|City of license||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Branding||TalkRadio 850 WPTF|
|First air date||1947 (as WNAO)|
|Format||Talk, oldies (weekends)|
|Power||10,000 watts day
5,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||WPTF TalK|
|Former callsigns||WNAO (1947–1959)
|Owner||Curtis Media Group
(AM 850, LLC)
|Sister stations||WKIX-FM, WKJO, WQDR-FM, WBBB, WWPL, WFNL, WPTF, WCLY|
WPTK (850 AM; "TalkRadio 850 WPTF") is a radio station broadcasting a talk radio format. Licensed to Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, the station serves the Research Triangle, North Carolina area. The station is currently owned by Curtis Media Group. WPTK is branded as a second WPTF. Its studios are located in Raleigh, and the transmitter tower is in Cary.
Radio station WPTK, Raleigh, North Carolina, signed on in 1947 as WNAO, owned by the News and Observer newspaper. As of 1948, WNAO was an ABC radio affiliate. WNAO-FM was added in 1949. Sir Walter Television purchased the stations from the newspaper effective February 13, 1953. The Raleigh-Durham market's first TV station, WNAO-TV, signed on at channel 28 in 1953, but went off the air in 1957. The AM (10,000 watts at 850 kHz) and FM (35,000-watts at 96.1 MHz) radio stations were sold to an independent broadcaster, Ted Oberfelter, who changed the call letters to WKIX and WKIX-FM to avoid the association with the newspaper.
In 1958, WKIX Broadcasting Company, headed by Hugh Holder, a former CBS announcer, bought the radio stations. Holder changed the format from easy listening to top 40 , serving the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill market. Known as "WKIX, Channel 85", "The Giant of the South", and "The Mighty 850", the station was one of the most successful popular music outlets in the US from the late 1950s through the 1970s. It was home to many well-known personalities in North Carolina radio including Tom Scott, Jack Kane, Rich Reim, Mike Reineri (later at WJJD, Chicago), Bob DeBardelaben (later at WRAL-TV), Al Smith, Tommy Woods, Bob Kelly, Bob Jones, Mark Starr, Steve Roddy, the legendary Jimmy Capps (with his syndicated late-night show, "Our Best to You"); Dale Van Horn, Pat Patterson, Ron McKay, Mike Mitchell, Mark Mitchell, Bob Bolton, James K. Flynn, Russ Spooner, Gary Edens, Tommy Walker, Charlie Brown, Rick Dees, Legendary General Manager, Hal Vester, designed the unique format based on his former experience with Top 40 stations in Asheville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Washington, DC. Chief Engineer, Larry Gardner (who later became CE of WCKY in Cincinnati) was responsible for many technical innovations that provided the distinctive WKIX sound.
Following the Holder years, WKIX and WKIX-FM were owned by Belk Broadcasting, Southern Broadcasting, and Mann Media. Previously, the FM signal had mostly duplicated WKIX's programming, getting a boost from the rising popularity of FM and also providing improved full-time coverage of the entire Raleigh-Durham market. As FM became more dominant, the WKIX-FM call sign was changed to WYYD, power was increased to 100,000 watts, and the station was programmed separately as easy-listening.
In the 1970s, the station had a strong news department, with such icons as: Bill Leslie (now at WRAL-TV and is also an accomplished musician), Mike Blackmon (who went on to WPTF), Scott White, Steven Reid, Max Powell, Raymond Caulder, Bill McQuage; Joe Goodpasture, John Tesh (who went on to co-host Entertainment Tonight and now writes and produces music), Steve Shumake, J. Paul McGonagal, Doug Limerick of ABC Radio News and others.
The format was called "20/20" news, with a summary at 20 past the hour and a full newscast at 20 before the hour. This proved effective since most other stations had news at the top of the hour, bottom of the hour or at 55 past the hour.
WKIX changed format to Country in the summer of 1981, featuring such personalities as Joe Wade Formicola (who had come from KENR in Houston) and Jay Butler (who later went to WQDR-FM, where he stayed for many years as morning personality). WKIX became the first significant country station in the Raleigh market, but with competitive pressures it changed to an "oldies" format in 1986.
From 1990 to 1995 the format was satellite adult standards with some talk shows and sports programming. The call sign changed to WYLT in 1994 when the FM station, also owned by Alchemy Communications, traded letters with the AM. The station went all-talk in 1995 as WRBZ, for its "850 The Buzz" branding, but gradually added more sports programming before becoming an all-sports radio station in April 1998.
