History of
/WIHY/WMUX, Hurricane

This page was last revised on Jan. 24, 2018. Clarke Ingram assisted with this page.

The original application by Putnam (dated 9/6/66) was for 250 w-D. There also was an application by Valley Broadcasting (dated 5/25/66), for 1 kw-D.

On 4/10/67, Putnam requested 1 kw-D. On 11/13/67, Putnam requested 5 kw-D, DA. That was granted on 8/13/69. Clarke Ingram believes that WEEP 1080 Pittsburgh was seeking 50 kw-D, DA, at this same time, which would account for the delay. WEEP went to 50 kw in 1970.

The perhaps questionable original call letters, WPNS, granted on April 27, 1970, are said to have stood for "We play new songs" or "Putnam News Service."

On May 15, 1971, Billboard reported:

WPNS Bows With Uptempo MOR
HURRICANE, W. Va.—WPNS, a 5,000-watt station, will go on the air here with an uptempo MOR format on June 1, according to general manager R. C. Knightstep. Knightstep was formerly with WKAZ, Charleston. WPNS will be about 20 miles from both the Charleston and Huntington markets, and Knightstep said that the signal will cover both areas as well as Hurricane. The station is seeking to build a library of records.

WPNS, Hurricane, began broadcasting on July 2, 1971, according to Broadcasting Yearbook. The original frequency was 1080 kHz with 5000 watts daytime.

The 1972 yearbook shows Ray V. Allen, president; Robert Knightstep, general manager; Sam Cole, commercial manager; Jack Green, program director; and Albert White, chief engineer.

Larry Dale wrote on facebook in 2013:

Worked there as Bob Daley (one of only two times in my career of ever using a stage name) after breaking my talent contract with WCAW less than a year earlier. My time there was months, not years. Owners then were Oshel Craigo of Gino's and Tuder's, another owner was a lawyer in Hurricane and a couple of other guys--don't remember who. I had started using the telephone a lot on my shows by this time--and continued that until my retirement. My claim to fame during the time at the "Mighty 1080" was during the Democratic National Convention when George McGovern and Sargent Shriver were selected as candidates; I read a story about KMPC in Burbank, CA, having a "daily" report from the convention held in Miami hosted by then Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. The headline read; Mayor Becomes Disk Jockey. I turned that around and asked the question, "If a mayor can become a disk jockey--can a disk jockey become a mayor?" Then I embarked on a week-long on-air comic and semi-talk format goal of becoming the Mayor of Los Angeles--who'd be able to send "Daley" reports to Miami to keep Yorty updated on what was coming down in LA. On the last day of the convention and probably 15 different person-to-person calls to Mayor Sam Yorty and being filtered through aides and pr people--I snagged Yorty. He was gracious (and went along with the hilarity of the idea) and made the proclamation on the air, that I was to be named the Mayor of Los Angeles for the remainder of time he was at the convention.

On June 30, 1975, the station applied for the call WZTR; this call was apparently never granted.

On Aug. 25, 1975, the call WZTQ was applied for. It was granted on Nov. 3, 1975. This seems to be about the time the format was switched to disco.

Rick Callebs wrote on facebook in 2013:

I remember WZTQ well. Studio and transmitter buried in the trees just off the Hurricane exit of I-64. I dropped off an air check there one time hoping to get a job. During the disco days, the format sounded great but the signal barely touched the core of the Charleston's population center and was almost unlistenable in Huntington. Back then, the station was battling it out with WXIT and WKAZ in Charleston and WKEE, WCMI, and WAMX-FM in Huntington. For what its worth, Huntington's WWHY tried a disco format around the same time, as "1470 WKSD". The music was OK but most of the jocks sounded like they were 50 years old.

In 1977, WZTQ and WNST filed competing applications for the open 106.3 frequency. WNST got the grant.

Clarence "Slim" Clere, station manager of WZTQ (1982)

On Aug. 20, 1982, WZTQ(AM) Hurricane, W. Va.. (1080 khz, 5 kw- D) applied for assignment of license from Putnam Broadcasting Inc. to Cosmic Communications Inc. for $110,000. Seller: Group of eight stockholders headed by Ray V. Allen, president and 12.5% owner. Buyer: John Thompson Jr., J. Thomas Stanley and Eugene Ellison (one-third each). Thompson is Oak Hill, W. Va., attorney. Stanley owns Oak Hill Pizza Hut. Ellison is former employee at WCIR(FM) Beckley, W. Va.

