During the mid-1960s, it was the flagship station for the Cincinnati Reds, identifying itself as "your 50,000 watt Big League Baseball Station".

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The station also features local sports talker Mo Egger.

WCKY is the flagship station of the Cincinnati Bengals (along with WEBN, and are also simulcast on WLW after Cincinnati Reds baseball season ends). The station went on the air on September 16, 1929 at a frequency of 1480 k Hz on the AM dial.

The station also broadcasts football and basketball play-by-play of the University of Kentucky Wildcats & Louisville Cardinals. Originally, WCKY was licensed to Covington, Kentucky, and was treated as a Kentucky-based station.

On November 10, 2014, i Heart Media Cincinnati announced that both WCKY and sister station WSAI have joined the Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network. This status helped WCKY's case before the FCC to increase power from the original 5,000 watts to 50,000 watts in 1939 - even though it was literally across the river from Cincinnati and fellow 50,000 watt station WLW.

It gradually moved its studios to Cincinnati, though it remained licensed to Covington until the early 1960s.

During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, WCKY was used to broadcast news and information to the area, due to its southerly directional signal pattern.

In 1964, in connection with WCKY obtaining Reds games, the station held a contest for the farthest listener. Its west coast counterpart is KFBK in Sacramento, California (which is also owned by i Heart Media).

KFBK and WCKY are both Class A broadcast facilities on this channel in the United States.

KFBK and WCKY both alter their signals at night to limit their signals interference towards each other at night; however, as Class A stations, both stations also receive more protection than other stations on this channel.