It was 12:00 Noon on April 9, 1982. Indiana’s 50,000 Watt Radio Station Shine 99™ WSHW officially went on the air.
Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra-Terrestral” movie had not been released. British Troops had yet to land on the Falkland Islands and Ronald Reagan’s shooter, John Hinckley Jr. had not been brought to trial yet. Ronald Reagan was still early in his first term as President and no one knew about Chernobyl or Astronaut Sally Ride. That was still in the future.
On April 9, 1982, suddenly over 18 counties in Indiana and beyond could have a constant companion on the airwaves at 99.7 FM. Listeners were able to pick up the “Shine 99” FM signal from Danville, Illinois to Lima, Ohio. One competitor said “Shine 99 has a signal that reaches half of the free world”. Since that day in April 1982, Shine 99 FM has always played a popular blend of music, weather, personality and information.
Lawrence Lambert, Kokomo engineer and Frankfort Mayor Mary Jane McMahon attended the “first light” of Shine 99 that day.
“Shine 99” WSHW can be heard for over 90 miles on Interstate 65 between Indianapolis and Chicago and 85 miles from south of Sheridan to Silver Lake south of Warsaw and as far as Plymouth on U.S. 31 and beyond. Listeners in parts of Illinois and Ohio can still hear the FM station. Once back in the 1980’s, a listener from Cancun, Mexico sent a postcard and told us exactly what we said on the Shine 99 airwaves, what song we played and when we played it.
The name “Shine 99” was launched in the fall of 1981 at a brainstorming session with the station owners at the Inn of the Four Winds on Lake Monroe. Owners Vern, Lillian and Russ Kaspar had a retreat lasting 2 days to get away and plan the new station that was destined to launch in just a few months.
The time had come during the retreat to think of a name for the new station. While Vern Kaspar slept, Lillian Kaspar and Russ Kaspar brainstormed a name for the station. Russ said “What would rhyme with the dial position 99 and what name would have a positive, happy image and could even have agricultural overtones?”
Lillian Kaspar, Russ’s mother looked out the window at Lake Monroe and quietly said “I think we should call it 99 Shine or Shine 99”.
“That’s it! Shine 99!” Russ said.
Russ and his mother woke up Vern and said…we have the name for the station…”Shine 99”. The rest is history. The name “Shine 99” has been heard across much of Indiana and beyond since that “first light” on April 9, 1982.
The logo for Shine 99 has undergone two major designs. The first logo was a rising sun coming off the horizon with five horizontal “warm red” streaks or lines on a yellow background. Dave Liverate designed this first Shine 99 logo. Dave was a talented artist who did world-class design work from his studio. Dave designed several album covers for Bill and Gloria Gaither. He presented several designs in late 1981 to the Kaspar’s and all settled on the rising “Shine 99” sun coming off the horizon.
On sign on day April 9, 1982, thousands of “Shine 99” rate cards, “Shine 99” coverage maps and “Shine 99” stationary were all ready to go with the first Shine 99 logo. The “Shine” brand for a radio station had begun after much planning, hard work and excitement.
About 20 years later, a logo update and redesign was in order. As I remember it, Scott McIllrath and Karen Butcher approached Russ with a fun, smiling sun character design from a fellow friend and broadcaster in our beloved Ideabank and said “Now THIS is what our logo should look like!” It didn’t take long to spring into the happy Sunny Ray Shine 99 logo with sunglasses after a ground up redesign of the logo inspired by our fellow IdeaBank broadcaster with a different radio brand (not Shine). Randy Lawson and the team tweaked and played with the new design until everyone was happy.
To date at six times per hour (probably a low number) “Shine 99” has been broadcast on 50,000 watt WSHW well over 2,000,000 times with an estimated 2 BILLION “Shine 99” impressions. Including dozens of billboards, thousands of window labels “Bright Spots” posters, TV ads, calendars, pens, clocks, hot air balloon launches, calculators, mouse pads and newspaper articles and ads, mentions at sporting events in Indianapolis, front page phone book logos in Indiana cities including Lafayette and Kokomo, logo displays at Indiana county fairs, chamber memberships, FFA “determination award” talks at over 200 FFA banquets throughout Indiana, the number of Shine 99 impressions throughout Indiana and the midwest in the last 39 years would have to be in the tens of Billions. These numbers are just an educated guess…but suffice it to say “Shine 99” has become a good friend recognized by LOTS of people throughout Indiana and beyond.
Lillian and Vernon passed away but Russ Kaspar continues to serve Shine 99’s listeners, advertisers and team members at the station as President and CEO of Kaspar Broadcasting Co., Inc.
Russ is now in his 52nd year of broadcasting, getting his 3rd class FCC license with endorsement at age 15 in 1969. As a 12 year old, he used to play “Radio” with his brother Steve in the basement of their home with teletype paper, old weather forecasts and two turn tables. Each time one brother would say “er, uhh” or other ugly connective, the other brother would be allowed to punch the offender in the shoulder to cure him of this “er,uh” disease. Steve now owns four radio stations in Missouri.
The Indiana operation owns 5 stations including translators and one construction permit in Lebanon, Indiana.
Here is a pictorial walk through the evolution of Shine 99 through the years. WSHW is blessed to have a great team of creative engaged people who enjoy entertaining and informing you every day. Enjoy this pictorial walk down memory lane and help Shine 99 celebrate 39 continuous years on April 9!
Shine 99 radio positioning statements over almost four decades include:
FM Music with Me in Mind
50,000 Watts Stereo
Indiana’s Best Music
Best Hits without the Hard Rock or Rap
The All New Shine 99
Today’s Best Music
Shine 99 has held the “Shine 99 Woman’s Fair’ since 1994. The first Shine 99 Womans Fair was held in the Ramada Inn in Kokomo but the event soon outgrew that facility and moved to the former Kokomo Elks Club in the beautiful facility south of the Kokomo post office. Shine 99 soon outgrew that facility as well, later moving to the Ivy Tech and Kokomo Events Center.
Even in the spring of 2020 Shine 99 got permission to safely have another Shine 99 Woman’s Fair even with all the challenges COVID-19 presented.
A quick Search of “You Tube Videos Shine 99 Woman’s Fair” will show how much fun Shine 99 has had with this event throughout the years. Shine 99 had several speakers at the event such as Amy Rolof with Little People Big World, Pipa Mann, Indy Race Car Driver and even Susan Kaspar, Shine 99’s owner’s wife who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012 with 47 other women to protest and raise money to fight human trafficking, especially women and children. Over $400,000 was raised by Susan Kaspar and 47 other women who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and these 48 ladies set two world records in their climb. “Freedom Climb” was the project name at the time. Now the initiative is called “Freedom Challenge “ organized by the missionary support organization “Operation Mobilization”.
Susan’s talk at the Shine 99 Woman’s Fair added to the many offerings at the free event.
See video below of the fashion show from one of many Shine 99 Woman’s Fairs: