- WBT (AM)
Infobox Radio Station
name = WBT
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte metropolitan area
branding = News/Talk 1110
slogan = Charlotte's News, Weather, and Traffic Station
airdate = AM: April 10, 1922 (originally experimental as 4XD from December 19, 1920 - April 9, 1922)
FM: August 30th, 1969
frequency = 1110 kHz (AM)
99.3 MHz (FM)
format = News/Talk
power = 50,000
erp = 7,700
class = Class A AM Station
Class C3 FM Station
webcast = [http://wbt.com/listen/stream.cfm WBT-AM Live Feed]
website = [http://www.wbt.com wbt.com] |
WBT (known on air as News Talk 1110) is a 50,000 watt
clear-channel radio stationin Charlotte, North Carolina, broadcasting on the AM dial at 1110 kHz. It simulcasts on WBT-FM, at 99.3 MHzin Chester, South Carolina. It is owned by Greater Media. The station's studios are located just west of downtown Charlotte, while its transmitter is located in the southern part of the city.
The station relies mostly on locally-produced
talk shows and offers podcasts of its local shows on its [http://www.wbt.com/listen/podcasts.cfm official site] . Like many talk radio stations, WBT's programming tends to lean to the right of the political spectrum and presents news, weather, and traffic reports each half hour. On weekdays, the station offers a four-hour morning drive-time newscast, and local hosts Keith Larson, Jeff Katz, John Hancock and Tara Servatius, as well as the syndicated Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortzand " Coast to Coast AMwith George Noory" programs.
WBT is the flagship station of the
Carolina Panthers. It was the flagship of the Charlotte Hornets from the team's debut in 1988 until the team moved to New Orleansin 2002. It was also the Charlotte home of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels from 1977 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 2006. From 1991 to 1995, it was the Charlotte-area home of the Duke Blue Devils.
Don Russell is the station's longest-tenured personality, having worked at the station on six separate occasions since the 1970s. He currently hosts the weekend version of "Charlotte's Morning News".
The station dates to December 1920, when Fred Laxton, Earle Gluck and Fred Bunker set up an amateur radio station in Laxton's home. Four months later, the station received an experimental license as 4XD. The trio decided to go commercial in 1922, and incorporated as the Southern Radio Corporation. In April, the station signed on as the first fully-licensed radio station south of
Washington, D.C.WSB in Atlantawas the first station in the Southeast to actually broadcast, a month before WBT. However, the Commerce Department only authorized WSB to broadcast weather reports until it received its license a few months after WBT.
In 1925, the original owners sold WBT to Charlotte
Buickdealer C.C. Coddington, who promoted both the radio station and his auto dealership with the slogan "Watch Buicks Travel." Coddington located the station's transmitter site at a farm property he owned on Nations Ford Road in south Charlotte, where it remains today. He sold WBT to the two-year-old CBS network in 1929, beginning a relationship between the station and the network which also continues today. A series of power increases brought the station to its current 50,000 watts. New FCC regulations forced CBS to sell the station to Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, forerunner of Jefferson-Pilot, in 1945, though it remained a CBS affiliate. Jefferson-Pilot later signed on Charlotte's first television station, WBTV, as well as an FM station that eventually became WLNK. (WBT co-founder Earle Gluck was later a partner in competitor WSOC, and was the first president of WSOC-TVwhen it launched in 1957.)
Freeman Gosdenand Charlie Correll started a comedy show carried by WBT that was a forerunner to Amos and Andy. Russ Hodges, later famous as the radio voice of the New York/San Francisco Giants, worked for a time at WBT.
In 1995, Jefferson-Pilot bought WBZK-FM (which signed on August 30th, 1969) in Chester to improve its nighttime coverage in the Charlotte area. The AM station must adjust its coverage at night (see below), resulting in spotty coverage in much of the western portion of the area. Soon after the purchase, WBZK's calls became WBT-FM. The transmitter is located 40 miles southwest of Charlotte. WBT-FM almost always simulcasts its AM sister, although the two have occasionally carried different programming. For example, in 1998 and 1999, the FM station carried audio of the
Bill Clinton impeachmentproceedings, while the AM station continued with its regularly scheduled programs. Lincoln Financial Groupbought Jefferson-Pilot in 2006. The merged company retained Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting division, renaming it Lincoln Financial Media. In January 2008, Lincoln Financial sold WBT-AM-FM and WLNKto Greater Mediaof Braintree, Massachusetts. It sold its three television stations, including WBTV, to Raycom Media--thus breaking up Charlotte's last heritage radio/television cluster. Greater Media had long wanted to expand into the fast-growing Charlotte market; its owner had wanted to buy WBT after hearing its signal at night on Cape Cod.
WBT's unusual diamond-shaped antennas (called
Blaw-Knox Towers), make up three of only eight still operational in the United States. In the morning hours of September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugoslammed into Charlotte. The storm severely damaged two of WBT's towers and nearly killed station engineer Bob White. The FCCapproved WBT to operate on a full-power non-directional pattern for the next year while the two damaged towers were rebuilt.
Despite its clear-channel status, WBT's signal is spotty at best in some parts of the
Charlotte metropolitan areaat night because it must adjust its coverage at sundown to protect co-located KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska. Even though WBT must direct its signal north-south as a result, its nighttime signal still reaches parts of 22 states (including much of the country east of the Mississippi River) as well as portions of Ontarioand Quebec. It can also be heard in some Caribbean islands. During the day, it provides at least grade B coverage as far as the fringes of the Columbia, Upstate and Piedmont Triadareas.
For many years, WBT boasted that it could be heard "from
Maineto Miami" at night.
* [http://www.wbt.com Official homepage]
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