|City of license||Spring Lake, North Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Fayetteville, North Carolina|
|First air date||1963-05-22|
|Former callsigns||WFBS, WRZK, WPJS, WCIE|
(CRS Radio Holdings Inc)
WFBX (1450 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a Sports radio format. Licensed to Spring Lake, North Carolina, USA, it serves the Fayetteville area. The station is currently licensed to CRS Radio Holdings Inc..
Norman Suttles, a former manager of WFNC, signed on WFBS on May 23, 1963, as the fifth radio station in Cumberland County, North Carolina. The format was Top 40, and announcers included some of the best in the country because the U.S. Army drafted them and sent them to Fort Bragg. Because it had the clearest signal of any station on the base, and because it sounded as professional as a large-market station, WFBS became a major success.
From 1963 to the mid-1970s, the station was owned by Radio Smiles, a group owner of several AM radio stations in North Carolina, including stations in Kinston (WISP), Graham WSML, Raleigh (WRNC) and others.
The station’s original studios and offices were located on the second floor of the Professional Building in downtown Spring Lake. The tower/transmitter site was a former cow pasture on NC Highway 210, one mile north of Spring Lake. .
Between 1966 and 1969, a fire originating in a dentist’s office in the Professional Building destroyed the station’s studios and offices. The station built the new WFBS Broadcast House studio and office building at the transmitter site and moved into it prior to 1969.
In early February 1969, a fire started underneath the control room of the Broadcast House studio building. The fire spread very quickly, fueled by the plastic insulation of cables installed on the underside of the floor, as well as gasoline and a gasoline powered lawnmower stored nearby. The burning plastic rapidly filled the building with dense smoke.
Station personnel tried to save what they could, but the toxic smoke forced them to leave the building with almost nothing. The fire spread from the basement through the studios to the attic. It heavily damaging the back half of the building, collapsed parts of the floor and ceiling, and destroyed the control room, news studio, racks of equipment, and both production rooms. The offices were undamaged by fire, but received substantial smoke damage.
The station resumed broadcasting from a temporary studio in the transmitter building. The station offices were moved to a residential style mobile home temporarily located near the studio building while the building was repaired. Conditions were cramped. The bathtub of the mobile home was used as a makeshift filing cabinet.
In the mid-1970s the station was purchased by Jerry Oakley, its long-time general manager.
In 1980, the station changed to a "soft soul" music format and was very successful for a short time For a period of time between 1980 and 1987, the station was programmed with the Z Rock hardcore metal rock music format, and operated with call letters WRZK.
On June 27, 1988, the station was transferred to Evangel Christian School, Inc. Evangel Christian School changed the call letters to WCIE to match their FM station in Lakeland, Florida, WCIE-FM (91.1). The letters stood for "Where Christ is Everything."
In September 1989 Evangel stopped providing WCIE with programming by satellite, so the station had to increase its original programming from five hours a week to all the time. WCIE was also non-commercial and did not even charge pastors for airing their messages; an annual "Share-a-Thon" provided the station with its funding.
For a period of time prior to October, 1991, the station "went dark" and did not transmit.
On January 18, 1996, the station was sold to W & V Broadcasting.
For nine months prior to February 14, 1999, W & V Broadcasting, owned by William and Vera Hollingsworth, worked to return WCIE to the air. According to general manager Tammie Hollingsworth, WCIE had been off the air two years when it came back as a black gospel station airing the same programming as co-owned WMFA. The station made its return despite a break-in that resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars of equipment.
Late in 1998, WCIE went off the air again because the Highway 210 site was sold to a new owner who did not want the station's tower there. This required the transmitter/tower site to be moved about ¼ mile north to a new location.
Late in 1999, the station was sold to Colonial Radio Group, Inc., owner of WFAI, and the planned format was "1450 The Sports Animal." In 2001, the plan was for sports talk began airing on both WCIE and WFAY, the station which had been WFAI. "ESPN Radio 1450" finally began broadcasting at full power January 1, 2002 after temporarily using 500 watts while various problems were solved. WFAI aired WCIE's programming at night. WCIE aired the area's only local sports-talk show, hosted by Allen Smothers.
