WRAL (FM)

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This article is about the radio station. For the television station, see WRAL-TV.
WRAL
WRAL-FM logo.png
City Raleigh, North Carolina
Broadcast area Raleigh/Durham
Research Triangle
Branding Mix 101.5
Slogan The Variety That Makes You Feel Good
The Triangle's Christmas Station (Nov.-Dec.)
Frequency 101.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
101.5 HD-1: simulcast of Mix 101.5
101.5 HD-2: Contemporary Christian "Cornerstone Radio"
First air date 1947 (1947)[1]
Format Adult Contemporary
Christmas music (Nov.-Dec.)
Audience share 4.3, #6 (Fa'07, R&R[2])
ERP 96,000 watts
HAAT 555 meters
Class C
Facility ID 73920
Transmitter coordinates 35°40′35″N 78°32′8″W / 35.67639°N 78.53556°W / 35.67639; -78.53556
Callsign meaning RALeigh
Owner Capitol Broadcasting Company
Sister stations WCLY, WCMC-FM, WDNC, WRAL-TV, WRAZ
Webcast Listen Live
Listen Live (HD2)
Website wralfm.com

WRAL (101.5 FM, "Mix 101.5") is an Adult Contemporary music formatted radio station based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Its studios are located in the Highwoods office complex in Raleigh, along with WCMC-FM, a sports talk station that signed on in October 2005. Both stations are owned and operated by Capitol Broadcasting Company, which also owns area NBC affiliate WRAL-TV, Fox affiliate WRAZ-TV, and the Durham Bulls minor-league baseball team, among other properties. Its transmitted from an antenna located on the 1,800 foot level of the WRAL-TV (analog) tower in Garner, North Carolina. The station switches to a Christmas music format during the holidays.

WRAL broadcasts in the HD radio format.[3]

History[edit]

WRAL-FM signed on in 1947 at 95.3, with an ERP of 250,000 watts. It was the second FM station to operate in North Carolina, and the first to operate on the new 88–108 MHz FM band (previous FM stations had been at 42–50 MHz). It was a sister station to WRAL radio (AM 1240, now WPJL),[4] which was sold off in the 1950s[5] The studios were at 130 Salisbury Street, with the transmitter on Davie Street Extension. In 1948, Jesse Helms became the news director.

Instead of rebroadcasting from a partner AM station, WRAL-FM offered its own programming in the form of easy listening music and extensive agricultural reports. Together with WCEC in Rocky Mount and WGBR in Goldsboro, WRAL helped establish a statewide radio network called the Tobacco Radio Network, which connected communities large and small throughout North Carolina. It became the precursor to today's North Carolina News Network, originally based at the WRAL studios but sold to Curtis Media Group in 2009. Eventually, the FM station moved to 101.5.[4]

From 1960 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1972, the station offered the audio portion of commentaries by Helms which aired as the "Viewpoint" segment on WRAL-TV.[6]

WRAL-FM switched its musical offerings to AC in the early 1970s, calling itself "WRAL-Stereo 101" and later "WRAL-FM 101.5." The format continues to this day, though at one point the station leaned hot adult contemporary.[4] Famous Bob Inskeep (FBI) started as morning host in 1975. The show included news and information as well as the puppet Zoot, mailman Mr. Snailspace and tax consultant H.R. Blockhead.[7]

On December 10, 1989, an early morning winter ice storm caused the tower it shared with WRAL-TV near Auburn, North Carolina, along with a separate tower for WPTF-TV (now WRDC) to collapse. The station moved its transmission signal to WPTF's former tower near Apex until a new tower was built at the same site the following year. Its effective radiated power was dropped to 96,000 watts to conform to FCC standards since its antenna was situated farther up the tower than before.[4]

Despite the power reduction, WRAL-FM is still one of North Carolina's most powerful stations. It provides at least grade B coverage from Greenville to the eastern fringe of the Piedmont Triad, and as far south as Fayetteville. Under the right conditions, it can often picked up as far west as Wilkesboro and even into Boone (knocking out WQUT's signal out of the Tri-Cities). It can also be heard as far east as the Outer Banks, as far south as the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, and as far north as southside Virginia (interfering with two Virginia FM stations, WZZI out of Roanoke and WBQB out of Fredericksburg).

On December 20, 2002, the station became the first licensed commercial radio station on the east coast to broadcast its signal in HD Radio. WRAL-HD1 was a simulcast of the analog signal, while WRAL-HD2 offered a more modern-leaning playlist. On Monday, June 27, 2005, MIX became the first commercial station in North Carolina[8] and only the second commercial station in the nation (WUSN in Chicago was the first[4]) to utilize the "multicasting" capabilities of HD Radio technology to broadcast multiple digital channels.[8]

On April 23, 2007, WRAL-FM became the flagship station for the NC State Wolfpack, beginning with the 2007–2008 school year.[9][10] The broadcast rights to football and basketball games belong to Wolfpack Sports Properties, which is jointly owned by Capitol Broadcasting and Learfield Sports.[11][12] The weekly coaches' shows with Dave Doeren and Mark Gottfried air separately on sister station WCMC-FM.