On Nov. 30, 1983, WZTQ(AM) Hurricane, W. Va. (1080 khz, 5 kw -D) applied for assignment of license from Cosmic Communications to Miliken Investment Corp. for $200,000, including non-compete agreement and assumption of debts of approximately $125,000. Seller is equally owned by John M. Thompson, J. Thomas Stanley and Eugene C. Ellison. None have other broadcast interests. They bought station last year for $110,000. Buyer is owned by James S. Miliken and relatives. Miliken is general manager of WSGB(AM), which buyer also owns. It is also permitee for new FM on 97.1 MHz at Sutton.

The call WVKV was granted on March 12, 1984. During this period 1080 played Christian music and was owned by Milliken Investment Corporation. Clarke INgram believes WVKV stood for "Voice of the Kanawha Valley."

Subsequent calls were WOKU (1996), WIHY (2009), and WMUX (2012).

The above image was archived in 2011 from the station's website at 1110wihy.com. The little "Classic Hits" logo indicates a satellite format, although a local personality, Denzel Vickers, was on the air from 2 to 5.

An April 6, 2012, article in the Charleston Daily Mail reported that eight nonprofit Catholic radio stations around the state had allied to create the West Virginia Catholic Radio Network, based in Charleston. It reported that St. Paul Radio Co. of Charleston had acquired commercial station WIHY, 1110 AM, from Big River Radio Inc., and had changed the call to WMUX, converting the programming to a non-commercial religious and educational format. The article also reported that WMUX was a sister station to WLUX-1450 in Dunbar, which had been on the air for a year.

In 2013 WMUX was operating on 1110 kHz with 1000 watts.

WZTQ Offers Danceable Rock (1975)

This article appeared in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1975. Thanks to Clarke Ingram for the article.


There's something new on the Charleston area radio scene--disco radio.

The sound comes out of WZTQ radio at Hurricane, broadcasting at 1080 on the AM dial. It's the cream of rock and soul radio.

I spoke recently with Jerry Fletcher, who functions as "more or less music director" of the station. He outlined his views on the music and what he's trying to do at WZTQ.

"My philosophy," Fletcher said. "is if you'll listen to a tune in a nightclub and get into it. or if you'll pay to play it in a jukebox, you'll listen to it on the radio."

Fletcher says his station plays "the cream of the rock, handpicking the songs that people are most into." Basically the station plays hit singles of the danceable rock and soul categories. It has cut back on the amount of "gold" played and is "patterned after programming heard in the big cities."

Fletcher is a member of the National Association of Disco Broadcasters, and as such, he's trying to introduce disco programming into local clubs.

"Discos are very big in a lot of the country." he says, "but the trend isn't well-established here." He cites as examples of area disco operations, the Roaring Twenties and the Downstairs Club in Charleston and the Stonybrook in Huntington.

"There's a great variety in disco programming," Fletcher says.

"The Stonybrook programs oldies, which seems to be incongruous with the disco scene, but you can do so much with it," he says.

"You could even go disco with country, though I don't know anybody who has yet." As a member of the disco broadcasters group. Fletcher helps clubs program disco entertainment, suggesting the music to play, the type of equipment needed, etc.

"The main thing that's missing here," he says, "is the lights. Nobody has the kind of light show a disco needs."

The radio station has been doing disco programming for about a month now, doing a split shift, with the usual Top 40 music in the morning and disco stuff in the afternoon.

"We're after the 18-35 age group, the commuter people."

There are five deejays, only two of whom work on the air through the week, he says. Sunday has its own deejay and is devoted solely to gospel music. The station signs on with reduced power at 7:15 a.m., ups the power about 7:30 and signs off at sundown.

"That's a bummer." Fletcher says, "but it's one of the FCC's little things they stick you with -- local sunup to local sundown."

The station formerly was known as WPNS, but it is now firmly established as WZTQ, the disco sound of Charleston. It's a nice, different sound.

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