Sunday, August 06, 2006

RIP WFMX

I learned of this a little late, but country station WFMX, 105.7, is no more. After becoming wholly-owned by Clear Channel, the station no longer broadcasts from Statesville. Instead, it is now part of Clear Channel's Greensboro group of stations.

A twinge of loss came at hearing the news. I grew up in Statesville on Carolina Avenue North, just down the street from the WFMX studio and tower on Radio Road. As a child of the seventies, I never admitted to listening to FMX. Back then not only was it country, it was your granddaddy's country. Flatt and Scruggs, Homer and Jethro and Jim and Jesse held spots on the regular playlist. You could hear obits several times a day. They were among the first FM stations to regularly broadcast NASCAR. While I never admitted to listening, sometimes I didn't have any choice. My dad ruled the radio on family rides. Even though it wasn't his only station, when he wanted to listen to it that's where the dial stayed. Also, being so close to the tower, we could pick it up on at least half a dozen spots on the dials of our radios at home.

The station went corporate in the late '80s or early '90s and was pretty much indistinguishable from the pat country formats. However, they continued to play a great bluegrass show hosted by Hoyt Herbert, considered one of the country's best bluegrass DJs. I kept it programmed into my truck's radio for Herbert's show and a little hometown nostalgia.

Now we have KISS-FM at 105.7, I can't recall the new call letters, but WFMX does hold a place in radio history. It is believed to be the first all country formatted FM station in the US. It also had one of the strongest FM signals in the state, reaching into the mountains and eastward to the edge of the Triangle. Now it's gone. I guess they'll say the same for the rest of us one these days too. Hope the memories are as fond.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new KISS sinks. I now live in Statesville and listened occassionally to WFMX. Mainly for NASCAR and Paul Harvey. Now all I hear is hip-hop. Hell, I can get that anywhere on the dial. The once great and true blow torch WFMX is as Floyd states, "dead".

8/19/2006  
Blogger Glenn said...

Anon, in radioland, it's a significant death.

8/22/2006  
Anonymous ray said...

I grew up in Avery County, way up there in the mountains, and I grew up listening to WFMX. I always enjoyed Hoyt Herbert's show. Sure wish Statesville would pick up another strong FM station with old-style country, and Hoyt would still have his show on there as well. So much for hopes and wishes though, I guess.

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Blogger Mike Walker said...

I was lucky enough to have been the last morning host on WFMX before the "dark days" (the "homogenization" of WFMX) began with the sale by High Country Communications to Adventure Communications in 1989...as the station began a fairly freqquent series of ownership-changes. I LOVED that station. There was history in those hallways, and I always felt I was a part of something special...something that, I believed at the time, was bigger than all of us (who worked there), and would long endure. How wrong I was!

By the way, WFMX is also thought to have had another "first" (besides being the first FM Country station in the US). It had, we (who were there) believe, the first black female Program Director of a country station in America...Rita Taggert (later going by "Rita Kelly"). She was the best boss I ever had, and is someone I will always admire, and love!

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