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WDDH
City of license Saint Marys, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Saint Marys, Pennsylvania
Ridgway, Pennsylvania
Emporium, Pennsylvania
and the western Twin Tiers
Branding "97.5 The Hound"
Slogan Today's Hit Country
Frequency 97.5 (MHz)
Format Country
ERP 19,500 watts
Class B
Callsign meaning W Dennis D. Heindl
Owner Laurel Media Inc.
Website http://www.houndcountry.com

WDDH is an American radio station, licensed to Saint Marys, Pennsylvania. The station operates at the assigned frequency of 97.5 mHz and an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts. Its studios and offices sit atop Bootjack Mountain, just on the outskirts of Ridgway, Pennsylvania in Kersey, about 12 miles west of its city of license. Its transmitter site is located in Lamont, Pennsylvania, about 2.5 miles south of Kane, PA.

Contents

History: Beginnings as WKYN-FM

This station first went on the air as WKYN, on April 22, 1986. The station was founded by legendary Pittsburgh radio personality Bob Stevens, who had been looking to buy or build a radio station of his own in Western Pennsylvania. That opportunity presented itself in 1985, when he successfully applied for the license to operate at 97.5 FM, originally licensed to Ridgway.

For the first three years, the studios and transmitter were located at the transmitter site in a remote, wooded area of Jones Township near Rasselas, Pennsylvania, with business and sales offices in downtown St Marys. Signals were radiated by a 4-bay, ERI "Rototiller" antenna atop a newly erected 535 foot tower. On several occasions, air staff were stranded at the studio/transmitter facility due to heavy snow accumulation and ice storms. In 1989, Stevens purchased a defunct drive-in theater south of St Marys, and consolidated both the studios and offices there.

As the station grew, Stevens studied demographics and population data, and determined that the station would reach a significantly larger audience if the transmitter were moved to the west. Much of the original signal coverage area fell on large, unpopulated areas of north-central Pennsylvania known as "God's Country". A new transmitter site south of Kane was found and construction was started. The STL path from the Fairview studio site to the new transmitter site was not possible due to obstruction by Bootjack Mountain. Stevens renovated a vacant, former restaurant at the top of Bootjack Mountain to house the offices and studios. The old tower and transmitter plant in Jones Township were left standing, and purchased for cellular phone service.

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Programming

WKYN, billed as "97KYN", signed on with an Adult CHR format, appealing primarily to working women in the highly desirable 25-54 age demographic. Stevens stuck with this formula for many years, until the opportunity presented itself in 1993 to acquire WCCZ (now WPCL) in Spangler. WCCZ operated on the adjacent frequency of 97.3 and could be heard clearly in the more populous area of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Stevens purchased WCCZ and changed the call letters to WKVE, turning it into a translator to extend WKYN's signal into the Johnstown market. At the time of the acquisition, the station changed format from Adult CHR to AOR, as there was no album rock formatted station in Johnstown at that time.

In 1996, Stevens had the opportunity to buy a radio station closer to his hometown in Western Pennsylvania. WKYN was sold to Cam Communications, reverting back to Adult CHR as "97.5 The Peak". Call letters were changed to WPKK. Stevens purchased WHJB (now WKHB) and WBCW (now WKFB) in Greensburg and Jeannette, respectively. Both of those stations are pending assignment to different communities.

In 2001, Cam Communications sold WKYN to Laurel Media, Inc of Ridgway, a company owned by Dennis Heindl, who previously owned WLMI in Kane and held a construction permit for an FM station in Reynoldsville (now WDSN.) DDH are the initials of Dennis D. Heindl. A lifelong country music lover, Heindl converted the station format to Country.

Three years later, ownership was transferred from Laurel Media Inc. to Intrepid Broadcasting owned by Michael Stapleford.

In the Summer of 2008, ownership reverted back to Laurel Media Inc. and Dennis D. Heindl. Heindl has kept the Country Format and has added ABC News and is host of the Award Winning Program "Talk Of The Town." Lou Dobbs has apperared as Heindl's guest on "Talk Of The Town." WDDH is known as "The Hound" and its logo is recognizable. The Hound carries Pittsburgh Pirate Baseball. Heindl is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Hound covers 15 Counties in Northwest Pennsylvania and has a faithful listening audience, being rated #1 in Elk County by Arbitron in 2008. Despite not actually existing in the Olean, New York media market (which includes Bradford, Kane and Coudersport in Pennsylvania), it still registers in the Arbitron books there, higher than some of the local stations. The Hound carries local sports in its listening area including but not limited to Wrestling. High School Football is extremely well received in the listening area. Local news is a priority and although WDDH has a large listening area it is local to much of the listening area.

WDDH Today

WDDH continues to serve more than a million listeners in northcentral Pennsylvania and western New York with a contemporary country format. Programming on the station includes Big D and Bubba, BT, Rick Kennis, Rick Porter, the Dial Global program Rick Jackson's Country Hall of Fame, a polka program hosted by Don and Betty Williams, a public affairs program hosted by Heindl entitled "Talk of the Town," and Premiere Radio's Jeff Foxworthy Countdown.

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