|City of license||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Slogan||"Today's Best and Most Continuous Country"|
|First air date||1949 (as WPTF-FM)|
|Audience share||7.8 (Fa'08, R&R)|
|Callsign meaning||QuaDraphonic Rock|
|Former callsigns||WPTF-FM (1949-1970s)|
|Affiliations||MRN Radio, PRN Radio|
|Owner||Curtis Media Group|
|Sister stations||WKIX-FM, WBBB, WBZJ, WWPL, WFNL, WPTF, WPTK|
WQDR-FM (94.7 FM) is a radio station in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, broadcasting to the state's central and eastern regions, including the cities of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Goldsboro. "QDR" presents a country music format and is currently owned by Curtis Media Group.
Durham Life Insurance Company signed on WPTF-FM, then at 94.5 MHz, in 1949. The station, which would later move to 94.7 MHz, transmitted from an antenna atop one of sister station WPTF 680 AM's three towers in what is now eastern Cary, near Interstate 40 East. Both stations were based in downtown Raleigh at 410 Salisbury Street.
WPTF-FM aired a classical music format in the late 1960s and early 70s. WQDR was the brain child of WPTF's Don Fowler, who saw quad stereo as the wave of the future. (QDR stands for quadraphonic). David Sousa was hired as program director. Sousa had worked with Lee Abrams at WMYQ, Miami, Fla. Abrams, Sousa and Robert W. Walker, who worked with Abrams, crearted the music list and program structure that was later known as the "Superstars" format.
WQDR went on the air December 26, 1972 at midnight. The last song on WPTF-FM was "Jingle Bell Rock", while the first on WQDR was "Bitch" by the Rolling Stones. Abrams was a young programmer who began his radio career by answering Top-40 request lines in Detroit. Later, he worked at WQAM, then WMYQ, and at the age of 17 became program director of WRIF FM in Detroit. There, he picked up some of ABC network's approach to FM radio, which was the basis of WQDR's format.
David Sousa was given a free hand in programming the station, and within a year, had the station in double-digit ratings. After that first year, the format (by then named "Superstars") took off, and soon was in over 30 markets around the country. Abrams's big break came when he teamed up with veteran consultant Kent Burkhart, giving him credibility among station owners. WQDR became his first success. Abrams is now in programming for XM Satellite Radio.
In its rock days, WQDR garnered some highly impressive listener ratings. Among the many memorable on-air personalities during the WQDR rock era were David Sousa, Frank Laseter, Mike Koste, Bill Hard, Roger Nelson, Bob Heymann, Steve Mitchell, Mark Silver, John Scott(John Chrystal), Chris Miller, Keith Wilson, Jim Huste, Sean Sizemore (Sean Scott), and Rad Messick. In later years, the airstaff included Greg Wells, Jo Leigh Ferriss, Daniel Brunty, Tom Gongaware, Bob Walton, Rockin' Ron Phillips, Tom Guild, John Lisle, Steve Kahn, Tom Evans, Brian McFadden, Cabell Smith (who was previously WDBS's morning classical DJ), Bob Robinson, and even Pat Patterson, who was hired in 1978 after years at crosstown Top-40 station WKIX to host mornings. In 1981, WQDR's News Department won a Peabody Award for a series produced by News Director Gayle Rancer and Joan Siefert on Vietnam Vets, entitled "Our Forgotten Warriors", an accomplishment almost unheard of at the time for a rock-music oriented radio station and a first for a North Carolina radio station. This extensive and comprehensive investigative news series also reeled in an Ohio State Award and numerous other honors regionally and nationally.
In 1977, the Durham Life group added a television station, Durham-based WRDU-TV channel 28. WQDR would soon join the newly-rechristened WPTF-TV from a 1,200-foot (370 m) tower that stood off Penny Road in Apex.
Despite continued success into the 1980s, rock music on WQDR was not part of Durham Life Broadcasting's plan for WQDR. In the summer of 1984, they announced plans to switch WQDR's format to country in September. This predictably set off a howl of protest from listeners, and added media coverage for the station and its staffers. When Durham Life flipped WQDR to country music in early September 1984, several former announcers and a number of off-air personnel re-appeared on a new station across town, WRDU-FM. The running joke at the time was that WQDR stood for "We Quit Doing Rock".
WQDR's switch to country brought a format formerly found on a smattering of local AM signals under one high-fidelity commercial FM umbrella. Durham Life moved WQDR and WPTF radio from Salisbury Street to new studios at 3012 Highwoods Boulevard in North Raleigh in 1987, where they were joined by WPTF-TV, which moved from studios on NC Highway 54 in Durham. On December 10, 1989, WPTF-TV, broadcasting from a 2,000-foot (610 m) antenna near Garner, lost its tower when it collapsed due to uneven ice thawing. WPTF-TV returned to their former Apex site with WQDR, to be joined by WRAL-FM, whose site on the WRAL-TV tower was also destroyed that same day. When WRAL-TV and WPTF-TV re-built a common tower at the Garner site, both radio stations soon moved there. Since that tower placement substantially increased WQDR's antenna height, their broadcast power was reduced to 95 kilowatts in order to conform to the FCC's Class "C" FM station parameters. In 1991, Durham Life divested its broadcast properties, with WQDR and sister AM station WPTF going to what is now the Curtis Media Group.
WQDR's morning radio team, dubbed "The Q Morning Crew," features Mike Wheless and Mike Raley. From 2004 to 2006 The Q Morning Crew also included the country singer Heather Green. After Green's exit, the show added broadcasting newbie Janie Carothers and Marty "The One Man Party" Young to the lineup. It is one of the most popular morning radio shows in the Research Triangle.
Some of the notable radio announcers that used to work at the radio station included long-time employee and morning man Jay Butler, Donna Reed and Dan Robins.
WQDR-FM is a Primary Entry Point (PEP) station for the Emergency Alert System.
- "Raleigh-Durham Market Ratings". Radio & Records.
- "WQDR Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WQDR Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- Ranii, David (2011-10-17). "WQDR honored by Country Music Association". News & Observer. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
- Baysden, Chris (2011-02-08). "Curtis moves NASCAR from WQDR to WPTF". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- Davis, Richard (January 1997). "Wake-up Man Does Stand-up Job as Farmer, Comic". North Carolina Farmer. pp. 10,11.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WQDR
- Radio-Locator information on WQDR
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WQDR