|City||Sylva, North Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Western North Carolina|
|Branding||"540 WRGC, The River"|
|Frequency||540 AM kHz|
|First air date||November 1957|
|Power||5,000 Watts daytime
140 Watts nighttime
|Callsign meaning||W Ronnie G. Childers
(son of founder Jimmy Childers)
|Affiliations||Atlanta Braves Radio Network
Westwood One News
North Carolina News Network
|Owner||Five Forty Broadcasting Company, LLC
(Five Forty Broadcasting Company, LLC)
|Sister stations||1590 WBHN, Bryson City, NC|
Jimmy Childers and Asheville resident Harold Thomas signed on WMSJ in November 1957. The call letters WRGC come from the initials of Ronnie Childress, the former owner's son who was electrocuted while working on the transmitter during a thunderstorm in the 1970s. WRGC broadcasts sports from Western Carolina University and Smoky Mountain High School, as well as local election results and weather. WRGC airs a "buy-sell-and-trade call-in show". Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Company bought WRGC in 2002, changing the format from country and gospel to soft rock.
WRGC had about 8,000 listeners in Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties, though 98 percent of its advertising revenue came from Jackson County. The economic crisis hit the station hard, as several car dealers closed and other potential advertisers cut spending.
On August 31, 2011, the station turned off its transmitter. A posting on their website stated, "WRGC has left the air due to the severe economic conditions." The statement also addressed the permanency of this event, "Our long term plans for WRGC are not decided, but we have notified the Federal Communications Commission to go off the air until a decision is made." Art Sutton, president of Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Company, hoped someone local could buy the station, because a local owner could "better develop relationships with those smaller businesses" needed to make a station successful, as his company's stations WNCC-FM and WFSC in nearby Franklin were.
Roy Burnette of 540 Broadcasting Company announced plans to increase the signal of WRGC to 5,000 watts, with the help of a county loan of $289,000, for which a public hearing was planned for December 12, 2011. The stronger signal will likely attract more advertisers. Burnette said, "We want to offer in-depth service to Jackson, Macon, Swain and Haywood."
After test broadcasts on April 1, the new 540 AM WRGC officially signed on at 12:05 PM with a welcoming statement by new owner, Roy Burnette, and the playing of the National Anthem (the Star Spangled Banner).
- "Arbitron Station Information Profiles". Nielsen Audio/Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- "WRGC Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- Sandford, Jason (2011-09-08). "Jackson County radio station known for its local roots closes". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
- "WRGC Special Message". WRGC.
- "WRGC (680 AM) goes off air". The Sylva Herald and Ruralite.
- Ellison, Quintin (2011-11-30). "Sylva's WRGC could get bigger, cover from Haywood to Swain". Smoky Mountain News. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- 540 WRGC, The River Online
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WRGC
- Radio-Locator Information on WRGC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WRGC
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