|Broadcast area||Topeka metropolitan area|
|Branding||The BIG 94.5 Country|
|Owner||Alpha Media |
(Alpha Media Licensee LLC)
|KSAJ, KTPK, WIBW (AM)|
First air date
|September 1, 1961 (at 97.3 MHz)|
|97.3 MHz (1961-2002)|
Call sign meaning
|None, sequentially assigned to AM station|
|HAAT||351 meters (1152 ft)|
WIBW-FM (94.5 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station in Topeka, Kansas. It is owned by Alpha Media and airs a country radio format. The studios and offices are on SW Executive Drive in Topeka. The transmitter is off Windy Hill Road in Maple Hill. WIBW-FM broadcasts at the maximum power for non-grandfathered FM stations in the U.S., 100,000 watts.
The station serves as the primary Emergency Alert System station for the state of Kansas along with sister station 106.9 KTPK. WIBW-FM, along with co-owned 580 WIBW and one-time sister station Channel 13 WIBW-TV are unusual in having call signs beginning with a "W", while all other stations in Kansas have "K" call signs. The reason is that the AM station was originally established in Indiana in 1925, a state in W territory. WIBW kept its call letters when it moved to Topeka, which it has kept to this day. And the Federal Communications Commission allows co-owned FM and TV stations to share the same call sign, even if the call letters do not conform to current policy for that state.
On September 1, 1961, WIBW-FM signed on the air at 97.3 MHz. It was owned by the Topeka Broadcasting Association, a subsidiary of Stauffer Publications. The company also owned AM 580 WIBW and Channel 13 WIBW-TV, along with a daily newspaper, The Topeka Capital-Journal. At first, WIBW-FM simulcast the AM station. But in the late 1960s, the FCC was encouraging AM-FM radio stations to offer different programming. WIBW-FM switched to an album rock sound known as "Rock 97 and "The Rock of Kansas."
Over time, the rock hits format moved in the direction of Top 40, promoted as 97fm. The FM studio was across the hall from the control room which managed both the AM station and the Kansas City Royals radio network when WIBW held the baseball team's broadcast rights.
In 1990, WIBW-FM flipped to country music. The station became known for a bright red remote truck which looked like a boombox.
The WIBW-AM-FM-TV studios for decades were located at 5600 SW 6th in West Topeka. That building received heavy damage from fire January 5, 2012.
Until 2002, WIBW-FM was located at 97.3 MHz. The station moved its frequency to 94.5 MHz to make way for a new move-in station in Kansas City, Kansas.
Each year, WIBW-FM holds a radiothon where all proceeds go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. It is usually run on a Thursday and Friday in February, from 6 am to 7 pm, at a Hy-Vee supermarket at 29th and Wanamaker. DJs do there programs from the store. Interviews are conducted with "ambassador families" during the broadcast, telling how they benefited from the St. Jude's Hospital.
94.5 Country also sponsors the Country Stampede Music Festival held each year in Manhattan, Kansas, where all proceeds go to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.