This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this article. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "WKRC" AM – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (November 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Broadcast areaCincinnati metropolitan area
Frequency550 kHz
FormatTalk radio
First air date
May 1924; 99 years ago (1924-05)
Former call signs
  • WFBW (1924)
  • WMH (1924–1925)
  • WKRC (1925–1993)
  • WLWA (1993–1994)
  • WCKY (1994–1997)
Call sign meaning
Kodel Radio Company (former owner)
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID29737
  • 5,000 watts (day)
  • 1,000 watts (night)
Transmitter coordinates
39°00′29″N 84°26′39″W / 39.00806°N 84.44417°W / 39.00806; -84.44417
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via iHeartRadio)

WKRC (550 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Cincinnati, Ohio. The station airs a talk radio format, under the branding of "55KRC". Studios are on Montgomery Road in Cincinnati. WKRC operates at 5,000 watts by day and 1,000 watts at night, from a transmitter site in Cold Spring, Kentucky.

Despite the similarities in their call letters, WKRC was not the inspiration behind the television show WKRP in Cincinnati. The show's creator, Hugh Wilson, wrote the premise based on personal experiences at WQXI in Atlanta.


WKRC is co-owned with another Cincinnati iHeartMedia talk station, 700 WLW. While WLW airs mostly local talk and sports programming, WKRC largely carries nationally syndicated talk shows.

Brian Thomas hosts WKRC's locally-based morning drive program. The remainder of WKRC's weekday lineup consists of nationally syndicated shows: The Glenn Beck Program, Rose Unplugged and The Sean Hannity Show (all syndicated by Premiere Networks); The Dave Ramsey Show, The Mark Levin Show (via Westwood One), and Coast to Coast AM (via Premiere).

Weekend programming includes Gary Sullivan's At Home, via Premiere and which originates from WKRC on Saturday and Sunday mornings.


WKRC is one of the oldest radio stations in Ohio. It was first licensed, as WFBW, on May 22, 1924, to the Ainsworth-Gates Radio Co. of Cincinnati. The original call letters were randomly assigned from a sequential roster of available call signs,[2] and were changed to WMH beginning on June 14, 1924.[3] (An earlier WMH, which was Cincinnati's first broadcasting station, had been operated by the Precision Equipment Company until January 1923.) In 1925, the station was purchased by the Kodel Radio Corporation,[4] which changed the call letters to WKRC to match its initials.[5]

WKRC was a charter member of the CBS Radio Network, and was one of the 16 stations that aired the first CBS network program on September 18, 1927. CBS purchased WKRC in November 1931, turning it into an owned and operated station. CBS sold WKRC to The Cincinnati Times-Star in September 1939. The Times-Star was owned by the Taft family, and this purchase was the genesis of Taft Broadcasting, with WKRC as its flagship station.[6][7]

In 1947, Taft signed on an FM station at 101.9 MHz.[8] The FM station used its own call sign at first, WCTS, which stood for Cincinnati Times-Star. It later switched to WKRC-FM and today is WKRQ. In 1949, Taft Broadcasting added Cincinnati's second television station, Channel 11 WKRC-TV (now on Channel 12).[9]

As network programming moved from radio to television in the 1950s, WKRC switched to a full service middle of the road (MOR) music format and was an affiliate of the ABC Entertainment Radio Network.[10] In the 1980s, the music moved from MOR to adult contemporary.

On November 29, 1992, after Jacor acquired the station via a local marketing agreement (LMA), WKRC began stunting with a computerized countdown.[11] A week later, WKRC debuted a new talk radio format with the call letters WLWA, as a complementary service to WLW.[12] In 1994, the call letters were changed from WLWA to WCKY, as the station inherited the call sign and some programming used on WCKY (1530 AM) (which was renamed WSAI (1530 AM).)

In 1997, call letters returned to the historic WKRC, now offering a schedule of local and national talk programs, some of them from Westwood One. In 1999, Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner of current owner iHeartMedia, acquired Jacor Broadcasting, including WKRC.[13]

WKRC is the former sister station to WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, both having been owned by Taft Broadcasting, Jacor Communications, and Clear Channel Communications. In 2008, Clear Channel sold WKRC-TV and its other television stations to Newport Television, LLC.


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WKRC". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 2, 1924, page 3.
  3. ^ "WFBW is Now WMH", Cincinnati Post, June 11, 1924, page 6.
  4. ^ "Kodel Buys Station WMH", Radio World, April 4, 1925, page 9.
  5. ^ "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1925, page 11.
  6. ^ "Times-Star buys WKRC, Cincinnati", Broadcasting, September 1, 1939, pg. 34.
  7. ^ "WKRC's transfer approved by FCC", Broadcasting, December 1, 1939, pg. 36.
  8. ^ "FM Broadcasting Stations: Ohio: Cincinnati, Broadcasting Yearbook (1948 edition), page 310.
  9. ^ "Ohio: Cincinnati", Broadcasting Yearbook (1950 edition), page 235.
  10. ^ "Ohio: Cincinnati", Broadcasting Yearbook (1977 edition), page C-160.
  11. ^ "WKRC in Flux", Radio & Records, December 4, 1992, page 16.
  12. ^ "Horan Heading Up New '550 WLW'", Radio & Records, December 11, 1992, pages 4, 30.
  13. ^ "Ohio: Cincinnati", Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook (2000 edition), page D-342.