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WLAP Short Version

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WLAP is the oldest station in Kentucky. Their history is perhaps the vaguest of all of them to me, however. WLAP started out as the first station in KY in June, 1922. It beat out WHAS in Louisville by a few months. They had studios in the old Gilmore Nunn Building downtown at the corner of 122 Walnut Street (now MLK Blvd) for several years (a breaker panel in the basement still listed some distinctly broadcasting labels as late as 1987), and a suite at 177 N. Upper Street in downtown Lexington. They completed the move to their transmitter site on Russell Cave Road in 1974. The facility there had a distinctive Cold War look to it. Of course, they are the Primary EBS, now EAS, station in Lexington. They were the first in town with a generator to broadcast their signal when power was out, which was a good thing on April 3, 1974 when tornadoes swept through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Their broadcasts that night were the only link to the outside world for many people.

WLAP-AM utilized a Gates BC-5F transmitter into their 4 tower, DA-1 pattern. The typical 5KW day/1 KW night license. Their nulls were deep, but not as deep as WVLK, where at one point, you could see the towers but not hear their nighttime signal. Sometime in the mid 1970's, they were the first in Lexington to install automatic transmitter reading apparatus. The late 70’s brought the installation of a new Harris MW-5 transmitter.

WLAP-FM started out as many Class A FM's did; simulcasting their sister AM station. They did this from 6AM until 7PM during the week, and all of the time on the weekend. But during the week, at 7PM the FM broke away from the AM and broadcast "Little Bee". He was arguably the first Urban Contemporary format in Lexington, circa 1970. He would use the production console for his show, which lasted until midnight, when both stations signed off the air. Now remember, this was Class A FM at its best, glorious monaural. Stereo, at least for WLAP, was still a few years away. After their move to the transmitter site, they installed a Harris automation system for the FM, bought a stereo generator, got a 50KW license and became a quite listened to station. Later challenges included Lew Owens adding about 400' to one of his AM towers, so that the FM could compete in the distance with WVLK-FM, and WLEX-FM (later WKQQ). In later years, bowing to the thought that hyphenated call letters are bad, they have changed to WMXL. Personally, I think "We Let Anyone Play" is much preferable