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|City of license||Knightdale, North Carolina|
|Slogan||More Stimulating Talk Radio|
|First air date||1961 (as WVOT-FM)|
|Callsign meaning||W TalK K|
|Former callsigns||WVOT-FM (1961-1970s)
|Affiliations||Tar Heel Sports Network|
|Owner||Clear Channel Communications|
|Sister stations||WDCG, WKSL, WRDU|
WTKK (106.1 FM), known as "106.1 WTKK, More Stimulating Talk Radio", is a talk radio formatted radio station that serves the Raleigh-Durham market of North Carolina. It is owned and operated by Clear Channel Worldwide. Sister stations include G105, B93.9, and Classic Rock 100.7. WTKK currently airs the Rush Limbaugh Show and Coast to Coast AM, along with shows hosted by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Todd Schnitt.
The station began as WVOT-FM in 1961. It shared a studio / transmitter building on Herring Avenue in Wilson with its AM sister, WVOT 1420 AM. That building burned in 1992. WVOT is now operating from an old house on Jackson Street. In the early days, both WVOT AM & FM largely simulcasted a MOR, full service format until the duo was acquired by Century Communications in the mid-'70s. The FM was renamed WXYY and switched to an automated "Super Rock" format. The AM was named "14VOT" and was quite a hit locally with teenagers, playing a tightly-rotated top 20 lineup.
By 1980, WXYY had switched to country but was still automated. In 1983, the stations were purchased by Voyager Communications. A new tower, which would allow a much better signal into Raleigh, was built west of Wilson in Middlesex. New studios were set up in Raleigh.
Move to the Triangle/WRDU-FM
In August 1984, WXYY went dark in Wilson and came back up from Raleigh as "WRDU 106." The station signed on Labor Day weekend of 1984, playing the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" as its first song. Many of the first on-air personalities migrated over from WQDR-FM, including Bob Walton, Gayle Rancer, Bob Robinson (who was the only original 'RDU staffer still with the station when it went country in 2006) and Tom Guild (who was on the air the night of sign-on). WQDR-FM, after 11 years as an album-oriented rock (AOR) institution, made the switch to a country format a few days after WRDU's debut.
WRDU's early format was AOR-based, with some Hot AC artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Lionel Richie, and the Pointer Sisters added in, probably to soften the sound a bit in anticipation of a duel with crosstown powerhouse WRAL-FM. By the late 80's, the AC tunes were gone and WRDU 106, bolstered by high ratings for its "Reynolds & Silva" morning show, dominated the Triangle ratings. Arguably, the pinnacle of WRDU's success came in the early 90s when it won the Rolling Stone Reader's Poll as "best station of the year" for several straight years starting in 1989. Other airstaff members who worked at the station during the late 80's and early 90's were Donna Reed (Nights); Eric Curry (News), Ron Phillips, (Rock & Roll Classics), Tom Gongaware, Lizz Wall & Paul Jackson.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 brought about many changes to radio, including WRDU. Purchased initially from Voyager Communications Inc. by Hicks, Muse, Tate, & Furst. HMW Communications of Atlanta sold WRDU and WTRG to SFX Broadcasting for $36.8 million in a deal completed in mid-1996. SFX was in turn acquired by Capstar Broadcasting, which was itself taken over by Chancellor Media Corporation, renamed AMFM Inc. When the dust settled in 1999, WRDU was owned by Clear Channel Worldwide. Their Raleigh holdings also included sister stations WDCG, WTRG (now WRDU), and WRSN (now WKSL-FM).
After the initial purchase of the station by SFX broadcasting, the long slow demise of WRDU began. WZZU, also a classic rock station, was brought into the fold when Prism Broadcasting Partners was purchased. With no need for two rock stations in the stable, WZZU was flipped to lite AC as Sunny 93.9 (WRSN). WRDU Program Director Tom Guild was moved to WTRG programming, while former WZZU Program Director Bob Edwards assumed those duties for WRDU. The Silva and the Blade morning show was replaced by the John Boy and Billy Radio Network (From 'ZZU mornings). Bob Robinson (AKA Bob The Blade) was moved to afternoons replacing Brian McFadden. Kevin Silva was fired. Mid-day personality Kitty Kinnin was also released, and replaced by former traffic reporter Mary Lou McGregor. 'ZZU staffer Ted McKay replaced "Mark the Shark" for overnights. A few months later, "Danger Boy" would find himself replaced by WZZU nighttimer Mark Arsen.
