In June 1940, C. Bruce Mcconnell, a native of Scipio, Indiana who lived in Indianapolis for 51 years, founded the Capitol Broadcasting Company to establish a new radio station in Indianapolis.

Exterior view of a commercial building with a large marquee that says "Wish."
WISH Radio-TV Station, located at the 1400 block of North Meridian Street, ca. 1950s Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

The company secured its license in November, which authorized operations at 1310 AM with a power of 5,000 watts daytime and 1,000 watts at night. The station erected two 470-foot towers on a 40-acre site at Post Road and Rawls Avenue and maintained offices and studios in the Board of Trade Building at Meridian and Ohio streets. WISH-AM began broadcasting at 6:30 P.M. on August 2, 1941, as an affiliate of the NBC “Blue” network, which became the ABC network in 1945.

It remained an ABC affiliate until shortly after WISH-TV first aired in 1954, at which time both stations switched affiliations to CBS. Late in 1947, Frank E. Mckinney Sr, a local banker and political leader, created the Universal Broadcasting Corporation and purchased WISH-AM for $554,000. Shortly thereafter in 1948, McConnell regained control of the station by becoming a majority stockholder in Universal. In anticipation of a television license, WISH-AM moved in February 1950, to larger quarters at 1440 North Meridian Street (the 1994 location of Wxin).

A group of four men huddle around a microphone. Two men and four teenagers stand in the background next to another microphone.
Governor Ralph R. Gates, broadcasting over WISH Radio during the 1946 Indiana State Fair. Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

Personalities who attended the facility’s dedication included Casey Stengel and Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, Al Lopez of the Indianapolis Indians, and Wayne Coy, then chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In July 1956, J. H. “Jock” Whitney of the New York banking house of J. H. Whitney and Company purchased WISH-TV, WISH-AM, WIN-TV in Waterloo, Indiana, and WANE-AM in Fort Wayne for $10 million and assigned the stations to the Corinthian Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of the Whitney firm.

Corinthian subsequently put WISH-FM on the air in 1961, which began stereophonic broadcasting at 107.9 FM on January 15, 1962. The WISH radio and television stations continued operating from the North Meridian Street studios until 1963 when Corinthian sold its radio stations; Star Stations of Indiana, Inc., acquired WISH-AM-FM and changed the call letters to WIFE-AM-FM to distinguish them from the television station.

Revised June 2021
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