|Broadcast area||Topeka metropolitan area|
|Slogan||The Voice of Kansas, 580 WIBW|
|First air date||1925|
|Callsign meaning||None (sequentially assigned)|
|Affiliations||CBS Radio Network|
|Owner||Alpha Media |
(Alpha Media Licensee LLC)
|Sister stations||KSAJ, KTPK, WIBW-FM|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via TuneIn)|
WIBW transmits 5,000 watts around the clock. The signal is non-directional during daylight hours, and directional at night. Its two-tower night pattern pushes the signal broadly to the west and central Kansas, somewhat away from the Kansas City area, though it still delivers a secondary signal there. Due to WIBW's location at the bottom of the AM dial, plus Kansas' flat terrain and excellent ground conductivity, WIBW boasts one of the largest daytime coverage areas in the country. During the day it easily covers most of the Kansas City metropolitan area and provides at least a grade B signal to most of the eastern half of Kansas and west to Wichita, Salina and Hays. With a good radio, it can be heard as far north as Omaha and Lincoln, as far south as Tulsa and as far west as Dodge City. In sum, the station's full daytime coverage area includes most of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma, even touching edges of Texas, South Dakota, Illinois and Arkansas.
WIBW is an affiliate of the CBS Radio Network and broadcasts CBS News updates on the hour. Its local programming includes NewsDay Now, The Danielle Norwood Show and SportsTalk with Jake Lebahn & Dan Lucero. The station also carries national talk shows such as The Dave Ramsey Show, The Dana Show with Dana Loesch, and The Kim Komando Show.
The station features extensive coverage of Washburn and high school sports, as well as Kansas State University (KSU) athletics. WIBW is a radio affiliate of the Kansas City Royals baseball team, and for many years was the team's flagship station. It is one of the few stations which has broadcast Royals games continuously since the franchise's first season in 1969.
WIBW was originally licensed on July 24, 1925 to Dr. Lawrence L. Dill of Logansport, Indiana, who operated it there along with his business partner, Donald Harrell. However, in late 1926 the station was acquired by C. L. Carrell of Chicago, Illinois, who converted it into a portable broadcasting station, joining a roster of seven stations controlled by Carrell. Portable stations could be transported from place-to-place on movable platforms such as trucks. These were generally hired out for a few weeks at a time to theaters, mostly located in small midwestern towns that didn't have their own radio stations, to be used for special programs broadcast to the local community. (Regulating "moving targets" proved difficult, so in May 1928 the Federal Radio Commission announced it was ending the licensing of portable facilities.)
WIBW's career as a portable was brief. In early February 1927 it began broadcasting from the Connor Hotel in Joplin, Missouri, still under the management of Donald Harrell. However, on Mother's Day, May 8th, it began transmitting from the Jayhawk Theatre under the sponsorship of the Topeka Daily Capital, and the government recorded that the station was now permanently located at Tenth and Kansas streets. The debut program, organized by Y.M.C.A. secretary Lyle O. Armel, was described as a benefit for "Flood Sufferers Through Red Cross".
On January 31, 1929 ownership of the station was transferred from C. L. Carrell to the Topeka Broadcasting Assoc., Inc., which was organized by United States Senator Arthur Capper, who also owned the Capital. Capper died in 1951, and his family sold his holdings to Stauffer Publications, owner of Topeka's other newspaper, the Topeka State Journal. WIBW's main studios for decades were located on Wanamaker Road in west Topeka, near the Menninger Clinic. The programming there included live country music at 6:00 a.m. as late as the 1970s. The building housing those studios was severely damaged by fire January 5, 2012. The new owners eventually also established WIBW-TV and WIBW-FM.
Beginning in 1929, WIBW shared time on 580 kHz with Kansas State University's KSAC (later KKSU) in Manhattan, Kansas. During this period the university's station was on the air during afternoons, with WIBW broadcasting the other times of the day. While it was common for stations to share frequencies in the early days of radio, what was unusual was that this practice lasted for over seventy years. WIBW made several attempts to acquire full time operation on the frequency, especially after 1957, when Oscar Stauffer bought the Daily Capital, but despite tremendous political pressure, KSAC/KKSU stayed on the air.
In December 2001, Kansas State decided to move its sports broadcasts to the Mid-America Ag Network (MAAN), after airing them on WIBW continuously since 1969 and off-and-on since the 1950s. WIBW countered that a 1969 amendment to the timeshare agreement had granted WIBW the right to broadcast Wildcat football in exchange for allowing KKSU (then still KSAC) to extend its operating hours by 15 minutes each weekday. After heated negotiations WIBW's owner, Morris Communications, agreed to update the agreement in exchange for full use of the broadcasting hours. This resulted in WIBW buying KKSU's timeslot for $1.5 million, in addition to transferring exclusive rights to all Wildcat sporting events to MAAN. Persuant to this agreement, KKSU ended operations on November 27, 2002.
In 2006 WIBW became the Topeka outlet for KSU Jayhawks football and men's basketball games. On June 14, 2014, the Capital-Journal reported that WIBW would end its pact with KSU. The station renewed its Kansas State affiliation in 2016, although the Jayhawks broadcasts subsequently moved to KMAJ and KWIC-FM.
- Mitch Holthus, radio announcer for the Kansas City Chiefs
- Jim Doblin, now president of JD Productions.
- A folk etymology has developed ("What's In a Name? Radio Knows" (AP, Kansas City) by Jim Bagby, Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury, June 27, 1985, p. 7.) that when Arthur Capper bought the station in 1929, he chose the WIBW call letters to match a supposed original owner of "Indiana Broadcast Works". However, WIBW had actually been assigned this call sign, randomly from a sequential list, when it was first licensed three years and a half years before Capper purchased it. There is also no evidence that an entity named "Indiana Broadcast Works" ever existed.
- Predicted coverage of WIBW 580am at Radio-Locator.com
- "Date First Licensed", FCC History Cards for WIBW.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, August 1, 1925, page 3.
- "Logansport Opens New Radio Station", Indianapolis Star, August 1, 1925, p. 3.
- "Kewanna-Logan Game on the Air This Evening", Logansport (Indiana) Pharos-Tribune, November 6, 1925, p. 1.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, December 31, 1926, page 8.
- "Portable stations no longer licensed" (General Order No. 30, May 10, 1928), Radio Service Bulletin, May 31, 1928, page 8.
- WIBW (advertisement), Broadcasting, July 18, 1949, page 33.
- "New Broadcasting Station at Joplin", Neosho (Missouri) Daily Democrat, February 5, 1927, page 1.
- "Radio Station WIBW Now Located at Joplin", Logansport (Indiana) Pharos-Tribune, March 10, 1927, page 6.
- "Day by Day Events: May 8 to May 15",Topeka (Kansas) Day By Day, May 6, 1927, page 6.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, January 31, 1928, page 8.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, February 28, 1929, page 13.
- "History of WIBW" by Richie Kennedy (route56.com). The papers later merged as the Topeka Capital-Journal. Stauffer Publications merged with Morris Communications in 1995.
- "K-State, WIBW Reach Radio Rights Settlement" by Tim Richardson, August 29, 2002 (Reprint from CJOnline.com posted at worldofradio.com)
- Jesse Newell (June 16, 2014). "KU football, basketball games to be on different Topeka radio dials in 2014-15". CJOnline.com.
- Official website (wibwnewsnow.com)
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WIBW
- Radio-Locator Information on WIBW
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WIBW
- FCC History Cards for WIBW (covering 1927-1980)