Late in June 2002, WCIE became a Spanish language station, the first in the area, with the name "Mexicana Musical 1450 AM," and WFAY took over the sports talk format. The new WCIE format would include Spanish Contemporary, tropical music, banda, ranchera, tejano, salsa, and regional Mexican.
Early in 2004, Roberto Vengoechea became the new general manager, and "La Nueva Radio Latina" included an increased focus on Latin and Caribbean listeners, not just Mexicans. In addition to news and information, WCIE played tropical, salsa, merengue and cumbia music. One reason for the changes: the various ethnic groups on the area military bases.
On May 1, 2006, WCIE became "ESPN 1450." WFAY airs the same programming. The two stations operate under a management agreement between DR Media LLC and C.R.S. Radio Holdings.
In 2000, the original WFBS call letters were adopted by an AM radio station on 1280 kHz in Berwick, Pennsylvania. The Berwick station bought the rights to the original WFBS Radio Smiles jingles from the early 1960s and changed their identity to WFBS, Radio Smiles, with a format of early 1960s music. The station now holds the call sign WBWX.
- 1963 – mid-1970s: Smiles Radio, Inc (Norman Suttles)
- Mid 1970s: Triad Communications (Jerry Oakley)
- Mid 1970s – December 5, 1979: Crest Communications (Jerry Oakley) 
- December 5, 1979 – June 22, 1983: Crest Communications (William Britt) 
- June 22, 1983 – December 30, 1986: Crest Communications (Bobby Moore)
- December 30, 1986 – June 27, 1988: Smiles Radio Inc. (Norman Suttles) 
- June 27, 1988 – January 18, 1996: Evangel Christian School, Inc.
- January 18, 1996 - November 24, 1999: W & V Broadcasting
- November 24, 1999 - April 19, 2001: Colonial Radio Group
- April 19, 2001 – present: WCIE-AM, Inc.
Call sign history
- WFBS: May 22, 1963 - November 1, 1983
- WRZK: November 1, 1983 - June 22, 1987
- WPJS: June 22, 1987 - August 9, 1988
- WCIE: August 9, 1988 - May 29, 2008
- WFBX: May 29, 2008 – Present
- Michael Futch, "Spring Lake Station Dead for a While," The Fayetteville Observer, November 29, 1998
- http://boards.radio-info.com/smf/index.php?topic=82137.0 2010 March 24
- Personal knowledge of this editor.
- Discussions with station manager Jerry England, 1978.
- Discussions with station manager Jerry Oakley, 1966–1969.
- FCC application list at http://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/app_list.pl?Facility_id=19875
- Discussion with station manager, 1980.
- Discussion with former station DJ.
- Ingrid Sauceda, "Christian Station Finds 'Blessing,'" The Fayetteville Observer, November 13, 1989.
- Conversation with former station engineer Terry Jordan, 1991.
- Bonnie Carlson, "WCIE Is Battling Crime to Stay on Air," The Fayetteville Observer, February 23, 1996.
- Michael Futch, "Family Revives Stations with Gospel Music Format," The Fayetteville Observer, April 12, 1996.
- Michael Futch, "Station May Offer New Sports Format," The Fayetteville Observer, August 29, 1999.
- Michael Futch, "WFAY to begin sports talk show," The Fayetteville Observer, June 10, 2001.
- Michael Futch, "All-Sports Radio Station Is on the Air," The Fayetteville Observer, January 20, 2002.
- Michael Futch, "Radio Station to Go Spanish," The Fayetteville Observer, June 22, 2002.
- Michael Futch, "WCIE-AM Grows on Audience," The Fayetteville Observer, February 29, 2004.
- 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.
- http://www.jinglemad.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?6915 2010 March 24
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Shannon 2009 February 20
- http://www.scottshannon.com/html/early.html 2009 February 20
- http://www.440.com/namess1.html 2009 February 20
- http://www.radioandrecords.com/Profiles/Pages/Shannon_S.asp 2009 February 20
- Some former employees of this station
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WFBX
- Radio-Locator Information on WFBX
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WFBX