The company is rooted in the family of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States. In 1879, William Howard's brother, Charles Phelps Taft, purchased two afternoon newspapers in Cincinnati, The Times and The Cincinnati Daily Star, merging them into the Cincinnati Times-Star in 1880. It was during the tenure of the merged paper's second publisher, Hulbert Taft Sr., son of Charles and William Howard's half-brother, Peter Rawson Taft II, that the newspaper also became involved in broadcasting.
The company was the owner of such major media and entertainment properties as Hanna-Barbera Productions, Worldvision Enterprises, Ruby-Spears Productions, KECO Entertainment and many television and radio stations. It also owned 50% of CIC Video's Australian operations, CIC-Taft Home Video.
The company went through a huge reorganization period starting in the late 1980s with its acquisition by Carl Lindner, Jr. to become Great American Broadcasting. Shortly after filing for bankruptcy in 1993, it became Citicasters and was, in 1999, acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which was renamed iHeartMedia in 2014. Taft — as Citicasters — is still incorporated as a holding company within iHeartMedia.
|Taft Broadcasting Company|
|Radio Cincinnati, Inc. (1939–1959)|
|Industry||television and radio network|
|Fate||Acquired by Clear Channel Communications|
In April 1949 Taft's first TV station, WKRC-TV in Cincinnati began broadcasting.
In 1951, in its first expansion outside Ohio, Radio Cincinnati acquired a 20 percent interest in WBIR-AM-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee from father-and-son owners J. Lindsay and Gilmore Nunn. A year-and-a-half later, the Taft family increased its stake to 30 percent when the Nunns sold additional shares in that station to Martha and Robert Ashe, John P. Hart, and Radio Cincinnati.
In August 1956 WBIR-TV in Knoxville began broadcasting, under the same ownership structure as the WBIR radio stations.
In 1958, the Cincinnati Times-Star was merged into the Cincinnati Post, published by the E.W. Scripps Company. Radio Cincinnati also purchased WKXP-TV in Lexington, Kentucky, from local interests and changed its call letters to WKYT-TV.
In 1959, the company acquired the remaining 70 percent of WBIR-AM-FM-TV in Knoxville. Also in 1959, the Taft family merged its broadcasting subsidiaries into one, using the Taft Broadcasting Company name.
In 1960 Taft launched WTVN-FM in Columbus (it is now WLVQ). A year later the company sold the WBIR stations in Knoxville to WMRC, Inc. (later to become Multimedia Inc.) of Greenville, South Carolina.
In 1963, Taft purchased several stations from Transcontinent Television Corporation: WDAF-AM-FM-TV in Kansas City, Missouri, WGR-AM-FM-TV in Buffalo, New York, and WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
In October 1966 Taft purchased the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio from its founders, Joseph Barbera, William Hanna and George Sidney. Several months later in April 1967, the firm sold WKYT-TV to a subsidiary of Kentucky Central Life Insurance Company.
On November 10, 1967, Taft Broadcasting president and chairman Hulbert Taft Jr. died in liquid propane gas-related explosion in a bomb shelter he had built on his property in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill. Days after his death, his son Dudley S. Taft replaced him on the firm's board of directors, and he eventually became head of the company.
In 1969, Taft purchased WIBF-TV in Philadelphia and changed its call letters to WTAF-TV. The FCC initially granted Taft a waiver to keep both WTAF-TV and WNEP-TV, but later reversed itself in 1973 (four years later), and Taft sold the Scranton outlet to the station's management, who formed NEP Communications.
In 1970, Taft formed Rhodes Productions, a television syndication arm for various independent TV programs, including those of Hanna-Barbera.
In 1972, Taft opened its first theme park, Kings Island, outside of Cincinnati. Taft owned five other theme parks through its KECO Entertainment division. WBRC radio and WBRC-FM in Birmingham are sold to Mooney Broadcasting.
