Beginning Wednesday, a new sports station hits Charlottes airwaves.
CBS Radios WBCN-AM (1660) will drop its talk-show format and carry the lineup of the new CBS Sports Radio, a national network based in New York.
It will be a sister station to WFNZ-AM (Fan 610), which started carrying sports in 1992. Operations manager D.J. Stout says the new station will complement rather than compete with WFNZ.
This will help extend our brand as the sports leader in the market, he says. We will sell them as a team to our advertisers.
CBS Sports Radios lineup includes Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson in morning drive time, John Feinstein in late mornings, Jim Rome in the noon to 3 p.m. spot and Doug Gottlieb in afternoon drive. Other CBS Sports broadcasters also will be featured.
Stout says WFNZs lineup will be unchanged and retain its focus on local sports, bookended by The Mac Attack with Chris McClain and Jim Celania in the mornings and The Drive hosted by Taylor Zarzour and Marc James in afternoons.
At rival WZGV-AM (ESPN 730), general manager Lanny Ford says the station has no plans to change its lineup to counter the new WBCN.
Were not going to do anything different, he says. Its going to take them a while to get that built. I think we got solid programming and were going to keep moving forward.
WZGV carries the Atlanta Braves and Checkers hockey games. Local hosts include Bill Rosinski, Mike Pacheco, Bobby Rosinski, Ford and ACC specialist David Glenn from Raleigh. As basketball season hits its stride in coming weeks, Mike Gminski will be added.
Stout says WBCNs signal will occasionally be used for local sports when Charlotte Bobcats games, carried on WFNZ, conflict with Wake Forest or Davidson basketball.
Last week, we talked about some of the longest-serving veterans in the Charlotte broadcasting business. I asked you for suggestions of people I might have forgotten. How about Jeff Sonier at WBT-AM (1110), who pulled into town in 1980 from the University of Georgia to report news at the old WAYS-AM? He went on to jobs at WSOC-TV (Channel 9) and WCNC-TV (Channel 36). Hes at 32 years in the business.
Then theres David Whisenant, longtime Salisbury bureau chief for WBTV (Channel 3). He started at WSTP-AM in Salisbury (1490) as a teenager in 1977, putting him at 35 years, though he doesnt look it.
Doug Rice, who also started at WSTP-AM in 1977 and who has been at Performance Racing Network since 1988, with 35 years. Its been a fun ride, says Rice, fittingly.
If we push the boundary of Charlotte broadcasting a bit to the east, we get the most remarkable longevity story. Morning host Jimmy Smith has 61 years at the microphone at Rockinghams WAYN-AM (900). Smith, 77, started at 16, doing a morning show before his high school classes. WAYN plays a little-known role in other longtime broadcasters careers. When it signed on in 1946, the first voice heard on the station was that of Robert D. Raiford (on loan from sister station WEGO-AM in Concord and now at 36 years of local broadcasting) and was where the late Henry Boggan, of Hello Henry on WBT-AM got his start.
Former Fox Charlotte (WCCB, Channel 18) morning host Anna Kooiman will be among Fox News Channel personalities on the All American New Year show at 11 p.m. on New Years Eve from Times Square. Bob Varsha takes over as host of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series coverage on Charlotte-based Speed channel, replacing Leigh Diffey.
Classical WDAV-FM (89.9) has launched a $50,000 fundraising drive to replace its antenna between Huntersville and Cornelius. It was hit by lightning in September and the station has been broadcasting from its shorter backup antenna. A new antenna should improve signal quality , says Frank Dominguez, interim general manager.