|City||Kings Mountain, North Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Charlotte, NC area|
|ERP||25,000 watts day
106 watts night
|Callsign meaning||What Do You Think|
WDYT (1220 AM) is a silent radio station licensed to Kings Mountain, North Carolina, serving the Charlotte, NC area. The station is currently owned by CRN Communications, LLC. According to an FCC filing, Iglesia Nueva Vida is buying the station. The format is expected to change to Spanish.
Jonas Bridges joined WKMT in Kings Mountain when it signed on in 1953, eventually becoming the owner. He never attempted to compete with large FM stations, focusing instead on making WKMT a good local station. The white concrete building built in the 1920s once was home to a "beer joint" which someone actually was looking for after the station had been there 15 years.
Veteran announcer Hugh Dover of Shelby joined WKMT in 1984. Dover had spent the previous 38 years as the morning man on WOHS in Shelby, signing the station on the air in 1946. The popularity of Dover's "Carolina in the Morning Show" on WOHS carried over to his "Hugh Dover Get Together" on WKMT. Dover would describe his 1-3pm show as an "informal get together with the radio audience in which we play southern gospel music, put on information about school, civic, and church activities, as well as entertaining our sick and shut in friends." Dover continued with WKMT until his death in 1998. Ending 52 years on the airwaves of Cleveland County.
During the 1990s, Tommy Faile of Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks was a DJ on WKMT. His sidekick was Curly Howard, who also did the morning show. Howard spent 18 years at WKBX in Winston-Salem and later worked at WCGC and WSVM. He was known for being just like his listeners, even hanging out at the store with them.
Bridges sold WKMT in November 2004 to Geddings & Phillips Broadcasting, who planned to continue programming that included country and gospel music, high school football and basketball, and Kings Mountain city council meetings. Jim Arp would remain as a DJ after more than 35 years.
When Kevin and Kris Geddings switched the format of WXNC radio to talk, they announced WKMT would change to a simulcast of most of WXNC's programming. This would allow programming such as CNN News to be heard at night in some areas when WXNC was off the air. Soon after WXNC's change to talk, though, that station switched to Spanish language programming and WKMT was country again.
Three years after WBT (AM) and Danny Fontana parted ways, Danny Fontana announced he would buy WKMT. The station had received permission in May 2005 to increase its power from 1000 to 10,000 watts during the day to better cover Charlotte, and the station also was applying for a new tower location.
In April 2006, CRN completed the purchase of WKMT from Geddings & Phillips Broadcasting. The station's signal was 1000 watts during the day and 106 watts at night. An increase to 25,000 watts during the day was planned, with an eventual signal improvement at night.
Jon Robinson, former co-host of "Charlotte's Morning News" on WBT, and Liz Luke, previously an anchor on the WWMG morning show, co-hosted the first morning show, "Think Mornings." Robinson said the station would focus on solutions to problems rather than just talking about them. Luke said the station would do "adult humor" but that the material would be clean and make people think. She also said the station would not be Christian, but there would be a spiritual component. Charlotte radio production veteran John Moore was brought on board as producer and Senior Technical Director. CRN executive vice president Casey Shannon said the station would be an alternative to 50,000-watt WBT, targeting listeners over 25.
Fontana hosted the afternoon show and a financial advice show called "THINK Money" at noon. He was already doing an early afternoon show on WKMT from CRN studios at Fourth and College Streets in Charlotte, which was distributed by Charis Radio Network and was being aired on iLifeTV on cable.
The power increase was approved in March 2007. At that time the station announced plans to affiliate with ABC Radio and to add comedian Dennis Miller in the late morning. Also, Bill O'Reilly would replace Fontana's early afternoon show. TV advertising soon followed, even though the station's signal increase was not expected to be complete until July. First, the station increased to 6250 watts during the day. WDYT began broadcasting at 25,000 watts during the day in September. Also in September, Luke found out she would no longer be a host of the morning show.
On July 18, 2008, general manager Deanna Greco said the morning show was being dropped temporarily for a syndicated show until advertising revenues improved. Robinson had been off the air since May 2008 due to treatment for squamous cell carcinoma, but he hoped to return.
