WBCN (AM)

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WBCN
CityCharlotte, North Carolina
Broadcast areaCharlotte metropolitan area
BrandingFox Sports Radio Charlotte
Frequency1660 kHz (also on HD Radio)
Translator(s)94.7 W234BY (Charlotte)
Repeater(s)103.7-3 WSOC-HD3
First air dateDecember 2003 (as WFNA)
FormatSports talk
Power10,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
ClassB
Facility ID87037
Transmitter coordinates35°14′56″N 80°51′44″W / 35.24889°N 80.86222°W / 35.24889; -80.86222
Callsign meaningBoston Concert Network
Former callsignsWBHE (1998-2003)
WFNA (2003-2009)
WBMX (7/2009-8/2009)[1]
AffiliationsFox Sports Radio
OwnerBeasley Broadcast Group
(Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC)
Sister stationsWNKS, WKQC, WPEG, WBAV-FM, WSOC-FM
WebcastListen Live
Websitefoxsportsradiocharlotte.com

WBCN (1660 kHz AM) is a commercial radio station licensed to Charlotte, North Carolina which has a sports talk format. WBCN is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group. The studios are located on South Boulevard in Charlotte's South End and the transmitter is located off Mattoon Street in West Charlotte.[2]

WBCN is not licensed to broadcast in HD on 1660 AM, but is rebroadcast on the HD sub-channel of sister station WSOC-FM, as well as FM translator station 94.7 W234BY.[3]

History[edit]

The station signed on in December 2003 as WFNA to help improve the signal range of Charlotte's original all-sports station WFNZ, airing some of that station's programming.[4] WFNZ must power down to 1,000 watts at night, rendering it all but unlistenable in some parts of the Charlotte radio market.

The station was switched its call sign to WBMX on July 29, 2009. A few weeks later, on August 12, it again switched its call letters to WBCN.[1] The assignment of the WBMX and WBCN call letters came as CBS Radio prepared for a radio station shuffle in Boston. WBCN, Boston's longtime rock station, was set to move to a digital-only platform, while 98.5 WBMX was moving to WBCN's old position at 104.1 FM. This swap was being made to create a new Boston sports radio station at 98.5 FM. On August 5, 2009, Mix 98.5 in Boston switched its call letters from WBMX-FM to WBZ-FM, the call letters of the new sports station. The WBMX call letters were parked in Charlotte, while WBCN aired for its final days. Shortly after midnight on August 12, 2009, WBCN signed off, and the WBCN and WBMX call letters were switched to complete the process.

According to The Charlotte Observer, CBS decided to park the WBCN call letters in Charlotte to keep another Boston station from picking them up and trading on the station's 51-year heritage in Boston (including 41 years as a rock station). Bill Schoening, CBS Radio manager for Charlotte, said, "It's very common in the business. It was a major signal with call letters that still have value and heritage.”[5]

Switch to Talk[edit]

On September 14, 2009, WBCN became "America's Talk", a conservative talk radio station featuring syndicated hosts Michael Smerconish, Melanie Morgan, Jason Lewis, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, John Gibson and Phil Hendrie. The target audience was primarily male and ages 25 to 54. Operations manager DJ Stout said, "We feel that Charlotte has never really had an alternative when it comes to news talk." Jason Lewis, a former host at 1110 WBT, said, "I think it'll be the stiffest competition WBT has seen in a while." Local newscasts each hour were produced jointly with NBC affiliate WCNC-TV.[4] Lewis moved back to WBT in 2011.

Switch to CBS Sports[edit]

On June 21, 2012, Mark Washburn of The Charlotte Observer reported that starting in 2013, WBCN would be one of the charter affiliates of the new CBS Sports Radio Network, and will carry that network's programming throughout the day.[6] WBCN began airing network programming on January 2, 2013. It also aired any Wake Forest or Davidson basketball games that conflicted with Charlotte Hornets games on WFNZ.[7]

On October 2, 2014, CBS Radio announced that it would trade all of its Tampa and Charlotte stations, including WBCN, as well as WIP in Philadelphia to the Beasley Broadcast Group in exchange for five stations located in Miami and Philadelphia.[8] The swap was completed on December 1, 2014.[9]

WBCN logo (2015-2017)

On September 8, 2015, WBCN changed back to conservative talk, branded as "America's Pulse 1660".[10]

Switch to Southern Classic Rock[edit]

WBCN logo (2017-2019)

On June 19, 2017, at 6 a.m., WBCN flipped formats to classic rock, branded as "94.7 Smoke", and began relaying on translator W234BY 94.7 FM. The station aired an original playlist, focused on Southern classic rock artists including Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers and Tom Petty, as well as local artists, and some Southern country tracks.[11][12]

It competed with iHeartMedia's longtime Classic Rock outlet WRFX. While WBCN is heard on FM through a 250 watt translator station, WRFX operated with 84,000 watts.

Switch to Fox Sports[edit]

On February 4, 2019, the station returned to a sports format, now with an affiliation with Fox Sports Radio.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
  2. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WBCN
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-10-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b Washburn, Mark (2009-09-03). "Talking back: CBS to take on WBT". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-09-05.[dead link]
  5. ^ Washburn, Mark (2009-08-22). "WPEG stars pay tribute to Nate Quick". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-08-24.[dead link]
  6. ^ Washburn, Mark. Another sports radio station for Charlotte Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. The Charlotte Observer, 2012-06-21.
  7. ^ Washburn, Mark. Charlotte scores another sports station Archived April 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. The Charlotte Observer, 2012-12-27.
  8. ^ CBS And Beasley Swap Philadelphia/Miami For Charlotte/Tampa Archived August 28, 2016, at the Wayback Machine from RadioInsight (October 2, 2014)
  9. ^ Venta, Lance (December 1, 2014). "CBS Beasley Deal Closes". RadioInsight. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  10. ^ WBCN Flipping to Conservative Talk Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Beasley Brings Southern Rock Smoke to Charlotte, RadioInsight, June 20, 2017
  12. ^ Beasley Media Group Launches 94.7 Smoke Charlotte, Beasley Media Group, June 20, 2017
  13. ^ "Smoke Gives Way To Fox Sports In Charlotte" by Lance Venta, February 4, 2019 (radioinsight.com)

External links[edit]