|City of license||Kannapolis, North Carolina|
|Branding||99.7 The Fox|
|Slogan||Charlotte's Best Classic Rock|
|Frequency||99.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||September 1964 (as WRKB-FM)|
HD2: Vinyl Vineyard
|Callsign meaning||We're Radio FoX or We ARe FoX|
|Former callsigns||WRKB-FM (1964-1982)
|Owner||Clear Channel Communications|
|Sister stations||WEND, WHQC, WKKT, WLKO|
WRFX is a classic rock music station in Charlotte, North Carolina. Owned by Clear Channel Communications, its transmitter is located in East Charlotte and its studios are located on Woodridge Center Drive in South Charlotte.
It is the flagship for the John Boy and Billy Big Show, the well-known morning show that is syndicated around the country.
The 99.7 spot on the FM dial began operations in September 1964 as WRKB-FM, licensed to Kannapolis, North Carolina. The station was owned by former WGTL-870 Chief Engineer and Radio/TV Repair Shop owner Foy T. Hinson, who also served as General Manager and Chief Engineer.
Initially licensed with 3,000 watts on a 150-foot (46 m) tower, the station covered most of Cabarrus County, NC and Rowan County, NC, but little beyond. The station was the companion station to WRKB-1460 AM, and duplicated the AM station's daytime-only operation, only separating from the AM station to carry high school sports in the evenings.
The station's first studios were located at 101 West 1st Street in Kannapolis, on the second floor of a Jewelry Shop in a building owned by Cannon Mills. In 1967, the station built a 320-foot (98 m) tower and increased the FM power to 10,000 watts. The early format was Easy Listening/Block Programming and was programmed by Bob Lee. With the additional power and tower height, the station could be heard from Charlotte in the south to Lexington in the north.
On weekday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00pm, the station played Top 40 music, on a program called Tunes For Teens. Early in 1969, Foy T. Hinson died from lung cancer, and his wife, Gertrude Hinson began to manage the station. Her management tenure was short-lived, and in 1971 the WRKB stations were sold to former gospel singer Bill Hefner and partner Cabarrus County judge Robert L. Warren. Upon taking control of the stations, the operating hours of WRKB-FM were extended to 1:00am nightly and the stations launched a full-time Country Music format. Popular disc jockeys during this time were Randy Whitley, Kip Yates, Tracey Hudson, David Roberts, George Berry and Randy Turner, the latter of whom would return to the station 15 years later as Animal R. O'Boogie.
On July 12, 1976 the stations commenced broadcasting from its studio/transmitter complex at 910 Fairview Street in Kannapolis, and WRKB-FM began operating in stereo. Less than a month later, the programming of the AM station was separated from that of the FM station. About a year later, the PTL Club brokered the overnight hours on WRKB-FM, to make it a 24-hour operation.
On May 15, 1982 the station began an Adult Contemporary format aimed at gaining new listeners in Charlotte. One month later, the station changed the call letters to WJZR. Downs Radio, Incorporated bought WJZR-FM in June 1983. New owner/General Manager Paul Downs extensively improved the station technically, and built out the station's existing construction permit for a power increase to 50,000 watts, significantly improving its coverage in Charlotte. Simultaneous with the August, 1983 power increase, the format flipped from Adult Contemporary to Top 40. The station was then known as Z-100 on the air.
In late 1985, the WJZR transmitter moved to a 1,000-foot (300 m) tower near Enochville in Rowan County, and the power increased to the legal maximum 100,000 watts. The station made the change to WRFX "99.7 The Fox" and album-oriented rock in 1986. Later that year John Boy and Billy were hired as morning hosts. The show began airing nationally in 1993 out of WRFX's studios.
In the early 2000s, WRFX was the flagship station of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. It picked up sports programming again from 2008 to 2011, simulcasting North Carolina Tar Heels basketball with formerly co-owned WFNZ to compensate for the latter's poor nighttime signal.
- Jeff Borden, "WJZR Trades Old Format for New Sound, Name," The Charlotte Observer, April 15, 1986.
- Jeff Borden, "WRFX Radio to Reunite John Boy and Billy Team," The Charlotte Observer, August 21, 1986.
- "WRFX will carry NASCAR". The Salisbury Post. 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
- Official website
- Another Useful Site on Charlotte Radio
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRFX
- Radio-Locator information on WRFX
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRFX