WHIO (1290 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Dayton, Ohio. The station is owned by the Cox Media Group, and airs a news/talk radio format simulcast with co-owned 95.7 WHIO-FM.[2] Its studios and offices are at 1611 South Main Street in Dayton, along with WHIO-FM, 99.1 WHKO, 95.3 WZLR, Channel 7 WHIO-TV and the Dayton Daily News in the Cox Media Center building.

WHIO 1290 AM & 95.7 FM logo.png
CityDayton, Ohio
Broadcast areaDayton metropolitan area
BrandingAM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO
SloganDayton's 24-Hour News, Weather and Traffic
Frequency1290 kHz
Repeater(s)95.7 WHIO-FM Pleasant Hill
First air dateFebruary 9, 1935
Power5,000 watts
Facility ID14244
Transmitter coordinates39°40′44″N 84°7′49″W / 39.67889°N 84.13028°W / 39.67889; -84.13028Coordinates: 39°40′44″N 84°7′49″W / 39.67889°N 84.13028°W / 39.67889; -84.13028
Call sign meaningOHIO[1]
AffiliationsFox News Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
Westwood One Network
OwnerCox Media Group
(Camelot Radio Buyer, LLC)
Sister stationsWHIO-FM, WHIO-TV, WHKO, WZLR
WebcastListen Live
The Cox Enterprises broadcasting tower was located outside the old studio in Kettering, Ohio before the studio building on Wilmington Pike was torn down in 2017.

WHIO broadcasts with a power of 5,000 watts from a transmitter near East David Road in Kettering, Ohio.[3] WHIO is non-directional in the daytime. But at night, when radio waves travel farther, it operates with a directional antenna using a three-tower array, to avoid interfering with other stations on AM 1290.


WHIO-AM-FM are home to popular syndicated conservative talk hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade, Dana Loesch, Chad Benson and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. WHIO-AM-FM also carry Clark Howard, based at Cox Radio's flagship station WSB Atlanta. "Miami Valley's Morning News" is WHIO's morning drive time news and interview wake-up show.

On weekends the station airs shows on money, health, cars, guns, and gardening. Some weekend shows are paid brokered programming. WHIO-AM-FM serve as the radio home for University of Dayton football and basketball. The station is a Fox News Radio network affiliate.


Move from PennsylvaniaEdit

WHIO was Cox Radio's first station started by company founder Ohio Governor James M. Cox in the Dayton Daily News building downtown, on Ludlow Street. It signed on the air on February 9, 1935.[4] To create a new radio service in Dayton, Cox had to purchase WLBW in Oil City, Pennsylvania, from the Petroleum Telephone Company.[5] Cox shut down that operation and moved the radio station to Dayton.[6] The station first broadcast at a power of 1,000 watts on 1260 kHz, which had been the frequency of WLBW.[7]

With the enactment of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) in 1941, WHIO moved to its current frequency at 1290 kHz. 90% of all AM stations in America were forced to change frequencies.[8]

NBC and CBSEdit

At its founding, WHIO was an NBC Red Network affiliate, also taking some shows from the NBC Blue Network.[9] But in the 1940s, WHIO switched to the CBS Radio Network.

During the "Golden Age of Radio," WHIO carried NBC and later CBS's schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts. Then, as network programming moved from radio to television, WHIO switched to a full service middle of the road format of popular music, news and sports.[10]

WHIO-FM and TVEdit

In 1946, Cox Radio added an FM station, 99.1 WHIO-FM. At first, WHIO-FM simulcast the AM station. But in the 1960s, it began airing a beautiful music format. And in 1989, it became WHKO with a country music format.

In 1949, Cox added a TV station, WHIO-TV on Channel 13 (later on Channel 7). Because WHIO had been an CBS affiliate, WHIO-TV also began airing CBS Television programs.

Noted PersonalitiesEdit

WHIO's long history in the market included Lou Emm. Emm was a popular host of variety shows, live remote broadcasts and station promotions. He started at WHIO in the early 1940s and retired in 1992. When Emm died a few years later, all Dayton radio stations paused for a moment of silence.

Phil Donahue started at WHIO as the host of the weekday talk show "Conversation Piece" in the 1960s before his move to television and competitor Channel 2 WLWD (now WDTN) in 1967. His show became nationally syndicated beginning in 1970. During this era, Winston Hoehner was news director at WHIO for 25 years and was a member of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcast Journalism Hall of Fame. He died in 1990.

WHIO was the originating station of a regional news network in the 1960s and '70s which was aired late afternoons on stations in surrounding communities throughout the Miami Valley as "The DP&L News Network" (named for its sponsor, The Dayton Power and Light Company). A similar network aired in the 1990s during this same time frame as "The Newscenter 7 Radio Network."

FM SimulcastEdit

On October 30, 2006, Cox Radio pulled the plug on the all-1980 hits format on WDPT "95.7 The Point." The station switched to a simulcast of WHIO's News/Talk format. 95.7 WHIO-FM has an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts and covers much of south central Ohio, also reaching into Eastern Indiana. The simulcast gives listeners the choice of hearing WHIO on either FM or AM.

