Infobox Radio station
name = WKZV

city = Washington, Pennsylvania
area = Pittsburgh metropolitan area
Wheeling, West Virginia
branding = "KZ Country"
slogan =
airdate = June 1970 (as WKEG)
frequency = 1110 kHz
format = Country
power = 1,000 watts (daytime)
erp =
class = D
callsign_meaning = KZ branding
former_callsigns = WKEG
owner = My-Key Broadcasting
webcast =
website =
affiliations =
Citations missing|article|date=December 2007

WKZV is a 1,000 watt, two-tower directional, daytime-only AM radio station in the Pittsburgh radio market, licensed to Washington, Pennsylvania. This station can also be heard clearly to the west in Wheeling, West Virginia. The station was among a round of daytime-only AM stations in the tri-state area that were granted applications for operation in 1968, a time when FM started gaining momentum.

Beginnings: The WKEG Years

Known then as WKEG, the station was first believed to have signed on the air in August 1968 with a full-service format of middle-of-the-road, country, and polka music. The polka show was hosted by local polka musician Gil Yurus, who joined the station at start-up and remained until financial troubles began in the late 80's.

Unknown delays pushed the actual sign-on date to the summer of 1970. For many of its early years, the station operated out of a trailer at its transmitter site just off Pennsylvania Route 18 on Whitetail Drive in South Strabane Township three miles north of downtown Washington.

The station would move in the late 1980s to another studio location at 71 North Main Street in downtown Washington and then to its current location on East Chestnut Street in 1990. Managing to survive a "Johnny-come-lately" image of having to live in the shadow of WJPA-AM/FM, its well-marketed crosstown competitor, WKEG maintained its original owner for less than a year, when DiLeLo Broadcasting sold the station to Nascone Enterprises (dba JANUS Broadcasting) in the middle of 1971, a company headed by Joseph A. Nascone (the 'JAN' in the company name), the former sales manager of WTAE Radio in Pittsburgh.

Though only a daytimer, WKEG's advantage over its competition was its clear-channel signal, with its 1,000 watt reach getting into parts of southeastern Ohio, and both panhandles of West Virginia, in addition to western Pennsylvania.

Upon acquisition, Joe Nascone changed the station's format to easy listening, consulted by San Francisco-based Dave McKenzie. Jerry (King) McWreath was then hired from WJPA to program the newly-acquired station, selected by Nascone and legendary Pittsburgh radio talent Ed Sherlock. JANUS Broadcasting operated the station during its most prosperous years until 1987 when it was purchased by Ferguson Broadcasting.

Hard times

The new owner, William Ferguson, changed the station's format to adult contemporary, delivered via satellite through the Transtar Radio Network. Unfortunately, the station ended up going dark in two years. The station was then purchased for $100,000 by JJG Communications, a group headed by John G. Brodak and John Loeper, the former general manager of WKEG's main competitor in Waynesburg, WANB-AM/FM. JJG made another go of the station, this time with a news/talk/sports format, also mostly via satellite. The station failed again, and was off the air by October 1991.

Today as WKZV

The station made another return to the air in the spring of 1992, this time with a new set of call letters, WKZV "KZ Country" and another new owner, U.S. North Broadcasting, Inc.

The station was purchased by U.S. North for $100,000, as it was by its former owner. Despite their best efforts and considerable investment in studio overhauls, the station was headed towards the brink of financial ruin once again until a little over a year later, when local Polka musician and disc jockey Mike Panjuscek and two other investors, Helen and Stanley Supinski, all Canonsburg residents, bought out the interests of the three minority doctors who had headed U.S. North Broadcasting, Inc. for $267,000 in March 1993.

Panjuscek, who serves as vice-president, general manager, and program director, immediately discontinued the satellite-delivered country music format and hired two local announcers, each working half of the broadcast day. Panjuscek also shifted the format to more of a classic country sound, with special emphasis on local country music artists and those on independent record labels (except on the weekends). The name of the licensee was later changed from U.S. North to My-Key Broadcasting, but maintained the same ownership. The changes were enough to finally reverse the station's sagging fortunes.

The station still continues to operate under this format and ownership today, managing to survive three multi-station conglomerates that dominate Pittsburgh, with two of the three owning high-powered country-formatted FM stations.

External links

*Radio the Old Way...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05240/560087-58.stm]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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