WIBC (FM)

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WIBC
Wibc logo 931FM.jpg
City Indianapolis, Indiana
Broadcast area Indianapolis metropolitan area
Branding 93 WIBC
Slogan Indy's News Center (on logo)
Live. Local. First. (on website)
Frequency 93.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
Translator(s) 107.5 W298BB (Indianapolis, relays HD2)
First air date December 5, 1960
Format FM/HD1: Talk
HD2: Sports (WFNI simulcast)
HD3: Sports "ESPN Radio"
ERP 13,500 watts
HAAT 302 meters (991 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 19524
Callsign meaning Indianapolis Broadcasting Company
Former callsigns WIBC-FM (1960–1968)
WNAP (1968–1986)
WEAG (1986–1987)
WKLR (1987–1994)
WNAP (1994–2000)
WNOU (2000–2007)
WEXM (10/2007–12/2007)
Affiliations Premiere Networks
Westwood One Network
Fox News Radio
Owner Emmis Communications
(Emmis Radio License, LLC)
Sister stations WFNI, WLHK, WYXB
Webcast Listen Live
Website wibc.com

WIBC (93.1 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station in Indianapolis. It is owned by Emmis Communications and broadcasts a talk radio format. The studios are located at 40 Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The transmitter and antenna are located near South Post Road and Burk Road on the far east side of Indianapolis. The station airs mostly local conservative talk shows on weekdays, with several nationally syndicated programs, including Dana Loesch, Chad Benson, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and on weekends Kim Komando and Bill Cunningham. Weekends also feature shows on money, health, gardening, computers and guns. Some weekend hours are paid brokered programming. Some hours begin with world and national news from Fox News Radio.

For nearly seven decades, WIBC broadcast on the AM radio frequency of 1070 kHz. On December 26, 2007, WIBC's call letters and talk programming moved to the FM dial at co-owned 93.1 MHz. Also on that date, the 1070 kHz frequency took the call sign WFNI and began an all-sports format as "1070 The Fan".[1]

WIBC broadcasts in HD, using its HD-2 signal for WFNI's local sports format, also heard on translator 107.5 W298BB. WIBC's HD-3 signal carries the national ESPN Radio Network.

WIBC AM 1070 history[edit]

Early years[edit]

1070 AM WIBC went on the air on October 30, 1938.[2] Its call sign stood for Indiana Broadcasting Company. WIBC began as a 1,000-watt (1 kW) daytime-only station.[3] Later, the station was granted approval to broadcast at 50 kW during the day and 10 kW at night. The other heritage stations in Indianapolis were WFBM (now WNDE), WIRE (now WXNT), and WISH/WIFE (now WTLC). In its early days, WIBC was the Indianapolis network affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System. It carried dramas, comedies, news, sports, game shows and soap operas during the Golden Age of Radio. In the 1950s, WIBC's owner, Fairbanks Broadcasting, petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to put a TV station on the air on Channel 13. But the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation was awarded the license. Fairbanks sued, saying as an Indiana-based company, it should get the license over Crosley, based in Cincinnati. But the lawsuit was unsuccessful. In 1960, WIBC added an FM station at 93.1, WIBC-FM.[2]

"Radio Indiana, WIBC"[edit]

As TV took over most network programming in the 1950s and 60s, WIBC switched to local news, talk and music. The station was considered among the great full service middle of the road (MOR) radio stations in America, placing an emphasis on its colorful air personalities. During the 1970s and into the early 1980s there was: Gary Todd (mornings), brought in from KOL Seattle; Jerry Baker (9-11am) who was also the voice of Indiana (University) Hoosiers basketball and the Indiana Pacers; Paul Page, the voice of the Indianapolis 500 on radio then later on television, and who served as an award-winning newsman at WIBC in the early 1970s, reporting from the first Indy traffic helicopter (known as the "Ten Seven-Oh Whirlybird") until a serious crash nearly killed him and his pilot in 1977; Orly Knutson (Noon-2pm), brought in from Minneapolis); and Chuck Riley (from WKYC Cleveland) afternoons (show billed as "The Life of Riley") before becoming a very successful voice-over talent in Los Angeles. Doing sports on Riley's afternoon drive-time show was "Hockey Bob" Lamey, who got that nickname from doing play-by-play for the short-lived Indianapolis Racers WHA team a decade before the Indianapolis Colts moved from Baltimore and named Lamey the "Voice of the Colts". Others personalities who were on the air at WIBC were "Big" John Gillis (who succeeded Page doing traffic reports from the helicopter), Pete Sullivan (from WHAS Louisville), Bob Simpson (WSNY Columbus) and Jeff Pigeon (KSTP Minneapolis) who went on to do mornings after Gary Todd retired. There were 3 major production voices responsible for most of the station's promos at one time or another during the 1970s & 1980s: Billy Moore from WHAS Louisville, Kentucky; John E. Douglas (brought in from WNOX Knoxville); and Reb Porter, long-time Indy personality from WIFE who also served as PA voice for the Pacers at Market Square Arena and later Conseco (now Bankers Life) Fieldhouse. Another long-time fixture was former News Director Fred Heckman, who began with WIBC in 1957, who abruptly resigned in 1993 under a dispute with its then-owners.

