|City||Waxhaw, North Carolina|
|Slogan||La Estacion de La Raza !!!|
|First air date||1994|
|Callsign meaning||W OLdieS (previous format)|
|Former callsigns||WNMX-FM (6/7/96-2/12/08)
|Owner||GHB of Waxhaw Inc.|
|Sister stations||WHVN, WAVO, WCGC, WTIX, WAME|
|Website||La Raza Online|
WOLS is a Spanish-language FM radio station broadcasting at a frequency of 106.1 MHz serving the Charlotte, North Carolina market. Its programming consists of music and other material distributed by "La Raza," the Regional Mexican radio network.
While WOLS is licensed to (and identifies its location as) the Union County town of Waxhaw, North Carolina, its studios are actually located in Charlotte. The transmitter site is in Catawba, South Carolina.
The station signed on in May 1994 on 1480 AM, a frequency that had been silent for several years, with the call letters WIST. At that time radio station owners were still limited to one AM station per market. GHB Broadcasting operated WIST-AM through a Limited Marketing Agreement (LMA) with Christ Covenant Church, the licensee for 1480 AM. Most of the adult standards music came from the Satellite Music Network format Stardust. A year later, the FM station, once intended to be an FM outlet for WHVN, signed on with the call letters WLWW but eventually changed to WIST-FM.
The name WNMX "Mix 106" was chosen in 1996. The station's sales manager had previously worked for WMXC(104.7) when it was called "The Mix". He hoped to resurrect that format on 106.1. The AM station became WNMX-AM. By this time the AM aired some separate programs, including a talk show from John Sullivan. The AM became WTLT in Summer 1997 with a separate news/talk format. For one month WNMX tried a more contemporary sound with local DJs during the day. However, many listeners protested so the station returned to the Stardust format.
Over the years the definition of adult standards has evolved, and the Stardust satellite format evolved with the times as well. Fewer songs from the big band era were played, though new performances of the old songs have become available. When oldies station WWMG changed its format to "rhythmic Top 40" music in 2004, WNMX added more rock and roll songs to its local morning show.
In Summer 2006 ABC merged Stardust with its Memories format. The merger caused Stardust to leave its standards heritage behind, playing most of the same "timeless favorites" but moving more in an oldies direction, with most of the big-band standards being recent recordings. WNMX still played many of the older records on the local morning show. Ironically, the Timeless Favorites format had evolved into the format that listeners rejected in 1997.
On February 12, 2008 WNMX changed their format to 60s-70s oldies, branded as "Oldies 106.1", with the "Goodtime Oldies" format from the Jones Radio Network. "Goodtime Oldies" features a playlist of 60's and 70's oldies. The station also changed its call sign to WOLS, which was moved from an AM station in Florence, South Carolina. That station took on the call sign "WOLH". On January 1, 2009, Norsan Media took over WOLS, picking up "La Raza," the Regional Mexican format of WGSP-FM.
At one time, WOLS carried broadcasts of several sports teams. At the time of the change to Spanish language programming, these broadcasts were the only English language programming on WOLS.
WOLS was the flagship station for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats from the team's debut in 2004 through the 2008-2009 season. At the end of that season, WFNZ, an all-sports station, took over as the Bobcats flagship station.
Starting with the 2010 NFL season, WOLS began broadcasting all Carolina Panthers games in Spanish.
- Tim Funk, "Wistful for Music of the '40s? New Radio Station Brings It Back," The Charlotte Observer, May 19, 1994.
- "WIST Adds Big Band, Easy-Listening Sounds to FM," The Charlotte Observer, March 4, 1995.
- Kay McFadden, "Talk-Radio Station Signs on to Battle for WBT Listeners", The Charlotte Observer, July 8, 1997.
- Kay McFadden, "WNMX-FM Swaps Formats to Lure Working Listeners," The Charlotte Observer, October 3, 1997.
- Kay McFadden, "WTLT: No Change - News/Talk Remains," The Charlotte Observer, November 7, 1997.
- Mark Washburn, "Sinatra Style Dropped in Favor of Ad-attracting Oldies," The Charlotte Observer, February 13, 2008.
- Mark Washburn, "106.1 FM Will Shift to All-Spanish," The Charlotte Observer, November 20, 2008.
- 106.1 FM La Raza - Station Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WOLS
- Radio-Locator information on WOLS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WOLS