On August 4, 2008, the new morning lineup debuted with a move of the Danny Fontana Show from afternoons to mornings to create THINK Mornings with Danny Fontana. Molly Carroll was retained from the former morning show and has joined Bo Thompson to create "AM 1220 with Molly and Bo" from 9a-10a. There were other changes in the programming lineup as well, extending many current national syndicated shows to their full live time slot.
Despite adding such hosts as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, WDYT ranked no. 21 in the ratings, and on January 26, the station told the FCC it would stop broadcasting. CRN would continue to hold the license for 30 days, and its agreement with the FCC could be extended later for a year. Fontana blamed the poor economy, which caused advertising to decline, and said the station might return with a new format, or it could even be sold.
The station signed back on (in testing mode) with a Spanish format in August 2009. In November 2009, it was reported that High Point, North Carolina-based Iglesia Nueva Vida, a religious broadcaster, was buying WDYT for $425,000 with plans for a Spanish format.
- Mark Washburn, "New Station to Hit Charlotte Radio - WDYT-AM Wants to Fill Niche with Upbeat Talk," The Charlotte Observer, December 5, 2006.
- "WDYT Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Washburn, Mark (2009-11-19). "WDYT will return to the airwaves in Spanish". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Sharon E. White, "WKMT Changes Hands - But Gospel, Country Tunes Will Stay Same, New Owner Says," The Charlotte Observer, July 28, 2004.
- Joe DePriest, "Country Music Hall-of-famer, Shelby Native Dies at Age 75 - Singer/songwriter Penned Hit `I Can't Stop Loving You,'" The Charlotte Observer, November 19, 2003.
- Richard Walker, "Changing Their Tune with Emergence of Stronger FM Stations, AMs Must Adapt to Survive," The Charlotte Observer, August 14, 1993.
- Joe DePriest, "Tommy Faile: Still Singing, Playing Country Music," The Charlotte Observer, April 27, 1995.
- Joe DePriest, "Back on the Air Just Like Family, Curly Howard Is There to Chat Every Morning," The Charlotte Observer, July 15, 1992.
- Kevin Cary, "Broadcasts Fill Void for Football Fans - Radio Stations Boosting Coverage of High Schools," The Charlotte Observer, November 12, 2004.
- Richard Walker, "Changing Their Tune: With Emergence of Stronger FM Stations, AMs Must Adapt to Survive," The Charlotte Observer, August 14, 1993, Gaston Observer p. 1.
- Mark Washburn, "New Station Offers a Different Sort of Talk - AM Format Focuses on Lifestyle Programming," The Charlotte Observer, January 14, 2005.
- Mark Washburn, "WXNC to Return Old Format - Atlanta-Based Group's Purchase Would Solidify Spot in Latino Market," The Charlotte Observer, April 30, 2005
- Mark Washburn, "Fontana to Buy Radio Station - Ex-WBT Employee Says He Won't Compete Against Old Company," The Charlotte Observer, August 26, 2005.
- Mark Washburn, "Radio Station Adding Towers - Federal Regulators Approve Transmitter in Gaston County," The Charlotte Observer, March 28, 2007.
- Mark Washburn and Marion Paynter, "Charlotte Goes up the Dial," The Charlotte Observer, June 2, 2007.
- Mark Washburn, "A Patent Hit, `Edisons' Ok'd for 2nd Season," The Charlotte Observer, September 1, 2007.
- Mark Washburn, "New Radio Station Is on the Air - Monroe Transmitter Brings La Tremenda-FM to Charlotte," The Charlotte Observer, September 25, 2007.
- Mark Washburn, "N.C. Pals Get Gig Hosting Show on CW," The Charlotte Observer, September 22, 2007.
- Mark Washburn, "WDYT Scraps Morning Show in Ad Downturn," The Charlotte Observer, July 18, 2008.
- Mark Washburn, "TV Reporter Follows Pull to Pulpit," The Charlotte Observer, August 9, 2008.
- Mark Washburn, "Talk Radio Station Goes Off the Air," The Charlotte Observer, January 29, 2009.
- Washburn, Mark (2009-08-22). "WPEG stars pay tribute to Nate Quick". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-08-24.[dead link]