More changes at 106.1RDU
On July 4, 2001, the station would shake-up again, flipping from classic rock to mainstream rock. Faltering morning show "John Boy and Billy" would be replaced by "The Bob and Tom Show", a decision made by then Senior VP of Programming Buddy Scott and OM/PD Bod Edwards. John Boy and Billy were relocated to sister Oldies station WTRG-FM. The large male audience for John Boy and Billy followed John Boy and Billy to WTRG-FM. The erosion of this audience was the beginning of the end for WRDU. Mid-dayer Mary Lou would be replaced, ironically, by traffic reporter Ali Davidson. Bob the Blade would retain his position on afternoon drive. The two most shocking changes were the replacement of APD/Night talent Mark Arson with voice tracked air talent. Overnights were handled by Program Director Bob Edwards, while nights were handled by WXTB afternoon jock "Big Rig", pre-recorded and transferred via computer from his home station in Tampa, Florida.
The mainstream rock "experiement" lasted just over one year. In late September 2002, WRDU flipped back to classic rock, and the numbers climbed significantly.
Jimmy Tidwell, Music Director for Clear Channel rock WKLS/Atlanta, was named the new WRDU Program Director July 2003.
Then, Clear Channel Raleigh-Durham got a new Market Manager in Ken Spitzer, inbound from CC Rochester. Clear Channel Regional VP of Programming Jon Robbins was brought in from Charleston, SC to become the OM.
WRDU's numbers continued to see an erosion of the John Boy & Billy audience and Bob and Tom were inconsistent at best since their content had changed significantly due to the Janet Jackson incident on television.
Clear Channel RVP/GM Ken Spitzer and RVPP Jon Robbins exited due to a reorganization of the Region. Morgan Bohannon and Bruce Logan took over the Raleigh market. Bruce Logan hired Chris Shebel as the OM (his second tour of duty at Smoketree) and they flipped WRDU-FM to Country.
106.1 the Rooster/RDU Country
On Friday, October 6, 2006, Clear Channel changed the station's format to country. The station then became known as "106.1 The Rooster", with "Today's Country and the Legends". Syndicated duo John Boy and Billy returned to the Raleigh-Durham market to do mornings on the new station.
On Monday, November 20, 2006, Bob the Blade briefly returned to afternoons on WRDU. However, on November 28, 2006, he abruptly resigned on-air, stating in essence that he couldn't be a country DJ. He then played a Who song, and reportedly walked out of the studio and left the building. The song ("The Song Is Over") was pulled off the air within about 90 seconds, and regular country programming resumed.
Beginning in Summer 2008, 106.1 the Rooster began hosting Bobby J's White Trash Country featuring Bob Dumas of G105 as "Bobby J." Other guests include Mike Morse (Bubba Jr. Jr.) and Creepy John (Tater). The program airs from 7-10pm on Thursdays, consisting of classic country tunes and comedic "redneck" vignettes.
In May 2009, WRDU changed its moniker to "106.1 RDU Country" with a logo similar to one that had been in use for much of its existence as a rock station. Also at this time Bobby J's White Trash Country was changed to Bobby J's Honky Tonk Country and was the only program to originate from the WRDU studios.
WRDU general manager Dick Harlow announced November 2, 2009, that WRDU would change to conservative talk radio in 2010, with Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, with plans for local hosts to air at other times. On November 15, WRDU pulled the plug on its country format and switched to "106.1 RDU Christmas". On January 1, 2010, the station became news/talk as "106.1 Rush Radio."
New arrivals to the Triangle, Wyoming native K.C. O'Dea, and NC native Carmen Conners became co-hosts of the 5:30am to 9:00am morning call in show. In 2011, co-owned WPTI in Greensboro added WRDU's morning show.
In April 2013, WRDU changed its letters to WTKK and dropped the "Rush Radio" brand.
Currently, WTKK is the flagship FM affiliate of the Tar Heel Sports Network, which broadcasts football and basketball games involving the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels. This arrangement came into question following comments made by Rush Limbaugh regarding Sandra Fluke, a law student from Georgetown University. As a compromise, WTKK was asked not to promote the university or the Tar Heel Sports Network during broadcasts of The Rush Limbaugh Show. Likewise, the station will not promote Rush Limbaugh during UNC sports broadcasts.
WTKK also broadcasts Carolina Mudcats games on its HD2 channel, which is part of an expanded broadcast package by the area minor-league baseball team that will include access to various mobile devices.
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- Baysden, Chris (2009-11-02). "Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh under one roof: At WRDU in Raleigh". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Wolf, Alan (November 21, 2009). "Two stations yield to Yuletide". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- "Ask SAM: Straight Answers". Winston-Salem Journal. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
- Venta, Lance (April 1, 2013). "WRDU Returns To Rock Raleigh". Radio Insight. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Cain, Brooke (2012-03-22). "UNC distances itself from Rush Limbaugh". News & Observer. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
- Huffman, Dane (2012-03-21). "WRDU won't promote Rush Limbaugh during UNC broadcasts". WNCN-TV. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
- Best, D. Clay (2011-01-13). "Mudcats' games to be broadcast by 106.1 FM this season, also available on smart phones". News & Observer. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WTKK
- Radio-Locator information on WTKK
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WTKK