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Wnky 2009 tv.png
Bowling Green, Kentucky
United States
  • WNKY NBC 40
  • WNKY CBS 40 (on DT2)
  • WNKY MeTV 40 (on DT3)
SloganBecause Local Matters
ChannelsDigital: 24 (UHF)
Virtual: 40 (PSIP)
OwnerMarquee Broadcasting
(Marquee Broadcasting Kentucky, Inc.)
First air dateDecember 17, 1989 (29 years ago) (1989-12-17)
Call letters' meaningWe're NBC KentuckY
Former callsignsWQQB (1989–1992)
WKNT (1992–2001)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
40 (UHF, 1989–2009)
16 (UHF, until 2019)
Former affiliations
Transmitter power90 kW
Height204.8 m (672 ft)
Facility ID61217
Transmitter coordinates37°2′5.5″N 86°10′40.9″W / 37.034861°N 86.178028°W / 37.034861; -86.178028
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license informationProfile

WNKY, virtual channel 40 (UHF digital channel 24), is a dual NBC/CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Bowling Green, Kentucky, United States and serving south central Kentucky. The station is owned by Marquee Broadcasting. WNKY's studios are located on Emmett Avenue in Bowling Green, and its transmitter is located on Pilot Knob in Smiths Grove along I-65.

On cable, WNKY can be seen on Charter Spectrum channels 7 (NBC) and 10 (CBS).[2] It is also available on Glasgow Electric Plant Board cable channels 7 and 514 for NBC, 10 and 515 for CBS, and on South Central Rural Telephone Cooperative cable channels 7 and 307.[3]


As an independent station

Although granted a construction permit in 1983, the station did not begin broadcasting until December 17, 1989. At its first sign-on, the outlet operated as an independent station under the call sign WQQB. Airing an analog signal on UHF channel 40, the station had a general entertainment format with a mixture of low-budget syndicated programming, like old movies, sitcoms, and cartoons. In its early days, the picture and sound quality of the station was poor. Programs would often be broadcast mistracked, sticking, and skipping.[clarification needed] Sometimes, the picture would appear clear but the sound would consist of complete static. It had little presence in the market at the time; indeed, most residents didn't even know it existed.

As a Fox affiliate

WQQB's original owner, Word Broadcasting Network, sold the station to Southeastern Communications for $1 million in 1991.[4] On January 10, 1992, WQQB changed its call letters to WKNT and became the area's first Fox affiliate with the then-new branding of Fox 40.[1][5][6][7] During its time as a Fox station in the 1990s, WKNT broadcast select Southeastern Conference football games via Jefferson Pilot Sports until 2002 when ABC affiliate WBKO started to air those games to go with JP Sports (later Lincoln Financial Sports, now Raycom Sports) SEC basketball broadcasts.[8][9][10] Except on Saturday, WKNT aired programming from the Shop at Home Network from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m until that network's closure in 2005. Despite being a Fox affiliate, UPN's block programming Disney's One Too aired on the station from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. weekday mornings and from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. Sunday mornings to cover the children's educational programming requirements. It was the only UPN programming that was ever available in Bowling Green;[8] all other UPN programming was only receivable via WUXP-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, as the de facto UPN affiliate for Bowling Green.

On January 1, 1997, operation of WKNT was taken over by Crossroads Communications under a local marketing agreement.[11] Crossroads, a subsidiary of Northwest Broadcasting,[12] would buy the station outright on July 17, 2000.[13]

Switch to NBC

In March 2001, Fox announced that it had dropped its affiliation with WKNT because the station did not comply with the terms of the affiliation agreement; almost immediately, NBC agreed to affiliate with the station.[14] This was Bowling Green's first local NBC affiliate. On March 27, 2001, the station changed its call sign to WNKY.[6] At the same time, the station boosted its power from 776,000 watts to 1,640,000 watts, directional with a null to the east. Previously, WBKO was the only station in Bowling Green affiliated with a Big Three network, and WSMV-TV in Nashville was NBC's affiliate of record in south-central Kentucky. After WNKY switched to NBC, WSMV was still broadcast to the Bowling Green market where WNKY could not reach, and some cable systems continued to carry WSMV. Following the loss of channel 40's Fox affiliation, Fox programming was provided to Bowling Green on cable via Nashville affiliate WZTV, which was available over-the-air in the southern portion of the market; cable systems in Hart County carried Louisville affiliate WDRB instead.

