Friday, March 16, 2007

1240 History

This is station history post number 20 in the Knoxville Radio History blog and this one focuses on AM 1240 which once was home to WBIR-AM 1240.

1240 History

On January 21, 1941, 1240 signed on as WBIR-AM. Throughout the first few years, WBIR aired various programs including Doc Johnston's morning program where he would play the piano. The program was also simulcasted on WBIR-FM 103.5 (now WIMZ-FM 103.5). In the mid to late 1970s, WBIR aired an all-news format as "All News 124" where it aired NBC's short-lived all-news format known as "The NBC News and Information Service".

In 1980, Stoner Broadcasting bought the station and changed it to WHEL-AM with an adult standards format known as "The Wheel". In 1982, WHEL-AM changed formats from standards to a simulcast of WIMZ-FM 103.5's rock format and the calls were changed from WHEL-AM to WIMZ-AM. For the first few years, WIMZ-AM would simulcast WIMZ-FM in the morning and afternoon drive. The midday and evening hours would be automated AOR. In the mid 1980s, WIMZ-FM would be simulcasted entirely. The WIMZ-AM calls would last for 8 years.

WIMZ-AM 1240 changed formats from a WIMZ-FM 103.5 simulcast to a rhythmic CHR format that was short-lived. On May 10, 1993, the calls were changed from WIMZ-AM to WEZK-AM and started a simulcast of WEZK-FM's AC format. The calls were changed to WZEZ on April 28, 1994 and the WEZK-AM calls were brought back on September 24, 1994.

On December 7, 1995, the calls were changed back to WIMZ-AM and began airing programming from ESPN Radio. In 1996, they became "The Team 1240" and continued the sports format. A simulcast at 95.7 in Maryville/Knoxville was added in 2000.

The sports format on AM 1240 and 95.7 FM continued until 2002 when AM 1240 changed calls to WJXB-AM and carried 24-hour news from the cable network CNN Headline News as "CNN 1240". A few years later, WJXB-AM became WIFA-AM with a religions music/talk format known as "Faith 1240".

1 comment:

Michael J Johnson said...

WBIR had the first daily sports talk show in the Knoxville Market. WBIR Sportstalk was on 1979/1980. Some good guests such as Lindsey Nelson, Ray Mears, Pat Summitt, etc. Before that, Knoxville had some weekly sports talk with such shows as Monday Night Quarterback with Freddie Moses. Chuck Ketron did a couple of UT Football oriented shows at WETE as well as Ron Ashburn hosting some Sports Talk at WNOX.