WRAL-FM was the second station in Raleigh to air the nationally syndicated Delilah nighttime radio show, which it carried from November 2007 until October 2009. WRSN ("Sunny 93.9") had carried the program before that station flipped to Rhythmic AC as "93.9 Kiss FM".

On August 22, 2009, WRAL-FM started to air the Rick Dees Weekly Top 30 Countdown show on Saturdays at 7 am – 10 am.[13] It also replaced the Delilah program with the John Tesh Radio Show beginning October 5, 2009. Both Dees and Tesh are veterans to Triangle radio, having both worked at WKIX back in the early 1970s,[14] along with current WRAL-TV morning and noon anchor Bill Leslie.

On March 5, 2013, morning radio personality Bill Jordan announced his retirement after 23 years with the station.[15]

On April 2, 2013, WRAL-HD2 changed formats to Contemporary Christian Music, an expansion of the "Cornerstone" program normally heard on Sunday mornings on the main channel from 7 am to noon.[16] "Cornerstone" has been hosted by Jami Caskey since it first aired in 1984, and is the station's longest-running program. When the main channel switches to all-Christmas music after Thanksgiving, HD2 airs the adult contemporary format heard during the rest of the year.

On July 28, 2014, "The Gene and Julie Show" began airing, with husband and wife Gene and Julie Gates.[17] In 2015, the couple won the Marconi Award for Large Market Personality of the Year. Even with the bump in ratings, Gene & Julie eventually parted ways with WRAL-FM on August 15, 2016.[18] The following week, WRAL-FM debuted a new morning show called "Two Men & A Mom". The hosts were Kyle Smelser and Bryan Lord, who came from WNOW-FM in Indianapolis, along with Raleigh native Sarah King, who worked at WKNC while a student at N.C. State.[19]

WRAL-FM also carries the audio of its television sister's Six O'Clock News.

Community involvement[edit]

WRAL is one of the few major Triangle stations that is owned by North Carolina interests, giving it less of a "corporate" feel than its competition. It has a leg up on other Triangle stations in terms of public affairs and community involvement. WRAL-FM promotes a number of events throughout the Triangle area that are sponsored by Capitol Broadcasting and its entities.

In April, 2009, the National Association of Broadcasters awarded WRAL its prestigious Crystal Award for community service. The honor, the station’s second in eight years, was given for involvement in many local causes including:

• The Annual Radiothon for Duke Children’s Hospital, through which Mix listeners raised over $1 million in 2008 and over $10 million throughout the event’s history.

• Collecting more than 7000 pounds of food for the Raleigh Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies program.

• Ongoing support of the United State Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots toy drives.

• Providing free ID cards for Wake County school children.

• Sponsorship of Interact Wake County, the American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Heart Association, the Tammy Lynn Center and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and others.

Other logos[edit]

logo used during shift to Christmas music format

References[edit]

  1. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1999 (PDF). 1999. p. D-327. Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Ratings". Radio and Records. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  3. ^ http://www.hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=91
  4. ^ a b c d e "Raleigh-Durham FM Dial". Archived from the original on 2003-02-01. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Raleigh-Durham AM Dial". Archived from the original on 2002-10-15. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  6. ^ http://www.unctv.org/senatorno/peopleevents/events.html, Retrieved on 2008/04/23.
  7. ^ Leonard, Teresa (2016-08-17). "Morning men woke up the Triangle". News & Observer. 
  8. ^ a b "HD Radio". WRAL-FM. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  9. ^ http://www.gopack.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=9200&ATCLID=876362, Retrieved on 2008/04/23.
  10. ^ Chip Alexander, "Pack, WPTF Part Ways: Wolfpack Moves Football and Men's Basketball from Longtime AM Partner to FM Station, The News & Observer, April 26, 2007.
  11. ^ http://www.cbc-raleigh.com/division/wsm.asp, Retrieved on 2008/04/23.
  12. ^ http://learfieldsports.com/university-partners/wolfpack-sports-properties-2/
  13. ^ http://www.wralfm.com/airstaff/rickdeesweeklytop30countdown.aspx
  14. ^ "The Jeff Smith collection". reelradio.com. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  15. ^ "Mix 101.5's Bill Jordan announces retirement". WRAL.com. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Husband, wife team to take over Mix mornings". WRAL-FM. 
  18. ^ "WRAL (Mix 101.5)/Raleigh's Gene & Julie Morning Show Exits". AllAccess.com. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  19. ^ "Mix 101.5 Raleigh Debuts Two Men & A Mom In Mornings". RadioInsight.com. 2016-08-22. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 

External links[edit]