Though the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had long-used talent from several Indianapolis radio stations, WIBC was (and WFNI remains) known as the flagship station on the IMS Radio Network.

During the Great Blizzard of 1978, WIBC (1070 AM) was granted temporary emergency authorization for nighttime broadcasting at full daytime power (50 kW) until the storm was over. Normally the station is licensed to transmit at only 10 kW of power at night.

Switch to talk[edit]

Over the 1980s, more talk programming was added and music was reduced as listeners increasingly turned to FM for music. WIBC became a full-time talk radio station in 1993, eliminating all music shows.[3] Fred Heckmam returned in 1994 after the station was purchased by Emmis, and remained until his 2000 retirement. His daily "My Town Indy" radio essays, which ran for thirty years, were among the station's most enduring favorites.

93.1 FM history[edit]

Early years and heyday as WNAP[edit]

Offices of WIBC

The Indianapolis station at 93.1 FM first signed on as WIBC-FM on December 5, 1960.[2] It aired a classical music format.

On July 1, 1968, the station was re-launched as WNAP. It was the first FM station in the Indianapolis market to broadcast a mix of AOR and Top 40 hits better known as "Rock 40" ancestor of the CHR format, and was in direct competition with Top 40 leader 1310 WIFE. In 1970 WNAP began broadcasting in stereo. According to the documentary film Naptown Rock Radio Wars,[4] station and program managers from across the United States came to Indianapolis to listen to WNAP in order to figure out the unique style of "The Buzzard" so they could emulate its success at their own stations. The classic top of the hour station identification from this era featured the sound of two thunderbolts and the distinctive voice of WIBC's Chuck Riley brother of WNAP's DJ Michael D. "Buster Bodine" Hanks intoning those iconic words that is, "The wrath of The Buzzard! WNAP, Indianapolis".[5] Later in the 1970's and the early 1980's, the station was rebranded as "WNAP Stereo 93 FM, The Buzzard".

Demise of The Buzzard[edit]

On March 4, 1986, suffering from a fall in ratings due to competition from WFBQ (Q-95), the format of 93.1 was changed to a rock-driven hot adult contemporary sound, and the call letters became WEAG with branding as "Eagle 93." The format was later changed to classic hits with the call letters WKLR on August 14, 1987. On April 1, 1988 (April Fools' Day), WKLR changed from classic hits to oldies. Among WKLR's disc jockeys was current WIBC newsman Steve Simpson.

WNAP returned at 5 p.m. on September 9, 1994, when WKLR was changed back to a classic hits station with a strong focus on the "greatest hits of the 70s."[6] This incarnation of WNAP later moved in a more classic rock direction playing "classic rock that really rocks", with the syndicated Howard Stern Show carried in the morning in what was a futile attempt to compete with WFBQ's locally-dominant Bob and Tom Show. Despite on-air boasts that WNAP was going to "kick Q-95's ass", the classic rock format was a failure.

Radio Now 93.1[edit]

After weeks of stunting, WNAP changed to contemporary hits on March 28, 2000, at 6 AM, with new call letters WNOU and the name "Radio Now."[7] Radio Now's first song was "The Rockafeller Skank" by Fatboy Slim. The station received some national notice in November 2004, when its morning show conducted the first interview with Indiana Pacers player Ron Artest following the Pacers–Pistons brawl.[8][9]

Orbital 93.1[edit]

In 2006, WNOU launched an HD-2 subchannel, dubbed "Orbital 93.1", which offered a rhythmic contemporary format with emphasis on current and classic dance music. On October 9, 2007, Orbital was discontinued, being replaced with the Radio NOW format for 1 day after the format ended on 93.1, and before it moved to 100.9, serving as a buffer for the format.[10]

Return of WIBC (FM)[edit]

On October 8, 2007, at Noon, after playing "When You're Gone" by Avril Lavigne, 93.1 began stunting with Christmas music under new temporary call sign WEXM, being promoted as "The 93 Days of Christmas." The Christmas format was a place holder as part of the transition to moving the talk programming from 1070 AM to 93.1 FM. Initially planned to last 93 days, from October 8 to January 8, the change-over was moved up to December 26. The switch came after Emmis acquired local radio rights to the Indianapolis Colts football team. To prevent frequent preemption of programming and tedious shufflings of games on its stations, it was decided to move WIBC to the FM frequency immediately after Christmas, and make 1070 AM a sports station as "AM 1070 The Fan", with its call sign changing to WFNI. This time the "-FM" suffix was not required on 93.1's call sign, since there would no longer be a WIBC on the AM band.