In 1975, Rhodes Productions was sold to Filmways. Taft, H-B Program Sales and Taft, H-B International were established as the new domestic and overseas television distribution arms.
In 1979, Taft purchased WDCA-TV in Washington, D.C. from the Superior Tube Company. Around this same period, Taft also acquired independent distributor Worldvision Enterprises (formerly a division of ABC) and production company QM Productions.
In 1980, Taft acquired Sunn Classic Pictures and two additional Schick divisions. Sunn Classic was reincorporated as Taft International Pictures as well as QM Productions reincorporated into Taft Entertainment Television, although the QM name and logo continued to be used on-screen and for copyright purposes until 1983.
In 1981, Taft acquired Ruby-Spears Productions from Filmways. Around this time, Taft split its operation into two "subdivisions": the "Taft Entertainment Company" (which included Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears, Worldvision, the theme parks, Taft International Pictures, and Taft Entertainment Television). The other was the "Taft Television & Radio Co, Inc.". Also in 1981, Taft, in partnership with The Great-West Life Assurance Company or Winnipeg and Denver, opened Canada's Wonderland, a theme park near Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In 1985 Taft purchased Gulf Broadcasting, which includes KTXA in Fort Worth; KTXH in Houston; WTSP in St. Petersburg, Florida; KTSP-TV (now KSAZ-TV) in Phoenix; KESQ-TV in Palm Springs, California; and WGHP in High Point, North Carolina. As a result, Taft sold several radio stations to CBS to comply with FCC rules. KESQ-TV was spun off to former Gulf Broadcasting executive E. Grant Fitts.
In October 1986, WTAF-TV in Philadelphia and WCIX in Miami became charter affiliates of the Fox Broadcasting Company. One month later, Taft announced the sale of both of those stations along with its three independent stations (WDCA-TV, KTXA, and KTXH) to the TVX Broadcast Group; the sale was completed in April 1987. Taft also sold WGR radio and WRLT-FM (the former WGR-FM) in Buffalo to Rich Communications, a subsidiary of Buffalo-based Rich Products.
Later in 1987, Cincinnati-based businessman Carl Lindner, Jr. became Taft's majority stockholder in a hostile takeover and renamed the company Great American Broadcasting (also known as Great American Communications) following a major restructuring of its operations. The new name came from Linder's insurance company, Great American Insurance. The FCC considered this restructuring to be an ownership change, and told Lindner he could not keep both WTVN-TV and WKRC-TV. As a result, Great American spun off WTVN-TV to Anchor Media, a new firm composed of former Taft Broadcasting board members led by Robert Bass. (The two stations have since been reunited under the Sinclair Broadcast Group, with cross-ownership rules having since been relaxed.) Another new company, led by former Taft Broadcasting president Dudley S. Taft Sr., took the Taft Broadcasting name. This new company retained WGHP and later purchases another Philadelphia station, WPHL-TV.
In 1988, Great American Broadcasting sold Worldvision to Aaron Spelling Productions. Included with Worldvision were outright ownership of all of Great American's programming assets (including the remnants of Taft International Pictures and Taft Entertainment Television), except for the Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears libraries, which remained owned by Great American for the time being. However, Worldvision continued to hold syndication rights until the two animation studios found new owners.
In 1991, Hanna-Barbera, along with much of the original Ruby-Spears library, was acquired by Turner Broadcasting System, which became part of Time Warner in 1996. As part of this deal, syndication rights to the libraries were passed to Turner Program Services (via Turner Entertainment Co.) prior to Time Warner's purchase of Turner. Eventually, TPS was folded into Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The Ruby-Spears studio was spun off and bought back by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, and operated as an independent operation from then forward.
In 1992, KECO Entertainment, Great American's theme park division, was sold to Paramount Communications (the parent of Paramount Pictures; the parent company was formerly known as Gulf+Western) and became Paramount Parks, later to be acquired by Viacom. (These parks were sold to Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. by CBS in 2006.) Great American also reacquired WGHP from Dudley Taft.
