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|City||Columbia, South Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Columbia, South Carolina|
|Branding||ESPN Columbia 1230am|
|Translator(s)||94.9 MHz (W235CH)|
|First air date||January 1, 1947 (as WNOK)|
|Power||1,000 watts full-time, nondirectional|
|Callsign meaning||We Originate In Columbia|
|Former callsigns||WNOK (1947-1988)
(Alpha Media Licensee LLC)
|Sister stations||WARQ, WHXT, WMFX, WWDM|
WOIC is a sports radio station licensed to Columbia, South Carolina. It serves the Columbia market. The Alpha Media outlet is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to broadcast at 1230 kHz with power of 1,000 watts full-time. The station goes by the name ESPN Columbia. Its studios are on Pineview Road in Columbia, while the transmitter tower is located near Bicentennial Park along the Congaree River in downtown Columbia.
WNOK 1230 AM signed on January 1, 1947 featuring local as well as national programing from the Mutual Broadcasting System. In the early 1950s WNOK had added a UHF TV station on Channel 67, eventually changing to Channel 19 by the early 1960s. (WNOK-TV was sold by 1977, becoming WLTX.) Also, an FM station on 104.7 was added in 1958, which is where WNOK's call letters reside today.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, WNOK programmed various music genres known then as "Block Programming." In the end Top 40 won out and by the mid-1960s it was full-time Top 40. However, after making little headway against WCOS, it tried "The Now Sound" in 1967, a mix of MOR and light rock/pop. It also affiliated with CBS during that time. In late 1970, it returned to Top 40 and briefly gave WCOS a good run for its money. In 1980, the station changed to country and disco formats under the call letters of WXAP. Neither format lasted more than 6 months and the WNOK call letters were reclaimed at the end of the year. The station eventually simulcasted parts of WNOK-FM's Top 40 (now known as CHR) format, although much of the remaining broadcast day was still automated under Adult Contemporary and CHR formats. By the fall of 1985, the automation was finally done away with and WNOK was simulcasting full-time with the FM.
In the fall of 1987, WNOK AM dropped the simulcast, becoming an AOR/Classic rock hybrid as "Rock 1230". However FM station WMFX signed on shortly afterwards with a similar format, taking away the station's potential audience. In September 1988, the station became "Oldies 1230" under the WODE call letters featuring an oldies format. Unfortunately, FM WPRH became WOMG in the spring of 1989 with a similar format, again taking away much of the station's audience.
In the fall of that year, Price Broadcasting, then-owners of longtime urban contemporary outlet WOIC 1320 AM announced that they were dropping the call letters and format for a simulcast of sister FM, WOMG. In order to prevent any public outcry, arrangements were made with WODE to move the WOIC call letters, format, and staff over to 1230 AM.
WOIC spent much of the 1990s as well as the early 2000s under various urban-flavored formats. In 2003, WOIC became an affiliate of ESPN Radio. This lasted until 2005 when the ESPN programming was moved to sister FM station WZMJ and WOIC was re-launched as an Air America Radio affiliate.
At times, WOIC's ratings have surpassed WISW's, especially during sporting events, because of the performance of teams on WISW, compared to the performance of teams on WOIC (Clemson Tigers (WOIC) versus Gamecocks).
In the 2007 calendar year, teams broadcast on WOIC carried postseason football and basketball coverage; teams broadcast on rival WISW did not, leaving more revenue and higher ratings for these events, which have helped WOIC's ratings against WISW, even though the postseason months are not calculated on Arbitron ratings for the specific days.
Until January 25, 2010, WOIC was in a unique position because of the nationally syndicated liberal shows (Air America) that contrasted with the local population. Even though Columbia, South Carolina is relatively progressive compared to the rest of South Carolina the state is viewed as the 'reddest state' and generally conservative to paleo-conservative with small enclaves of progressives. WOIC's programming was a mix of liberal(progressive)nationally syndicated Air America shows and locally produced public interest shows. The weekend show lineup was mostly local programming and helped balance the nationally syndicated overall flavor of the station. There were a number of daily center-left local programs that were heard Monday through Friday. WOIC's line-up served the people of Columbia, better than most, because of the amount of local programming and the ability of listeners to be able to interact with the local show hosts. Especially on the weekends WOIC is 'Friends and Neighbors' radio.
Changes began to the lineup on January 25, 2010 due to the bankruptcy filing of Air America.
Dr. Gene Garris' Americas Radio Show originated from WOIC. Dr. Garris and frequent co-host Dangerous Doug Kendall talked about American Exceptionalism, liberty issues, 2nd Amendment issues, shooting sports, and the best things about being an American. Randy Eargle was an editor tasked to outdoor activities and shooting sports. The show had local and national guests.
- Taylor Jr., Otis R. (2012-07-31). "Why is ESPN radio gone from Midlands airwaves?". The State. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
- "ESPN Radio returns to the airwaves in Columbia, S.C. with major bowl game coverage" (PDF). 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- WOIC official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WOIC
- Radio-Locator Information on WOIC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WOIC
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W235CH