|City||Gastonia, North Carolina|
|Slogan||Charlotte's Best Variety Of Classic Hits & Today's R&B|
|Frequency||101.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1947 (as WGNC-FM)|
|Format||Urban Adult Contemporary|
|Callsign meaning||The V from WBAV is used in branding: V101.9
Best Adult Variety (reflecting slogan and format)
|Former callsigns||WGNC-FM (1947-1978)
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(Beasley Media Group, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBCN, WFNZ, WKQC, WNKS, WPEG, WSOC-FM|
WBAV-FM (101.9 FM, "V101.9") is an Urban Adult Contemporary radio station serving the Charlotte, North Carolina market. Owned by Beasley Broadcast Group, WBAV's studios are located on South Boulevard in Charlotte's South End, and a transmitter is located in Gastonia (its city of license).
The station signed on in 1947 as WGNC-FM. It was locally owned by the McSwain Family. The station was a full simulcast of co-owned WGNC-1450 AM and was the only FM station ever licensed to Gastonia. The station normally ran a broadcast day of 5:00 AM to 12:00 midnight until the late 1970s, when it began operating 24 hours daily.
In 1975, it broke off from its AM sister and began airing an automated adult contemporary format. The call letters were changed to WZXI in 1978. The station was one of three soft adult contemporary stations in the Charlotte market. Protests over the programming change by WEZC in December 1982 led WZXI to change to beautiful music.
On January 22, 1988, shortly after Beasley Broadcasting bought the station, WLIT became WCKZ, better known as "The All New Kiss 102 FM". "Kiss" aired a "CHUrban" format, which is the precursor to what is now known as Rhythmic Contemporary. Artists included Lionel Richie, Shalamar, Chicago, Lisa Lisa, Phil Collins and Jody Watley. The station also increased its transmitter's power on Crowder's Mountain and moved its studio from Gastonia to Charlotte. However, due to rival WPEG's increase in power, as well as increased competition from WAQQ, the station began falling in the ratings, as well as financial troubles, resulting in the station filing for bankruptcy in 1992. In late 1993, Beasley announced they would sell WCKZ to Broadcasting Partners Inc. (BPI), who recently purchased WPEG. A local group, Citizens for Broadcasting in the Public Interest, started a petition to stop the sale, but the sale was approved in mid-January 1994. BPI decided to merge WCKZ's rhythmic format with WPEG in order to eliminate the competition between the two stations. (The "Kiss" moniker, though with a more Mainstream Top 40 format, would be relaunched on 95.1 FM in May 1996.)
On January 24, 1994, at 2 p.m., WCKZ flipped to Urban AC, branded as "V 101.9." New WBAV-FM call letters would be adopted on January 24. (The WBAV call letters were assigned on February 11 to co-owned station WGIV. Following a format change, the AM station returned to the WGIV call letters in May 1997.)
Broadcasting Partners would merge with Evergreen Media in May 1995. In December 1996, as part of a multi-market swap, WBAV (as well as Evergreen's 4 other Charlotte stations) was traded to EZ Communications (owners of WSOC-FM and WSSS; WRFX would then go to SFX Broadcasting), with Evergreen receiving EZ Communications' Philadelphia stations WIOQ and WUSL in return (EZ would then be bought by American Radio Systems in July). ARS would be bought out by Infinity Broadcasting on September 19, 1997, with Infinity changing its name to CBS Radio in December 2005 as part of the spin-off of CBS' motion picture and cable television assets under a relaunched Viacom.
WBAV-FM was the only Urban Adult Contemporary station owned by CBS Radio. Charlotte was also the only market where CBS Radio operated two full service urban stations. On October 2, 2014, CBS Radio announced that it would trade all of their Tampa and Charlotte stations (including WBAV), as well as WIP in Philadelphia to the Beasley Broadcast Group in exchange for 5 stations located in Miami and Philadelphia. The swap was completed on December 1, 2014. The trade brought the 101.9 frequency back to its former owners for the first time since 1993.
- Jeff Borden, "Relax: Beautiful Music Is Back," The Charlotte Observer, June 29, 1987.
- Jeff Borden, "Soft Rock Station to Change Format, The Charlotte Observer, January 16, 1988.
- Tim Funk, "Station Targets Black Adults with New Format, Ownership," The Charlotte Observer, January 26, 1994.
- Kay McFadden, "Plugged In - Black Charlotte Radio Flourishes by Remaining Tuned in to the Community," The Charlotte Observer, October 26, 1997.
- Mark Washburn and Tonya Jameson, "No. 1 Morning Radio Show Swaps Stations in Charlotte," The Charlotte Observer, January 23, 2004.
- CBS And Beasley Swap Philadelphia/Miami For Charlotte/Tampa from Radio Insight (October 2, 2014)
- Venta, Lance (December 1, 2014). "CBS Beasley Deal Closes". RadioInsight. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- WBAV-FM Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WBAV
- Radio-Locator information on WBAV
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WBAV