WXRC (95.7 FM, "95.7 The Ride") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Hickory, North Carolina and targeting the Charlotte market. The station is owned by David Lingafelt and his Pacific Broadcasting Group and broadcasts a classic hits format. Studios are located in Newton and its broadcast tower is located east of Lincolnton, North Carolina at ( ).
|City||Hickory, North Carolina|
|Branding||95.7 The Ride|
|Slogan||No Silly Morning Shows, No Stupid Contests, No Hype, The Greatest Music Ever Made|
|First air date||1962|
|HAAT||311 meters (1,020 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W X RoCk (previous branding)|
|Owner||Pacific Broadcasting Group
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WXRC signed on for the first time in 1962 as the sister station to 630 AM WIRC (now WAIZ), with the FM antenna mounted on the WIRC tower in southeast Hickory.
The station was sold along with WIRC in 1977.
In 1980, WXRC installed a more powerful transmitter, raising its Effective Radiated Power to 100 kW.
From the early 1980s to 1985, WXRC was "X-Rock", an adult contemporary format using the automated TM Stereo Rock programming service. In 1985, the station built a new transmitter site atop a mountain between Hickory and Morganton (relocated near Lincolnton in 1988), which allowed it to cover Charlotte. At the same time, it changed to live album-oriented rock. Programmed in the first year by local native and Appalachian State Graduate Greg Mull (see K-Rock Fort Myers and 98 Rock Tampa) and fellow ASU graduates Justin 'Jay' Phelps and Jon Austin, the station during the '80s placed in the top 10 of Charlotte Arbitron ratings during Fall 1985-December 1986. After Mull's departure in 1986, both Phelps and Austin served in music director roles, under various hired program directors in the 1980s including Bob Raleigh who later went on to launch classic rock WCKN (now WROQ) in Greenville, SC. Raleigh also went on to become a corporate programmer for many years at Cumulus Media and Westwood One Network. Over the years, WXRC has tried various rock formats, including Triple-A. At one point, the station emphasized hard rock and heavy metal, branding itself as "The Panther". The Carolina Panthers, Charlotte's NFL team, subsequently sued the station. The switch to the current format was made in 2002.
WXRC was the Charlotte affiliate for Howard Stern from April 15, 1997 to 2001. It climbed as high as second in the Charlotte ratings until dropping Stern for Lex and Terry in 2001. Throughout many changes musically, its playlist today consists mostly of artists from the "classic rock" era including the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
One of the few independently owned-and-operated stations in the Charlotte market, its sound is very similar to how most FM stations sounded in the 1970s. Lingafelt has received a number of offers to sell his station over the years. However, he told The Charlotte Observer that he was not willing to sell to anyone, claiming that his station's format would never be possible under a corporate owner. In 2008, the station was rated the 12th most popular station in Charlotte by Arbitron, but was rated second in the critical 25-49 demographic.
WXRC is short-spaced to WHPE-FM (licensed to serve High Point, North Carolina) as they operate on adjacent channels and the cities they are licensed to serve are only 77 miles apart. The minimum distance between a Class C0 FM radio station (WXRC) and a Class C1 FM radio station (WHPE-FM) operating on adjacent channels according to current FCC rules is 122 miles. WXRC uses a directional antenna to reduce its signal toward the northeast, in the direction of WHPE-FM.
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- Jamieson, Sean (June 16, 1995). "NFL Team Rocks Radio Station with Suit Over Panther Problem". The Charlotte Observer.
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