WENK-AM 1240 went on the air with 250 watts day and night from the upstairs of a furniture store on October 26, 1946. WTPR-AM 710 went on the air with 250 watts daytime from the second floor of a building on the square in downtown Paris in 1947. Both were owned by the Dixie Network of Jackson. Both had a Variety format in those days.
WENK featured the talents of people like Hank Huggins and Lou Wrather during the early days. WTPR was home to future Nashville star Ralph Emery and future WPSD-TV newsman Dan Steele.
WENK caught the Rock and Rollbug in 1956 and pretty much remained a popular music or Top 40 station until WWKF took that format in 1982. John Dixon Williams, a future WPSD-TV newsman and general manager was an early star. WTPR continued to play a variety of music over the years.
WENK increased its power to 1000 watts in the early 60’s and WTPR was able to increase its power to 1000 watts daytime as well. During this period personalities like J.R. Moore and Ed Taylor were heard on WENK, along with Jolly George and John True. WTPR featured Bill McCutcheon. The late Gary Powley who worked at WTPR in the 90’s and until his death in 2005 actually got his start at WENK in 1968.
Present day President and General Manager Terry Hailey followed Gary Powley at WENK in 1968 and has been with the station ever since. Cindy Snyder was one of the driving forces behind WTPR in the 80’s and 90’s. The late Joe Van Dyke was long time general manager at WTPR for the Dixie Network.
WENK purchased WTPR in 1989. WTPR then adopted WENK’s Oldies format which continues today. WTWL, Dover/McKinnon, was added in 1994 with call letters changed to WTPR-FM. The station was at 101.5, but changed to 101.7 in June of 2005. WENK, WTPR and WTPR-FM are now a three way simulcast of ‘The Greatest Hits of All Time’ and are on AM1240, AM710 and FM101.7. You can hear the stations in Southeast Missouri, Northeast Arkansas…and all across Northwest Tennessee and Southwest Kentucky from Reelfoot Lake to Kentucky Lake to Clarksville. Their sister stations WWKF and WAKQ (KF99/KQ105) play Contemporary Hit music or Top 40…The format they took from WENK in 1982. So, we play the hits, both old and new from our studios at 1729 Nailling Drive in Union City and 206 North Brewer in Paris.
This is a photo of Hank Huggins in the early days of WENK-AM