DWZSK
WZSK newstalk1040 logo.jpg
Broadcast areaBedford, Pennsylvania
Somerset, Pennsylvania
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Cumberland, Maryland
Frequency1040 AM kHz
Branding"NewsTalk 1040"
Programming
FormatDefunct (was News/Talk[1])
AffiliationsABC Radio News
Ownership
OwnerNew Millennium Communications Group, Inc.
WSKE
History
First air date
March 15, 1963[2]
Former call signs
WWDS (1963-1967)
WSKE (1967-2000)
WZSK (2000-2021)[3]
Technical information
Facility ID54570
ClassD
Power10,000 Watts daytime
4,000 Watts critical hours
Transmitter coordinates
40°0′26.0″N 78°21′44.0″W / 40.007222°N 78.362222°W / 40.007222; -78.362222

WZSK was a News/Talk formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Everett, Pennsylvania, serving Bedford, Somerset, and Altoona in Pennsylvania and Cumberland in Maryland.[1] WZSK was last owned and operated by New Millennium Communications Group, Inc.[4]

1040 AM is a United States clear-channel frequency, on which WHO is the dominant Class A station. WZSK was required to leave the air during nighttime hours in order to prevent interference to the skywave signal of WHO.

History

Beginnings

The groundwork for WZSK was first laid in 1962. Known then as WWDS, founders Dennis and Willard Sleighter first applied for its construction permit in November 1962. The station first operated at a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assigned frequency of 1050 kHz, with a maximum output power of 250 watts. The station went on the air March 25, 1963 from its longtime facilities along East First Avenue in Everett.

In August 1964, the Sleighters applied for a construction permit to move WWDS's dial position from 1050 kHz to 1110 kHz and increase its power to 5,000 watts. The FCC denied the permit in March 1967. Shortly after, the Sleighters sold the station to the Bakner family, who would control the station over the next three decades.

Sale to Bakner Family

Melvin Bakner, known by his on-air name "Shorty King", formed Radio Everett, Inc. and acquired WSKE in July 1967. The call letters were changed to WSKE in November of that same year. Under Bakner's direction, the station boasted a country format, which became popular with local listeners. In 1979, WSKE applied for a power increase to 1,000 watts and installed a directional antenna system. Melvin Bakner's son Martin ("Marty King"), who had worked for the stations since his teenage years in the 1970s, continued working on-air until he was dropped from the staff in January 2002.

WSKE petitioned for a frequency change again in the 1980s, and was granted a move to its present dial position of 1040 kHz and a power increase to 10,000 watts daytime and 4,000 watts, critical hours.

On April 27, 1987, Radio Everett, Inc. successfully applied for an FM license at 104.3 mHz. That station, operational beginning on March 15, 1988, became known as WSKE-FM and became a full simulcast of its then-same-named AM sister. The station allowed Everett to have local radio service after WSKE was required to sign off after local sunset. The FM broadcast 18 hours a day at that time. The AM station petitioned for and was granted a change of call letters to WZSK on May 3, 2000.

Sale to Millennium Broadcasting

The stations were sold to Millennium Broadcasting in 2001. In 2002, the two stations, which had been simulcasting its longtime country format, were split into their own separate identities. The AM station took on a news-talk format, while the FM retained the country format and the WSKE call letters.

In 2010, the newly-renamed New Millennium Communications Group applied for Special Temporary Authority (STA) for WZSK to operate at reduced power due to technical problems with the station's aging transmitter. The FCC granted permission in April 2010 to allow the station to operate at reduced power until October of that same year [1].

Decline and Failure

On March 26, 2021, the FCC informed New Millennium Communications Group in writing that a complaint had been filed by an individual in October of 2020 claiming that the station had been silent for more than a year. The same correspondence revealed that an additional complaint had been received earlier in the month of March 2021. The FCC further requested that New Millennium submit evidence that the station was operating since October 1, 2019, including photographic evidence of the station's studio and transmission facilities and coordinates for the transmitter site [2]. A follow-up letter was sent less than 60 days later [3].

New Millennium Communications Group President Shane Imler responded to FCC attorney Victoria McCauley in correspondence dated June 8, 2021. Imler stated that revenues for the stations were 'up and down since the (Covid-19) pandemic', implying a state of hardship. However, he did give assurance that WSKE remained in full operation. Imler stated that repairs were being made to the main transmitter and a backup that was being used was not reliable [4].

FCC officials responded in its final correspondence of November 18, 2021 that Imler's letter failed to address proof of the station's operation as previously requested. As a result, WZSK's license was cancelled by the FCC on November 18, 2021, due to the station having been silent for more than a year.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b "Arbitron Station Information Profiles". Nielsen Audio/Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 2010 (PDF). ProQuest, LLC/Reed Publishing (Nederland), B.V. 2010. p. D-463. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  3. ^ "Call Sign History". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  4. ^ "WZSK Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  5. ^ License details WZSK cancelled