|When WKOK AM went on the air in May of 1933 there were only 30 other radio stations operating in Pennsylvania, today there are more than 500. The license for WKOK was purchased from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, where it was originally WJBU, and transferred to Sunbury. WKOK went on the air as a 100 watt, shared time station. Over the years it grew to 250 watts and in 1963, on the station’s 30th Anniversary, WKOK moved to 1070, its current dial position, and increased power to 10,000 watts.The corporation formed to operate the station, Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation, still owns WKOK. One of the original founders, Harry H. Haddon, served as Chairman until his death. His son Roger S. Haddon, Sr. was Chairman of Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation until his death in April of 2004. The third generation, Roger S. Haddon, Jr. serves currently as the President and Chief Executive Officer. In over 70 years of broadcasting the station has had only 8 General Managers and many employees have spent large parts of their careers with the company. Vice-President/Engineering, John Keller, who retired in 1995, had been employed by the corporation since July of 1943.When it first went on the air WKOK had five employees. Today more than 40 people are employed at WKOK and sister stations, WVLY-FM, WEGH-FM, WQKX-FM, and WMLP-AM.WKOK has received numerous awards for news and public affairs excellence. Winning awards from both the Associated Press and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Awards have included: Outstanding Local Newscast, Outstanding Spot News Coverage, Outstanding Feature and Outstanding Public Affairs Series and Program.
The longest running program on WKOK is “Talk To Santa” a Christmas tradition that dates back to the station’s beginnings. Children come to the studios to talk directly to Santa, via “Magic Radio” at the North Pole. Santa’s elves participate in the program and, if the children have been particularly good, they earn a “Great Big Gold Star” in Santa’s book. It has won the Pennsylvania State Association of Broadcasters award for “Outstanding Children’s Program” several times.
Over the years the station has distinguished itself in times of emergency. In 1936 WKOK stayed on the air during a week of flooding on the Susquehanna River that devastated the city of Sunbury; it was virtually the only communications link the city had. Again, in 1972, during flooding in the wake of Hurricane Agnes, the station remained on the air providing information and assistance to those in need or peril. In 1996, after several days of snow and then flooding, WKOK remained on the air after power was cut-off to provide news and information. WKOK has received numerous community and statewide awards over the years for its outstanding public service. Included in the awards are citations from both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate.
In 1948 WKOK-FM signed on the air. During the early years WKOK-FM rebroadcast (or simulcast) the programming of WKOK-AM. 1975 marked WKOK-FM’s first substantial venture into separate programming. During the morning hours the station aired “Country music” and then rejoined WKOK-AM for the balance of the day. In 1978 WKOK-FM became separate from WKOK-AM and the call letters of this 50,000 watt giant were changed to WQKX-FM. This “new” station quickly gained in popularity and has become one of Pennsylvania’s most dominant stations.
Over the years listenership to FM has greatly increased. At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission’s ownership rules have been relaxed making it possible for broadcasters to increase the number of stations they own generally and in specific markets.
In 1993, at the conclusion of an exhaustive and expensive legal battle between two prospective licensees, the opportunity developed for Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation to obtain the construction permit for a new FM station licensed to Northumberland. By late 1994 this new station, WKOK-FM, was on the air bringing WKOK-AM’s award winning news and local programming to an entirely new audience.
Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation expanded it’s radio station group on April 18, 1998 at 5:59:52 AM. That’s when WKOK-FM became EAGLE 107, with Rock N’ Roll for Adults. At that same time WKOK-AM transformed into NEWSRADIO 1070 WKOK, All News All Day…All Sports All Night. WKOK AM continued its affiliation with CBS News and Westwood One Sports. Add to that list CNN Radio News, The Wall Street Journal Report, and Fox Sports Radio.
On November 29, 2005 Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation arrived at an agreement with Milton/Lewisburg Broadcasting Corporation to acquire the assets of WMLP-AM (TalkRadio 1380 WMLP) and WVLY-FM (100.9 The Valley). March 6, 2006, Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation completed the purchase of WMLP and WVLY.
WMLP was originally owned by Sam Booth, and went on the air in 1955 at 1570 AM on the second floor of the Milton YMCA. WMLP was only on the air from sunrise to sunset on 1570 AM until the 1380 AM frequency became available in the late 1950’s. The station did move to the second floor of the old legion movie building for a time in the early 1960’s. After the addition of 100.9 FM (currently WVLY) in the 1960’s, the stations needed more space, so the studios were moved back to the YMCA building. What originally took up three rooms now took over most of the second floor. After the Flood of 1972 the studios moved off of route 15 across from Milton.
WMLP was know in the late 1950’s and 1960’s as the area’s only Rock N’ Roll station with Jim Jacobs, Paul Herbert, Bill Stutzman, John Yingling, Billy Kelly, George Vaughn and Zeda Zodiac. As the years pasted and music stations moved to FM, WMLP found it’s niche as the area’s leading talk radio station.
TalkRadio 1380 WMLP continues to supply the Susquehanna Valley with the biggest names in talk radio including Bill Bennett, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity. Plus, overnight and sports talk with Yahoo Sports Radio.
Soft Rock 100.9 The Valley is known in the area as a great workday companion. At night Delilah offers listeners a chance to make requests and chat. John Tesh from Midnight to 6 AM can help improve our listeners quality of life with Music and Intelligence for Your Life.
Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation is proud of its stations and their tradition of strong community service and quality programming. We remain committed to strengthening and advancing that tradition.