Upon the demise of "Radio Now", Radio One purchased the intellectual property of the station from Emmis Communications. Two days later, on October 10, the "Radio Now" branding, format and logo were installed on the new 100.9 WNOU (formerly WYJZ, now WNOW-FM).[11] Local Radio One management claimed that they would offer the displaced staffers of 93.1 WNOU the first chance of joining the new station's lineup, and would use the same imaging as the former WNOU at 93.1. Emmis also claimed that they would release displaced RadioNow staffers from their "non-compete" contracts.[12]

The WNAP call letters are now used at a gospel-formatted AM station licensed in Norristown, Pennsylvania serving the Philadelphia market.

Programming[edit]

Local news and talk[edit]

As of 2017, WIBC broadcasts four daily local programs: "The Morning News with Tony Katz", "Chicks on the Right", "Tony Katz Today" & "The Hammer and Nigel Show."

Joe Staysniak appears from time to time. He had moved to the morning show in October 2008. He replaced Jake Query, who in turn replaced longtime WIBC fixture Jeff Pigeon (referred to as "Pidge" by the staff and listeners), who left the station October 1, 2007. Pigeon had been WIBC's morning host since taking over for Gary Todd in 1988, and prior to that had hosted the 7:00 p.m.-midnight shift when WIBC was still a full-service/music station. (Pigeon later resurfaced at oldies station WKLU.)

Staysniak previously co-hosted in the afternoon with Dave "the King" Wilson, whose show launched in the mid-1990s but ended in March 2009 due to budgetary cutbacks. At that time, Simpson's show moved from 6–8 PM to 3–7 PM.

Local sports[edit]

WIBC was the AM flagship station of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, simulcasting the games with sister station WLHK. In addition, WIBC was the flagship for the NBA's Indiana Pacers and the WNBA's Indiana Fever, and for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, carrying the Indianapolis 500 since the network's creation in 1952, and the NASCAR Brickyard 400 since that race's 1994 debut. WIBC also aired Indiana University football.

Most of WIBC (AM)'s sports properties remained at 1070 WFNI when WIBC moved to FM (with WLHK remaining the FM outlet for the Colts and for IndyCar). However, on June 22, 2010, the Pacers announced an extension of their broadcast agreement with Emmis Communications which included their games moving to FM and back to WIBC, beginning in the 2010–11 season.

Beginning with the 2011–12 basketball season, WIBC replaced WLHK as the Indianapolis broadcast home of Indiana University basketball. In case of a conflict, Pacers games move to WFNI for the night.

Additionally, WIBC aired Butler University basketball, IndyCar races and high school championship events that are bumped from WFNI due to conflicts.

Syndicated talk[edit]

On April 13, 2015, WIBC announced the station was dropping Rush Limbaugh. Charlie Morgan, an executive for Emmis, indicated that the decision to drop Limbaugh was about the "long-term direction of the station", but also acknowledged that there was a "business element to the decision."[13] Limbaugh's weekday show moved to 1260 WNDE, which is owned by iHeartMedia, the parent company of Limbaugh's syndicator Premiere Networks. WIBC continues to carry syndicated talk shows from Dana Loesch, Chad Benson, George Noory (Coast to Coast AM), Kim Komando, and Bill Cunningham.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Local News".
  2. ^ a b c Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-71
  3. ^ a b "Timeline of key developments". Indianapolis Star. October 8, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  4. ^ http://www.naptownrockradiowars.com/
  5. ^ "Trivia". www.naptownrockradiowars.com.
  6. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/1990s/1994/RR-1994-09-16.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/2000s/2000/RR-2000-03-31.pdf
  8. ^ Montieth, Mark (November 24, 2004). "Artest sidelined? No way". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  9. ^ "Artest mixes regret with CD self-promotion". espn.com. Associated Press. November 24, 2004. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  10. ^ http://www.hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=41 HD Radio Guide for Indianapolis
  11. ^ Smith, Erika D. (October 11, 2007). "WNOU revived; Radio One buys site". Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007.
  12. ^ "RadioNow Returns To Indianapolis : RadioInsight".
  13. ^ Emmis And Premiere Networks End Partnership In Indianapolis WMBF News 13 April 2015

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°46′03″N 86°00′12″W / 39.7675°N 86.0033°W / 39.7675; -86.0033