From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WKTI 94.5KTICountry logo.png
City Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Broadcast area Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Branding 94.5 KTI Country
Slogan Milwaukee's New Country
Frequency 94.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date June 1959 (as WTMJ-FM)
Format FM/HD1: Country
HD2: News/Talk (WTMJ simulcast)
ERP 14,000 watts
HAAT 291 meters
Class B
Facility ID 74095
Callsign meaning KaTIe
Former callsigns WTMJ-FM (1959-1974)
WKTI-FM (1982-2008, 2015)
WLWK (2008-2015)
Owner E.W. Scripps Company
(Scripps Broadcasting Holdings LLC)
Sister stations WTMJ, WTMJ-TV
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.kticountry.com

WKTI ("94-5 KTI Country") is a Country Music radio station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin broadcasting at 94.5 MHz. The station is owned by the E.W. Scripps Company. The company owns WTMJ (AM) and WTMJ-TV. WKTI maintains studio facilities located on Capitol Drive in Milwaukee (this Art Deco facility is known as "Radio City" in tribute to the New York complex of the same name). WKTI's transmitter, located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) north of downtown Milwaukee, broadcasts a HD radio signal, with the station airing a simulcast of its talk radio sister station, WTMJ, on its HD2 subchannel.[1]


1940s and 1950s

The owner of the Milwaukee Journal was a pioneer of FM broadcasting. In early 1940, an experimental station, W9XAO started broadcasting. In 1942, the station was called W55M. It broadcast from a 50 kW transmitter located in Richfield, Wisconsin. It was a classical music station for while. Later in its history, one of its announcers was J Bradley Green, actually WTMJ's Johnathan Green, who used a more sophisticated voice. For a short time in the mid 40s, the station was known as WMFM.[2] After World War II, the station was renamed WTMJ-FM and it moved to the 88-108 MHz band. Initially, WTMJ-FM used the 102.1 FM frequency but struggled for many years, especially when the company began to focus on its new television station. In 1950, the station stopped broadcasting. It returned in 1959 at 94.5 FM, running automated programming for many years.[3]

1970s and 1980s

In 1974, the station changed to a stand-alone automated Top 40 format with the nickname, "I-94" (named after the main east-west interstate highway that runs through Milwaukee). To support the new brand, the owner wanted to change the station's call sign but could not decide on the two middle letters of a new name. The station manager, Jack Lee, proposed WWWI, but DJs were not comfortable about using the tongue-twisting call letters on-air. A sales manager suggested two letters from Katie, his wife's name and so, the call sign was changed to WKTI. I-94 was an automated station promoted as "nonstop stereo rock."

In 1981, live air personalities were employed. In 1982, Bob Reitman began anchoring WKTI's morning show. The program director, Dallas Cole, added Gene Mueller to the morning show in mid-1982. Lips LaBelle later became the afternoon DJ and promotions director. In late 1982, Danny Clayton became the night DJ and music director. These people worked as a team at WKTI for the next fifteen years. The station experienced steady ratings and growth.

1990s and 2000s

Between 1989 and 1991, WKTI gradually evolved to Hot AC, as the station decided to target a more adult audience. By about 1999, WXSS-FM began to compete for WKTI's predominantly female audience with music from younger artists. WKTI had a long-standing popular morning show, and so, the station did not make changes in response to the competition. However, slow adjustments were made to WKTI's playlist, changing to the Adult Top 40 format to attract new and younger listeners. The changes included contests and a Friday playlist called Flashback Friday, which featured music from the 1980s.

In late 2005, WKTI adopted an Adult Top 40 format while continuing to play some vintage artists. In September 2006, the station no longer voiced the "W" in its call sign, and the branding changed to 94-5 'KTI, Milwaukee's Hit Music Channel. In late 2006, Bob Reitman semi-retired, moving on to a weekly program on local public radio station WUWM. Gene Mueller continued the morning show with Amy Taylor and Gino Salamone as "Gene, Amy and Gino", until Taylor resigned in April 2007. On May 15, 2007, WKTI and its sister station WTMJ moved Gene Mueller to WTMJ's "Wisconsin Morning News". A new show, Mathew Blades in the Morning, with Blades, Erin Austin, and AJ was launched on WKTI. The station's evening lineup was also changing. Cindy Huber hosted the evening program for two years, but then left the station in a reshuffle and moved to WLDB. The station then chose to air syndicated programming after 7 pm, airing John Tesh's Intelligence for Your Life show, which had a WKTI-programmed playlist interspersed with Tesh's segments of trivia.

