Optometrist Dr. George Young opened KFMT, Minneapolis, in 1923. After a few call-letter changes, he settled on WDGY inn 1925. Young died in 1945 and his estate sold the station.
Todd Storz, one of the early pioneers of Top 40 radio, owned Mid-Continent Broadcasting. His company purchased WDGY in 1956, and the station quickly flipped to a Top 40 format. This sent WDGY to No. 2 in the ratings — a great place to be in the WCCO-dominated Minneapolis-St. Paul radio market.
KDWB switched to Top 40 in 1959, which battled with WDGY for supremacy among younger listeners through the 1970s.
WDGY’s Top 40 run ended in 1977. The rise of FM music forced the station to flip to country. Here’s a 1986 KARE-TV report about the station’s history and then-current format:
It later switched to news-talk and eventually to all-sports KFAN in 1991.
Rival KDWB-AM 630 picked up the abandoned WDGY call letters in 1991 and carried a classic country format. The following year, the station returned to a simulcast of KDWB-FM. It adopted an adult standards format in 1993. Midcontinent Media owned WDGY at the time and wanted to sell it. The owner of rival WMIN, Borgen Broadcasting, agreed to lease the station, but Midcontinent sold the land that held the tower array. WDGY’s 630AM signal went silent.
Borgen bought the silent WDGY in 1996 and returned it to the air in 1997 in Hudson, Wis., with a news-talk format.
Borgen’s WMIN went to a Mexican format in 1999. The format moved to WDGY in 2001. Borgen returned WDGY to St. Paul in 2005. In 2008, WDGY became WREY. SIster station WMIN became WDGY and carried a satellite-driven oldies format.
The indispensable RadioTapes.com has an excellent collection of airchecks from WDGY’s history.
Source: Wikipedia (WREY), Wikipedia (WDGY)