The station was founded by Appalachian Broadcasting, a consortium of local businessmen, in December 1946 under the call sign WCYB. The station's initial format was country music, including such notable acts as the Stanley Brothers. Appalachian Broadcasting signed on WCYB-TV in 1956. In 1969, Appalachian's owners decided to retire. The FCC had by this time barred common ownership of television and radio stations, so the radio station was sold to another local businessman, James Ayers, who changed the call letters to WZAP. Ayers died in 1975, and in 1976 his estate sold the station to general manager Al Morris and his company, RAM Communications. The station switched to its current Southern gospel format in 1982.