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WKBO (1230 kHz, Fortress1230AM) is the callsign of an AM radio station licensed to Harrisburg, Pennsylvaniamarker. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications, is programmed by One Heart Ministries on a time-buy basis and broadcasts on 1230 kHz at 480 watts full time, non-directional, from a tower located at the Harrisburg Water plant.

History

WKBO is one of the more storied radio stations in the Harrisburg radio market. It began broadcasting in 1922 from the Penn Harris Hotel on Walnut and North 3rd Street in downtown Harrisburg ( ). The antenna tower was located on the roof of the building with a shortened counterpoise radial system that only extended to the edge of the building's roof.

During its early days, it broadcast a Full Service/Middle of the Road format. In 1971 it was purchased by Harrea Broadcasting and it began its period of market dominance as a Rock and roll then a Top 40 station.

In 1973, it moved it's transmitter to City Islandmarker ( ) and greatly improved its coverage. The station continued with the Top 40 format until the late 70's by which time AM radio had already began its long, steady decline.

On March 28th, 1979, traffic reporter Dave Edwards noticed something unusual at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plantmarker. The plant appeared to be non-operational because there was no steam coming from the cooling towers. There was also a large contingent of emergency vehicles in and around the plant. Upon learning this, the WKBO news director, Mike Pintek, called the plant, he was told "I can't talk right now, we've got a problem." This prompted Pintek to make several follow up calls to the plant's owner, Metropolitan Edison, developing the breaking news story. WKBO was the first media outlet to report the story at 8:25am, almost four and a half hours after the partial meltdownmarker began. By 9am, the AP picked up the story and it was broadcast nationally.

In early 1980, WKBO was replaced by Wink 104 in the ratings. During the rest of the 80's the station had an AC format. Becoming a CNN radio affiliate, it then changed to news radio by 1989.

In 1996 WKBO switched to Adult standards, broadcasting the satellite syndicated Music of Your Life format from Jones Radio. That format lasted until 2000, at which time it became a brokered programming station, leasing 100% of its air time to One Heart Ministries, who broadcasts a Christian Contemporary format.

In 1998 the City of Harrisburg decided to end the transmitter site lease at city island in order to develop the site as a recreational use, planning a restaurant complex called Kahunaville. The transmitter was moved to the Harrisburg Water plant. This installation is one of the few where a Wireless Mobile transmitting tower is successfully combined with an AM broadcasting tower. Kahunaville remains un-built, the original City Island transmitter site is now a parking lot.

References

  1. Gray, Mike; Rosen, Ira The Warning W. W. Norton & Company, New York 2003 ISBN 0393324699
  2. Gray, Mike; Rosen, Ira The Warning W. W. Norton & Company, New York 2003 ISBN 0393324699
  3. The Patriot-News Project failure can't be blamed on Wormleysburg March 23, 1999 Pg A11


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