Broadcast areaLouisville metropolitan area
Frequency840 kHz
BrandingNewsradio 840 WHAS
First air date
July 18, 1922 (1922-07-18)
Call sign meaning
"We Have A Signal" (a backronym, as the call was randomly assigned by the government)
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID11934
Power50,000 watts unlimited
Transmitter coordinates
Public license information
WebcastListen Live

WHAS (840 kHz) is an AM radio station owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and licensed to Louisville, Kentucky. Its studios are located in the Louisville enclave of Watterson Park, and the transmitter site is in Long Run, in far east Jefferson County. First licensed in July 1922, it is the oldest radio station in Kentucky.

WHAS is a clear channel station, operating around the clock on 840 kHz with 50,000 watts. Its daytime signal can be heard in almost all of central Kentucky, as well as large slices of Ohio and Indiana, providing city-grade coverage as far east as Lexington, as far south as Bowling Green, and as far north as Cincinnati. Its nighttime signal can be heard with a good radio in most of the continental United States and much of Canada.

Since September 2007 WHAS has also broadcast full-time using the HD Radio IBOC digital radio system,[2] following an initial testing period which started in 2006. HD Radio has since been turned off. Prior to 1995, WHAS broadcast in C-QUAM AM stereo.[3]


The U.S. Department of Commerce, which regulated radio at this time, adopted regulations, effective December 1, 1921, that formally established a broadcast service category. The wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) was designated for "entertainment" broadcasting, with 485 meters (619 kHz) assigned for "market and weather reports".[4] On July 13, 1922, the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times were issued a license for operation on both the 360- and 485-meter wavelengths. This was randomly assigned the call letters WHAS from a sequential list of available call signs.[5] This was the first broadcasting station in Kentucky, which was the 45th out of the then-48 states to establish a broadcasting station.[6]

Following a short series of test transmissions, WHAS made its formal debut broadcast on July 18, 1922.[7] On May 16, 1925, the first live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby horse race was made by WHAS and also by WGN in Chicago.[8] The call of the Derby featured an announcer who watched from the windows of one of the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.

On November 11, 1928, the Federal Radio Commission's (FRC) General Order 40 made a major reallocation of the broadcasting frequencies. This introduced a category known as "clear channel stations" that included WHAS, which was assigned exclusive nationwide use of 820 kHz.[9] On May 15, 1932, WHAS changed from being a National Broadcasting Company (NBC-Red) affiliate and joined the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). At that time, WHAS operated with 10,000 watts of power, but the output was soon increased to 25,000 watts as authorized by the FRC.[10] On March 29, 1941, a second major reallocation, as part of the implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, resulted in WHAS's clear channel frequency being shifted to its current assignment of 840 kHz.

The station was originally part of the local media empire ruled by the Bingham family, which also published Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times (now owned by the Gannett Company and merged in 1987) and operated television station WHAS-TV (which, following several mergers and transactions in subsequent years, is now owned by Tegna). WHAS and its FM sister station, WAMZ (the former WHAS-FM) were acquired by Clear Channel Communications (which, as iHeartMedia, continues to own the stations to this day) in 1986 as part of the breakup of the Bingham family's media properties.[11]

Programming evolution

WHAS modernized in the early 1970s from an old-line MOR music outlet into an early form of Hot Adult Contemporary music format, featuring adult-appeal Top 40 hits and rock oldies; one longtime slogan was "Good and Gold" (as in "good music", or adult contemporary, and "golden" oldies). For a time in the 1980s, it was also the Louisville affiliate for Casey Kasem's American Top 40. The station continued to feature a full-service Hot AC format through the 1980s (and was the last 50 kW AM station with a full-time AC format), and by 1995, most of the remaining music programming was oldies-based; this made WHAS one of the last 50,000-watt clear-channel radio stations to feature music programming on a regular basis.

Recent history

Today the station features The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, The Mark Levin Show (delayed by 2 hours), the last two hours of the national broadcast of Ground Zero, and Coast to Coast AM (live) on its daily lineup. Some other personalities on the weekday lineup have included Terry Meiners on "The Terry Meiners Show"[12] and Lachlan McLean on "SportsTalk 840".

