On New Years Day of 1955, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, the first words ever to be spoken over the airwaves of WDKN were “This is Hal Smith beginning a history of broadcasting in Dickson, Tennessee….there was a baby born in Wisconsin this morning at 12:01am, and in Dickson, Tennessee here at 1:00pm, January 1st, 1955, a radio station was born.”
WDKN’s origins date back to the Summer of 1954, when Mr. John Bailey of Clarksville found an available frequency and thought of Dickson. Mr. Bailey started looking for someone to take on the task of co-owning and running a radio station in Dickson at AM frequency 1260. It turns out he didn’t find anyone, but Mr. Bill Potts found him. Mr. Potts became majority owner in the now three way partnership, which also included Mr. Mitchell Hayes.
WDKN’s first Studio location was on Main Street above the current downtown Bank of Dickson location. When Mr. Potts, who passed away in 2004, was asked about the station’s philosophy in the early days, he replied “If it happened, we covered it.” He also said the station staff worked by a few basic principles, among them “the first thing we do is serve the public, money wouldn’t enter into it.” Mr. Potts went on to own and work with the station for twenty-five years.
In late 1960, the studios moved to a building at the corner of College & Poplar Streets, near the present day locations of Dickson Funeral Home and Dickson Florist. In 1984 Edmisson and Eubanks Communication, Inc., (Tommy Edmisson and Oscar Eubanks and Leroy Kennell) ownership group took control of WDKN. The studios have been at their current location, 106 East College Street, since the mid 1980’s.
Since day one WDKN has been the community’s radio station. Among the programs you might have heard during the early days of the station were Lost & Found, Saturday Sidelights, Old Timers Program (which continues to run to this day), Ida’s News and Views with the Late Ida Nicks, and Gospel Echoes, just to name a few.
Many of Dickson County’s most notable citizens have regularly hosted shows on our airwaves, among them Bill Potts, Warren Medley, Henry Ragan (host of Life In The Tennessee Valley, which is now hosted by his grandson, Alan Ragan), Vernon Hamilton, Dr. Jimmy Jackson and Dr. Walter Bell, Joe Webster, Ralph Easley, Chris Norman and many, many more.
Several of the station’s early personalities were crucial in making the Annual Old Timer’s Day Festival a reality, an event the station continues to cover wall-to-wall each spring. WDKN has traditionally been the home of the long-running Dickson County Cancer Crusade Radio Auction each and every April. From its earliest days, WDKN has been the voice for area-wide sports, covering Dickson Lady Dragon & Dragon Sports, and since the early 70’s, Dickson County Lady Cougar & Cougar Sports.
WDKN became one of the first stations to join the Tennessee Titans Radio Network and was saluted as 2004 Titan Partner of the year.
On March 19, 2009, WDKN signed off the air after 55 years of serving the community. However, the station would not stay off the air for long. In May, 2009, R & F Communications, Inc. led by Lori Reddon Forte (a native of Dickson) and Kenneth Forte purchased WDKN AM-1260 from Edmisson and Eubanks Communication, Inc., and returned to the airwaves in July 2009 as the “New WDKN 1260 AM”.
Today, WDKN is a vibrant appendage to the community. As Dickson’s only local radio station, WDKN mixes in a combination of news, traffic, sports, along with your favorite adult contemporary country and gospel hits by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Diamond Rio, Reba McIntire and Daruis Rucker. Gospel artist Michael W. Smith, Nichol Mullens, Curtis Chapman and Point of Grace.
We invite you to tune in to Dickson’s hometown station, WDKN AM-1260, for the only local radio in Dickson.