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City of license Akron, Ohio
Broadcast area Greater Cleveland
Northeast Ohio
Branding 96-5 KISS FM
Frequency 96.5 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)
96.5 HD-2 for Club Phusion
First air date station: 1975
frequency: July 3, 2001
Format Top 40
ERP 31,000 watts
HAAT 189 meters
Class B
Facility ID 49952
Callsign meaning W A KiSs FM
Former callsigns WKDD (1978-2001)
WCUE-FM (1950's-1978)
Owner Clear Channel Communications
Sister stations WGAR
Webcast Listen Live

WAKS is a commercial FM radio station in Cleveland, Ohio broadcasting at 96.5 MHz with a Top 40 format. It is known as "96-5 KISS FM" and is owned by Clear Channel Communications. Its transmitter is located in Brecksville, Ohio.

The 96.5 FM frequency was originally home of WCUE-FM which signed on in the 1950s, licensed to Akron, Ohio. Sometime later, the station became WKDD.



Prior to July 3, 2001, WAKS was on 104.9-FM, on a station licensed to Lorain, Ohio. Before becoming WAKS, the 104.9 frequency was occupied by WZLE, which signed on in 1975. Among the formats WZLE had ranged from pop standards to Christian Contemporary, the latter of which was the most successful.

WZLE was sold off to Jacor Communications in late 1998, which itself ended up becoming Clear Channel Communications. On May 20, 1999, WZLE suddenly dropped its Christian Contemporary format for automated Top 40 as "Kiss 104.9." Studios were moved to downtown Cleveland in the Tower City Center's Skylight Office Tower with sister stations WMVX and WMMS.

However, a slogan fight then erupted between Clear Channel and Radio One for rights to the "Kiss" name. Weeks earlier, Radio One changed WENZ from alternative rock to hip-hop/R&B as "Kiss 107.9," copying the slogan from their Washington, DC hip-hop outlet WKYS. Clear Channel claimed ownership of the slogan, basing it on Los Angeles Top 40 giant KIIS, and put it on similar stations in Dayton and Cincinnati.

Radio One eventually acquiesced that October, and changed WENZ's slogan to "Z-107.9." Clear Channel then changed WZLE's call letters on September 17, 1999 to WAKS, calls that were previously used on a sister station in Tampa. (For four days prior to becoming WAKS, the WMTX calls - previously used on what is now WCPZ in Sandusky, Ohio, were legally placeholder calls on 104.9-FM.)

In the big Cleveland frequency shake-up of July 3, 2001, WAKS, which had been on then Lorain based 104.9 FM, moved to 96.5 FM. At the same time, Clear Channel's WKDD moved from 96.5 in Akron to 98.1 in Canton, Salem Communications's WHK-FM moved from 98.1 in Canton to 95.5 in Cleveland and became WFHM-FM, and WCLV moved its call sign and Classical music format from 95.5 in Cleveland to 104.9 in Lorain.

The station's transmitter was moved to Brecksville, Ohio on a transmitting tower used for sister station WTAM (and non-related WZAK), which is in southeast Cuyahoga County.

While still technically licensed to Akron, and identified at the top of every hour as WAKS Akron-Cleveland, the station's studios are located with the rest of Clear Channel's Cleveland cluster off Rockside Road in the Cleveland suburb of Independence. WAKS promotes itself as, and is considered to be a Cleveland station.

Since November 2001, WAKS has been an affiliate of the internationally known syndicated program American Top 40 which has aired on Saturday mornings from 6:00am–10:00am. From the time WAKS picked up the show until January 3, 2004 it was hosted by the legendary Casey Kasem. On January 10, 2004, American Idol's Ryan Seacrest began hosting the show.

Syndicated programs


External links

Preceded by
FM 95.5 MHz in Cleveland, Ohio
July 3, 2001-Present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
FM 96.5 MHz in Akron, Ohio
July 3, 2001-Present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
FM 98.1 MHz in Canton, Ohio
July 3, 2001-Present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
FM 104.9 MHz in Lorain, Ohio
September 17, 1999-July 3, 2001
Succeeded by


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