The late morning slot (9 a.m. to noon) has seen two changes in recent years. Francene Cucinello hosted "The Francene Show" until her death on January 15, 2010; she was replaced that summer by Mandy Connell. In turn, Connell left in August 2013 to become the morning host on fellow iHeartMedia (then Clear Channel) station KHOW in Denver;[13] her last show on WHAS was on August 9.[14] For several months after her move, Connell provided daily one-minute commentaries, known as "Mandy Minutes", to WHAS.[14] Connell's slot was filled by Leland Conway, previously a talk radio host in Lexington, Kentucky and most recently Richmond, Virginia, whose show began airing on September 16.[15]

Significant changes came to the afternoon and evening lineup in the first half of 2015. In February, McLean announced he would leave WHAS on May 15 and move to Charlotte, North Carolina, where his wife took a corporate position with the Cedar Fair amusement park company.[16] In April, it was confirmed that Sports Talk 840 would end when McLean left WHAS. Effective May 18, Meiners' show was cut back by an hour, ending at 6:00 instead of 7:00. The 6–8 time slot was filled by Connell, who returned to the Louisville market with a locally focused talk show (although it broadcasts from KHOW's studios) until February 2016. Then longtime fill-in host Mary Walter took over as the permanent host and continued the local focused format. The Mark Levin Show moved to the 8–11 slot, being delayed by two hours instead of three,[17] and an extra hour of Ground Zero was picked up.

Weekend programming includes The Dave Ramsey Show, The Weekend With Joe Pags (Joe Pagliarulo), The Ric Edelman Show, The Larry Kudlow Show, The Mutual Fund Show (co-hosted by Adam Bold), and Handel on the Law. At the same time as the spring 2015 lineup changes, WHAS replaced The Bill Cunningham Show in its Sunday night lineup with The John and Leah Show, a syndicated weekly news review show hosted by former WHAS personality John Ziegler and Leah Brandon.

Sports programming

WHAS was the original radio home to locally produced coverage of American Basketball Association games involving the Kentucky Colonels during that league's 1967–1976 existence.[18][19][20]

WHAS is Louisville's primary home station for the University of Kentucky athletic broadcasts from the UK Sports Network, carrying Wildcats football and men's basketball games.[21] Previously, it had been the flagship for U of L Sports Network coverage of Louisville Cardinals football and basketball, and still serves as the Cardinals' effective flagship station when there is no conflict with Wildcats games. When there is a conflict with Wildcats games, WKRD broadcasts Cardinals games.[22]

Starting in 2015, iHeartMedia began broadcasting Louisville City FC games.

Public service

WHAS is the flagship radio station for the annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethon. The station also broadcasts The Moral Side of the News, one of the oldest public affairs programs in American broadcasting, dating back to the 1940s. The show has also been shown on WHAS-TV since the 1950s. The show's panel of clergy members have been involved in distributing the proceeds of the Crusade for Children among local charities since the telethon's beginning.[23]

WHAS radio has solidified its reputation over the years as a leader in coverage of crisis situations, particularly severe weather.

During the Ohio River flood of 1937, the station gained nationwide notice for its coverage of the disaster, which included broadcasting Louisville flood bulletins over the facilities of WSM in Nashville after Louisville authorities were forced to cut electrical power to the city because of the rising flood waters (thus forcing WHAS' own signal off the air). During the flood, the station aired 115,000 messages.[24] WHAS returned the favor in 1950 by helping WSM-TV establish television service in Middle Tennessee with a microwave signal link from WHAS-TV.[25][26]

On the afternoon of April 3, 1974, Louisville was hit by an F4 tornado that developed during the 1974 Super Outbreak. WHAS broke away from regular programming to track the storm as it passed through the Louisville metropolitan area. In the hours immediately following the storm, the station delivered important information about what areas had been directly impacted by the storms, and traffic reporter Dick Gilbert followed the tornado in his helicopter, reporting on the damage as he flew at a safe distance behind the storm. The station stayed with continuous coverage of the disaster in Louisville and across the state of Kentucky and the southern portion of Indiana until well into the early morning hours of April 4.[27][28] For their efforts, the station's personnel earned thanks from then-Kentucky Governor Wendell Ford and President Richard Nixon.

