The corporation formed to operate the station, Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation, still owns WKOK. One of the original founders, Harry H. Haddon, served as Chairman until his death. His son Roger S. Haddon, is the current President and Chairman of Sunbury Broadcasting. Over 63 years of broadcasting the station has had only 7 General Managers and many employees have spent large parts of their careers with the company. Vice-President/Engineering, John Keller, who retired in 1995, had been employed by the corporation since July of 1943.
When it first went on the air WKOK had five employees. Today 35 people are employed at WKOK and sister station, WQKX-FM. WKOK has five on-air personalities and a three person news staff.
WKOK has a 16 year, unbroken record of awards for news and public affairs excellence. Winning awards from both the Associated Press and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Awards have included: Outstanding Local Newscast, Outstanding Spot News Coverage, Outstanding Feature and Outstanding Public Affairs Series and Program. Again in 1996, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters has judged our local news broadcasts to be the best in the state.
The longest running program on WKOK is "Talk To Santa" a Christmas tradition that dates back to the station's beginnings. Children come to the studios to talk directly to Santa, via "Magic Radio" at the North Pole. Santa's elves participate in the program and, if the children have been particularly good, they earn a "Great Big Gold Star" in Santa's book. This program has won the Pennsylvania State Association of Broadcasters award for "Outstanding Children's Program" five of the past seven years.
Over the years the station has distinguished itself in times of emergency. In 1936 WKOK stayed on the air during a week of flooding on the Susquehanna River that devastated the city of Sunbury; it was virtually the only communications link the city had. Again, in 1972, during flooding in the wake of Hurricane Agnes, the station remained on the air providing information and assistance to those in need or peril. WKOK has received numerous community and statewide awards over the years for its outstanding public service. Included in the awards are citations from both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate.
In 1948 WKOK-FM signed on the air. During the early years WKOK-FM rebroadcast (or simulcast) the programming of WKOK-AM. 1975 marked WKOK-FM's first substantial venture into separate programming. During the morning hours the station aired "Country music" and then rejoined WKOK-AM for the balance of the day. In 1978 WKOK-FM became separate from WKOK-AM and the call letters of this 50,000 watt giant were changed to WQKX-FM. This "new" station quickly gained in popularity and has become one of Pennsylvania's most dominant stations.
Over the years listenership to FM has greatly increased. At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission's ownership rules have been relaxed making it possible for broadcasters to increase the number of stations they own generally and in specific markets. In 1993, at the conclusion of an exhaustive and expensive legal battle between two prospecitve licensees, the opportunity developed for Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation to obtain the construction permit for a new FM station licensed to Northumberland. By late 1994 this new station, WKOK-FM, was on the air bringing WKOK-AM's award winning news and local programming to an entirely new audience.
Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation is proud of its stations and their tradition of strong community service and locally produced programming. We remain committed to strengthening and advancing that tradition.