After gaining the rights to Indianapolis Colts broadcasts in 2007, Emmis Communications held the rights for all Indianapolis major sports teams. The company sought to combine its various sportscasts at one station to avoid the need to preempt regular programming or to switch from one Emmis station to another for sports events and commentary. Emmis moved or sold stations to make that possible. It sold WNOW (“Radio Now”) to Radio One. After the sale, WNOW changed frequencies, which left 93.1 FM open. Emmis moved Wibc from its 1070 AM frequency, which had been its home on the radio dial since 1941, to 93.1 FM. The changes made room for a sports-talk radio station.

Following some on-air testing in late 2007, Emmis officially launched its new sports station, known as WFNI, on 1070 AM (rebranded as “1070 The Fan”) on January 7, 2008. WFNI combined WIBC’s sports programming with that of ESPN Radio’s to create the city’s first 24-hour sports-talk radio station.

A little over five years later, WFNI launched a simultaneous FM feed at 107.5 FM, on February 19, 2013. Emmis split the simulcast on October 16, 2015. WFNI began to be broadcast full time at 93.5 FM, while 107.5 carried ESPN radio. WFNI’s broadcast on the 93.5 frequency, however, interfered with other nearby radio stations. Ultimately, the company established 107.5 as WFNI’s FM simulcast on March 30, 2017, and abandoned the full-time ESPN feed.

Indianapolis residents tuned into WFNI for various local sportscasts, including Indiana Pacers games, the AM simulcast of Indianapolis Colts games, the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the Brickyard 400, Indiana University football games, Butler University men’s basketball games, a swath of Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) championship games, and ESPN broadcasts of Major League Baseball.

The station also has hosted numerous popular local sports talk shows such as The Ride with JMV, hosted by John Michael Vincent, The Dan Dakich Show, and The Jeff and Big Joe Show, hosted by Jeff Rickard and Joe Staysniak. Staysniak left the show in August 2021 after making racially insensitive remarks in a program first broadcast in June 2020. 

In August 2021, owner Jeff Smulyan announced that 1070 AM would be discontinued indefinitely after the company sold its broadcast towers. Then, in June 2022, Emmis Communications, in the face of a shrinking radio market, announced that the company was selling WFNI along with its other Indianapolis-based radio stations to Maryland-based Urban One. The sale also included {WIBC}::EL (93.1 FM), B105 (WXYB 105.7 FM), and HANK FM (97.1 FM).

Revised March 2021

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