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The Cox Enterprises broadcasting tower located outside the station in Kettering, Ohio.
WHIO (1290 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a News Talk Information format. Licensed to Dayton, Ohiomarker, USA, the station serves the Cincinnati and Dayton area. The station is currently owned by Cox Radio, Inc. and features programing from Fox News Radio, Jones Radio Network and Premiere Radio Networks.


WHIO is home to popular talk radio shows such as Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Clark Howard, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. The morning show broadcasts an all-news format, with news every half hour and traffic reports and weather every fifteen minutes. WHIO serves as the broadcast home for University of Daytonmarker football and basketball. The station is a Fox News Radio affiliate.


WHIO was Cox Radio's first station started by company founder Ohio Governor James M. Cox in 1929 in the Dayton Daily News building downtown. To get permission to create the new station, Cox had to purchase WLBW in Oil City, PA, and then move it to Dayton. The station was first broadcast on 1260AM which was the frequency of WLBW, but in the early 1930's moved to the 1290AM frequency where it currently resides. WHIO broadcasts at 5,000 watts. Its studios are located with WHIO-TVmarker's studios and offices on Wilmington Pike in Kettering. Its transmitter and towers are located to the southeast of Wilmington Pike on East David Road at Croftshire Drive.

WHIO's long history in the market included Lou Emm. Emm 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 here as the host of the weekday talk show "Conversation Piece" in the 1960s before his move to television and competitor WLWD (now WDTNmarker) in 1967. His show became nationally syndicated beginning in 1970. During this era, Winston Hoehner was news director at WHIO-AM for 25 years and was a member of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcast Journalism Hall of Fame. He died in 1990.

The format of the station during the music era was always either what we would call "standards" or "Soft Adult Contemporary." 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"(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."

On October 30, 2006 Cox Radio pulled the plug on All-80's format WDPT (95.7 The Point) and now rebroadcasts WHIO on the 95.7 FM frequency. 95.7 is 50,000 watts and covers the entire south central Ohiomarker region and reaches into Eastern Indiana.

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 McNames 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 Kilocycle 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 1990's. 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 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 A/C-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 was a miserable failure and the Corporate office immediately flipped the station back to its' original Middle of the Road formula, featuring artists such as Anne Murray and Christopher Cross.


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