Don Curtis of Curtis Media had planned to buy WRBZ from Alchemy Communications early in 2005 but was prevented by FCC rules from owning any more stations. His son-in-law Billy McClatchey bought the station instead.
For six years, The Buzz was an ESPN Radio affiliate. When ESPN insisted that The Buzz carry its shows instead of local programming, The Buzz changed to Fox Sports Radio effective August 1, 2005. Unlike sister station WDNC which relied more on network programming from ESPN, WRBZ's lineup consisted almost entirely of locally produced sports talk local programming from morning hosts Adam Gold, Joe Ovies and Tony Rigsbee; David Glenn; and Morgan Patrick (the Sports Pig). Jim Rome's weekday afternoon show and network programming from Fox Sports Radio on weekend afternoons and daily overnights rounded out the lineup. Until October 2008, WRBZ aired The Herd with Colin Cowherd, from ESPN; both WDNC and WRBZ dropped ESPN programming because the network wanted a stronger commitment than McClatchey was willing to provide.
WRBZ was the second flagship station of the Carolina Hurricanes. When the team moved there from Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997, WPTF was the first flagship station. WRBZ later carried Duke University football and basketball games, Carolina Panthers football games, select East Carolina University football games, the Roy Williams and Butch Davis shows, and several other seasonal play by play games.
On August 10, 2009, Curtis Media Group announced an intent to purchase WRBZ from McClatchey Broadcasting, with plans to convert the sports-talk station to a music format. Gold and Ovies moved to former sister station WDNC to host a local morning program, while David Glenn hosts an afternoon show on WCMC-FM.
Early in 2010, WRBZ ended a simulcast of sports talk to switch to oldies from the late 50s and the 60s, with a few 70s songs. The playlist started with 3000 songs but was expected to be reduced. The target audience was 55 to 70. The station reclaimed its former WKIX callsign soon afterward. WKIX had a very broad-based playlist incorporating some adult standards and classic country material into an oldies playlist spanning the early 1950s to early 1980s.
WKIX ended its oldies format (except for some weekend programming) on March 13, 2012 and reverted to a talk format, branded as TalkRadio 850 WPTF; the branding reflects its status as a compliment to sister station WPTF's increased emphasis on news programming. The station's call letters were changed to WPTK on March 16. Much of WPTK's programming moved from WPTF and WZTK (the latter of which changed format); some programming is shared with Piedmont Triad sister station WSJS.
- "WPTK Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "North Carolina's Curtis Media makes talk changes in Raleigh & Greensboro". Radio-Info.com. March 12, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Teresa Leonard, "TV makes debut in Raleigh," News & Observer, July 10, 2013, p. 1B.
- "NAB Award Winner—Rick Dees" (PDF). Radio Journal. April 2007 Special NAB Convention Issue. Retrieved March 24, 2009. Check date values in:
- Clark, Rebecca (March 13, 2009). "Shelby Native Set to Take Paul Harvey's Timeslot on ABC Radio". Shelby Star. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- Dr. Anthony Harrington, 1977 graduate of CCTI Radio Television Program, now BPT at CCCC in Sanford, NC and currently History Professor CCCC, Sanford, NC.3/13/2010
- David Menconi, "WYLT Changes Format, Call Letters – Station Chucks Alternative Rock for Country Digs", The News & Observer, January 5, 1994.
- David Menconi, "Local Station to Change to Sports/Talk Format", The News & Observer, June 29, 1995.
- David Ranii, "Radio Station Still Being Sold, but to Someone Else," The News & Observer, Tuesday, January 11, 2005.
- Lorenzo Perez, "'The Buzz' Ditches ESPN," The News & Observer, August 3, 2005.
- Roger Van Der Horst, "Imus Returning to Triangle Radio," The News & Observer, October 15, 2008.
- Danny Hooley, "Buzz Fills Imus Slot," The News & Observer, May 15, 2007.
- Hooley, Danny (April 8, 2008). "Babe is back on Buzz's birthday". News and Observer. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- "Deal reshapes Triangle radio market". WRAL.com. August 10, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
- Baysden, Chris (February 22, 2010). "Curtis Media turns 850 AM into oldies station". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- Venta, Lance (March 12, 2012). "680 WPTF Raleigh Expands News; 850 WKIX and 101.1 WZTK To Flip". RadioInsight. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Washburn, Mark (2012-06-08). "Krantz replacing Coakley on WBT". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- Official website WPTK's webpage shared with WPTF
- Official website WPTF's webpage shared with WPTK
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WPTK
- Radio-Locator Information on WPTK
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WPTK