|City||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Branding||America's Pulse 1660|
|Frequency||1660 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||December 2003 (as WFNA)|
|Power||10,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||Boston Concert Network|
|Former callsigns||WBHE (1998-2003)
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(WKIS License Limited Partnership)
|Sister stations||WFNZ, WNKS, WKQC, WPEG, WBAV-FM, WSOC-FM|
WBCN (1660 AM, "America's Pulse 1660") is a radio station licensed to serve Charlotte, North Carolina. The station is owned by Beasley Broadcast Group. The studios are located on South Boulevard in Charlotte's South End and a transmitter is located in West Charlotte.
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. WFNZ must power down to 1,000 watts at night, rendering it all but unlistenable in some parts of the market.
The station was assigned the call letters WBMX on July 29, 2009. It was assigned the WBCN call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on August 12, 2009. 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 WBMX was slated to move from 98.5 FM to WBCN's old position at 104.1 FM. This swap was being made to create a sports talk 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 calls were parked at WFNA, 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 their 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.”
On September 14, 2009, WBCN became "America's Talk", a conservative-leaning 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. Schoening said Air America was not considered since "I don't know if there's an audience." Operations manager D.J. Stout said, "We feel that Charlotte has never really had an alternative when it comes to news talk." Lewis, a former host at WBT, is currently based in Minneapolis and distributed by Premiere Radio Networks. He said, "I think it'll be the stiffest competition WBT has seen in a while." Local newscasts each hour were produced jointly with WCNC-TV. Lewis moved back to WBT in 2011.
On June 21, 2012, The Observer's Mark Washburn reported that WBCN would be one of the charter affiliates of CBS Sports Radio, and will carry that network's programming throughout the day starting on New Year's Day, 2013. WBCN began airing network programming on January 2, 2013. It also airs any Wake Forest or Davidson basketball games that conflict with Charlotte Hornets games on WFNZ.
On October 2, 2014, CBS Radio announced that it would trade all of their Tampa and Charlotte stations (including WBCN), 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.
On September 8, 2015, WBCN changed back to conservative talk, branded as "America's Pulse 1660".
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- Washburn, Mark (2009-09-03). "Talking back: CBS to take on WBT". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-09-05.[dead link]
- Washburn, Mark (2009-08-22). "WPEG stars pay tribute to Nate Quick". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-08-24.[dead link]
- Washburn, Mark. Another sports radio station for Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer, 2012-06-21.
- Washburn, Mark. Charlotte scores another sports station. The Charlotte Observer, 2012-12-27.
- 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.
- WBCN Flipping to Conservative Talk