The Story of 610 WTVN: A Legendary Radio Station in OhioFor more than 90 years, 610 WTVN has been a voice for the people of Ohio. From its humble beginnings as a small radio station in Columbus, WTVN .........
The Story of 610 WTVN: A Legendary Radio Station in Ohio
For more than 90 years, 610 WTVN has been a voice for the people of Ohio. From its humble beginnings as a small radio station in Columbus, WTVN has grown into a legendary broadcaster, providing news, sports, and talk radio to a loyal audience. But how did this station become such a beloved institution? Let's take a look at the history of 610 WTVN.
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The Early Years: 1926-1940
610 WTVN first signed on the air in 1926, under the ownership of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper. The station's original call letters were WAIU, and it broadcast on a frequency of 1200 AM. WAIU's programming included music, news, and religious programming, and it quickly gained a following among Columbus residents.
In 1932, WAIU was purchased by the Wolfe family, who renamed the station WCOL and moved it to 1230 AM. Under the Wolfes' ownership, WCOL became one of the top-rated stations in the region, thanks to its popular shows such as Farm Hour, Barn Dance, and Ohio State Football.
In 1940, WCOL was sold to the Dispatch Broadcasting Company and became known as 610 WTVN. The station's new owners immediately set out to increase its audience by offering a mix of news, sports, and talk radio programming.
The News Years: 1940-1960
During World War II, 610 WTVN became a primary source of news for Ohioans, providing up-to-date information on the war effort, as well as local events and emergencies. The station's coverage of the Columbus flood of 1959, which caused widespread damage and forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes, was considered a turning point in WTVN's history.
In the 1950s and 1960s, 610 WTVN began to establish itself as a talk radio leader, with popular hosts such as Bob Conners, Scott Forbes, and WTVN news director Gene Fullmer. The station also began covering Ohio State University football and basketball games, a tradition that continues to this day.
The golden age of top-40 radio: 1960-1980
In the 1960s and 1970s, 610 WTVN became known as a leading top-40 radio station, with hits such as Ohio Express and Hang on Sloopy becoming part of its playlist. Despite increased competition from FM radio, WTVN remained a popular destination for listeners, thanks to its strong community ties and engaging on-air personalities.
During this period, WTVN also began broadcasting live from events such as the Ohio State Fair and the Ohio Democratic and Republican conventions. In 1978, the station was again sold, this time to Taft Broadcasting Company, which added country music programming to the lineup.
The Modern Era: 1980-Today
In the 1980s and 1990s, 610 WTVN transitioned to a news/talk format, featuring popular hosts such as Joel Riley, Fred Andrle, and John Corby. The station's programming also expanded to include non-political topics such as health and lifestyle, as well as a daily call-in show.
In the 2000s, 610 WTVN continued to adapt to the changing media landscape, launching a website and streaming its programming online. The station also added podcasts and social media to its repertoire, allowing listeners to engage with hosts and other members of the WTVN community.
Despite changes in ownership, format, and competition, 610 WTVN has remained a beloved institution for more than 90 years. Thanks to its consistent focus on news, sports, and community engagement, WTVN has become a trusted source of information for generations of Ohioans. Today, the station continues to be an essential part of the media landscape, serving as a voice for change and a beacon of hope for its listeners.
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