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Goodbye to 1070 AM in Indianapolis

For many years, one of the most popular radio stations in central Indiana broadcast over 1070 AM. WIBC was what used to be called a “full service” station, playing “middle of the road” music with big personality disk jockeys and news every hour on the hour. In central Indiana, everybody listened to WIBC at least once in a while. It was a hugely popular radio station for decades and decades.

Full service died in about 1993 on WIBC, when the station debuted a news-talk format. AM radio was changing radically in these days, as FM had long since come to dominate in listenership. As 2007 drew to a close, WIBC abandoned its historic 1070 AM frequency and switched to FM at 93.1, where it still broadcasts. On FM, WIBC has continued to do very well and remains a top-rated station, although of a much smaller listenership as radio itself has become less relevant.

WIBC’s parent company aired a sports-talk format on 1070, and later added two low-power FM signals at 93.5 and 107.5 to carry that programming.

A sad commentary on the value of AM radio today, but in recent years the land that 1070’s towers sat on became more valuable than the station itself. The owners sold the land and dismantled the towers, with no set plans to continue operating the station on 1070. Here are the last couple minutes of 1070, once a powerhouse radio station in central Indiana. 1070 in Indiana breathed its last at the end of August 2.

Even though 1070 carried a radio station with call letters WFNI in its final years, someone at 1070 saluted WIBC’s heritage by ending with WIBC’s top-of-the-hour ID used from the 1970s through the 2000s. Most people from central Indiana who are older than about 30 remember the Radio Indiana ID. It always led right to WIBC News.

Here’s a taste of what WIBC once was. This is an aircheck from 1982 of disk jockey Orly Knutson. Listen to the slight reverb behind Orly’s voice; it was part of WIBC’s signature sound. This aircheck includes the Radio Indiana ID and part of a newscast, and at about the 6 minute mark, one of WIBC’s well-known long jingles. But more than anything else, hear how WIBC was your friend and companion as you went about your day. Man, I miss radio like that.

Speaking of long jingles, here are a few more. These two videos are courtesy my friend John, a radio historian and a fellow I shared the airwaves with, as our shifts on WZZQ in Terre Haute were usually next to each other.

Goodbye, 1070!

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