WCGC

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WCGC
City of license Belmont, North Carolina
Broadcast area Charlotte
Slogan Heaven Radio
Frequency 1270 kHz
Format Christian radio
Power 10,000 Watts day
500 Watts night
Class B
Transmitter coordinates 35°15′05″N 81°03′26″W / 35.25139°N 81.05722°W / 35.25139; -81.05722
Owner WHVN Inc.
Sister stations WHVN, WAVO, WTIX, WOLS

WCGC (1270 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a Christian radio format. Licensed to Belmont, North Carolina, USA, it serves the Charlotte/Gastonia area. The station is currently owned by WHVN Inc. The station is simulcast onto WHVN at 1240 AM.

History[edit]

WCGC was started by Mr. Robert Richard Hilker. The 5000 watt radio station was put on the air with a transmitter he built from a Heathkit model. He started and applied to the FCC for licensing of the radio station. Mr Hilker owned WCGC and with that built Suburban Radio Group which owned and operated 11 AM and FM radio stations and also put on two television stations; WJZY in Charlotte and another in Morehead City. At the time of Mr. Hilker's death the radio station was still using the transmitter he built as a backup for the now computerized WCGC. Born in Winston-Salem, he served in the U.S. Navy and established Cablevision Companies in Gaston County and the Lake Norman area as well at Charlotte television station WJZY-TV. He was past Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Board, served on the boards of numerous national broadcasting associations and civic organizations and was inducted into the N.C. Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Ebb Gantt, who played football for Belmont High School and Belmont Abbey College, later became the radio voice for both teams (the high school later consolidated with Cramerton High to form South Point High School, whose games Gantt and WCGC carried) as well as Davidson College, during his years as a WCGC sportscaster, beginning in the late 1950s. Gantt became the station's general manager and retired in 1980.[1][2]

Jack LaFaivre, who went on to jobs at WXII and WSJS in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, worked at WCGC after graduating from Belmont Abbey.[3]

Many other local broadcasters spent time at WCGC including Joe McLaney, who went on to WBT as Production Director, and Bob Brandon, formerly of WSOC-FM and Clear Channel Charlotte.

In 1986, with the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball having been dropped by WSOC-AM, WCGC picked up the Baltimore Orioles.[4] WJZY, a TV station which shared a building with WCGC in its early days, also aired the Orioles.[5]

Rev. Charles Beasley had a Sunday morning show on WCGC until general manager Jim Mintzer found out he was grand dragon of the Christian knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Protestors from four states showed up at city hall and the radio station, without incident, though law enforcement officers stood by just in case anything happened.[6]

WCGC had been on the air 35 years in June 1989 when Suburban Radio Group, owner of 11 radio stations, sold its flagship station in Belmont to Mintzer. The radio group would remain in the building with WCGC, and no major format changes were planned. WCGC played country music except on Sundays, when the station aired religious programming.[7][8] WCGC also broadcast all games of the minor league baseball Gastonia Rangers.[9] Some of the games were to be tape-delayed if they conflicted with South Point High School football, but WCGC agreed to carry the baseball games live if the team made the playoffs.[10] WGNC in Gastonia took over the broadcasts in 1990[11]

In 1993, WCGC carried Cleveland Indians games.[12]

In January 1994, WCGC had already made the switch to talk radio, with shows such as G. Gordon Liddy, Larry King and Pat Buchanan, when Chris Vaughn began a 30-minute talk show with a conservative focus, which expanded to 90 minutes in June.[13][14] Another local host was John Sullivan, who moved to WNMX-AM in 1996.[15]

In August 1995, newspaper parenting columnist John Rosemond began a talk show on WSIC in Statesville, which WCGC also aired.[16]

In 1996, WCGC carried West Mecklenburg High School Friday night football games on Saturday mornings.[17]

In 1997, WCGC became the Charlotte-area affiliate for the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes in their first season playing in North Carolina.[18]

In July 1998, Mintzer sold WCGC to the owners of WHVN. However, WCGC continued to make news for an incident on the "Wakin' Up with Java John" morning show. John Wall, a Gastonia city employee, sued talk show host John Hunsucker and Mintzer for derogatory comments made by an anonymous caller known as "Slim Jim" during a five-month period while Mintzer owned the station. Mintzer said WCGC broadcast disclaimers telling listeners that callers' opinions were not those of the station. A jury awarded $10,500 to Wall, leading Penn State journalism professor Robert Richards, also director of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, to regard this case as yet another potential limit on freedom of speech.[19][20]

WCGC began airing WHVN's programming most of the time but continued to carry separate sports programs, as well as Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dave Baity, "Belmont Kids Who Became Achievers Want to Tell Ebb Gantt Thanks," The Charlotte Observer, October 3, 1990.
  2. ^ "Death Notices," The Charlotte Observer, December 31, 1999.
  3. ^ Tom Steadman, "Scores and More: Jack LaFaivre Brings Conversational Sports to Area Radio Listeners, Greensboro News & Record, April 20, 1990.
  4. ^ Jeff Borden, "WTVI Goes Racing to Meet Goal," The Charlotte Observer, Friday, April 11, 1986.
  5. ^ Jeff Borden, "Channel 46 Almost Complete, Says General Mananger Conrad," The Charlotte Observer, June 9, 1987.
  6. ^ Joe Marusak, "Klan Members Rally in Belmont to Protest Radio Station's Action," The Charlotte Observer, April 17, 1989.
  7. ^ Joseph Menn, "WCGC-AM Owner Sells Belmont Station to General Manager," The Charlotte Observer, June 14, 1989.
  8. ^ Joseph Menn, "WCGC's New Owner Wants More Sports, Local News," The Charlotte Observer, June 15, 1989.
  9. ^ John Glennon, "WCGC Agrees to Broadcast 144 Games," The Charlotte Observer, February 28, 1989.
  10. ^ John Glennon and Richard Walker, "Rangers Score 2 Broadcasting Victories," The Charlotte Observer, July 19, 1989.
  11. ^ John Glennon, "144 Ranger Games Will Be Broadcast on WGNC in '90," The Charlotte Observer, January 25, 1990.
  12. ^ David Poole, "Stations Tune to Knights and Indians," The Charlotte Observer, March 12, 1993.
  13. ^ Richard Walker, "Changing Their Tune with Emergence of Stronger FM Stations, AMs Must Adapt to Survive," The Charlotte Observer, August 14, 1993.
  14. ^ Chip Wilson, "For Vaughn, Talk Show Turning Out All Right," The Charlotte Observer, June 18, 1994.
  15. ^ Kay McFadden and Bob Meadows, "Sullivan Adds Voice to AM in the A.M.", The Charlotte Observer, August 16, 1996.
  16. ^ Tim Funk, "John Rosemond Starts Radio Show Monday," The Charlotte Observer, August 19, 1995.
  17. ^ Langston Wertz Jr., "Vikings Offensive Line Mixes Brains, Brawn," The Charlotte Observer, August 29, 1996.
  18. ^ Steve Politi, "WPTF to Carry 'Canes Games," The News & Observer, August 8, 1997.
  19. ^ Audrey Y. Williams, "Gastonia Employee Sues Over Radio Comments," The Charlotte Observer, August 11, 1998.
  20. ^ Jeff Diamant, "Talk-Show Suit Award Is $10,500," The Charlotte Observer, August 19, 1999.
  21. ^ Steven Brown, "Met Shutdown Has Silver Lining for Listeners Afar," The Charlotte Observer, January 14, 2005.

External links[edit]