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WCPE 89 FM.png
City of license Raleigh, North Carolina
Broadcast area Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Branding The Classical Station
Frequency 89.7 MHz
First air date 1978
Format Classical
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 359 meters
Class C
Facility ID 18831
Transmitter coordinates 35°56′25″N 78°28′45″W / 35.94028°N 78.47917°W / 35.94028; -78.47917
Callsign meaning Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (unofficial); call letters assigned by FCC
Owner Educational Information Corp.
Webcast Listen Live
Website theclassicalstation.org

WCPE is a private classical music radio station broadcasting in the United States out of studios near Wake Forest, North Carolina. Broadcasting from Raleigh, North Carolina on 89.7 FM at 100,000 watts, the station went on the air July 17, 1978 and switched to a 24-hour classical music format in 1984. The "sister station", WZPE in Bath, NC, had obtained a construction permit from the FCC for a power increase to 4,500 watts.[1][2]

WCPE's main signal extends from the South Carolina state line to the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, and some parts of Charlotte, North Carolina as well.


Despite its seeming connection to composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, WCPE's call letters don't stand for anything in particular; the station simply did not have the money to petition the FCC for a specific set of call letters, but was happy with the result.

WCPE has an extensive network of affiliate radio stations across both central and eastern North Carolina and in ten states in the U.S. It can be also be heard on cable television systems, on free-to-air (open format) "small dish" home satellite systems via the AMC-1 satellites, and around the world via six streaming audio formats on the Internet, including mp3, Ogg Vorbis, QuickTime, RealAudio, iTunes, and WMA. The station also streams via IPv6. Listening options and instructions are at http://theclassicalstation.org/listen.shtml.

It also distributes its classical music format to affiliate stations as a service entitled Great Classical Music. It is made available to these stations via the communications methods listed above. Distribution rights and rebroadcast consent to cable systems, broadcast stations, private systems - any legal communications entity (even cruise ships at sea) - is free without cost or obligation. The consent letter is available on the WCPE website.

As of December, 2007 WCPE has lost access to its C-Band (Big dish) transponder. [1]

WCPE was the first public radio station in the nation to broadcast its programming on the Internet and one of the few radio stations in the United States to broadcast a dedicated, non-commercial classical music format. WCPE is 100% run by voluntary donations; the greatest amount by far is from individuals making personal gifts, and in recent years an increasing number of small business owners are helping through their companies. The station does not receive any government financial subsidies and/or entitlements at all (donor preference overwhelmingly prefers this independence). Several government-owned groups do help the station when it benefits both. For instance, WCPE gives details of a city-owned orchestra's upcoming concert; the orchestra can then help WCPE with funds from increased ticket sales.

The WCPE studios are located in a heavily-wooded rural area near Rolesville and Wake Forest. The 80-acre (320,000 m2) grounds once housed a dilapidated farmhouse. WCPE gave orders to clear the property for the building of the station's facilities and tower. The full amount of land is needed to accommodate the guy wires for the 1,200-foot (370 m) transmitting tower.

WCPE translators[edit]

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
W202BQ 88.3 Aberdeen, North Carolina 80 D FCC
WZPE 90.1 Bath, North Carolina 675 A FCC
WBUX 90.5 Buxton, North Carolina 5,900 A FCC
W237CM 95.3 Fayetteville, North Carolina 10 D FCC
W205CA 88.9 Foxfire, North Carolina 27 D FCC
W247BG 97.3 Frog Level, North Carolina 10 D FCC
WURI 90.9 Manteo, North Carolina 3,900 A FCC
W210BS 89.9 New Bern, North Carolina 120 D FCC
W292DF 106.3 Horsepasture, Virginia 10 D FCC
W275AW 102.9 Danville, Virginia 38 D FCC

WCPE affiliates[edit]

Portions of WCPE's programming can also be heard on these stations:




M-F, 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m, (only when school is in session, and when teacher lets students broadcast) all day Saturday and Sunday

M-F - 9 p.m.-6:30 a.m, all day Saturday and Sunday, and during student vacations



M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m, and midnight - 3 a.m.


11 p.m. - 6 a.m, daily.

11 p.m. - 6 a.m. daily


Mon-Sat, 11 p.m. - 6 a.m.

Mon-Sat, 11 p.m. - 6 a.m.

West Virginia

10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Tue-Sat, 10 p.m. -6 a.m.


Tue-Sat 10 p.m. - 6 a.m.

Tue-Sat 10 p.m. - 6 a.m.


External links[edit]