- WKBF (AM)
Infobox Radio Station
name = WKBF
airdate = February
frequency = 1270 (
Rock Island, Illinois; Quad Cities
format = Traditional Mexican Music
Quad Cities Media
"(sale to La Jefa Latino Broadcasting pending)"
power = 5,000
branding = "Pantera"
website = [http://www.wkbf.com/ www.wkbf.com]
callsign_meaning = Where Historic Blackhawk Fought (original callsign WHBF)
:"This article is about the radio station in Rock Island, Illinois; for the old television station in Cleveland, Ohio, see
WKBF is a radio station licensed to
Rock Island, Illinois, and carries a Spanish Regional Music format. The station's frequency is 1270 kHz, and broadcasts at a power of 5 kW. WKBF is currently owned by Quad Cities Media, which is wholly owned by Randy Melchert. WKBF is one of several stations broadcasting its signal using CAM-D, a digital transmission method similar to HD Radio, but compatible with many current analog receivers.
Quad Cities Media has announced on
June 19, 2008that it would sell WKBF to La Jefa Latino Broadcasting. If approved, the sale is expected to make an imminent close. [ [http://www.radio-info.com/news/index.php?date=2008-06-19 Radio-Info News for June 19, 2008] - [http://www.radio-info.com Radio-Info.com] ]
History of 1270 kHz
The history of the Rock Island allocation for WKBF dates to 1925, when businessman Calvin Beardsley purchased an experimental radio transmitter that operated in
Cambridge, Illinois. He took the equipment and set it up at the rear of his store in Rock Island.
Beardsley went on the air in February 1925, using the
callsignWHBF and broadcasting at 100 watts. The letters were said to stand for "Where Historic Blackhawk Fought."
The station moved to the Harms Hotel in Rock Island in 1932. In November of that year, Beardsley sold interest in his station to the John Potter family, which operated the "Rock Island Argus". Later during the 1930s, the station moved to its current home at 1270 kHz, and had its power boosted to 5 kW.
WHBF was joined by a sister
FMradio station - WHBF-FM, the first in the Quad Cities- in October 1947, and a television station went on the air in July 1950. By now, all three facilities were located in the Telco Building in downtown Rock Island.
WHBF underwent many format changes since the end of the
Golden Age of Radio. For instance, listeners tuning into the station during the 1960s and early 1970s found a middle-of-the-road, adult standardsformat.
1974-1995: 'Country Sunshine' Era
The station's signature format for many years was
country music. WHBF was known as "Country Sunshine Radio" and brought current and classic country music to listeners 24 hours a day.
But by the mid-1980s and the explosive growth of FM radio, WHBF's listenership began to wane. WLLR-FM, which began broadcasting its country format at the Quad-Cities market's 101.3 MHz in 1983, began to erode WHBF's listenership and by the end of the 1980s, WLLR was the overall top-rated overall station in the market. Meanwhile, 1270 kHz - which changed to WKBF in 1987 - would never regain its former popularity.
WKBF's country format struggled through the early 1990s, getting most of its programming from the
ABC Radio Networks' "Real Country" satellite service. In 1994, management was in negotiations with Steve Bridges of 99.7 KFMH to move its progressive music format and its staff to 1270 after that station was sold. By 1995, with WKBF at the bottom of the ratings for several years, station managers finally decided to lay the country station to rest.
For more than a year, WKBF simulcasted WHTS-FM's
Top 40format. By September 1996, the station premiered an adult standards/MOR format at the frequency, although virtually all of its programming was from ABC Radio Networks. However, this format's listenership remained minimal.
In February 2004, programmers with
Clear Channel Communications' Quad-City Radio Group - which by now was operating the station as part of a joint sales agreement with owner Mercury Broadcasting - decided to use the frequency for a country recurrents format. WKBF played country favorites from the 1970s through 1990s, but the station's format failed to entice listeners.
WKBF's next format - a progressive liberal talk format - premiered on the frequency in March 2005. The station's primary programming came from
Air America Radio, with hosts including Al Franken, Stephanie Millerand Mark Riley. Despite all the format changes, one carryover program remained: "Croonerville", a Sunday morning program of adult standardshosted by local personality Charlie Honold; the program premiered on WKBF in 1996 and ran for 10 years. The switch to progressive talk provided mixed results to WKBF's ratings (reaching a 2.6 share in the fall 2005 Arbitron, but falling to a 0.8 share in the Spring 2006 Arbitron[http://stationratings.com/ratings.asp?market=157] ). During this time WKBF aired local high school and Iowa State Universitysports broadcasts.
The station was sold in late 2006 for virtually the same reason the former WHTS-FM was sold several months earlier, and WKBF promptly became an outlet for Christian talk.
2006-2007: Christian Talk era
In October 2006, it was announced that 1270 AM was being acquired by Quad Cities Media and would switch to a
Christiantalk format by the end of the year [http://www.qctimes.com/articles/2006/10/20/news/business/doc4538500780568379920871.txt] . On December 5, the station switched to an all-Christmas format, the prelude to the Christian-oriented lineup. Known as "Truth 1270," the primary focus was on Christian preaching and teaching; sacred music was provided by AbidingRadioat night and early morning, and between programs.
The format lasted until June 21, signing off at 11:59 p.m. with a 100-year-old recording of
Ira Sankeysigining "God Be With You Till We Meet Again."
During the "Truth 1270" era, WKBF became the Quad City market's first radio station to go digital, with the
2007-Present: Regional Mexican era
On June 22, 2007, WKBF debuted "La Pantera", a regional Mexican format, thus becoming the first full-time Spanish radio station in the Quad Cities. [http://www.qctimes.com/articles/2007/06/22/news/business/doc467c9c5fef39e293114124.txt] While most of the broadcast day features regional Mexican music, WKBF also broadcasts Spanish Religious programming like Gracias a Vosotros and La Biblia Dice in the mornings from 6 am to 7 am.
* Anderson, Frederick I, editor. "Joined By a River: Quad Cities." Lee Enterprises, 1982. ISBN 0-910847-00-2
* [http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=14729052&BRD=1839&PAG=461&dept_id=558793&rfi=6 Radio stations make new country connection] , "The North Scott Press",
Eldridge, Iowa, June 22, 2005
* Rock Island Argus editorial "We welcome the Pirate FM to Rock Island" March 4th, 1994.
* Arbitron, Inc. Ratings, Fall 2005 and Spring 2006
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