Charleston AM Station WOBU Signs On: Sept. 15, 1927

Sep 15, 2016

On September 15, 1927, Charleston’s WOBU radio station went on the air with 50 watts of power at eleven-hundred twenty kilohertz. A year later, it moved to its present frequency: five-eighty AM.

WOBU, Charleston went on the air in 1927, and became WCHS in 1933.
Credit e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

One of the station’s most popular shows was The Old Farm Hour, with early local performers including country musicians Bill Cox and the Kessinger Brothers.

Walter Fredericks, owner of the Charleston Radio Supply Company, started WOBU reportedly to sell more radios, but he sold the station only three years later. The station’s call letters were changed to WCHS in 1933, and its power was boosted to its present 5,000 watts in 1940. Over the years, WCHS has featured local news and information, Cincinnati Reds baseball, high school sports, West Virginia University sports, and the long-running Sports Page of the Air, hosted for years by Ernie Saunders.

West Virginia Radio Corporation acquired the station in 1992 and launched the current format of national and local news, talk, and sports. WCHS is the third-oldest radio station in West Virginia. The only older stations still in existence are WRVC in Huntington and WWVA in Wheeling.