On August 18, 1948, Radio Indianapolis Inc., led by Conrad Ruckelshaus and Frederic M. Ayres Jr., put WXLW on the air, occupying 1590 AM during daylight hours. The station, headquartered at 30th Street and Kessler Boulevard, broadcasted music, news, sports events, and important public interest features. Well-known announcers of the time included Mike “Sports Page” Dunn and Bob Bruner, who handled the music shows. WXLW reputedly was the first local station to broadcast remote from “news cars” around the city.

WXLW radio announcer, prepared to play records at the broadcast table, 1951
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

WXLW completed a new 5,000-watt transmitter at 56th Street and Guion Road in January 1955 and shifted from 1590 AM to 950 AM. The inaugural program at its new frequency was held on March 12, 1955, featuring Indiana senators Homer E. Capehart and William E. Jenner as well as Indianapolis mayor Alex M. Clark.

In December 1962, Greater Indianapolis Broadcasting, headed by long-time WXLW manager and partial owner Robert D. Enoch, purchased the station from Radio Indianapolis for $675,000. He later sold the station to Grewe Enterprises of Wheeling, West Virginia, in September 1970.

WXLW radio station employee receiving news "off the wire," 1951
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

Local broadcaster Bill Shirk, who served as manager of WXLW, bought the station in 1974. After continuing traditional AM programming and adding the Mutual Radio Network in 1979, Shirk adopted a religious format, though he included special blues, gospel, and big band programs, and a home shopping feature. The station moved in October 1991 to 6264 LaPas Trail, where Shirk also broadcasted contemporary urban music on WHHH (96.3 FM) and low-power television station WAV-TV Channel 53.

However, WXLW abandoned its religious format in 2002 when it became a local source of ESPN Radio on July 8. For the next decade, the station broadcasting sports programming from a variety of sources including Sporting News Radio, Yahoo! Sports Radio, as well as ESPN Radio.

In 2012, WXLW moved its station further south to nearby Franklin, Indiana, just off of U.S. 31.

In September 2012, WXLW transitioned to being a talk radio show and rebranded as “Freedom 95.” Simulcasting on 95.9 FM, WXLW’s programming has included local news broadcasts as well as talk shows from conservative political commentators like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

Revised July 2021
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