This is Part 1 of The History of WIKZ

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The History of WIKZ

In July of 1977, WIKZ was born. The history of the frequency goes back, however, to 1948. In August of that year, Chambersburg Broadcasting Company signed on as WCHA-FM. Originally located at 95.9, WCHA-FM simulcasted (duplicated the exact same programming) WCHA 800, except when the AM would sign off at local sunset. At that time, WCHA-FM would carry Philadelphia Phillies games. In the 1960s, The Federal Communications Commission ruled against stations simulcasting 100 percent, so that FM stations would have a chance to develop an audience, rather than be slave to a more successful AM station's programming. In the late 60s and early 70s, WCHA-FM moved from 95.9 to its present home at 95.1. At about the same time, it ceased the total simulcast of WCHA and took the call letters WCHM. The station debuted an automated (without live announcers) easy listening format, while continuing to simulcast WCHA in the morning and air the Phillies at night. Things would remain pretty much status quo until 1977.


In the 1970s, AM radio was still king. The most successful and profitable stations were definitely on AM. And the stations were not just talk and news, like today. The biggest format was Top 40. Stations such as WABC in New York and WLS Chicago continued to set ratings and revenue records. Little did anyone know that the 30 year old FM band was about to explode and overtake AM. In 1976, John S. Booth III, son of founder John S. "Sam" Booth, became President of Chambersburg Broadcasting Company. John foresaw the potential of FM and hired a team that had worked at the highly successful local AM Top 40 station 1130 WEEO. Tom Boock was hired as general manager, C. David Bennett as program director and Bill Matthews (Matt Kellam) as music director. Things were soon to change. On July 3rd, 1977, WIKZ-95 (pronounced wick-sea) was born. The station went Top 40, still automated at this point, broadcasting pop music, now 24 hours a day. WIKZ-95 was the third Top 40 the Hagerstown- Chambersburg market, joining 1130 WEEO and 97Q, WQCM, which had signed on as a Top 40 the year before.

The Top 5 Songs from WIKZ-95's first week
1. Undercover Angel Alan O'Day
2. Da Do Ron Ron Shawn Cassidy
3. Got To Give It Up Marvin Gaye
4. Jet Airliner Steve Miller Band
5. Lonely Boy Andrew Gold
This list was compiled from local record store reports:


Early reaction to the station was good, but management knew that to compete, it had to be live and local, just like WEEO and WQCM. In March of 1978, WIKZ went live with DJs 24 hours a day. 

The original WIKZ on-air lineup
Brad Flick 6-10 am
C. David Bennett 10 am - 2 pm
Bill Matthews 2 - 7 pm
Robin St. Christopher 7 - Midnight
Chris McNeill Midnight - 6 am

WIKZ 1978
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In August of 1979, WIKZ was given a power increase from 3000 to 50,000 watts. In 1981, the Arbitron Company began rating radio listening in the metropolitan area defined as Hagerstown- Chambersburg- Waynesboro. WIKZ-95 debuted #2 in the Spring 1981 survey . WEEO was all but dead at that point, WQCM was the number 1 station. For WIKZ, the best was best to come.

WIKZ-95 Winter 1980
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Part 2 of The History of WIKZ