30th AnniversaryEdit

The following comes from a station history written on January 14, 1965. It was discovered inside a box of reel to reel tape at the station in 2007, written on the letterhead of the Miami Valley Broadcasting Corporation (which was a division of Cox Broadcasting Corporation then.) Any updated information inside this history was added by the editor:

"At 4 pm Tuesday, February 9, 1965, WHIO, a pioneer radio station in this area will have been on the air 30 years and will start the celebration of another anniversary.
It was 4 pm Saturday afternoon in 1935 when the station signed on the air with a prayer given by Rev. Herman Page of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Later that evening, a dedicatory dinner was held at the Miami Hotel attended by approximately 900 invited guests.
At 6 pm, the full NBC network saluted the station with a half-hour program which included the late Will Rogers, Amos 'n' Andy-the top entertainers at that time, The Pickens Sisters, Tim and Irene-a comedy team, and former Daytonians Carol Deis and John Alda Lewis.
At 7:30 pm, a program from the hotel was broadcast over the network which included the late Graham McNamee as announcer, Paul Katz directing the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, The Wilberforce Mixed Octet, vocalist Marjorie Squires, Gene and Glenn, Hiram and Henry, Jesse Crawford at the WHIO pipe organ, and talks by former Governor James M. Cox, James M. Cox, Junior - President of the Miami Valley Broadcasting Company and Colonial Richard Patterson, executive Vice President of NBC, who came to Dayton for the dedication.
At the speaker's table sat 32 prominent business and industrial leaders, the presidents of seven colleges, Orville Wright and the commander of Wright Field, Lt. Col. C.H. Pratt.
The first transmitter was built on the Brandt Pike, utilizing two towers each 293 feet high. The studios were in the building next to the Daily News building at 45 South Ludlow Street. All of the equipment and furnishings were new and the studios were especially built "floating type", which meant no building vibration was transferred through the building into the studios.
Only 3 stations in the country used the 1260 kHz frequency in 1935, of which WHIO was one, and the station broadcast with a power of 1,000 watts. On Sunday, June 28, 1936, the power was increased to 5,000 watts, the present power.
In January 1941, the FCC changed all radio frequencies, moving them ahead 30 Kilocycles and from that date, WHIO has been on 1290 KC. It was also early in 1941 when land was purchased on Hempstead Road south of Dayton and a new tower system installed. The transmitter is still in this location, but, through the years, new equipment and modification of the old to maintain peak technical performance has been installed. (Editor's note: Hempstead Road is now known as East David Road.
One other change was made 18 months after going on the air. On October 1, 1936, WHIO became a basic station of the Columbia Broadcasting System, and has been a member of the leading network since that date. Editor's note: WHIO remained a CBS affiliate until the 1990s. It first switched to A.P. (Associated Press) Network News, then to CNN Radio and finally, Fox News, its present affiliation.
The brief address of Governor Cox given on the network the night of the dedication has since become the hallmark of the radio station. It dedicated the station to service to the community and gave the steel construction and electronic equipment an immediate personality and prestige which was magnified in the programs which have been presented in the past 30 years. Titled, "The Soul Of Radio", dedication talk in part reads as follows:
Birth is always a solemn thing and our emotions are deeply stirred as WHIO is announced as a new thing of life. May I express this christening sentiment - that the voice of this Miami Valley empire will always be an instrument of dignity, culture and practical service, that it will carry the light of joy to places that are dark, that it will build a love of googness and beauty, that it will plant in the hearts of men a philosophy that will help them to see Divinity in sunshine and shadow, that it will sense its obligations to the more than a million people who are by common interest to be our immediate radio fireside. In brief, may WHIO in its long watches of the night and in its endless days be conscious of its duty to God and humanity.
During its first year of operation the station marked up many "firsts" for radio in this area. Among these were the first broadacst [sic] from a courtroom when microphones were taken into the Municipal Court of Judge Null M. Hodapp for live broadcasts of traffic cases, the first broadcast of a Montgomery County basketball tournament, when former Congressman Paul F. Schenck was tournament chairman, the first remote broadcasts from Russells Point Ballroom on Indian Lake where all the big band names of the day made their appearance, and many more firsts of significant local nature.
In its 30 years of operation, WHIO always prided itself on not following the foolish fads in broadcasting and temporary tastes in music. Rather it has, over the 30 years, played the type of music and presented the kind of programs which has appealed to the great majority of listeners. Thus, it has earned its position as one of the great local stations in the country."
Editor's note: Oddly enough, in 1984, then WHIO Program Director Mike Scott, in an attempt to make the station's audience younger and hipper, flipped the musical format to a Hot AC-Adult CHR hybrid. It seemed unusual to hear longtime morning host Lou Emm introducing songs such as "Like A Virgin" by Madonna and "I Want A New Drug" from Huey Lewis and the News. The experiment did attract a significant increase in younger listeners, however, the station's image remained well entrenched in the older adult audience. This was during the time traditional AM stations were moving away from music formats and into News and Talk based formats. The Corporate office eventually flipped the station back to its original Middle of the Road formula, featuring artists such as Anne Murray and Christopher Cross, and then on into its current News and Talk format, as it finally abandoned music programming entirely.''


  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
  2. ^ "WHIO Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  3. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WHIO
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1936 page 82
  5. ^ Sound Waves. T.H. Wilson Company. 1906.
  6. ^ "A selection from a decade of visits to tower and studio sites in the Northeast and beyond". www.fybush.com. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  7. ^ Commission, Federal Radio. Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission to the Congress of the United States. Arno Press. ISBN 9780405035784.
  8. ^ "In 1941, Stations Confronted 'Moving Day'". Radio World. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  9. ^ "WHIO Will Open Feb. 2 Over NBC Red Network; Rate Card Is Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 1, 1935. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  10. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-162

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