family Group from Columbus, who in turn spun the radio stations off to Bluegrass Broadcasting, out of Lexington, Kentucky. Bluegrass built a huge studio-office complex adjacent to the AM transmitter site on Alfred Street, and renamed the AM WWSA ("Working With SAvannah"), and the FM to WCHY/Y-94 ("We're Country Hits, Y'all").
WCHY (AM) and WCHY-FM were sold by Roth Broadcasting in 1995 to WP Radio, which in turn was selling its stations to Patterson Broadcasting as WP Radio left the business.
On March 28, 2011, the station's parent Clear Channel Communications purchased an FM translator allowing the station to be heard on 97.7 FM.
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Archived from the original on March 1, 2010.
- Grace, Nancy (2006-04-28). "American Hero Found Dead Part 1". CNN.
- "Newsline". Billboard. 107 (21): 106. May 27, 1995.
- "Clear Channel buys an FM translator for its Savannah talker, WTKS-AM (1290)". Radio-Info.com. March 28, 2011.