|City of license||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Slogan||"The Triangles Best Variety"|
|Frequency||101.5 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)
101.5 HD-1: simulcast of Mix 101.5
101.5 HD-2: modern adult contemporary
|Audience share||4.3, #6 (Fa'07, R&R)|
|Owner||Capitol Broadcasting Company|
WRAL (101.5 FM, "Mix 101.5") is an Adult Contemporary music formatted radio station based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Its studios are located in the Highwoods office complex in Raleigh, along with WCMC-FM, a sports talk station that signed on in October 2005. Both stations are owned and operated by Capitol Broadcasting Company, which also owns area CBS affiliate WRAL-TV, Fox affiliate WRAZ-TV, and the Durham Bulls minor-league baseball team, among other properties. Its transmitted from an antenna located on the 1,800 foot level of the WRAL-TV (analog) tower in Garner, North Carolina. The station switches to a Christmas music format during the holidays.
WRAL-FM signed on in 1947 at 95.3, with an ERP of 250,000 watts. It was the second FM station to operate in North Carolina, and the first to operate on the new 88–108 MHz FM band (previous FM stations had been at 42–50 MHz). It was a sister station to WRAL radio (AM 1240, now WPJL), which was sold off in the 1950s The studios were at 130 Salisbury Street, with the transmitter on Davie Street Extension. In 1948, Jesse Helms became the news director.
Instead of rebroadcasting from a partner AM station, WRAL-FM offered its own programming in the form of easy listening music and extensive agricultural reports. Together with WCEC in Rocky Mount and WGBR in Goldsboro, WRAL helped establish a statewide radio network called the Tobacco Radio Network, which connected communities large and small throughout North Carolina. It became the precursor to today's North Carolina News Network, originally based at the WRAL studios but sold to Curtis Media Group in 2009. Eventually, the FM station moved to 101.5.
WRAL-FM switched its musical offerings to AC in the early 1970s, calling itself "WRAL-Stereo 101" and later "WRAL-FM 101.5." The format continues to this day, though at one point the station leaned hot adult contemporary.
On December 10, 1989, an early morning winter ice storm caused the tower it shared with WRAL-TV near Auburn, North Carolina, along with a separate tower for WPTF-TV (now WRDC) to collapse. The station moved its transmission signal to WPTF's former tower near Apex until a new tower was built at the same site the following year. Its effective radiated power was dropped to 96,000 watts to conform to FCC standards since its transmitter was perched further up the tower than before. Despite that, WRAL-FM is often picked up as far west as Wilkesboro and even into Boone, knocking out WQUT's signal out of the Tri-Cities. As far east as Ocracoke, Hatteras and Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks. As far south in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina such as Cheraw, Florence and McBee. As far north as southside Virginia reaching places stretching into Alberta, Altavista, Emporia, Martinsville and Rocky Mount. This often interferes with two Virginia FM stations, WZZI out of Roanoke and WBQB out of Fredericksburg.
On December 20, 2002, the station became the first licensed commercial radio station on the east coast to broadcast its signal in HD Radio. WRAL-HD1 replicates the same music found on Mix 101.5 (mainstream AC), while WRAL-HD2 offered a more modern-leaning playlist. On Monday, June 27, 2005, MIX became the first commercial station in North Carolina and only the second commercial station in the nation (WUSN in Chicago was the first) to utilize the "multicasting" capabilities of HD Radio technology to broadcast multiple digital channels.
On April 23, 2007, WRAL-FM became the flagship station for the NC State Wolfpack, beginning with the 2007–2008 school year. The broadcast rights to football and basketball games belong to Wolfpack Sports Properties, which is jointly owned by Capitol Broadcasting and Learfield Sports. The weekly coaches' shows with Dave Doeren and Mark Gottfried air separately on sister station WCMC-FM.
WRAL-FM was the second station in Raleigh to air the nationally syndicated Delilah nighttime radio show, which it carried from November 2007 until October 2009. WRSN ("Sunny 93.9") had carried the program before that station flipped to Rhythmic AC as "93.9 Kiss FM".
On August 22, 2009, WRAL-FM started to air the Rick Dees Weekly Top 30 (Adult Contemporary) Countdown show on Saturdays at 7 am – 10 am. It also replaced the Delilah program with the John Tesh Radio Show beginning October 5, 2009. Both Dees and Tesh are veterans to Triangle radio, having both worked at WKIX 850 back in the early 1970s, along with current WRAL-TV morning and noon anchor Bill Leslie.
On March 5, 2013, morning radio personality Bill Jordan announced his retirement after 23 years with the station.
On April 2, 2013, WRAL-HD2 changed formats to Contemporary Christian Music, which is an expansion of the "CornerStone" program normally heard on Sunday mornings on WRAL-FM. It is the station's longest-running program, which first aired back in 1984.
WRAL-FM also carries the audio of WRAL-TV5's Six O'Clock News.
WRAL's local ownership gives it a leg up among other Triangle radio stations in terms of public affairs and community involvement, giving it less of a "corporate" feel than its competition. WRAL-FM promotes a number of events throughout the Triangle area that are sponsored by Capitol Broadcasting and its entities.
In April, 2009, the National Association of Broadcasters awarded WRAL its prestigious Crystal Award for community service. The honor, the station’s second in eight years, was given for involvement in many local causes including:
• The Annual Radiothon for Duke Children’s Hospital, through which Mix listeners raised over $1 million in 2008 and over $10 million throughout the event’s history.
• Collecting more than 7000 pounds of food for the Raleigh Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies program.
• Ongoing support of the United State Marine Corp Reserves’ Toys for Tots toy drives.
• Providing free ID cards for Wake County school children.
• Sponsorship of Interact Wake County, the American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Heart Association, the Tammy Lynn Center and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and others.
- "Ratings". Radio and Records. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
- "Raleigh-Durham FM Dial". Archived from the original on 2003-02-01. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "Raleigh-Durham AM Dial". Archived from the original on 2002-10-15. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- http://www.unctv.org/senatorno/peopleevents/events.html, Retrieved on 2008/04/23.
- "HD Radio". WRAL-FM. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- http://www.gopack.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=9200&ATCLID=876362, Retrieved on 2008/04/23.
- Chip Alexander, "Pack, WPTF Part Ways: Wolfpack Moves Football and Men's Basketball from Longtime AM Partner to FM Station, The News & Observer, April 26, 2007.
- http://www.cbc-raleigh.com/division/wsm.asp, Retrieved on 2008/04/23.
- "The Jeff Smith collection". reelradio.com. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "Mix 101.5's Bill Jordan announces retirement". WRAL.com. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- Mix 101.5 WRAL official website
- WRAL-FM history on RDU Radio Waves
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRAL
- Radio-Locator information on WRAL
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRAL