|Broadcast area||Westmoreland County, Fayette County, eastern Washington County, southeastern Allegheny County, eastern Greene County, and western Somerset County in Pennsylvania|
|WKHB, WKVE, WXVE, WKFB, WEDO, WANB|
First air date
|December 21, 1971 (as WLSW)|
Former call signs
Public license information
WKHB-FM (103.9 FM) is an adult contemporary radio station, licensed to the Pittsburgh suburb of Scottdale, Pennsylvania and serving the Pittsburgh Media Market. The station is owned by and operated by Broadcast Communications III, Inc. a subsidiary of Broadcast Communications, Inc.
WKHB-FM first signed on the air back in 1971 as WLSW, founded by legendary Pittsburgh DJ Ludwig Stanley "Uncle Stan" Wall, who first applied for the frequency back in 1968 upon the advice of a friend who was a broadcast engineer. Wall had also been a DJ and later general manager for WTRA (now WCNS) in Latrobe prior to putting this station on the air.
Unlike many FM stations of its time, WLSW was a standalone operation. It is important to remember that at this time this was an oddity, because few cars in those days were equipped with FM radios, and FM was often simulcast by their AM sister operations. It is also important to remember that FM had barely begun to gain acceptance among its AM counterpart.
Nevertheless, WLSW forged ahead, with a format mainly composed of oldies, rock, and Top 40 music. Its studios, offices, and transmitter were located in a converted double-wide mobile home at the top of a mountain on PA Route 711 a few miles east of Connellsville. Geographic references were often made by the DJ's as "Magic Mountain", while others jokingly called the treacherous stretch of Route 711 as "Murder Mountain"—a reference to the steep climb and potentially treacherous winter conditions on this stretch of the highway.
In April 1984, Wall purchased WQTW, an AM station operating at 1570 kHz 15 miles north of Connellsville in Latrobe, for $66,000. The 1,000-watt station, which had the distinction of being Latrobe's first of two radio stations, had had its studios and offices destroyed in a fire the year before and had been silent for a period of about nine months.
Wall purchased WQTW and returned it to the air, and using his same formula for WLSW's beginning, parked another converted double-wide mobile home at the transmitter site on George Street in Derry Township for the station's operations. Under Wall's ownership, WQTW operated independently of its FM sister for a period of about six years until it was decided to simulcast WLSW over its airwaves, keeping separate oldies and polka programming on the weekends, and Derry Area high school football games.
In 1992, Wall decided to add oldies programming to his program lineup at WLSW. Though rival oldies station WWSW in Pittsburgh played oldies, none offered pre-British invasion R&B-based music which had become legendary in Pittsburgh, largely due to the popularity of legendary Pittsburgh disc jockey Porky Chedwick.
According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Wall had made the decision as he was traveling along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and had heard DJ Charlie Apple on the former WKPA on a cold November Saturday afternoon. Wall had heard Apple tell his listeners that since the station had been recently sold, and a format change was inevitable, it was his last show, thus there would be no special Christmas show as he had done in the past.
According to the interview, Wall picked up his cellular car phone and dialed the studio line. He called Apple on the air and said "You'll do it on my station". Another WKPA DJ, Jeff Allen, was also offered a show on WLSW. Other reputed oldies DJs would gradually be added, including the legendary Porky Chedwick.
WLSW had, in recent years, shifted its music from Top 40 to Hot Adult Contemporary and to an upbeat oldies format, adopting the moniker "MusicPower 104" in the early 1990s. Though the station was primarily music-intensive, it offered some full-service programming elements traditionally found on a typical small-market AM station, such as high school football and basketball, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Penguins Hockey.
The oldies specialty weekend programming had been successful since debuting on WLSW in 1992.
After Stan Wall's death, the station was owned for a period of time by his estate and then subsequently sold to Broadcast Communications III, Inc. (BCI) with the closing of the transaction occurring on July 25, 2017. That same day, BCI implemented a power increase to full class A equivalent facilities which was previously applied for by FCC application approximately 3 months before the closing date while the parties were awaiting approval of the license transfer. Additionally that same day, BCI implemented a new Adult Contemporary format branded as "103.9 KHB", and began broadcasting from new studio facilities. On August 2, 2017, the call-sign was changed from WLSW to WKHB-FM.