After a twenty-nine year absence, FM radio returns to Hendersonville, with the awarding, by the Federal Communications Commission, of an FM frequency to Radio Hendersonville’s WHKP, according to President and General Manager Art Cooley.
WHKP was awarded an FM frequency (102.5) in 1957 which it maintained and grew into one of the area’s most-listened-to country music stations, WKIT, promoted as KIT KOUNTRY, until the station was sold in 1985 and moved to Greenville, SC and is now known as MY 102.
The new Hendersonville FM station will be what is commonly known in the industry as a translator and is limited, by the Federal Communications Commission, to re-broadcasting the signal of an existing low-power AM station. That process is known in the radio industry as simulcasting.
According to Cooley, the FM translator will be located at 107.7 on the FM radio dial and will allow WHKP to reach areas in the county – both during daytime hours and at night time – with a top-grade, clear broadcast signal, which the AM station has difficulty doing at the present.
Now listeners will have the choice of listening to WHKP at 1450 as they have for the past 68 years on the AM dial or tune to the new 107.7 frequency on the FM dial. The programs will be the same on both AM and FM.
The FM antenna will be located on the current WHKP broadcast tower on Signal Hill Road.
WHKP President and General Manager Cooley further stated that the programming will remain basically the same on the station, carrying a heavy schedule of local news under the direction of Larry Freeman, along with occasional editorials and programs from out of the past. FOX News Network; Rush Limbaugh; Clark Howard; several local financial and real estate shows; UNC along with Appalachian and Carolina Panthers Sports plus local high school sports will also be continued.
Music selections will include a broader mix of current and classic country hits.
WHKP will continue to be heard world-wide on the internet web site at www.whkp.com.
WHKP signed on the air in 1946 as the county’s first radio station and is currently beginning their 69th year of broadcasting in Hendersonville.
Cooley further stated that the FM translator will be on the air on the FM radio dial in early 2015.
Cooley said WHKP has a dozen full and part-time employees, the latest of which is Randy Houston, who is currently hosting the Good Morning, Morning Hendersonville Show on 1450 AM, from 5 til 9:00 AM Monday through Fridays. Houston is a well-known Western North Carolina broadcaster who has worked for a variety of stations, including ownership of several radio properties in the past.
Cooley thanks the thousands of listeners throughout Henderson County who have always kept WHKP RADIO in the ‘forefront’ of local listening and involvement in the ever-growing county population, and he promises the same kind of ‘continued community service’ as the new FM radio service is launched for Henderson County at 107.7 on the FM radio dial.
As one of North Carolina’s oldest ‘media companies’, WHKP in the past established WWIT in Canton in 1955 and in 1990, purchased WPNF in Brevard and WTYN in Tryon and established what was known as ‘trimulcasting’ between the three stations, which was acclaimed across the nation as a ‘new innovation’ in broadcasting.