In March 2003, Northwest Broadcasting sold WNKY to Max Media for $7 million.[15][16][17] On December 12 of that year, it signed-on a digital signal on UHF channel 16 from its transmitter tower in Smiths Grove. WNKY-DT was then added to digital cable systems including Insight in Bowling Green and the Electric Plant Board in Glasgow.[18][19]

On August 7, 2004, WNKY began airing NBC network programming in high definition just in time to broadcast coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics. WNKY also installed a Dolby model 569 AC-3 surround sound encoder to relay the 5.1 full surround audio from the network.


On June 3, 2010, as a result of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, Dish Network began offering both of WNKY's digital subchannels.[20]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined the station's licensee, MMK License, $39,000 on November 5, 2013 due to a mid-June 2012 ad filmed and aired by WNKY which featured Emergency Alert System (EAS) tones used in a promotional and non-warning situation. WNKY was also required to launch a local campaign about the EAS, air additional emergency preparation public service announcements, and lease space on their tower for modernized warning equipment to the Warren County Emergency Management agency and the City of Bowling Green.[21][22]

On April 5, 2017, Max Media announced that it would sell WNKY to Marquee Broadcasting for $5.6 million.[23][24] The sale was completed on June 30.[25][26]

Cable carriage dispute

On January 1, 2015, the Glasgow Electric Plant Board dropped both of WNKY's digital subchannels from its lineup because of a 1,000 percent increase in cost.[27] Both WNKY and WNKY-DT2 returned to the Electric Plant Board's cable lineup in February 2015 after agreeing to a 100 percent increase instead of 1,000. The digital subchannels were placed on different channels (WNKY on 16 and WNKY-DT2 on 23) without high definition service.[28]



WNKY-DT2 is the CBS-affiliated second digital subchannel of WNKY, broadcasting in high definition on UHF channel 24.2 (or virtual channel 40.2 via PSIP).

On October 11, 2006, WNKY reached an agreement with CBS to air that network on a new digital subchannel.[29] It was officially launched as WNKY-DT2 on February 1, 2007, which finally gave Bowling Green a locally-based CBS station. Until that point, the Bowling Green market was one of the few areas east of the Mississippi River without its own CBS affiliate, and the area were served by WTVF in Nashville and WLKY in Louisville as the de facto CBS affiliates. WNKY-DT2 is also available to Mediacom cable customers in Butler and Edmonson counties, including Morgantown and Brownsville.[19] As of December 2017, WNKY claimed exclusivity of NBC and CBS affiliates on the Glasgow Electric Plant Board cable system. In January 2018, the CBS subchannel was upgraded to high definition, albeit in 720p rather than the network's recommended 1080i format to preserve bandwidth. A direct-to-cable full 1080i high definition feed of WNKY-DT2 is available on select cable providers.


WNKY-DT3 is the MeTV-affiliated third digital subchannel of WNKY, broadcasting in standard definition on UHF channel 24.3 (or virtual channel 40.3 via PSIP).

WNKY broadcast a testing loop on a new subchannel on December 20, 2017; the testing loop promoted MeTV. This third subchannel began to carry MeTV on January 1, 2018.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP short name Programming [30]
40.1 1080i 16:9 WNKYNBC Main WNKY programming / NBC
40.2 720p WNKYCBS WNKY-DT2 / CBS
40.3 480i WNKYMe MeTV

Digital transition

On June 12, 2009, WNKY turned off its analog transmitter in compliance with the FCC-mandated digital TV transition of 2009. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition channel assignment, UHF channel 16, using PSIP to see it displayed as virtual channel 40. WNKY was the last station within the Bowling Green market to make the transition.[31][32]

Spectrum auction

After the FCC’s 2016 spectrum auction, WNKY filed for a construction permit for its digital subchannel to relocate to UHF channel 24. WNKY changed to its current frequency at 12:01 a.m. on October 18, 2019.[33]


In addition to clearing the entire NBC network schedule, syndicated programming on WNKY-DT1 (as of March 2017) includes Judge Judy, The Wendy Williams Show, Entertainment Tonight, Jeopardy!, The Doctors, and Dish Nation, among others. On weekends, The Simpsons, which has been a longtime staple of the station's syndication lineup, along with Whacked Out Sports and Raceline are aired.

