Saturday, June 30, 2018

WHLO-AM 640..After Top 40 1980-1986

Hello Everybody:

Yes the Blog is still here..LOL..For our first post in about two and a half years I want to look back at a Classic Radio Station that was a huge success during the Top 40 AM radio era but fell on hard times and went through a succession of formats before settling on the I Heart News/Talk format of today.  WHLO-AM 640 Akron, Ohio.  But first lets look at some background:

The 640 Allocation first went to WAIU Columbus in 1922, later changing call letters to WBAV,  In the meantime, WJAY Cleveland started on 610, later changing calls to WCLE in 1937 as a companion to WHK-1420 owned by Forest City Enterprises.

About this same time, Forest City acquired WBAV..(renamed WHKC) Because of an FCC rule on duopolies in the same market, WHKC was moved to Akron as 640-WHKK in 1944 and WCLE moved to Columbus as 610 WHKC (Now WTVN)

Forest City sold WHKK to Susquehanna Radio in York, Pa. in late 1959, the sale finalizing in January 1960..With personalities like Uncle Joe Cunningham, Johnny Andrews and Todd T. Taylor, WHLO developed a leading top 40 format with "The Good Guys" which was hugely popular until FM became more prevalent.  In 1975, WHLO added large news blocks and some talk segments until going fully News-Talk in April 1977.

What I want to do is bring out some News articles from the Akron Beacon Journal, mostly written by Mark Dawidziak and Bob Dyer about this part of WHLO History from 1980-1986, until they were sold to Mortensen Broadcasting..

February 3, 1975:Music begins to be phased out..

                                       April 21, 1977:First Month of all Talk-News..

In the meantime, WHLO began winning state and national awards for their News coverage..Adding talk hosts like Lee Hamilton, Steve Fullerton and Nick Anthony, they began to have a following, though not great ratings..Susquehanna finally decided in late 1980 to go "All News" during the day as "The Daily News"

                                                  November 5, 1980:WHLO announces its transformation to "The Daily
                                                 News", during the Day with CBS and Mutual and Talk all Night with
                                                  Larry King. Along with eventually Enterprise Sports at 10-Midnight.


                                          February 11, 1981:Steve Fullerton and Nick Anthony
                                          leave for WSLR..Evidence that the format wouldn't work
                                          in the long run.  Or they didn't give it enough time,

                                 April 2, 1981:WHLO tweaks the other Akron stations for
                                 Playing music the day President Ronald Reagan was shot.

                                 May 1, 1981:Sports Talker Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton was fired by WHLO
                                 for revealing his imminent ouster before the station was ready to announce
                                  anything.  WHLO gives up on the "News all day, Talk all Night" experiment
                                  and goes to a Music of Your Life/Big Band Music Format..Hamilton went on
                                  to a long career in Phoenix and San Diego doing Sports Talk and also some
                                 National gigs.  He also did Cleveland Crusaders Hockey on WWWE--1100


                                                                             July 26, 1981:Very good article analyzing WHLO's
                                                 Format changes since dropping Top 40 Music..

                                                                   As part of a Mark Dawidziak Column August 15, 1984.
                                                                   Susquehanna announces the sale of WHLO-AM 640 to
                                                                   Xen Zapis who owned WZAK-FM Cleveland.

                                       November 29, 1984:Xen Zapis announces WHLO will go
                                      Contemporary Christian.  WCUE goes MOR
                                       August 7, 1986:Announcement of WHLO sale to Mortensen Broadcasting
                                      Owner of WTOF 900 and 98.1 FM along with some other properties.

There you have it.  Three owners and about four format changes from 1977-86, WHLO was eventually part of The Salem Media Group, then sold in 2001 to Clear Channel and is now part on IHeart Media as..News/Talk 640..

All content courtesy Akron Beacon Journal Archives via  Special Thanks to Maureen Carney, a very good friend..