Wednesday, March 14, 2007

990 History

This is the seventh station history posted onto the blog site.

This station history is of WNML-AM which once was WNOX, a legendary top 40 station of the 1960s and 1970s.

990 History

In November of 1921, WNOX signed on as WNAV and it was started by 16-year old Dick Adcock in the Summit Hills neighborhood of Knoxville. On November 3, 1922, WNAV got a frequency and they were licensed at 833 kHZ and was owned by People's Telephone and Telegraph Company. In 1923, the station was destoyed by a fire and the station was knocked off the aier. In 1924, WNAV moved from 833 kHZ to 1290 while the station was still off the air. The station returned to the air in 1925 and in 1926, WNOX moved to 1120 and the calls were changed from WNAV to WNOX.

In 1927, WNOX moved from 1120 to 1130 on the AM dial. The station was purchased by the Sterchi Brothers on June 20, 1928. The station moved yet again from 1130 to 560 on the AM dial on November 11, 1928. On June 15, 1937, the station swapped frequencies with WFBC-AM in Columbia, South Carolina. WNOX moved to 1010 while WFBC was moved to 560.

On March 29, 1941, the station moved to 990, its current frequency. The station adopted the top 40 format in the late 1950s to early 1960s. The station had some great disc jockeys including Bernie Quayle. The station would later become an AC station in the mid to late 1970s. In 1982, WNOX would be bought by Mack Sanders who wanted country music stations. WNOX changed formats to country and the station was never the same again. Also that year, Mack Sanders bought WYSH-FM 95.3 and changed calls to WNKX-FM 95.3 and brought the country format.

On April 5, 1988, WNOX changed calls to WTNZ. The WTNZ calls were short lived when WTNZ became WIVK and the simulcast of 107.7's country format was moved from 850 to 990. For 2 weeks back in March of 1988, they aired an oldies format that had music from the 1950s and 1960s. After two weeks, the oldies format was gone with a simulcast of WTNZ-FM 95.3 and the calls were changed to WTNZ-AM.

On August 25, 1997, the simulcast was broken off in favor of news/talk. The WNOX calls were brought back as part of the change. They were "NewsTalk 990" for the first few years and they were "NewsTalk 99" because of the simulcast on WNOX-FM 99.1 (now WNML-FM).

On May 9, 2005, the WNOX calls moved to the FM side when WOKI-FM 100.3 changed formats from AAA to news/talk as "NewsTalk 100 WNOX". That day, WNOX-AM 990 would change formats from news/talk to sports as "The Sports Animal" with WNML-AM as the new call letters.


Radio History Guru said...

Actually for a very short 2 weeks back in March of 1988, WNOX-AM changed it's format from Country to Golden Oldies (50's and 60's).

Marvelous Marty Shane was the Program Director, and then 2 weeks later, they pulled the plug on the oldies format, and that is when they changed the call letters from WNOX-AM to WTNZ-AM, and they started simulcasting with WTNZ-FM.

Derrick said...

Thanks for the comments. I fixed it. You sure do know your history on some Knoxville stations.

If you have anymore histories on some Knoxville stations, send me an email at and I will be happy to talk about Knoxville radio with you.

By the way, I updated the blog so when you can, check it out.

Robbie said...

Thanks for posting this. Growing up back in the late 1970's, I too, remember the old WNOX AM 990. Back then, they put out a bumper sticker with a red background that read "WNOX 99 Means Music & More" to compete with WRJZ AM 62 which had a black square bumper sticker with a Coca Cola logo on it. Used to listen to Phil Williams and Colvin Idol do the morning show on the way to Powell Elementary School every morning and then on Saturday nights at 11 p.m., they would feature and play a current album in its entirety. It was where I first heard Kenny Loggins' album "Keep The Fire" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album at, although I had to try listening to that album from my grandparents' house in Shelby, NC since I had to go down there on the weekend that they played it. It faded in and out, as most AM clear channel 50 kilowatt stations do at night, but I got to hear most of it anyway. It saddened me when the FCC reduced WNOX's power down to 10 kilowatts in the 1980's and changed formats as well, resulting in me moving over to Rock 104 WIMZ FM and discovering stereo sound for the first time in 1982 when I had gotten a Toshiba RS100 boom box with a stereo wide switch for Christmas that year, but I'll never forget ole WNOX. Phil Williams and Colvin Idol also made the move over to WIMZ in the 1980's and started doing the morning show there for many years. WIMZ's studios used to be in the Fort Hill building on Summit Hill Drive for many years until moving to the building that once housed the old WTVK Channel 26's studios on Sharp's Ridge after South Central Communications decided to buy WIMZ from Stoner Communications and get out of the TV business and then sold WTVK 26 to a partnership group who then moved the frequency from UHF to VHF and became WKXT Channel 8, now WVLT.