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WHKY Radio Marks 84 Years Today

WHKY Radio celebrates 84 years on the air today (June 10). On June 10, 1940, the station first signed on. During World War II, getting equipment was difficult, but station founder Ed Long put together the WHKY transmitter with the help of a mule and plow. The station began broadcasting from the Hotel Hickory. In the 1950s, it moved to the Elliott-Carnegie Library. The move to its current location was made with the advent of WHKY-TV in 1968.

Tom Long, Ed Long’s son, supervised the station’s daytime signal boost from 5,000 to 50,000 watts in 2003, as well as the construction of a new building. Jeff Long, representing the third generation of Longs, was station manager. Tom Long, Jr. headed up a family ownership group that purchased the station in April, 2023.

In 1987, WHKY ended its music programming and went with an all talk format. WHKY aired Paul Harvey’s News and Comment segments prior to his death in 2009. WHKY was a charter station of The Rush Limbaugh Show and aired the show through his death until Premiere Networks debuted The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show four months after his passing.

WHKY begins each weekday with the local news program “First News”, which is a re-broadcast of the previous evening’s TV Newscast. Then it’s the long-running two-hour talk and information show, “First Talk,” hosted by Hal Row from 7-9 a.m. After that program, it’s “On Second Thought” hosted by Chuck Boozer from 9 a.m. to Noon. The rest of the weekday schedule comes mostly from nationally syndicated programs including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.

Weekdays, WHKY has local news starting at 5 a.m. Local newscasts and sportscasts air throughout the day seven days a week. The station also airs Hickory High School football and basketball games, along with Lenoir-Rhyne University football.