In September 2008, WKTI broadcast play-by-play reports for teams normally on WTMJ, which had their broadcasts displaced by radio coverage of another sport. For example, the Milwaukee Brewers broadcasts moved to WKTI to allow Green Bay Packers radio play-by-play reports to air on WTMJ. On September 28, 2008, for the first time in Milwaukee FM radio history, the station aired a Green Bay Packers game (versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).[4] On July 22, 2010, WLWK aired a Brewers game to allow WTMJ's coverage of a sudden flash flood emergency.[5]

At 12:12 PM on November 6, 2008, after playing "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" by Sophie B. Hawkins and "Hello, Goodbye" by The Beatles, Journal Broadcast Group general manager Steve Wexler stepped in to introduce listeners to a complete makeover for 94.5 FM. The station launched a new adult hits format, branded as "The New 94.5 Lake FM". Chicago's "Beginnings" was the first song to be broadcast. With the exception of Matthew Blades, the station's entire airstaff was released with the change.[6][7][8]

On November 13, 2008, WKTI officially changed call letters to WLWK-FM. Journal warehoused the WKTI call sign at its adult standards station in Powell, Tennessee (serving the Knoxville market) until Journal's sale of the station to local interests in December 2012. The WKTI calls then moved to the Sturgeon Bay/Door County channel 22 translator for WGBA-TV in Green Bay.

From July 8, 2009 to October 1, 2011, WTMJ-TV's third digital subchannel carried the music network TheCoolTV; the affiliation was co-branded with Lake FM.


In 2012, WLWK rebranded as "94-5 The Lake."

Journal Communications and The E.W. Scripps Company announced on July 30, 2014 that the two companies would merge to create a new broadcast company under the E.W. Scripps Company name that would own the two companies' broadcast properties, including WLWK-FM, WTMJ radio, and WTMJ-TV. The deal would separate WLWK from the Journal-Sentinel for the first time in its history, as the two companies' newspapers will be spun off into a separate company under the Journal Media Group name. The transaction was completed on April 1, 2015.[9]

WKTI Returns as "KTI Country"

On May 29, 2015, at 9 AM, after playing "Pinball Wizard" by The Who and going into a stopset, WLWK began playing the entire The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album with an announcement following the end of Side 1 from Scripps Milwaukee Radio's Vice President and General Manager Tom Langmyer thanking listeners of The Lake and notifying them about a forthcoming format change, followed by Side 2, ending the "Lake" format with the final song on the album, "The End." At 10 AM, WLWK flipped to Country, resurrecting the WKTI-FM callsign as "94.5 KTI Country," a change that was made FCC-official on June 8, 2015.[10] (The "FM" suffix was dropped a week later as the call letters became simply "WKTI.") The first song on the relaunched "KTI" was "Bartender" by Lady Antebellum. The station became the second Country outlet in Milwaukee with a full-power signal, as it took on on iHeartMedia's heritage rival WMIL in its first head-to-head battle since 1987, when WMIL pushed then-rival WBCS out of the format (WBCS flipped to Active Rock as WLZR and is now known as WHQG).[11][12] The call letters of WKTI and WLWK were effectively switched, and WLWK's call letters currently reside on the company-owned WGBA Green Bay's Sturgeon Bay TV translator (WLWK-CD).

By 2017, WKTI made more moves to upgrade its live and local airstaff and aggressively market the station. Longtime WMIL morning host Karen Dalessandro joined WKTI for afternoon drive. Market veteran Carol Vonn, formerly mornings at WLDB, joined WKTI to host middays and Ryan Wild arrived as program director. Bill Herriott, formerly of WGN and other stations in Chicago, joined the stations as director of sales.

In November of 2017, after only two-and-a-half years, WKTI surpassed 30-year Milwaukee market country leader WMIL to become the market's top-rated country station with listeners 6+ according to Nielsen. By December of 2017, WKTI had also beaten WMIL with listeners 25-54, and became the #2 station with 18-34 listeners among all radio stations in Milwaukee.

As of 2018, WKTI markets its live and local airstaff, comparing itself to WMIL, which supports only a live, locally-based weekday morning show, while using pre-recorded voicetracks at all other times from out-of-market iHeart stations. WKTI plays fewer commercials than WMIL and airs a "Country Music Scoreboard" every hour, which directly compares the daily number of songs played on WKTI versus WMIL. WKTI's quantity of music often exceeds "two more hours of country music" per day than its competitor.


  1. ^ https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?latitude=43.038898468018&longitude=-87.906471252441 HD Radio Guide for Milwaukee
  2. ^ Bellamy R. K. "Riding the Airwaves." Milwaukee Journal 7 September 1944. Accessed 2 December 2013.
  3. ^ [1] Fybush.com 2006.
  4. ^ Local news Today's tmj4
  5. ^ [2] JS online blog.
  6. ^ "Newswatch" JS online.
  7. ^ "Blades will slip some chat into a sea of music on 'The Lake'" Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, December 5, 2008
  8. ^ [3] JS online blog.
  9. ^ "E.W. Scripps, Journal Merging Broadcast Ops". TVNewsCheck. July 30, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  10. ^ "WKTI-FM Call Sign History". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  11. ^ https://radioinsight.com/blog/headlines/93141/scripps-launches-kti-country-milwaukee/
  12. ^ 94.5 The Lake Becomes KTI Country

External links

  • Official website
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for WKTI
  • Radio-Locator information on WKTI
  • Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WKTI

Coordinates: 43°05′28″N 87°54′07″W / 43.091°N 87.902°W / 43.091; -87.902

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=WKTI&oldid=824056591"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WKTI
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "WKTI"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA