WLNK (107.9 MHz, "107.9 The Link") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Charlotte, North Carolina. The station is owned by Entercom and broadcasts a Hot Adult Contemporary radio format. Studios are located at One Julian Price Place on West Morehead Street, just west of Uptown Charlotte, and the station shares a broadcast tower with former television partner WBTV located near Dallas at (35°21′51.0″N 81°11′12.0″W).
|City||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Branding||107.9 The Link|
|Slogan||Charlotte's Best Mix|
|Frequency||107.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||102.5 W273DA (Charlotte, relays HD3)|
|First air date||1961 (as WBT-FM)|
|Format||Analog/HD1: Hot Adult Contemporary|
HD2: News/Talk (WBT simulcast)
HD3: Sports (WFNZ simulcast)
|ERP||100,000 watts (analog)|
10,000 watts (digital)
|HAAT||516 meters (1,693 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W LiNK|
|Former callsigns||WBT-FM (1961-August 31, 1978)|
WBCY (August 31, 1978-November 22, 1989)
WBT-FM (November 22, 1989-July 21, 1995)
WWSN (July 21, 1995-March 15, 1997)
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBT, WBT-FM, WFNZ|
WLNK broadcasts using HD Radio.
WBT-FM was first heard on the 107.9 frequency in 1961, but this was actually the second incarnation of WBT-FM. Those call letters were used on WBT's first FM service at 99.9 MHz from 1947 to 1954. Clyde McLean was the original announcer on WBT-FM, and the station was purposed for "Storecasting" or playing background music for businesses in the Charlotte area. Very little advertising was sold on the station, and the company's television station, WBTV was becoming profitable for the company. For that reason, Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Company decided to abandon WBT-FM.
Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Company returned to FM broadcasting in 1961. The station at 107.9 was one of the first FM stereo stations in the nation. Initially, the station aired a mixture of classical music and beautiful music, but by the mid-1960s, WBT-FM was airing the beautiful music format produced by Schulke Radio Productions.
On August 31, 1978, at 6 PM, WBT-FM became "WBCY-108, Charlotte's Best Rock". According to an ad appearing in the September 1st edition of The Charlotte Observer, WBCY played 108 hours of music uninterrupted by commercials. Artists played included Chicago, Peter Frampton, The Rolling Stones, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, and Eddie Money. Popular announcers on the station during this time included John Lambis, Chris Jones, Alan Ryan, Becky Kent and Fred Story. Over the next 11 years, the station moved back and forth between adult-leaning CHR and high-energy adult contemporary.
Also in 1978, Marty Lambert became Jeff Pilot, the traffic reporter for WBT and WBCY. Lambert became assistant program director and music director in 1982.
In the early '80s, WBCY hired Johnny Ray Isley as morning host, and later added Billy James as co-host. After John Boy accepted Jesus, he eventually decided he was being asked to play inappropriate songs, and he quit WBCY in February 1986. Bob Lacey, a veteran announcer for WBT and WBTV, replaced John Boy temporarily. Jim "Catfish" Prewitt also paired with Billy, who left the station in April. Later in 1986, Randy Cook and Spiff Dingle became the new morning hosts, while John Boy and Billy went to work for WRFX.
WBCY was also the home of popular Contemporary Christian music program, "Visions", hosted by Ken Mayfield. The program aired every Sunday morning from 1985 until 1993 when Mayfield left to manage WRCM.
In December 1988, Randy and Spiff were fired because WBCY intended to move toward "a more adult-oriented sound" under the new moniker "B108"; they became the morning hosts at WFOX in Atlanta. The change also cost DJ J.J. McKay his job, so McKay went to work for WCKZ; WBCY sought to enforce a noncompete clause, but it was ruled the contract that included the clause had expired before McKay was let go. Program director Mary June Rose hired Rob Early for the morning show in March 1989. In November 1989, WBCY announced that Lacey would be the station's morning host starting December 11. That same month, WBCY returned to the WBT-FM call letters and changed its format to mainstream adult contemporary under the moniker "Sunny 107.9". Sheri Lynch joined Lacey in February 1992, forming the current "Bob & Sheri" show. Eventually, the station's music began leaning in a top 40 direction again.
In 1995, Jefferson-Pilot purchased WBZK-FM, licensed to Chester, South Carolina, and flipped it to a simulcast of WBT to reach more listeners west of Charlotte at night due nighttime signal issues. As a result, the WBT-FM call letters went to that station, while 107.9 FM became WWSN. On August 23, 1996, the station changed its moniker to "Hits 107.9."
