WSOC-FM

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WSOC-FM
City of license Charlotte, North Carolina
Broadcast area Charlotte/Metrolina
Branding 103.7 WSOC
Slogan Country's Hottest Hits
Frequency 103.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date 1947
Format Country
ERP 100,000 watts
HAAT 411 meters
Class C
Facility ID 20339
Callsign meaning Dual meaning:
Sounds Of Charlotte
We Serve Our Community
(both originally taken from WSOC-AM; see WSOC-TV)
Owner CBS Radio
(CBS Radio Stations Inc.)
Sister stations WBAV, WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, WKKT, WVBZ, WHQC, WLKO, WOSF
Webcast Listen Live
Website wsocfm.com

WSOC-FM 103.7 is a country radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina. The station is owned by New York City-based CBS Radio. Its primary competitor in the country format is 96.9 The Kat. Broadcast personalities include Tanner in the Morning, Catherine Lane, Charlie and Debbie, and Big Sexy. The studios are located on South Boulevard in Charlotte's South End and a transmitter is located in East Charlotte near Reedy Creek Park.

Although WSOC shares its call sign with the city's ABC affiliate WSOC-TV (Channel 9), the TV station is owned by Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.

In September 2011, WSOC-FM re-branded its image from "103.7 WSOC - Charlotte's #1 Country" to "The New 103.7 - Country's Hottest Hits".

History[edit]

1970s[edit]

WSOC-FM became a country radio station in 1971.[1]

Don Bell worked at WSOC-FM from 1975 to 1987, hiring many of the station's most popular announcers, and working on the air as well. He played a major role in making WSOC one of Charlotte's top radio stations. Before moving to Charlotte, Bell worked at KFRE and KMJ in Fresno, California and WIOD in Miami, Florida.[2]

In 1977, despite a consultant's view that Country would never be a viable FM format, Bell moved forward with his plans to take WSOC off an automated system and go live from morning to night. Longtime veteran John Harper was replaced with morning show host Bob Call. Call, who thought he was auditioning for a spot on WSOC's AM station, decided to take the job even though he had no knowledge, and at that time, appreciation for country music. Bill Ellis, who started at WSOC as a copywriter in 1975, was given helicopter traffic duties and served as the station's mid-day announcer.[citation needed]

Country music was evolving, and its popularity grew as the result of the movie Urban Cowboy. WSOC-FM was getting ready for big changes.

Edd Robinson moved to afternoons on WSOC-FM in 1979 after 11 years at WAME, which had changed formats. He remained at WSOC until late 1987.[3] Bob Brandon, who also had worked on WAME was hired by Bell in 1981 to do the evening shift. He remained with the station until 1986. He also briefly did a stint under Paul Johnson in 1995-1996.

1980s[edit]

In 1980, Bob Call took the job as Program Director at KYGO Denver and WSOC-FM hired Bill Dollar as its morning host. Dollar had worked for WGST in Atlanta, Georgia and was familiar with WSOC-FM owner Cox Enterprises. He wanted to start his own station in Boone, North Carolina and had no plans to stay long. Bell said he liked Dollar's voice and warmth, and the fact that he wasn't funny, unlike so many morning hosts. Bell wanted WSOC-FM to be full service radio like WBT, combining information and entertainment.

In 1982, Dollar succeeded Robert Murphy of WAYS/WROQ, and unlike Murphy, he did it without attacking PTL, often called "Pass the Loot" by its critics. Dollar did not even take advantage of the situation when PTL experienced scandal in 1987.[4]

On June 29, 1987, Bill Ellis did his midday show for the last time before leaving to do the morning show for WSSL-FM in Greenville, South Carolina after 11 years at WSOC-FM. Program director Paul Johnson said Ellis would likely not have replaced Dollar anytime soon, so if he wanted to be a morning host, he had to go elsewhere. Ellis went on to host WSSL (Whistle 100's) Ellis and James Show, garnering 5 CMA Broadcast nominations. Ellis is currently host of the Ellis and Bradley Show. Bill Ellis was hired on at WSSL by former WSOC general sales manager John Cullen who had become WSSL's general manager.[5]

For seven years, Dollar was Charlotte's top DJ, and in October 1989 after three nominations, he received the Broadcast Personality of the Year award (medium markets) from the Country Music Association.[6]

In Fall 1989, Dollar returned to the no. 1 position after John Boy and Billy replaced him in the summer, a ratings period during which the market's top station lost to WPEG.[7][8]

1990s[edit]

In 1991, WPEG became Charlotte's top station and remained in that position, though WSOC was still one of the top country stations in the United States.[9]

In 1992, Cox sold WSOC-AM and WSOC-FM but kept the TV station. The FM station went to EZ Communications (owner of WMXC), and the AM to Bible Broadcasting Network.[10]

In August 1994, Dollar had been WSOC's morning host for 14 years, the longest of anyone in Charlotte. But Dollar's ratings with 25-54 listeners were way down, and he returned from vacation, on his 44th birthday, to find he had been moved to middays, replaced in the morning by Paul Schadt and Cindy O'Day. Program director Paul Johnson said the change would attract more younger listeners with " a more contemporary face" and "energy, entertainment and fun." The station tried to claim Dollar asked for the change, but he would not confirm that.[11]

Claire B. Lang replaced O'Day as Schadt's co-host in October 1996. She had previously been a newsreader on John Boy and Billy's show. Johnson called her "outrageous." She would continue as "Inside NASCAR" host on The Nashville Network as well as covering NASCAR for Sports Illustrated.[12]