In 1993, Great American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and renamed to Citicasters Communications. It also sold WKRC radio to Jacor and shut down Electra, a teletext service operated as a joint venture between Taft, Zenith, and Turner Broadcasting's WTBS (now WPCH-TV) in Atlanta.
In 1994, Citicasters sold most of its TV stations, including WDAF-TV and KSAZ-TV to New World Communications, and WBRC and WGHP to the News Corporation's Fox Television Stations unit, which would later acquire the New World chain.
In 1996, Citicasters, by then the owner of two television stations, five AM radio stations and 14 FM radio stations, merged with Jacor, which became a subsidiary of Citicasters. Three months after the merger was completed, Jacor exchanged WTSP to Gannett in return for Gannett's radio stations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Tampa. In 1997, as a condition of the merger, Jacor sold WKRQ and the original WDAF-FM (by then KYYS, now KCKC) to American Radio Systems, which would become acquired by Infinity Broadcasting (later renamed CBS Radio) in 1998. Also in 1997, Jacor sold WDAF-AM (now KCSP) to Entercom.
In 1997, the Worldvision properties that had previously been under Taft and Great American (with the exception of the Hanna-Barbera and most of the Ruby-Spears material) were incorporated into Republic Pictures (today part of CBS Television Studios).
Stations are arranged in alphabetical order by state and city of license.
|City of license / Market||Station||Channel
|Years owned||Current ownership status|
|Birmingham - Tuscaloosa - Anniston||WBRC-TV||6 (50)||1957–1995||Fox affiliate owned by Gray Television|
|Phoenix||KTSP-TV||10 (10)||1985–1994||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O), KSAZ-TV|
|Washington, D.C.||WDCA-TV||20 (35)||1979–1987||MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|Miami - Fort Lauderdale||WCIX||6 (now 4 (22))||1983–1987||CBS owned-and-operated (O&O), WFOR-TV|
|St. Petersburg - Tampa||WTSP||10 (10)||1985–1996||CBS affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.|
|Lexington, Kentucky||WKYT-TV||27 (36)||1958–1967||CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television|
|Kansas City, Missouri||WDAF-TV||4 (34)||1964–1994||Fox affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Buffalo, New York||WGR-TV||2 (33)||1964–1983||NBC affiliate, WGRZ, owned by Tegna Inc.|
|High Point - Greensboro -
|WGHP||8 (35)||1985–1995||Fox affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Cincinnati||WKRC-TV **||12 (12)||1949–1996||CBS affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Columbus, Ohio||WTVN-TV||6 (48)||1953–1987||ABC affiliate, WSYX, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group|
|Philadelphia||WTAF-TV||29 (42)||1969–1987||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O), WTXF-TV|
|WPHL-TV||17 (17)||1987–1992||MyNetworkTV affiliate owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Scranton - Wilkes-Barre, PA||WNEP-TV||16 (50)||1964–1973||ABC affiliate owned by Dreamcatcher Broadcasting, LLC|
(operated through a SSA by Tribune Broadcasting)
|Knoxville, Tennessee||WBIR-TV||10 (10)||1959–1961 1||NBC affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.|
|Fort Worth - Dallas||KTXA||21 (29)||1985–1987||Independent owned by CBS Corporation|
|Houston||KTXH||20 (19)||1985–1987||MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated (O&O)|
(a partial listing)
|AM Station||FM Station|
|City of license/Market||Station/frequency||Years owned||Current ownership|
|Birmingham, Alabama||WBRC–960||1957–1972||WERC, owned by IHeartMedia|
|WBRC-FM 106.9||1957–1972||WBPT, owned by SummitMedia|
|Kansas City, Missouri||WDAF 610||1964–1987||KCSP, owned by Entercom|
|WDAF-FM 102.1||1964–1987||KCKC, Owned by Wilks Broadcasting|
|Buffalo, New York||WGR 550||1964–1987||Owned by Entercom|
|WGR-FM 96.9||1964–1987||WGRF, owned by Cumulus Media|
|Cincinnati||WKRC 550||1939–1987||Owned by IHeartMedia|
|WKRC-FM 101.9 **||1947–1987||WKRQ, owned by Hubbard Broadcasting|
|Columbus, Ohio||WTVN 610||1954–1987||Owned by IHeartMedia|
|WTVN-FM 96.3 **||1960–1987||WLVQ, owned by Wilks Broadcasting|
|Pittsburgh||KQV 1410||1974–1982||Owned by Calvary, Inc.|
|WDVE 102.5||1974–1987||Owned by IHeartMedia|
|Knoxville, Tennessee||WBIR 1240||1959–1961 1||WIFA, owned by Progressive Media, Inc.|
|WBIR-FM 103.5||1959–1961 1||WIMZ-FM, owned by Midwest Communications|
Ghoster Coaster (formerly Scooby's Gasping Ghoster Coaster), is a junior wooden coaster located at Canada's Wonderland whose name was shortened to just "Ghoster Coaster" for the 2010 season, as part of the transition to Planet Snoopy.Ghoster Coaster opened, along with the entire park, on May 23, 1981. It was one of the four original roller coasters to open with the park. The other three were Dragon Fire, the Wild Beast, and the Mighty Canadian Minebuster. All three wooden coasters were designed by Curtis D. Summers and built in-house by the Taft Broadcasting Company. Some sources claim Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) built these coasters, but PTC stopped building coasters in 1979.Ghoster Coaster was awarded ACE Coaster Classic status, but that status has since been rescinded as a result of recent changes to the coaster.KCKC
KCKC is an adult contemporary station based in Kansas City, Missouri that operates at 102.1 MHz with an ERP of 100 kW. The station is licensed to and operated by Steel City Media. The station's studios are located at Westport Center in Midtown Kansas City, and its transmitter is located in Independence, Missouri.KCSP (AM)
KCSP (610 kHz, "610 Sports") is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Kansas City, Missouri. The Entercom-owned station broadcasts a sports radio format. The studios and offices are located on Squibb Road in Mission, Kansas. KCSP is one of the oldest radio stations in the Kansas City metropolitan area, going on the air in 1922, just after KMBZ, and several months before WHB.KCSP is a Class B regional station, with a power of 5,000 watts, both the daytime and nighttime, using a non-directional antenna on one tower. The transmitter is off Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kansas. Programming is also heard on the HD-2 channel of FM 96.5 KRBZ.
Local sports shows are heard from mornings to early evenings on weekdays, with programming from Fox Sports Radio airing nights and weekends. Although the station had the slogan "The Football Channel" when it began in June 2003, it is currently the flagship station of MLB's Kansas City Royals, whose rights were reacquired by Entercom in 2008. The parent company held the rights to the Royals on co-owned KMBZ until 2003. The Kansas State Wildcats radio network is also heard on KCSP.KTXH
KTXH, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 19), branded on-air as My 20 Vision, is a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of Fox Corporation, as part of a duopoly with Fox owned-and-operated station KRIV (channel 26). The two stations share studios on Southwest Freeway in Houston (between the Uptown and Greenway Plaza districts); KTXH's transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County.Ruby-Spears
Ruby-Spears Productions (also known as Ruby-Spears Enterprises) was a Burbank, California–based American entertainment production company that specialized in animation; with another branch in Rome, Italy. The firm was founded in 1977 by veteran writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears.Sunn Classic Pictures
Sunn Classic Pictures, also known as Schick Sunn Classic Pictures was an independent U.S.-based film distributor, founded in 1971. The company was notable for family films and documentaries, and was purchased by Taft Broadcasting in 1980.WBPT
WBPT (106.9 FM, "106-9 The Eagle") is a classic rock music-formatted radio station licensed to Homewood, Alabama, that serves the Birmingham and central Alabama area. The station was assigned the WBPT call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on October 17, 2001. Since October 2005, it has used the branding "106.9 the Eagle". The station is owned by SummitMedia, along with six other stations in the cluster, and all share studios in the Cahaba neighborhood in far southeast Birmingham. Its transmitter is located atop Red Mountain in Birmingham.WDCA
WDCA, virtual channel 20 (UHF digital channel 36), branded on-air as Fox 5 Plus, is a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated television station licensed to the American capital city of Washington, District of Columbia. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of Fox Corporation, as part of a duopoly with Fox owned-and-operated station WTTG (channel 5). The two stations share studios, offices and transmitter facilities on Wisconsin Avenue in the Friendship Heights neighborhood in the northwest quadrant of Washington.On cable, WDCA is available on channel 20 on most systems in the market.WDVE
WDVE (102.5 FM) is a classic rock music formatted radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States at 102.5 MHz. It is often referred to by Pittsburghers as simply "DVE." WDVE's studios are located in Green Tree, while its transmitter is located on Pittsburgh's North Side. Since 2006, the station has been the highest-rated radio station in the Pittsburgh market, surpassing longtime market leader KDKA.
WDVE is designated a superpower station by the Federal Communications Commission. The station's effective radiated power of 55,000 watts exceeds the maximum limit set by the FCC for a Class B FM radio station.WDVE uses HD Radio and broadcasts a sports format on its HD2 subchannel branded as Steelers Nation Radio.WERC (AM)
WERC (960 AM) — branded News Radio 960 WERC — is a news/talk radio station licensed to Birmingham, Alabama, and serving the Birmingham market as a complete simulcast of sister station WERC-FM. It operates unlimited hours with 5,000 watts. The station has studios at Beacon Ridge Tower in Birmingham (near Red Mountain) and its transmitter is northwest of downtown Birmingham.
WERC originated the talk format currently heard on WERC-FM from 1982 until 2011, and was the first station in Birmingham to carry an all-talk format. The format - and the WERC calls - migrated to the 105.5 facility in 2010 before both returned to the AM station in July 2011.
WERC is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. Other stations in the Birmingham market owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. include WMJJ (96.5 FM), WDXB (102.5 FM), WQEN (103.7 FM), and WERC-FM (105.5 FM). iHeartMedia also programs W276BQ (103.1), a translator owned by Red Mountain Broadcasting, LLC. W276BQ rebroadcasts the programming of the HD2 channel of WQEN, branded as "103.1 The Vulcan" (and was also relayed on this facility from January to June 2011 under the WVVB calls).WGR
WGR ("WGR Sports Radio 550") is an all sports radio station in Buffalo, New York that broadcasts on 550 AM. It is the flagship station of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, carrying a mostly locally originated sports talk and play-by-play lineup. Owned by Entercom, its studios are located on Corporate Parkway in Amherst, while its transmitter is located at a four-tower array in Hamburg, New York.
Although it has a power of 5,000 watts, during the day can be heard across nearly all of Western New York, the Greater Toronto Area, and nearby Erie, Pennsylvania. While a single tower is used during the day, power is fed to all four towers at night in a directional pattern to protect WKRC in Cincinnati, Ohio and WDEV in Waterbury, Vermont, concentrating the signal around Buffalo and Toronto.WGRF
WGRF is a radio station in Buffalo, New York, United States. The station's on air branding is "97 Rock". The station mostly plays Classic rock from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. WGRF broadcasts at 96.9 MHz from a transmitter north of downtown Buffalo, and studios are in the city's eastside.
WGRF is owned by Cumulus Media. Previous owners included the Taft Television and Radio Company, Rich Communications, Mercury Radio Communications (who separated the longtime combination with WGR in 1995 when it bought WGRF from Rich Communications, who in turn retained WGR until selling it to the Sinclair Broadcast Group two years later), and Citadel Broadcasting (which merged with Cumulus on September 14, 2011).
WGRF streamed its programming on the Internet until 2002, when it became economically unfeasible for some stations to continue their streams given changes in licensing and royalty agreements. In March 2006, Citadel launched an initiative that provided for the streaming of many of Citadel's stations. WGRF was among the first commercial stations in Buffalo to resume streaming after the earlier changes.
WGRF currently competes with cross-border rival CIXL-FM.WKRC (AM)
WKRC (550 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station owned by iHeartMedia and licensed to Cincinnati, Ohio. Broadcasting under the branding of 55KRC, the station airs a talk radio format. The studios are on Montgomery Road in Cincinnati, and the transmitter is in Cold Spring, Kentucky. WKRC operates at 5,000 watts by day and 1,000 watts at night.
WKRC is co-owned with another Cincinnati iHeartMedia talk station, 700 WLW. While WLW airs mostly local talk and sports programming, WKRC largely carries nationally syndicated talk shows. WKRC is the former sister station to Channel 12 WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, both having been owned by Taft Broadcasting and later Clear Channel Communications (now known as iHeartMedia), until the television station was sold to Newport Television, LLC.
Despite the similarities in their call letters, WKRC was not the inspiration behind the television show WKRP in Cincinnati. The show's creator, Hugh Wilson, wrote the premise based on his experiences at WQXI in Atlanta. The similarity of the two sets of call letters was used as a joke on the program.WKRQ
WKRQ, known on-air as Q102, is a radio station located in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and broadcasts at 101.9 FM. Its transmitter is located in Cincinnati. It airs a Top 40/CHR format and is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting. Its studios and transmitter are located just northeast of Downtown Cincinnati separately.WLVQ
WLVQ (96.3 FM) — branded Q-FM 96 — is a commercial classic rock radio station licensed to Columbus, Ohio. Owned by Saga Communications, Inc., through its Franklin Communications subsidiary, the station serves the Columbus metro area. The WLVQ studios are located in Upper Arlington, OH, the station transmitter is located downtown Columbus on the Twin Rivers Drive tower.WMMX
WMMX (107.7 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a hot adult contemporary format. Licensed to Dayton, Ohio, US, it serves the Dayton area. The station is currently owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and licensed as Citicasters Licenses, L.P. Its studios are located just outside downtown Dayton and its transmitter is in south Dayton off Interstate 75.WSYX
WSYX, virtual channel 6 (UHF digital channel 48), is an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Columbus, Ohio, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which also operates Fox affiliate WTTE (channel 28, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting) through a local marketing agreement and Chillicothe-licensed CW affiliate WWHO (channel 53, owned by Manhan Media) through a separate shared services agreement. However, Sinclair effectively owns WTTE as the majority of Cunningham's stock is owned by the family of deceased group founder Julian Smith. The three stations share studios on Dublin Road in northwest Columbus, near the suburb of Grandview Heights; WSYX and WTTE also share transmitter facilities in the Franklinton section of Columbus.
Along with sister station WCHS-TV, WSYX also doubles as a default ABC affiliate for the Marietta/Parkersburg television market since that area doesn't have an ABC station of its own, serving the Ohio side of the market, though this does not apply to all cable or satellite carriers.WTVN
WTVN (610 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station located in Columbus, Ohio. WTVN is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and airs a talk radio format. The station shares studios and offices with sister stations WXZX, WCOL-FM, WNCI, WODC, and WYTS in West Columbus. WTVN's transmitter site is located in Obetz, Ohio near Interstate 270. WTVN began broadcasting in HD-Radio in June 2005, but the HD-Radio subcarrier was discontinued by 2015. The station's programming is also heard on the HD-2 channel of co-owned WODC 93.3 FM.Worldvision Enterprises
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. was a television program and home video distributor established in 1954 as ABC Film Syndication, the domestic and overseas program distribution arm of the ABC Television Network. They primarily licensed programs from independent producers, rather than producing their own content.
|Board of directors|