FM Technical Profile: WKBU

Station Name:
Bayou 95-7
Classic Rock
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] Co-located with K28IL in eastern New Orleans, near Tarrytown.  Just off Behman Highway, between and across from Utah and Oregon Streets.
Power (ERP):
24.5 kW
Antenna HAAT:
902 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.

HD-2: Heavy Metal
"Metal Militia"
PS-Bayou 95.7
Bayou 95.7
AUX: 24.5 kW @ 548 feet. 60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
More Information:
This station was put on the air by Fidelity Broadcasting in December 1953 as WWMT.  The transmitter and studios were located at the Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.  The station transmitted with 47.5 kW.  As a standalone FM, it had a Classical Music format.

In 1960, the station lowered its ERP to 13.3 kW, but raised antenna height from 168 feet HAAT to 215 feet.  The name of the company changed to Custom Electronics, Inc. in 1961. One year later in 1962, the studio moved to 328 Chartres Street. In 1969, the station license was acquired by Texas Star Broadcasting Company; they changed the call sign to WBYU.

In 1970, they launched an effort to increase the station's coverage area.  They were granted a permit to increase power to 100 kW, from an antenna height of 565 feet.  The transmitter site would relocate to 1001 Howard Avenue, atop the New Orleans World Trade Center building.  Later that year, the station's ownership would be transferred to Swanco Broadcasting. From at least the mid-70's, the station had a Beautiful Music format, as "Bayou 96" with the Schulke format.  Despite having multiple competitors (WWL-FM, WQUE and WEZB), the station was dominant in the ratings and held out longer than anyone else, even after the format began to lose its appeal.

The station would be acquired by Stoner Broadcasting in 1986 for $2 million along with some other stations.  In 1987, they flipped the station to Country as WQXY "Y-96".  This change was not well received, with many complaints coming in.

The station flipped format to Adult Contemporary in 1990 as "Mix 95.7", with the WMXZ call letters.  Like the country format that preceded it, this format only lasted three years before they flipped again.  In 1993, the station became WTKL, with Oldies as "Kool 95.7".  (Why they didn't call themselves The Big Tickle is anyone's guess.)  The station was noted for having a much deeper playlist of oldies than other similar stations, going deep into regional and local New Orleans hits.  In 1996, the station was acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting.  Sinclair, in turn, sold the station (as part of cluster in New Orleans) to Entercom.

Due to damage from Hurricane Katrina, WTKL and sister station WKBU (on 105.3 MHz) swapped positions.  This station became "Bayou 95.7" with WKBU's Classic Rock format.  The Oldies of WTKL only lasted a very short time on 105.3 before that station flipped to WWL-FM and News/Talk.

The station launched HD digital radio broadcasting in 2010.  At one time it carried the Live Rock Entercom subchannel brand, but that switched to Heavy Metal as "The Metal Channel" at some point.  That channel appears to have rebranded as "Metal Milita" in 2018.  It's fed via KISW in Seattle.

Entercom rebranded as Audacy in March 2021.