WLIK Radio The Smokies Oldies
97.9FM / 1270AM

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The radio industry was just a babe compared to other media such as magazines and newspapers.  It was in 1954, hardly 30 years old as an industry, when a Lenoir City lumberman, Arthur Wilkerson requested a grant from the Federal Communications Commission to build a radio station in Newport and Cocke  County.  Radio was still regarded as a novelty by many people.   Something that was an interesting sideline to another business. Wilkerson was one of the early pioneers of radio in East Tennessee.  WLIK was his third radio venture after putting WLIL on the air in Lenoir City, his hometown and WAEW in Crossville. WLIK began broadcasting in April 1954 and the first announcer “on the air” was Ray Shirley, a local Church of  Christ preacher.  WLIK is unique in that radio is a volatile and changing industry and WLIK has been under the same ownership since its inception in 1954 and has had only two managers.  First, the late Ira Crisp from 1954 through 1962 and Dwight Wilkerson from 1963 to the present.   Angie Wilkerson, third generation, joined the business in 2000.  WLIK began broadcasting as a 1000 watt radio station.  It suffered the misfortune of a fire in 1958 and shortly thereafter went to 5,000 watts. With the advent of television in the ’50’s, many predicted the demise of radio, but the industry as a whole endured and the people of Cocke County supported their new radio station.  New technology of the ’60’s brought new life to radio.  WLIK felt the need to offer added services.  In 1968, WLIK moved its transmitter site to Rock City and began full time operations.  With the full time facilities, WLIK  has been able to offer live coverage of high school sports, University of Tennessee Sports, election returns and other services in addition to the regular fare of music, entertainment and news.   In 2016 WLIK was granted a license to start broadcasting on FM at 97.9.  This has been a big boost for all of Cocke County. WLIK’s offices and studios are still located, with it’s imposing tower, on the hill at the intersection of the Knoxville and Morristown highways, which was originally purchased from George Sweeten.  WLIK presently operates full time with a daytime power of 5000 watts at 1270 kilohertz and 97.9 FM.   WLIK has four full time employees and two part time employees.  WLIK reflects the growth, progress and strength of Newport and Cocke County and is proud to be able to build on that heritage and work with all segments of our community.


WLIK – AM – 1270 is owned by WLIK, Inc., a family owned business for sixty-two years.  Dwight Wilkerson is principal stockholder.


WLIK has been the power voice of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina advertisers since 1954.  WLIK has the resources and capabilities to plan and strategize a successful advertising campaign from the smallest advertiser to the large extensive campaign.  WLIK has rates and packages to accommodate each one.  We offer commercial announcements, sports packages, weather sponsorship, newscasts (both local and CBS) and many special event opportunities.   WLIK wants to be your primary advertising source. Contact:  Angela@wlik.net or Dwight@wlik.net or call 423-623-3095 for more information.


WLIK’s 5000 watt daytime signal covers Cocke County and surrounding counties in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina including: Hamblen, Greene, Sevier, Jefferson, Grainger, Hawkins, Madison, Haywood and Swain. WLIK covers Cocke County on 97.9 FM.   WLIK is licensed to Newport, Tennessee. View Coverage Map


WLIK  operates twenty-four hours a day with music of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  “The Smokies Oldies” are carefully selected to recall memories for you from that fabulous musical era.  WLIK plays the songs you know from the stars who made them famous – Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, The Beatles, Rod Stewart, Three Dog Night, The Temptations, Chicago, The Drifters, The Supremes, Rickie Nelson –  America’s best music carefully assembled in what we call “The Smokies Oldies”


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