Dollar was killed in a head-on collision near Gastonia, North Carolina in November 1996, and WSOC declared a day of mourning.[13] Music director Rick McCracken, who also worked overnights, took Dollar's slot temporarily and later returned to late night. Mike Terry, who had hosted middays before, moved back to that slot to replace Dollar, and Jason Dean took over afternoons from Terry. Dean had hosted "The Nite Shift" from Los Angeles on the Blair Garner "After Midnight Entertainment" network, and he had also worked in San Francisco and Detroit. John Crenshaw's "Country Heartlines" continued in the evenings.[14]

In December 1997, Schadt moved to WKKT after 16 years at WSOC,[15] and in February 1998, WSOC fired Schadt's partner Lang. WSOC was still number two in Charlotte, and hoping to stay that way, when the station added Big Paul and Aunt Eloise of WTQR in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The two morning hosts intended to go back and forth between the two stations, and syndication to more stations was considered. "Big Paul" Franklin was from Gastonia, while the identity of Aunt Eloise remained a mystery.[16] In October 2008, "Aunt Eloise" was revealed to be Toby Young after he was fired from WTQR.[17] The pairing lasted eight months. Dave Temple and Terry Blake took over.

2000s[edit]

In Fall 2000, WSOC was no. 12 in the Charlotte market, while WKKT was no. 5. Infinity Broadcasting, the latest owner, needed to make changes. Kevin O"Neal became program director and WSOC brought back 12 songs in a row, hired top Columbia, South Carolina personality Jeff Roper as morning host (with Blake as sidekick).

The strategy worked. In Summer 2001, WSOC was Charlotte's top station for the first time in about 10 years.[18]

Roper's Morning Show was named 2003 Country Music Association Broadcast Personality of the Year (large markets) in 2003.[1]

Roper made it to number two among morning hosts in the ratings[19] and left the station as Program Director at #2 in the ratings, behind WLYT (adult contemporary/Christmas music). Roper returned to Columbia to sign on on a new station, WWNU.

On February 24, 2009 the Academy of Country Music announced that WSOC had won the major market radio station of the year.

2010s[edit]

Catherine Lane, midday personality for WSOC-FM, was nominated for On-Air Personality of the Year by ACM's.

Charlotte Observer writer Mark Washburn calls Tanner "one of the most successful figures in the history of country radio in Charlotte." [20]

In September 2011, 103.7 WSOC re-branded to The New 103.7, changing from "Charlotte's #1 Country" to "Country's Hottest Hits". Their official colors went from yellow, blue and black to blue, black and white. [21]

Tanner in the Morning welcomed co-host Guenn Schneider on October 4, 2012. Previously, she worked for CBS Radio sister stations Kiss 95.1 and K 104.7.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mark Price, "Roper Snags Top CMA Award - WSOC-FM Morning Host Wins As Broadcast Personality of the Year," The Charlotte Observer, October 5, 2003.
  2. ^ Mark Washburn, "Funeral Service Set for Radio's Bell - Ex-Program Manager Led WSOC, Was Active in Humanitarian Work," The Charlotte Observer, February 2, 2002.
  3. ^ Jeff Borden, "WSOC Shocked by Resignation of Afternoon Drive Disc Jockey," The Charlotte Observer, January 1, 1988.
  4. ^ Jeff Borden, "Born to Be Mild - Charlotte's No. 1 Deejay, Bill Dollar, Has Taken the Middle Road to the Top," The Charlotte Observer, May 14, 1989.
  5. ^ Jeff Borden, "Bill Ellis Joins S.C. Radio Station," The Charlotte Observer, July 1, 1987.
  6. ^ Tony Brown, "Keeping Win Quiet Was Tough, Bill Dollar Says," The Charlotte Observer, October 12, 1989.
  7. ^ Tony Brown, "John Boy, Billy Dethrone Dollar," The Charlotte Observer, October 13, 1989.
  8. ^ Tony Brown, "DJ Bill Dollar Is No. 1 Again in Mornings," The Charlotte Observer, January 13, 1990.
  9. ^ Mark Washburn, "WSOC's Fall From Radio Grace: Top Dog to Underdog," The Charlotte Observer, April 1, 2001.
  10. ^ Jennifer Ffrench Parker, "WSOC Says Swap Will Change Little," The Charlotte Observer, September 30, 1992.
  11. ^ Tim Funk, "Station's Switch Puts Dollar on Air Later, in Midday Slot," The Charlotte Observer, August 25, 1994.
  12. ^ Kay McFadden, "WSOC-FM Adds Morning Co-Host: Claire B. Lang," The Charlotte Observer, The (NC) - October 10, 1996.
  13. ^ Kay McFadden, "Fans Mourn Death of DJ Bill Dollar - Wreck Kills Award-Winning Radio Veteran," The Charlotte Observer, November 23, 1996.
  14. ^ Kay McFadden, "WSOC-FM Kicks Off Some Changes in Talent Lineup," The Charlotte Observer, March 25, 1997.
  15. ^ Mark Price, "Country DJ Schadt Moves to WKKT-FM," The Charlotte Observer, January 8, 1998.
  16. ^ Jeri Rowe, "Big Paul and Aunt Eloise: Charlotte to Air WTQR Show," Greensboro News & Record, February 26, 1998.
  17. ^ [1]"WTQR Fires Aunt Eloise," Winston-Salem Journal, October 4, 2008
  18. ^ Mark Washburn, "WSOC Regains Top Spot - Station Credits Contests, NASCAR, and a New Morning Show for Gains," The Charlotte Observer, October 25, 2001.
  19. ^ "Radio Ratings Changes," The Charlotte Observer, January 23, 2005
  20. ^ "The New 1037". All Voices. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  21. ^ "The New 1037". The New 1037. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°15′07″N 80°41′10″W / 35.252°N 80.686°W / 35.252; -80.686