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|City||Greenville, South Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Upstate South Carolina|
|First air date||1941|
|Power||5,000 watts full-time, directional pattern at night only|
|Callsign meaning||W GreenViLle|
|Former callsigns||WQOK (1956-1982)
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio|
(Capstar TX LLC)
|Sister stations||WSSL-FM, WESC-FM, WROO, WMYI|
History as WQOK
In 1958, 1440 WQOK started featuring a format called "Top 40 Radio." At the time, the station was owned by Dick Broadcasting, with stations in Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee. The station was programmed by veteran Greenville radio programmer Jerry Mosteller (1922-2013).
The station quickly became number one in the market with an endless stream of "rock and roll" as well as "rhythm and blues" music broadcast from the "Four Towers Of Power" on White Horse Road. WQOK found its place in Greenville's radio market with many business in the Upstate area advertising on "1440 Greenville". WQOK, often known as "The Big Q", was one of the first stations in the area to use fast talking, big voiced disc jockeys that would introduce the records with "jive talk" and take telephone requests from the listeners. The station also did live remotes for personal connections with its listeners.
WQOK had a stable of popular DJs from 1958 through the late 1960s. Personalities such as Ken Dee (Dockins), Lake Cely, John Hudson, Sonny Epps, Bo Sanders, Carl Stubbs, Mal Harrison, Lee Sims, Paul Gold, Wayne Seal (later to become Governor Robert McNair's press secretary), Rick Fight, Dan Ellis, Charlie "Byrd" Lindsey, "Wild" Bill West, Noel Belue, Andy Rector, Mike Jones, Jack Kirby (aka Milton Bagby), Teddy Vee (aka Ted Vigodsky), Don "Happy Hearts" Bagwell, Little Davey Dee (aka Dave Dannheisser), Jim McAlister, Pete Dawley and Eston Johnson.
The station was popular with the younger demographics (12-24). In one survey in 1961, (Pulse, Spring 1961), Ken Dee (Dockins) had 62% of the total radio audience during his afternoon show. Noel Belue's morning show in 1961 captured 40% of Greenville's total radio audience. Rick Fight's "Crazy" afternoon show in 1959 had 55% (Pulse, Spring 1959) of the Greenville radio audience. Rick later moved to Greenville station WFBC, when management there made him a better offer, due to his popularity at 1440 WQOK.
The station utilized many jingles for weather, news, the time of day and DJ identification. These were played with the sounds of happy voices, honking horns and guitars twanging. The lyrics to one of the early jingles read:
- "The best sound in town on radio,
- Is W-Q-O-K, one- four- four-, oh,
- Exciting listening, take your "Q"
- For Music and News designed just for you,
- It's W-Q-O-K, Greenville for your
- Hot Top Forty Radio...."
T.C. Hooper purchased WQOK from Dick Broadcasting in 1961. For many years, into the early 1980s, WQOK remained one of Greenville's top stations. It was Greenville's "Top 40" station for 25 years and kept the same basic format. However, as FM slowly took over the majority of radio listenership, WQOK went dark in the early 1980s. Among the former announcers at the station prior to its demise are: Lee Nolan, Gary Jackson, Lee Alexander, Russ Cassell, Steve Chris, Dan Stevens, Kenny Bridwell, Jay (Weekend) Michaels, Teddy "Vee" Vigodsky, Davey "Dee" Dannheisser, Chris Scott, John Foster (Dr. John) Brother Bill, Lisa Rollins and Kirby Stevens (who broadcast for 60 hours for the Heart Association).
Recent history, Spanish & sports talk
1440 WQOK turned off its transmitters for a brief while and was sold to Key Market Broadcasting, owner of WSSL-FM, and Kirby Confer in 1982. It was then simulcast with sister station WGVL-FM, now WSSL-FM.
WGVL was purchased by Clear Channel Communications, along with Country music simulcast partner WSSL-FM, in 1999. WGVL became the Greenville market's first Spanish station on July 11, 1999. Other formats considered, according to Bill McMartin of AM/FM, were Radio Disney and sports talk. The station broadcast a wide range of Spanish music. The styles of music ranged from "hot Latin pop" such as Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez to salsa, merengue, Colombian tropical, Mexican and vallenato, with ballads, boleros and tangos at night. WGVL also aired news and sports programming, including soccer. Program director Carlos Garcia, a Colombia native, made sure that many cultures were served, not just one. Eventually, the station was leased in a local marketing agreement to various Spanish broadcasters.
On September 1, 2009, the station changed format from "La Invasora" and Spanish music and began simulcasting Shine 96.7 WROO's Christian contemporary format, ending the local marketing agreement and putting the station back in the hands of Clear Channel Communications. Afterwards, the simulcast was discontinued, and 1440 began airing programming from ESPN Radio, being leased by Greenville Radio Group, LLC and operated by veteran broadcaster Greg McKinney, who had previously programmed AC stations WSPA-FM and WMYI in the market. In November 2009, WGVL opened newly built studios in Greenville, SC. The station had a programming agreement with ESPN Radio, and aired the network's lineup of Mike and Mike in the Morning, Colin Cowherd, and Scott Van Pelt. Weekday afternoons, 4 p.m.-6 p.m., WGVL aired The Score Radio Show, featuring local sports personalities Will Merritt, George Rogers, Will Bouton, and others. On weekday evenings from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., the station presented Phil Kornblut's Sportstalk.
In late 2011, the LMA with Greenville Radio Group ended due to unknown reasons, and Clear Channel took control of the station once again. Clear Channel retained the ESPN Radio programming and program schedule that had been broadcast on 1440.
Late in 2012, WGVL switched to Fox Sports Radio.
- "Radio Station Switches to 24-Hour Spanish Format," The Charlotte Observer, July 15, 1999.