WNKN (105.9 MHz "The Oasis") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Middletown, Ohio, and serving parts of the Cincinnati and Dayton metropolitan areas. It broadcasts a classic hits radio format and is owned by Grant County Broadcasters, Inc. The playlist leans toward Soft AC, playing hits from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Broadcast areaCincinnati metropolitan area
Dayton metropolitan area
Frequency105.9 MHz
Branding105.9 The Oasis
FormatClassic hits
  • Robert Wallace and Jeffrey Ziesmann
  • (Grant County Broadcasters, Inc.)
First air date
July 1, 1959; 63 years ago (1959-07-01) (as WPFB-FM)
Former call signs
WPFB-FM (1959-1985)
WPBF (1985-1988)
WPFB-FM (1988-2011)
Call sign meaning
former owner Northern KeNtucky University,[1] now a reflection of sister station WNKR
Technical information
Facility ID54833
ERP34,000 watts
HAAT181 meters (594 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
39°30′57.00″N 84°21′5.00″W / 39.5158333°N 84.3513889°W / 39.5158333; -84.3513889
WebcastListen Live

WNKN has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 34,000 watts. The transmitter is on Rosendale Road near Breiel Boulevard in Middletown.[2] WNKN's tower is shared with former sister station WPFB 910 AM.[3]



The station first signed on the air on July 1, 1959; 63 years ago (1959-07-01). Its call sign was WPFB-FM. At first, WPFB-FM simulcast its AM sister station, WPFB 910 AM. WPFB-FM was the first FM station in Ohio and the 13th in the United States to broadcast in FM stereo. It had several format changes over the years, playing Soul, R&B and Urban Gospel in the late 1970s.

In the early 1980s, the station switched to disco music, as "Disco 106 FM" after changing the call letters to WPBF. That only lasted a few years. Alan Matthews was hired as program director and flipped the format to Soft AC as "Mellow 106 FM". In 1984 the station gave up the AC format to go Top 40 as "Rock 106." That led to the confusion with Rock 40 outlet WSKS 96 Rock. While keeping the CHR format, WPBF added the word "New" as "New Rock 106." But then, a few months later WGTZ Z-93 debuted commercial free with a much stronger signal into Dayton. Then in 1986 WPBF changed to a Southern Gospel format and added Bluegrass music to the mix. The call sign switched back to WPFB-FM from 1986 to 1988, blending bluegrass and classic country as "The New 105.9, Dayton's Country Rebel!" It maintained a country music format from 1988 until 2011 when the station was sold to Northern Kentucky University.

Switch to Public RadioEdit

Beginning on February 1, 2011; WPFB-FM, along with its then-sister station WPAY-FM in Portsmouth, Ohio, began simulcasting the signal of Northern Kentucky University-owned WNKU. WPFB-FM and WPAY switched from a commercial country format to a non-commercial, listener-supported adult album alternative (AAA) sound.[4]

The sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 20, 2011. The station officially changed its call letters to WNKN on that date. In June 2016, former sister station WPFB (AM) became a simulcast of Catholic religious stations WNOP 740 AM and WHSS 89.5 FM.[5]

2017 saleEdit

In April 2016, citing state budget cuts to education, Northern Kentucky University announced that it would "explore the possibility of a sale of WNKU-FM and its assets."[6] On February 14, 2017, the NKU Board of Trustees voted to approve the sale of WNKU's license and transmitter site to the Bible Broadcasting Network for $1.9 million. In addition, the WNKE repeater was sold to the Educational Media Foundation (EMF) for $750,000 plus 75% of the net sale proceeds of EMF-owned affiliate WEKV in South Webster, Ohio. At the time of this announcement, no decision had been made on the future of the WNKN repeater. The stations continued to be operated by NKU as WNKU until the sales were approved by the Federal Communications Commission.[7]

On July 19, 2017, the NKU Board of Trustees approved the sale of the WNKN repeater to Grant County Broadcasters, Inc., owners of classic country WNKR, which is licensed to Williamstown, Kentucky and has studio space in nearby Dry Ridge, for $5.3 million. The price included $4 million in cash and $1.3 in advertising airtime for the University. The sale included all assets of WNKN, as well as the equipment and supplies of WNKU.[8] Upon FCC approval of the purchase, Grant County Broadcasters stated they intended to revert the station back to a locally owned, for-profit, commercial model with a then yet to be determined on-air format.[9]

On July 28, 2017, WNKU announced on their Facebook page that the sale of WNKN was expected to be approved by the FCC by the end of October 2017 and that it, along with the wnku.com online stream, would continue to broadcast as WNKU until final FCC approval of the WNKN sale was granted.[10] With the August 3, 2017 format flip of WNKE to the EMF-owned K-Love format (now WPYK) along with the August 25, 2017 conversion of WNKU (now WYHH) to Bible Broadcasting Network programming, WNKN became the final remaining on-air station identifying under the WNKU banner.

The sale of WNKN finalized on September 28, 2017, with WNKU programming ending on both WNKN and the WNKU online stream at 6:00 p.m. The final AAA format song was "This Must Be The Place" by The Talking Heads.[11] As stated in the original purchase agreement, in addition to the WNKN license and transmitter site in Middletown, Grant County Broadcasters had purchased all of WNKU's studio equipment.[12] The farmhouse adjacent to the transmitter site, which was WPBF-FM and WPBF (AM)'s studios prior to their sale to NKU, was not purchased by Grant County Broadcasters and remains the property of NKU.[13]

Classic Country and Classic HitsEdit

On October 2, 2017, WNKN signed back on the air as a sister station of Grant County Broadcasters-owned WNKR, returning to the classic country format that was played on the station prior to its purchase by NKU in 2011. While the stations are sharing playlists and talent, they are not a simulcast.[14] Each station airs content appropriate to the local market they serve.[15] Both stations are currently branded as "Classic Country 1059 or as "Classic Country 105.9 & 106.7".

On July 12, 2022, WNKN split from its simulcast with WNKR and changed its format from classic country to classic hits. The station rebranded as "105.9 The Oasis".[16]

Previous logosEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
  2. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WNKN
  3. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WPFB
  4. ^ WNKU buys two stations to broaden its reach nky.com January 19, 2011
  5. ^ http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/local/catholic-radio-station-buys-middletowns-wpfb-am-si/nrCwb/
  6. ^ "NKU considers selling WNKU radio station".
  7. ^ Bible Broadcasting Corp. to buy radio station WNKU
  8. ^ Peter Zolnowski VP Programming and Operations of WNKR and WNKN
  9. ^ Grant County Broadcasters buys Northern Kentucky University's Middletown radio station for $5.3M
  10. ^ WNKU Facebook Statement on Sale of Stations
  11. ^ WNKU's Final Piece Signs Off
  12. ^ Peter Zolnowski VP Programming and Operations of WNKR and WNKN
  13. ^ Not Much Left At WNKU-FM For Students
  14. ^ Peter Zolnowski VP Programming and Operations of WNKN and WNKR
  15. ^ Peter Zolnowski VP Programming and Operations of WNKR and WNKN
  16. ^ WNKN Builds a Classic Hits Oasis Radioinsight - July 13, 2022

External linksEdit