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WCKY (AM): Wikis


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1530 Homer: The Sports Animal
Broadcast area Cincinnati, Ohio
Branding 1530 Homer
Slogan The Sports Animal
Frequency 1530 (kHz)
First air date September 16, 1929
Format sports/talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Callsign meaning Covington, KentucKY
Affiliations Fox Sports Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
Bengals Radio Network
Westwood One
ESPN Radio
Owner Clear Channel Communications

WCKY is an AM radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, broadcasting at 1530 kHz with 50,000 watts, and its transmitter is located in nearby Villa Hills, Kentucky. It is a class A clear channel station, sharing the frequency with KFBK in Sacramento, and can be heard, particularly at night, over most of the eastern U.S. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications and uses the on-air nickname "1530 Homer: The Sports Animal," with simulcasts on WONE in Dayton and WIZE in Springfield.

WCKY carries a sports talk radio format, and is the Cincinnati affiliate for Fox Sports Radio, The Dan Patrick Show and The Jim Rome Show. The station also features local sports talker Mo Egger. WCKY is the flagship station of the Cincinnati Bengals (along with WEBN (FM), and are also simulcast on WLW after Cincinnati Reds baseball season ends). The station also broadcasts football and basketball play-by-play of the University of Kentucky Wildcats & Louisville Cardinals.

Its studios (along with all other Clear Channel Cincinnati stations) are in the Towers of Kenwood building next to I-71 in the Kenwood section of Sycamore Township.



WCKY dates back to the late 1920s, and achieved a 50,000 watt signal in the early 1940s. It was founded by L.B. Wilson, a longtime broadcaster in the region. Originally, WCKY was licensed to Covington, Kentucky, and was treated as a Kentucky-based station. This status helped WCKY's case before the FCC to increase power to 50,000 watts by the late 1930s - even though it was literally across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio and fellow 50,000 watt station WLW. WCKY's city of license moved to Cincinnati by the early 1960s. During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, WCKY was used to broadcast news and information to the area, due to its southerly directional signal pattern.

By the early 1970s, the L.B. Wilson estate sold WCKY to The Washington Post, who in turn sold it off to Elkhart, Indiana-based Federated Media. WCKY switched to News & Talk and became the first all Newstalk radio station in Cincinnati. The line-up included local host Mike McMurray and for a short time now national host Doug Stephan. Syndicated personalities included Bruce Williams and Larry King. WCKY was the local home for Rush Limbaugh when he debuted.

Sold to Jacor Communications in 1994, now Clear Channel along with sister station WOFX-FM (then WIMJ.). WCKY's format changed with the times, from easy listening in the 1960s, to a country format in the '70s and '80s, to a news/talk format in the '80s and early '90s.

In the 1990s, a swap of call letters by then-owner Jacor Communications turned 1530 AM to WSAI, while the WCKY talk format and call sign were merged with WLWA 550-AM. The "new" WSAI featured a standards format, and eventually switched to an oldies format in early 2003. "Real Oldies 1530 WSAI" played the Top 40 hits of the 1950s and 1960s.

Because of poor ratings, the station ended up switching to a liberal/progressive talk format, with the WCKY call sign returning in 2005. The WSAI call sign quietly returned to its previous frequency on the AM dial as sports/talk "1360 Homer" (which first appeared on-air in 1997 under the WAZU calls).

On July 7, 2006, WCKY and WSAI switched programming once again, with WCKY carrying the sports/talk programming as "1530 Homer", and WSAI airing the liberal/progressive talk format. A short while later the liberal talk format was eliminated on WSAI in favor of syndicated talk and consumer advice shows that appealed to a largely female audience. WSAI went back to a sports format in July 2007, this time as an 24-hour ESPN Radio affiliate to complement WCKY.

Due to its 50,000 watt status, WCKY can be heard at night as far away as Chicago, Detroit, Wichita, Kansas, and Miami, Florida. The station has a long history of a powerful night-time signal. Its country music programming of the 1950s and 1960s brought listener responses from many points even outside the United States. In 1964, in connection with WCKY obtaining the Cincinnati Reds games, the station held a contest for the farthest listener. The winner was a U.S. serviceman stationed in Japan. The runner-up was in West Berlin. Dating back to the early 1970s, the station leased out much of the overnight hours to religious ministers because of the signal's overall reach. It is a practice that has survived numerous format and call sign changes to this day, although with a reduced presence following the most recent change to sports talk.

While the station is owned by Clear Channel Communications, it is technically not a "clear channel" station as other stations are located on the 1530 dial position, particularly KFBK in Sacramento, California.




Flagship station for:

Cincinnati affiliate for:

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