|City of license||Fayetteville, North Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Fayetteville, North Carolina|
|Branding||ESPN Radio 1230|
|Slogan||Fayetteville and Ft. Bragg's Radio Home for Local Sports|
|First air date||1947|
|Callsign meaning||W FAYetteville|
|Owner||CRS Radio Holdings Inc|
WFAY (1230 AM) is a radio station licensed to serve Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA. The station is owned by CRS Radio Holdings Inc. WFAY broadcasts a Sports radio format that serves the Fayetteville area.
WFAI signed on in 1947.
Jack Lee bought WFAI in 1960, and his "Open Mike" may have been the first talk show in Fayetteville. Danny Highsmith hosted "Talk Back" in the 1970s. "Talk Back" aired from 10–11 am Monday to Friday. Lee had worked with Joy Pyne in Delaware, and her show was on WFAI at one time. Curt Nunnery hosted "Curt's Coffee Club" from 1960 to 1991, later moving the show to WFLB.
WFAI was owned by Beasley Broadcasting in late 1970s and early 1980s. In the 1970s, WFAI carried ABC Radio News from the American Entertainment Radio Network. The radio station slogan as a country station was "Fayetteville's Friend WFAI." Other slogans used were "WFAI Plays Favorites" coming out of ABC news at the bottom of the hour and the Station ID was "A Proud Part of the Beasley Broadcast Group, WFAI Fayetteville, NC". The line up on WFAI in the mid to late 1970s was Rudy Hickman 6-10, Smoky King 10-2, Terry Jordan 2-6, and Scott Matthews 6 to midnight. Also on the air was Ted Harris, who had come from WFNC; Mike Edwards, who had come from WHPY Clayton; and overnights 12-6 was Mike Huffman. Bob Brandon, who was in high school, went under the name Bob Clark at that time, and worked weekends. He went on to WFNC Fayetteville, and later, WSOC-FM in Charlotte. Bob Lee Chilcote handled Sunday mornings. Such programs as Fort Bragg Public Affairs, FCCYC, and Country Crossroads aired. Using the name "Bob Lee" and his show was "Turn Your Radio On" from 9–10:30 am, Bob played southern gospel music and used the Ray Stevens' song "Turn your Radio On" as the theme. Woody Gosnell usually handled the Sunday afternoons from 12–6 pm. One of the Sunday standards was Terry Jordan's "At the Console" in which he played organ music both church oriented and classical, recorded at various churches in the Fayetteville area. "At the Console" aired from 10:30–11 am. From 11–12 noon a church service aired live. In the area of local news, the standard bearer was Johnnie Joyce, having come over from WFBS Spring Lake, whose newscasts aired from 5:30 am to 9:30 am each day Monday to Friday and also in the afternoons, with updates as needed. Sue Morrison, a graduate of the Radio TV program at CCTI, now CCCC in Sanford, provided those news updates in the late 1970s. In the 1970s WFAI also carried Winston Cup NASCAR races,now known as Sprint Nextel racing, which at that time was provided by MRN the Motoring Racing Network.
In 1980, WFAI became a Mutual Broadcasting System affiliate of the Larry King Show, which aired from 12 midnight to 5 am. WFAI management cancelled the show after numerous complaints from its country listening audience. As a country station, WFAI was a reporting station for Billboard magazine and had been awarded numerous platinum and gold records for its contribution to country music. In summer of 1981, WFAI hosted a free country concert. The top act was Ronnie McDowell. The opening act was Alabama. In the early 1980s the on-air staff included Tim Williams, Mike Kirchen, Mike Hankey. Keith Cramer [Keith Eckhardt], worked overnights until he graduated from Westover Sr. High.
On March 1, 1991, WFAI changed from music of the big band era to traditional gospel music targeting African-American listeners. Station owners Henry Hoot and Rev. Gardner Altman also owned WFLB, which played more contemporary gospel music. WFAI would play Shirley Caesar, Willie Neal Johnson and The Gospel Keynotes, and the Rev. James Cleveland, while WFLB would play The Kingsmen, Chuck Wagon Gang and The Bishops. Station manager Rosa "Lady Gospel" Freeman said the station's announcers would be Don Reid, Bob Gay, Omega Sutton, Danny Davis and Dwayne Collins, and that WFAI would also have area ministers.
Jeff Andrulonis and Colonial Radio Group bought WFAI from Altman in 1995 and changed it to news/talk. At the time, it had Spanish language broadcasts at night. The station began airing Michael Reagan and Oliver North, "Fayetteville's Morning News," and sports broadcasts including the Carolina Panthers, North Carolina State, and college and professional basketball playoff games. After a year, "The Fort" made changes to de-emphasize "political" talk. Gary Burbank was added and Reagan and Pete Rose were dropped. WFAI later added The Fabulous Sports Babe and G. Gordon Liddy.
Madeleine Raymond hosted a controversial, often sexually-oriented talk show from 1997 to 1999, with a target audience that included men on the nearby military bases.
WFAI became WFAY and dropped the "Fort" name in 2000 as part of an image change, though the station kept its talk format.
WFAY changed to mostly ESPN Radio in 2002 with drive-time sports talker Ryan Kilbane taking over as Operations Director. WFAY also carried Shaw University football games in 2004 through the Shaw Bear Sports Radio Network as Shaw won the CIAA Championship and Pioneer Bowl that year.
On April 17, 2008 WFAY returned to a Sports radio format, broadcasting the ESPN Radio Network and some local programming. WFBX ESPN 1450 Spring Lake airs the same programming. The two stations operate under a management agreement between DR Media LLC and C.R.S. Radio Holdings.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- Michael Futch, "Recalling the First Call-in," The Fayetteville Observer, March 18, 2001.
- Michael Futch, "Familiar Sound Back on Radio," The Fayetteville Observer February 16, 1997.
- Dr. Anthony Ross Harrington, 1977 Intern from CCTI Sanford at WFAI Former BPT Instructor at CCCC Triton High School 1988-1999 and Lead History Instructor at CCCC 1999-2013 retired.
- David Bourne, "WFAI-AM Goes Gospel on Friday," The Fayetteville Observer, February 28, 1991.
- Michael Futch,"Radio Station to Go Spanish," The Fayetteville Observer, June 22, 2002.
- Michael Futch, "New Owner Has Big Ideas for Small Station," The Fayetteville Observer, March 1, 1996.
- Michael Futch, "WFAI Owner Is Changing Station's Tune," The Fayetteville Observer, December 8, 1996.
- Author: Michael Futch,"WFAI Radio to Carry Liddy Show, The Fayetteville Observer, September 7, 1997.
- Michael Futch, "Talk Show Host Leaves 'The Fort'," The Fayetteville Observer, March 28, 1999.
- Michael Futch, "Kiss Makes Its Niche with Love Songs," The Fayetteville Observer May 21, 2000.
- Michael Futch, "Local Sports Talk Station May Be Near," The Fayetteville Observer, January 14, 2001.
- Michael Futch, "WFAY to Begin Sports Talk Show," The Fayetteville Observer, June 10, 2001.
- Michael Futch, "AM Station WFAY Sold to Hispanic Radio Group," The Fayetteville Observer, January 27, 2006
- Michael Futch, "ESPN Radio’s return cuts Spanish format," The Fayetteville Observer, April 23, 2008
- Michael Futch, "ESPN Sports Talk Returns to WCIE," The Fayetteville Observer May 7, 2006; Michael Futch, "Local sports plays out on the radio," "The Fayetteville Observer" June 29, 2010.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WFAY
- Radio-Locator Information on WFAY
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WFAY