WHAS continued to provide valuable severe weather coverage in the 1990s. On January 17, 1994, a record overnight snowstorm paralyzed the city and much of the state of Kentucky.[29] WHAS had round the clock updates and closings information for nearly a week.[30] On May 28, 1996, another tornado outbreak occurred in Kentuckiana and the station suspended its election coverage that night to cover the storm.[31]

Notable former on-air personalities

See also


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WHAS". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "HD Radio station guide for Louisville, KY". Hdradio.com. Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  3. ^ "Offenders of The Faith". Eastlink.ca. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  4. ^ "Amendments to Regulations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
  5. ^ "New Stations" Radio Service Bulletin, August 1, 1922, page 3.
  6. ^ "All But Two States Now Broadcast" Radio News, September 1922, page 480.
  7. ^ Radio 'Fans' Within 350-Mile Radius Hear First Programme Sent From WHAS Station", Louisville Courier-Journal, July 19, 1922, page 1.
  8. ^ "Derby To Go On The Air", The New York Times, May 16, 1925, p. 11
  9. ^ "Broadcasting Stations, By Frequencies" Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (June 30, 1929, edition), page 123.
  10. ^ "CBS Adds WHAS and Windsor Unit". Broadcasting. April 15, 1932. p. 16. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 16, 1986. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  12. ^ News Release (April 9, 2015). "Terry Meiners Renews With NewsRadio 840 WHAS". WHAS. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015.
  13. ^ Ostrow, Joanne (July 24, 2013). "KHOW's successor to Peter Boyles is Mandy Connell". Ostrow Off the Record. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Bullard, Gabe (July 24, 2013). "Mandy Connell Leaving WHAS for Denver". Louisville, KY: WFPL. Archived from the original on August 8, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  15. ^ Ritchie, Christa (September 4, 2013). "Leland Conway replaces Mandy Connell at 84 WHAS radio". The Buzz. Retrieved September 19, 2013. (soft paywall)
  16. ^ Crawford, Eric (February 21, 2015). "Lach going off the clock – host to leave WHAS SportsTalk in May". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Crawford, Eric (April 15, 2015). "Mandy Connell back in, Sports Talk out for WHAS Radio". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  18. ^ "Colonels Fan Memories (Page 1)". Remember the ABA. April 28, 1976. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  19. ^ "Colonels Fan Memories (Page 2)". Remember the ABA. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "Colonels Fan Memories (Page 3)". Remember the ABA. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "UK Sports Network Radio Affiliates" Archived February 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. UKathletics.com. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  22. ^ "Louisville Athletics – U of L Radio Network Affiliates". Uoflsports.com. May 10, 2006. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  23. ^ "Who We Are". WHAS Crusade for Children. Archived from the original on March 30, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  24. ^ "The first quarter-century of American broadcasting, by E.P.J. Shurick". Archived from the original on October 9, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Whole World Is Listening: WHAS Radio Coverage of the 1937 Ohio River Flood". History Net: Where History Comes Alive – World & US History Online. June 5, 2007. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015.
  26. ^ "MP3 sound file" (MP3). Lkyradio.com. Archived from the original on March 18, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  27. ^ WHAS April 1974 Tornado Coverage Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. LKYradio.com. (MP3) Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  28. ^ Willis, Scott. "Welcome to LKY Radio – Classic Louisville, Kentucky radio – WHAS Airchecks Archived April 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine". LKYradio.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  29. ^ Kolarik, Kim (January 17, 2014). "Louisville's 1994 winter storm was something for the record books". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "MP3 sound file" (MP3). Lkyradio.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  31. ^ "MP3 sound file" (MP3). Lkyradio.com. Archived from the original on March 18, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  32. ^ Thomas, W.J. (November 20, 1932). "Ford Bond Would Like to Become Football Announcer". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 66. Archived from the original on January 6, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  33. ^ "MP3 sound file" (MP3). Lkyradio.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  34. ^ "MP3 sound file" (MP3). Lkyradio.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  35. ^ Courier-Journal, The. "Mary Walter to host WHAS-84 talk show". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  36. ^ "Local Radio Personalities React To Ziegler Ruling". wave3.com. May 25, 2005. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015.