Fred Laxton, Earle Gluck, and Frank L. Bunker begin broadcasting out of Laxton’s home — and chicken coop. In 1922, their station becomes Charlotte’s WBT, the first fully licensed commercial radio station in the Southeast.
N.C. State College launches WLAC, our state’s first college radio station. It lasts less than a year, but the Wolfpack would be back: Today, State’s WKNC boasts one of college radio’s strongest signals, and is a champion of local music.
The Durham Life Insurance Company buys Raleigh’s second radio station (first known as WFBQ, then WRCO), and changes its call letters to WPTF for “We Protect the Family,” the company’s motto.
Carl Goerch broadcasts a Sunday night radio show called “Carolina Chats,” which lasts for 28 years, as well as a series called “Doings of the Legislature,” both on WPTF. The same year, he founds a magazine called The State.
Edward R. Murrow, a native of Polecat Creek near Greensboro, makes history on CBS Radio, reporting live from Vienna as the Nazis occupy and annex Austria. “Good night,” he says through the war years, “and good luck.”
Rocky Mount native Kay Kyser, “The Ol’ Professor,” airs his “Kollege of Musical Knowledge” on NBC Radio. In 1949, Kyser says, “So long, evahbody,” to radio, but not before building a fan base of 20 million weekly listeners.
Earl Scruggs, just 15 years old, plays banjo on North Carolina radio for the first time, with a local string band called the Carolina Wildcats. It’s a natural next step for the boy from Flint Hill who began performing at the age of 6.
WAKE, which would later become WFDD (for Wake Forest Demon Deacons), begins in a rooming house, operated by two Wake Forest College students. In 1971, WFDD becomes North Carolina’s first NPR member station.
Mount Airy’s WPAQ broadcasts the region’s indigenous music, including old-time, bluegrass, and gospel. The station becomes known for “Merry-Go-Round,” now one of radio’s longest-running live-performance shows.
WAAA, the state’s first AM station to focus on African-American interests, starts in Winston-Salem, giving a home to D.J.’s like Oscar Alexander and his “Daddy-Oh on the Patio,” which airs from Ray’s Roadside Drive-In.
Future broadcasting legends Carl Kasell and Charles Kuralt, then students at UNC-Chapel Hill, take part in WUNC’s inaugural FM broadcast. In 1976, WUNC becomes an NPR member station, “bringing the world home” to its listeners.
UNC-Chapel Hill’s WXYC becomes the first radio station to launch a streaming Internet broadcast. Rock ’n’ roll fans rejoice, and stations follow suit, making it possible these days to hear just about any broadcast, anywhere.
Get our most popular weekly newsletter: This is NC
To commemorate our 90th anniversary, we’ve compiled a time line that highlights the stories, contributors, and themes that have shaped this magazine — and your view of the Old North State — using nine decades of our own words.