Shortly after WAKY in Louisville
relinquished their call letters in March 1988, the WAKY calls were applied
for and granted to Mike Wilson
for the AM station at 1540 in Greensburg, Kentucky (formerly WGRK-AM). When
WAKY-AM in Greensburg was acquired by Commonwealth Broadcasting in 1997, the
WAKY calls were also assigned to a FM station a little closer to Louisville:
country-formatted 102.7 FM -- previously known as WMQQ -- in Springfield,
Kentucky (the Bardstown market) where they remained until early 2006.
In both instances, neither 1540 AM or 102.7
FM has capitalized on the heritage of the WAKY call letters, relegating them
mostly just to top-of-the-hour legal IDs. The Vice-President of Commonwealth
Broadcasting, Dale Thornhill,
grew up in Louisville during the glory days of WAKY 790 and is well aware
how special those calls are. He told us that he doesn't want to do anything
to tarnish the WAKY calls but wants to make sure they stay in Kentucky
"where they belong."
Steve Newberry, President of
Commonwealth Broadcasting wrote in 2006:
"I got into radio in 1977 at the ripe age
of 14...soon to turn 15. I was one of the last persons required to have the
old "provisional" license. They phased out the 3rd test before I got to/had
to take it.
"I'm a native of Glasgow, Kentucky and nearby in Cave City, there was a
daytimer licensed at 800khz. It made hearing WAKY impossible during the
daytime until I could get north of Munfordville. But as soon as I could get
into range, 790 was always on my dial. Needless to say, I never had the
honor of working on 4th street for WAKY, but it and WLS were the two driving
influences of my early radio career.
"Fast forward many years later, and I'm in ownership when we have an
opportunity to buy a group of stations that have the WAKY call signs.
"WAKY-AM is licensed to Greensburg, KY and
WAKY-FM to Springfield, KY. Those stations are now in our group of small
market stations...and as I've told Tom Prestigiacomo and others, I consider
myself the 'custodian' of those legendary call signs. I've been approached
several times by persons interested in purchasing them, but really have no
desire to see them go to someone who might tarnish that legendary image!
Sometime, someday...if somebody really is passionate about reigniting the
WAKY flame in Louisville...they might return. But for now, they're in our
Update: Dale Thornhill writes in
changed the FM to WYSB when we changed formats to mainstream AC. We have
retained the call letters on our Greensburg AM, WAKY AM."
Update: On May 11, 2007 the WAKY
calls moved to the former WASE-FM in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The
oldies-formatted station -- formerly known as Kool 103.5 -- programs to the
Louisville market and features lots of original and newly-recorded WAKY
jingles along with the music that made the original WAKY famous. WAKY's
official city of license is Radcliffe, Kentucky.
Today the 790 AM spot in Louisville is
occupied by Clear Channel's WKRD, an All-Sports outlet. Download a 2006
composite of the station in MP3 format below:
WKRD 2006 Composite
2:01 - 710 KB