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W.L. "Pete" Nininger - Obituary


BRISTOL, Va. – W.L. "Pete" Nininger died Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006. He was born in Bristol, Virginia on Thursday, April 23, 1925, to the late William C. and Elizabeth Wiley Nininger.


He served as a flight instructor with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Following the war, he became general manager of Bristol radio station WFHG. During the 1950s, WFHG changed frequencies in order to become a "full-time" station, broadcasting at night. In the early 1960s, Pete acquired stations in other markets and expanded the young Bristol Broadcasting Company. He acquired AM station WKOY in Bluefield, W.Va., and WKAZ-AM/FM station in Charleston. By 1972, Pete had decided to further expand and bought the BBC and stations WKYZ and WKYQ in Paducah, Ky. In the late 1970s, he purchased WXBQ in Bristol. In 1981, WKDQ in Evansville, Ind., was added to the group. In the mid 1990s, when the FCC deregulated the rules of ownership, Pete expanded further in the radio market. Mr. Nininger's Bristol Broadcasting Company now owns WXBQ-FM, Super Talk WFHG-FM, WFHG-AM, Electric 94.9 FM, Z-Rock WTZR-FM and WNPC-AM & FM, along with stations in Charleston, W.Va., and Paducah, Ky. Mr. Nininger was a member of and former chairman of the Virginia Highlands Airport Commission and a long-time American Saddlebred owner and breeder.

Survivors include his wife, Betty N. "Pinky" Nininger; his daughter, Lisa Nininger Hale and her husband Danny and their sons, Justin William Nininger Hale and Cameron Daniel Nininger Hale, all of Bristol Virginia; two stepdaughters, Cyndy C. Thomas and her husband William W. Thomas II of Bluff City and Ceil C. Wheeler, her husband Kenneth M. Wheeler Jr. and their children, Catherine Wheeler and Sallie-Mason Wheeler, all of Keswick, Va.; a stepson, Craig Callahan of Bristol Tennessee, and a sister, Elizabeth "Betsy" Nininger Graham of Naples, Fla.

The funeral service and burial were held on Saturday, October 14. Pallbearers were Ron Morgan, Joe Godsey, Roger Bouldin, Bill Hagy, Dr. Jacob Haught, Luther Stinette Dick Wolf and Fred Leonard. Honorary pallbearers were all employees of Bristol Broadcasting Co. and friends and associates, Steve King, Allen Stigall, Rex Hicks, Don Waterman, Russell Cross, Tiffany Cross and Greg and Vickie Morris.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mr. Nininger may be sent to River's Way, 889 Stoney Hollow Road, Bluff City, TN 37618; and The Crumley House, 300 Urbana Road, Limestone, TN 37681.


Condolences and memories may be shared with the family by visiting Mr. Nininger and his family are in the care of Oakley-Cook Funeral Home, 2223 Volunteer Parkway, Bristol, Tenn.; (423) 764-7123.

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