On March 14, 1997, after a brief stunt with construction sounds, the station flipped to modern adult contemporary, branded as "107.9 the Link". The current WLNK call letters would be adopted the following day. The modern AC format lasted only a few years, and the station returned to a more mainstream sound.
That same year, Pam Stone began hosting a midday talk show, which meant WLNK was lifestyle talk during the day on weekdays with music at night and on weekends. Stone's show later moved to weekends before the station ended it. Kelly McKay took over middays in 2009 and departed in 2014, Kelly Meyers is now in the Midday slot she began in February 2015.
In April 2006, Philadelphia-based Lincoln Financial Group acquired Jefferson-Pilot (including the broadcasting division, which was renamed Lincoln Financial Media). The WLNK callsign predates its previous owner and thus, similarities to the name "Lincoln" are coincidental. On November 12, 2007, as Lincoln Financial began to liquidate its broadcasting assets, Greater Media announced plans to acquire WLNK, along with sister stations WBT and WBT-FM, for $100 million, a deal which was finalized on January 31, 2008.
Starting with the 2015-16 season, WLNK aired any Tar Heels games that WBT couldn't air--for instance, whenever the Carolina Panthers were airing on WBT.
In July 2016, WLNK tweaked its format towards mainstream AC and changed their slogan to "Charlotte's Best Mix."
On July 19, 2016, Greater Media announced that they would merge with Beasley Media Group. Because Beasley is already maxed out in the Charlotte market with 5 FM's and 2 AM's, WLNK and WBT AM/FM were to be spun off to a divesture trust, eventually going to a permanent buyer. On October 18, 2016, Entercom announced that they would purchase WLNK and WBT AM/FM, plus WFNZ, pending FCC approval. Upon the completion of the Greater/Beasley merger on November 1, Entercom began operating the stations via a time brokerage agreement, which lasted until the sale was consummated on January 10, 2017.
- "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WLNK]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. June 30, 2014. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- "Call Sign History". Retrieved 2011-04-22.
- "FM Query Results for WLNK". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- "TV Query Results for WBTV". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- http://www.freqseek.com/NC/Charlotte/hd-radio-stations.aspx?page=1 List of Freqseek HD stations in Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill
- http://hdradio.com/stations HD Radio.com radio stations lists
- Ron Alridge, "Harry Reasoner Returning to '60 Minutes' This Fall," The Charlotte Observer, August 30, 1978.
- Carol Hazard, "Former Jeff Pilot Lands Job As Merchandise Mart Official," The Charlotte Observer, June 12, 1989, p. 8D.
- Jeff Borden, "Bob Lacey to Replace John-Boy on Interim Basis," The Charlotte Observer, February 13, 1986.
- Jeff Borden, "WBCY to Introduce New Disc Jockey Duo on Morning Show," The Charlotte Observer, September 11, 1986.
- Jeff Borden, "Tar Heels Top Hornets in Battle for Air Time on WBT Radio," The Charlotte Observer, p. 19A.
- Jeff Borden, "Randy and Spiff Hit Atlanta," The Charlotte Observer, January 21, 1989.
- Jeff Borden, "Country WSOC's Lead Grows," The Charlotte Observer, January 28, 1989, p. 7B.
- Jeff Borden, "WCKZ Wins in Dispute Over Deejay J.J. McKay," The Charlotte Observer, March 4, 1989, p. 19A.
- Jeff Borden, "WBCY Lands Morning Deejay, " The Charlotte Observer, March 25, 1989, p. 23A.
- Richard Maschal, "Bob Lacey to Return to Radio," The Charlotte Observer, November 8, 1989.
- Tim Funk and David Poole, "Hornets Factor in Station Purchase," The Charlotte Observer, February 2, 1995.
- Tim Funk, "WBTV's Bridges to Be Police's Community Education Coordinator," The Charlotte Observer, August 30, 1995.
- Kay McFadden, "So Long, 'Sunny,' Hello, 'Link,'" The Charlotte Observer, March 14, 1997.
- Bill Keveney, "Radio Wrap," The Charlotte Observer, December 13, 1998.
- Mark Washburn, "The Link Seeks Magic with Drive-Time Team," The Charlotte Observer, March 19, 2001.
- http://www.theriseguys.com/aboutmatt.html, Retrieved on 2008/05/15.
- Mark Washburn, "107.9 Tries Talk As 'Link' to Women," The Charlotte Observer, July 1, 2003.
- http://www.greatermedia.com/press/detail.php?ID=279, retrieved on 2008/05/15.
- Beasley Acquires Greater Media
- Entercom Acquires Beasley Charlotte Spinoffs
- 107.9 The Link's website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WLNK
- Radio-Locator information on WLNK
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WLNK