|City||Kannapolis, North Carolina|
|Branding||99.7 The Fox|
|Slogan||Charlotte's Classic Rock|
|Frequency||99.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||98.7 W254AZ (Belmont, relays HD2)|
|First air date||September 1964 (as WRKB-FM)|
HD2: Contemporary Christian "Up! 98.7"
|HAAT||322 meters (1,056 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||We're Radio FoX or We ARe FoX|
|Former callsigns||WRKB-FM (1964-1982)
(Capstar TX LLC)
|Sister stations||WEND, WHQC, WKKT, WLKO|
|Webcast||99.7 The Fox Listen Live
Up 98.7 Listen Live (HD2)
WRFX (99.7 FM) is an FM radio station licensed to Kannapolis, North Carolina. Owned by iHeartMedia, it airs a classic rock music radio format aimed at the Charlotte media market. The transmitter is located in East Charlotte and its studios are on Woodridge Center Drive in South Charlotte.
The 99.7 spot on the FM dial began operations in September 1964 as WRKB-FM, in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The station was owned by former WGTL Chief Engineer and Radio/TV Repair Shop owner Foy T. Hinson, who also served as General Manager and Chief Engineer.
Initially licensed with 3,000 watts on a 150-foot (46 m) tower, the station covered most of Cabarrus County, NC and Rowan County, NC, but little beyond. The station was the companion station to WRKB/1460 AM, and simulcast the AM station's daytime-only operation, only separating from the AM station to carry high school sports in the evenings.
WRKB-FM's first studios were located at 101 West 1st Street in Kannapolis, on the second floor of a Jewelry Shop in a building owned by Cannon Mills. In 1967, the station built a 320-foot (98 m) tower and increased the FM power to 10,000 watts. The early format was Easy Listening/Block Programming and was programmed by Bob Lee. With the additional power and tower height, the station could be heard from Charlotte in the south to Lexington in the north.
On weekday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m., the station played Top 40 music, on a program called "Tunes For Teens." Early in 1969, Foy T. Hinson died from lung cancer, and his wife, Gertrude Hinson began to manage the station. Her management tenure was short-lived, and in 1971 the WRKB stations were sold to former gospel singer Bill Hefner who partnered Cabarrus County judge Robert L. Warren. Upon taking control of the stations, the operating hours of WRKB-FM were extended to 1 a.m. nightly and the stations launched a full-time Country Music format. Popular disc jockeys during this time were Randy Whitley, Kip Yates, Tracey Hudson, David Roberts, George Berry and Randy Turner, the latter of whom would return to the station 15 years later as Animal R. O'Boogie.
On July 12, 1976, the stations relocated to a studio/transmitter complex at 910 Fairview Street in Kannapolis, and WRKB-FM began broadcasting in stereo. Less than a month later, the programming of the AM station was separated from that of the FM station. About a year later, the religious organization, The PTL Club, brokered the overnight hours on WRKB-FM, to make it a 24-hour operation.
On May 15, 1982 the station began an Adult Contemporary format aimed at gaining new listeners in Charlotte. One month later, the station changed the call letters to WJZR. Downs Radio, Incorporated bought WJZR-FM in June 1983. New owner/General Manager Paul Downs extensively improved the station technically, and built out the station's existing construction permit for a power increase to 50,000 watts, significantly improving its coverage in Charlotte. Simultaneously with the August 1983 power increase, the format flipped from Adult Contemporary to Top 40. The station was then known as Z-100 on the air.
In late 1985, the WJZR transmitter moved to a 1,000-foot (300 m) tower near Enochville, North Carolina in Rowan County, and the power increased to the legal maximum 100,000 watts. The station made the change to album-oriented rock under its current call letters WRFX, "99.7 The Fox", in 1986. Later that year, John Boy and Billy were hired as morning hosts. The show began airing nationally in 1993 out of WRFX's studios.
In the early 2000s, WRFX became the flagship station of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. It picked up sports programming again from 2008 to 2011, simulcasting North Carolina Tar Heels basketball with formerly co-owned Sports radio station AM 610 WFNZ to compensate for the latter's limited nighttime signal.
In August 2014, translator W254AZ (98.7 FM) began broadcasting a sports talk format from WRFX's HD-2 channel. This station was an affiliate of Fox Sports Radio, and is also heard on iHeartRadio. Jeff Kent was program director. The programming included Andy Furman and Mike North in the morning drive, Dan Patrick in the late morning and Steve Gorman in the afternoon.
At 8:00 p.m. on October 31, 2017, iHeartMedia re-assumed control of the HD2 channel and translator, and flipped the Spanish CHR format to an all-Christmas music format as "Christmas 98.7." On December 29, 2017, the station flipped to UP! 98.7 broadcasting a Christian Contemporary format.
- Jeff Borden, "WJZR Trades Old Format for New Sound, Name," The Charlotte Observer, 1986-04-15.
- Jeff Borden, "WRFX Radio to Reunite John Boy and Billy Team," The Charlotte Observer, 1986-08-21.
- "WRFX will carry NASCAR". The Salisbury Post. 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
- Washburn, Mark (2014-08-13). "FM sports talk station to hit Charlotte". The Charlotte Observer. p. 10B.
- Venta, Lance (2016-06-30). "Ke Buena 98.7 Debuting in Charlotte". radioinsight. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Venta, Lance (2017-11-01). "iHeart Brings Commercial Free Christmas To Charlotte". radioinsight. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- Official website
- Another Useful Site on Charlotte Radio
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRFX
- Radio-Locator information on WRFX
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRFX
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W254AZ
- Radio-Locator information on W254AZ