|City of license||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Slogan||"Charlotte's #1 Hit Music Station!"|
|First air date||1962 (as WIST-FM)|
|Format||Top 40 (CHR)|
|Callsign meaning||We Are North Carolina's KiSs!
What's Up North Karolina?! (play on the word "Carolina")
|Former callsigns||WIST-FM (1962-?)
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(WPOW License Limited Partnership)
|Sister stations||WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WPEG, WSOC-FM|
WNKS, known on the air as Kiss 95.1, is a 100,000 watt radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina. It broadcasts at 95.1 MHz from a tower in Dallas, North Carolina, primarily serving the Charlotte metropolitan area. On air programming consists of mainstream top 40 (CHR) music. The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group. The studios are located on South Boulevard in Charlotte's South End, while their transmitter is located in Dallas, North Carolina.
95.1 signed on in 1962 as WIST-FM with a beautiful music format, and was co-owned with WIST (AM 1240). In just a few years, WIST-FM flipped to oldies, one of the first ever in the format. SIS Radio, owners of 61 Big WAYS (610 AM), bought WIST-FM in 1972. That year, WIST-FM changed to progressive rock with the new letters WRNA, eventually becoming WROQ, and went by the moniker "95Q". Among the WROQ/WAYS DJs to become major celebrities were Robert Murphy (who went to greater fame in Chicago), and actor Jay Thomas, who went to KPWR in Los Angeles as the official host of "The Power 106 Morning Zoo". Larry Sprinkle, a WCNC-TV morning weather personality, also worked at the stations. The stations would simulcast in morning drive, while running separate programming the rest of the day. The progressive rock format would evolve into album-oriented rock in the early 1980s.
First Top 40 era
With album rock declining in popularity, WROQ became a CHR station called "The New 95Q" in September 1984. By the late 1980s, WROQ evolved into a Rock-leaning Top 40 format, better known as "Rock 40". Its AM sister station would simulcast WROQ full-time during this time period, though it would break from the simulcast in 1986 to flip to oldies.
On January 20, 1990, after stunting for a day with a loop of "Shock The Monkey" by Peter Gabriel (which even prompted a call to local police services, thinking the station was being taken hostage), the station returned to CHR as WZZG, "Gorilla Radio, The New Z95.1 FM", which was partially inspired by the success of "Pirate Radio" in Los Angeles. By the end of the station's run, the station had a dayparted format of Top 40 during the day and more heavy metal in the evenings. In addition, the station would drop the "Gorilla Radio" portion of the moniker to just be named "Z95.1".
Flip to oldies; second Top 40 era
The return to CHR didn't last long; Adams Radio would buy the station later in 1990. As part of a company-wide initiative, on December 26 of that year, after playing "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, WZZG became WGKL-FM, "Kool 95.1", an automated oldies format utilizing Satellite Music Network's "Kool Gold" format, which emphasized 50s music more than WWMG. The station featured Zippo as its morning host. The simulcast with 610 AM would return during this time. This format, however, would last just a short time.
On September 30, 1991, WGKL began a 7-day stunt with a different format each day, using other formats from Satellite Music Networks (Real Country, Stardust and Starstation), a simulcast of WCNT, and all comedy, with listeners being allowed to vote on the new format. However, at Noon on October 7, the announced result was "None of the above." The station then returned to CHR as WAQQ, "95 Double Q", which started with a "25,000 Songs in a Row, Commercial Free" promotion. The "Double Q" moniker was meant to remind listeners of WROQ (whose call letters were transferred to WCKN in Anderson, South Carolina). The "Double Q" format was more of a mix of Top 40 and alternative rock music, which was starting to become popular during this time.
On January 15, 1994, after a brief stunt with a 10 kHz tone, the station rebranded as "95.1 The Edge", with new WEDJ call letters implemented on February 14. The station was initially a mainstream Top 40, which shifted towards a modern rock lean by the Summer of 1995. However, this backfired, as competition from WEND (which aired a straightforward modern rock format) forced WEDJ to shift back to a mainstream direction by January 1996; around this time, Pyramid Broadcasting would buy the station.
On May 31, 1996, after a brief stunt, WEDJ relaunched as "Kiss 95.1", becoming the second station in Charlotte to use the "Kiss" moniker, the first being WCKZ, which is now current sister WBAV. The first song on the relaunched "Kiss" was "I Go Blind" by Hootie & the Blowfish. The following day, WEDJ changed call letters to the current WNKS to match the "Kiss" moniker. With the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pyramid would merge with Evergreen Media later in 1996. To meet ownership limits imposed by the FCC, WNKS was traded to American Radio Systems in 1997, with Evergreen receiving EZ Communications' Philadelphia stations (EZ would be bought by ARS). ARS would merge with Infinity Broadcasting in 1998, with Infinity changing its name to CBS Radio in December 2005 as part of the spin-off of CBS' motion picture and cable television assets under a relaunched Viacom.
WNKS formerly served as the flagship for the syndicated Ace & TJ Show, which ran on the station from its debut on April 6, 1998 until May 20, 2011, when the duo left due to a contract dispute (they are currently at WHQC).
On October 2, 2014, CBS Radio announced that it would trade its entire Tampa and Charlotte stations (including WNKS), as well as WIP (AM) in Philadelphia to the Beasley Broadcast Group in exchange for 5 stations located in Miami and Philadelphia. The swap was completed on December 1, 2014.
The Kiss logo
WNKS uses the same logo as WXKS-FM ("Kiss 108"), a Top-40 station owned by iHeartMedia and based in Boston, Massachusetts. This dates back to when both stations were owned by Pyramid Broadcasting, and later Evergreen Media.
- http://www.thatwasradio.com/ways.html, Retrieved on February 28, 2008.
- Jeff Borden, "Disc Jockeys to Reunite Here," The Charlotte Observer, October 7, 1988.
- Tim Funk, "WROQ Monkeys With Its Format", The Charlotte Observer, January 20, 1990.
- Joseph Menn, "WGKL-FM Altering Format Again As Adams President Fires All But 2", The Charlotte Observer, August 21, 1991.
- Tim Funk, "What's WGKL Airing Next Week? Charlotte Radio Shuffle," The Charlotte Observer, September 28, 1991.
- http://www.thatwasradio.com/wroq.html, Retrieved on February 28, 2008.
- CBS And Beasley Swap Philadelphia/Miami For Charlotte/Tampa from Radio Insight (October 2, 2014)
- Venta, Lance (December 1, 2014). "CBS Beasley Deal Closes". RadioInsight. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Kiss 95.1 Website
- History of the station
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WNKS
- Radio-Locator information on WNKS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WNKS