WNKY-DT2 clears the entire CBS network schedule, including the weekday and Saturday morning editions of CBS This Morning and the entire CBS Dream Team lineup. Like most CBS affiliates in the Central Time Zone, The Young and the Restless airs at 11 a.m.

As of June 2017, syndicated programming on WNKY-DT2 includes The Insider, Divorce Court, Modern Family, Hot Bench, Judge Mathis, and TMZ, among others. On weekends, WNKY-DT2 also airs The Simpsons, Whacked Out Sports, Whacked Out Videos, and CSI: Miami, among others.[34]

In 2016, WNKY began broadcasting Tennessee Titans preseason games not nationally televised, which originate from Nashville's ABC affiliate WKRN-TV. This especially applies on non-Olympic years—WNKY-DT2 broadcast the first two preseason games when NBC covered the 2016 Summer Olympics.[35] In 2018, WNKY announced that they would carry all four of the Titans preseason games on MeTV-affiliated subchannel WNKY-DT3.[36]


Weekday morning show logo.
Weekday morning show logo.

As the first commercial television station to launch in Bowling Green, WBKO has been a longtime leader according to Nielsen ratings. Even after the sign-on of WQQB in 1989, WBKO has remained the dominant outlet for south central Kentucky. However, it has also competed with Nashville stations transmitting into parts of the Bowling Green area. As the area's original Fox affiliate in the mid-1990s, WKNT established its own news department. Unable to gain consistent viewership and ratings against WBKO, channel 40's full news operation was eventually shut down.

After the station's switch to NBC, WNKY simulcast WSMV's 10 p.m. newscasts from April 2001 until the end of the 2002–03 television season, when they were replaced with syndicated programming. However, only the introduction originated from WNKY, and a WNKY logo covered WSMV's channel 4 logo. WNKY's commercials usually cover up the commercials run by WSMV.[37]

On September 10, 2005, WNKY slowly re-entered the market with an unusual weather-only approach. Instead of full newscasts, it offers weekday morning and nightly local weather forecast cut-ins provided through AccuWeather. It began airing five-minute First Look AccuWeather forecasts on weeknights. In December of that year, weekend weather forecasts were added to the schedule.[16] In January 2006, local weather updates began airing during NBC's Today on weekday mornings from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. The updates cover regular and severe weather events. The weather team consists of four employees—three human and one non-human member, "Radar the Weather Dog".

Radar was a purebred Border Collie that was adopted from the Bowling Green/Warren County Humane Society in 2005. Radar began serving as the station's mascot when the weather show began with meteorologist Chris Sowers.[38][39] Viewers would often see Radar interacting with one of the three meteorologists as they begin the weather updates. The weather dog idea may have been inspired by KPRC-TV in Houston which once had its own "Radar, the Weather Dog". WNKY's former sister station KYTX, in Tyler, Texas, took a similar approach with "Stormy, the Weather Dog." Radar passed away at age 16 in December 2017. He was replaced by his sister, "Soky", as the station's mascot.[40][41]

In late January 2009, in an attempt to compete with WBKO, WNKY launched a weekday morning show called Bowling Green Today produced in partnership with the Bowling Green Daily News. It aired for a half-hour at 6:30 a.m.[16] The newspaper provides short local news updates and WNKY produces traditional weather segments. The show is replayed at 9 a.m. on WNKY's CBS-affiliated second subchannel. Weather forecasts from this station can be heard on radio stations WBGN-AM 1340, WBVR-FM 96.7, WUHU-FM 107.1, and WLYE-FM 94.1. WNKY did not produce newscasts in the traditional 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. slots or on weekends.

