WIBW actually began (probably May 8, 1927) as a portable station licensed to C. L. Carrell of Chicago, who owned several such stations. The new Federal Radio Commission in 1927 and 1928 announced a crackdown on portable stations, but allowed some to move to underserved areas. WIBW was one such station.
According to an article in the Kansas City Post on January 14, 1928, WIBW converted to stationary operation that day. At that time, WIBW increased its power from 100 to 250 watts, and it was still shown as owned by Carrell. Probably shortly after that time, and definitely by 1929, it had been bought by the Topeka Broadcasting Assocation, controlled by Capper Publishing Co.
WIBW began a time-sharing arrangement with KSAC at Kansas State University in Manhattan on November 30, 1929, enabling a move from 1300 KHz, where WIBW had shared time with KFH in Wichita. The Topeka Broadcasting Assocation was bought in January 1957 (FCC approved December 19, 1956) by Stauffer Publishing Co., its owner until 1996. The Stauffer family announced the sale of all of its media properties to Morris Communications on July 27, 1994.
Morris sold all of Stauffer's television stations to Benedek Broadcasting, announced November 29, 1995 and completed June 6, 1996. This sale did not include Stauffer's radio stations, including WIBW-AM/FM and KGNC-AM/FM in Amarillo, Texas. Morris obtained a one-year waiver from the FCC to retain WIBW-AM/FM while it sought a buyer. The cross-ownership waiver was required because Morris kept ownership of the Topeka Capital-Journal daily newspaper.
Evidently the waiver was made permanent, as indicated by a change in the name of the licensee from Stauffer Communications to Morris Communications on December 22, 1997. The name change appeared when the FCC approved a reorganization of the licensee. Morris also began purchasing other radio stations late in 1997.
Until 2002, WIBW(AM) still shared time with KKSU (formerly KSAC), as it had since 1929. KKSU broadcast on the frequency 12:30 pm-5:30 pm weekdays, using a separate transmitter site instead of WIBW's site.
On August 29, 2002, WIBW announced an agreement to buy out KKSU's broadcasting time for $1.5 million. the agreement also resolved a dispute over the rights to broadcast kansas state University football games. KKSU had its final broadcast November 27, 2002.
Present WIBW facilities: 5 KW, DA-N.