Mid Carolina Radio

WPCM In the beginning

After a number of years operating as WBBB-FM and later WNCB  with a Beautiful Music format, management decided to make a drastic change in the station’s programming.  Its new country format made its debut on January 16th, 1978 as WPCM.  Buddy Michaels was hired from WRQK in Greensboro as Program Director. Not only did Buddy do morning drive from 6AM until 9AM the first few months, but he also came back to handle afternoon drive from 3PM until 6PM. WPCM was automated from 9AM until 3PM, and from 6PM until midnight. Interestingly, there was live programming overnight with an appeal to truckers on the busy interstates.

 

In a phone conversation with me in October (2011), Buddy told me that the station was put on the map thanks to a freak of nature that many who of us lived in the area will long remember: the Great Ice storm of March 1978. Power was out everywhere from  the Triad into the Raleigh-Durham area. Most of the radio stations in those days did not have emergency generators, and neither did WPCM. Then the National Guard came to the rescue. Buddy and Sergeant Buddy Mitchell had become friends shortly after the format change as they shared a great love for country music. Sergeant Mitchell contacted Buddy and said what a great service WPCM could provide to the area if they could get back on the air, and that he had a way to do it. Soon after that phone call, a huge military truck pulled up to Tower Road bearing a huge generator; station engineers made the connection and WPCM had power to broadcast.

 

Buddy and the overnight announcer worked rotating shifts on the air, helped by sister station WBBB personnel. They provided news and information about the storm and power outages for over two days. A marketing budget could never have purchased as much attention and good will that the station provided during those two days, and as Buddy says, “That’s what put us on the map.”  He also believes that WPCM was one of the first radio stations in the Triad to provide 24-hour service with a country format.

 

Bob Crews


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