During the summer of 2012 television season, WNKY debuted a weekend news magazine program called In KY News, which included interviews and highlighted events in and around south central Kentucky.

On October 26, 2015, Bowling Green Today was renamed SoKY Sunrise, and was expanded to a one-hour program.[42][43] On April 10, 2017, a new program titled SoKY at Noon made its debut on WNKY-DT2.[44]

On February 19, 2018, WNKY began broadcasting live half-hour newscasts weeknights at 5 p.m. on its main channel, and at 6 p.m. on WNKY-DT2. This marked the first time WNKY broadcast a newscast since they ended simulcasts of WSMV's newscasts in 2003. Combined with the noon newscast on WNKY-DT2 and the hour-long SOKY Sunrise on the main channel, WNKY produces a total of 12.5 hours per week of news content, plus six minute weather updates every night at 10 p.m. This includes 7.5 hours of news content on the main channel and 5 hours on WNKY-DT2.

Out-of-market coverage

WNKY has limited out-of-market coverage due in part to the station's 120,000 watt signal and its small coverage area, especially since the 2009 Digital TV transition. However, the station can be received in the northernmost areas of the Nashville media market, including the Kentucky counties of Allen, Monroe, Simpson, and much of Logan County, along with much of Macon and Sumner counties of northern middle Tennessee. Some Louisville markets like Grayson and Green counties can also pick up WNKY's signal.

Suddenlink cable systems in Logan County carried WNKY's primary channel on cable channel 15.[45] The station was later dropped from all Suddenlink cable channel lineups in that county, including Russellville. Russellville Electric Power Board, a municipal electric power distributor in Russellville, carried NBC and CBS affiliations of WNKY until it discontinued carriage of the station on December 30, 2016.[46] Both WNKY and WNKY-DT2 are available to Mediacom subscribers in the Sonora and Upton area along Hardin County's boundary with Larue County.


  1. ^ a b "FOX Across America -". Archived from the Original October 19, 1996. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  2. ^ "Time Warner Cable - Channel Lineup for Bowling Green". Archived from the original on 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  3. ^ "SCRTC Channel Lineup for Barren, Metcalfe, and Hart Counties (2015)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  4. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 10, 1991. p. 63. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-07-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  7. ^ Home - Archived from the Original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
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  9. ^ JP Sports and Entertainment - SEC Football Game of the Week - 1997 TV Schedule. Archived from the Original January 5, 1997. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  10. ^ JP Sports and Entertainment - SEC Basketball Game of the Week - 1998 TV Schedule. Archived from the Original February 16, 1998. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  11. ^ Brown, Sara; McConnell, Chris (August 18, 1997). "FCC lists out-of-market LMAs" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "Eagle Creek Broadcasting other broadcast interests" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. June 5, 2002. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved December 19, 2015. Brian W. Brady, the sole voting member of [Eagle Creek Broadcasting, LLC], holds an attributable interest in Northwest Broadcasting, L.P. ("NBLP"). NBLP holds a 99% membership interest in … Crossover Communications, L.L.C., a Kentucky limited liability company ("CCLLC"). … CCLLC is the sole Limited Partner of Crossover Communications, Ltd., the licensee of WKNT(TV) Bowling Green, Kentucky (Facility ID No. 61217).
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  20. ^ Mink, Jenna (June 2, 2010). "Dish Network to start offering local channels". Bowling Green Daily News.
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  22. ^ Eggerton, John (5 November 2013). "FCC Proposes Fining TBS $25,000 Over 'Conan' Promo; Issues general warning to industry about seriousness of bogus EAS warnings". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
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  31. ^ Editor's footnote: WBKO, WKYU, and WKGB completed the digital TV transition on earlier dates. WBKO and WKYU-TV both shut down their analog signal on December 8, 2008, while WKGB-TV's analog signal was shut down on April 16, 2009.
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  46. ^ "Scripps Market Mod Exhibits" (PDF). pp. 34, 36. Retrieved March 10, 2019.

External links

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