|City of license||Chapel Hill, NC|
|Broadcast area||UNC-Chapel Hill campus|
|Owner||University of North Carolina
(Student Educational Broadcasting, Inc.)
WXYC (89.3 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a college radio format. Licensed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, the station is run by students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The station is currently owned by Student Educational Broadcasting. The station has obtained a construction permit from the FCC for a power increase to 1,200 watts.
The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its signal has been simulcast on the Internet by ibiblio since November 1994 and is credited as having performed the first Internet radio broadcast in the world. It can also be found on iTunes, where, based on listener feedback, it would appear to enjoy some popularity in the UK and the American Northeast among internet listeners.
The station is known for an eclectic variety of content, including (but not limited to): jazz, blues, rock, hip hop, zydeco, metal, electronic music, folk music, bluegrass, country, traditional Asian music, traditional African music, calypso, samba, tejano, mariachi, Latin American music, funk, electroclash, synthpop, pop, cajun, doo wop, reggae, dance hall, classical, classic rock, and almost any other type of music. There is a stated emphasis on music from the 20th century onwards (as opposed to classical), though classical music is played from time to time. Furthermore, there is a conscious attempt to give artists from North Carolina (especially the greater Chapel Hill area) more air time, but local artists do not dominate the content. There are also specialty talk shows that highlight sports, news, and student government at UNC. Specialty music shows exhibit material from UNC's Southern Folklife Collection, music usually considered too erratic, abrasive, or long for regular radio play (even by WXYC's permissive standards), local music, newly released music, and electronic/dance. Additionally, every Thursday night there is a three hour theme show. The theme of this show changes every week, but a few examples include: songs about chickens, music from Mexico, Swing music from occupied Europe, the northern England electronic scene, batucada, music performed by convicted criminals, and Carolina Soul of the 1960s through 1980s.
WXYC's offices and studios are in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union on the campus of the University of North Carolina. WXYC's transmitter is located at the base of the south campus water tower near Morrison Dormitory and its transmitting tower is atop the water tower. WXYC is known for putting on dances throughout the year with various themes, including the 80s, the early 90s, and the best music released in the past year.
Prior to 1977, WXYC was a carrier current station known as WCAR.
In the early 1970s, several UNC residence colleges had their own carrier current stations, such as WMO which broadcast to Morrison Dormitory. Eventually these stations consolidated into one station, WCAR. The WCAR studios were located in the basement of Ehringhaus Dormitory and broadcast to every other dorm via AM frequency 550 kHz. The management of WCAR planned to upgrade the service with the hope of eventually getting an FM license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At that time, it was also hoped that the station would serve as a training ground for future broadcasters and not act solely an outlet for, what was called at the time, "progressive rock."
In order to achieve their ambitious plans, many WCAR staff members ran for Student Legislature (SL). In 1972, a running joke around campus was that the SL was made up of three parties, the liberals, the conservatives, and WCAR. Through the shrewd use of political power, WCAR was allocated the funds necessary to move its studios and offices to the Frank Porter Graham Student Union in 1973. UNC students Jim Srebro, Gary Rendsburg, Jim Bond, Bob Heymann, Randy Wolf, Monte Plott, and George Frye were all instrumental in the upgrading of facilities and doing the preliminary engineering work in order to be licensed as an FM station. A student referendum was held to allocate the necessary funds to formally apply for and build an FM station. Through the work of WCAR volunteers, the referendum passed.
Finally, in 1974, WCAR received its Construction Permit from the FCC to begin building its FM station. Unfortunately, when the UNC Administration realized that this "new" FM station would be licensed with over 10,000 watts of power and therefore could be clearly heard in Raleigh and by the North Carolina General Assembly, they pulled their support for the entire project. The FCC subsequently canceled the Construction Permit.
In response, WCAR's management formed a not for profit corporation, Student Educational Broadcasting, which would be the new licensee of WXYC. Jim Srebro served as the first Chairman of Student Educational Broadcasting, Inc. In the intervening months, however, other new FM stations were licensed by the FCC in North Carolina which forced WXYC to be licensed with its current 400 watts of power. WXYC finally went on the air in 1977.
In 1994 WXYC disc jockey Michael Shoffner set up the station's internet radio broadcast, which runs to this day and is widely considered to be the first such broadcast.
WXYC should not be confused with WUNC, which is also affiliated with the university.
Rick Dees is perhaps the best known WCAR/WXYC alumnus.
Other noted alums include:
- Peter Gammons, Boston Globe sportswriter
- Stuart Scott, coanchor of ESPN SportsCenter
- Ken Lowe, President and CEO of E.W. Scripps Co., who was known in the early 1970s by his WKIX air name of Steve Roddy
- Peyton Reed, director of The Weird Al Show and other films
- Jim Bond, retired founder of the prestigious Washington D.C. broadcast consulting firm of Bond and Pecaro
- Bob Heymann, former NBC and CBS radio announcer and current national radio and TV station broker at Media Services Group
- Randy Wolf, CBS News producer
- John Altschuler, executive producer and writer for King of the Hill
- Deborah Potter, President and Executive Director of NewsLab, and a former correspondent for CBS and CNN, was station manager of WCAR in the early 1970s
- Scott Jacobson, former writer for Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show, current writer for Bob's Burgers
- Tom Maxwell, former member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers
- Dave Brylawski, former Polvo guitarist
- Colin Soloway, Newsweek reporter
- WXYC history at RDU RadioWaves
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WXYC
- Radio-Locator information on WXYC
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WXYC