WSMW (98.7 FM) is an adult hits station licensed to Greensboro, North Carolina and serving the Piedmont Triad region, including High Point and Winston-Salem. The Audacy, Inc. outlet uses the slogan "We Play Everything!"

Broadcast areaPiedmont Triad
Frequency98.7 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding98.7 Simon
FormatAdult hits
SubchannelsHD2: Sports gambling "The Bet"
First air date
January 9, 1958 (1958-01-09)
Former call signs
  • WMDE (1958–73)
  • WPET-FM (1973)
  • WRQK (1973–85)
  • WKSI (1985–2002)
  • WOZN (2002–05)
Former frequencies
98.5 MHz (1958–60s)
Call sign meaning
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID71272
ERP100,000 watts
HAAT375 meters (1,230 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
35°56′42″N 79°51′45″W / 35.94500°N 79.86250°W / 35.94500; -79.86250
Public license information
  • Public file
  • LMS
WebcastListen live (via Audacy)
Listen live (via Audacy) (HD2)

WSMW broadcasts with an ERP of 100,000 watts at a height above average terrain of 375 meters (1230 feet). The signal provides secondary coverage as far as Charlotte to the south and Raleigh to the east.[2] The station's studios are located near the Piedmont Triad International Airport and the transmitter site is in unincorporated south Guilford County.

History edit

Early years edit

On January 9, 1958, WMDE first signed on at 98.5 MHz.[3] Owner Hall Electronics originally used the experimental call sign W4MDE. In the early 1960s, WMDE moved to 98.7, a frequency used from 1948 to 1950 by WCTP. Early formats on WMDE included classical music, middle of the road music and jazz. In 1966, WMDE played country music and aired Tobacco Radio Network news. Suburban Broadcasting sold WMDE to Mido Broadcasting in 1973 and the station became WPET-FM, airing Southern gospel music as a sister station to AM 950 WPET.

The WRQK era edit

Starting in November 1973, the station increased power to 100,000 watts and went with a Top 40/Oldies format referred to as "Rock N' Gold" with the call letters WRQK. Artists included Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Parliament, General Johnson and the Chairmen of the Board. Studios for WRQK and WPET were on Meadowview Road near the Greensboro Depot. Drivers passing by could see the DJs through the three glass walls, and some even yelled their requests to the DJs. Battleground Avenue had billboards showing the DJs.[4] At one time the station's name was K-99. WRQK leaned toward classic rock in 1980, when it was also called "Heart of Gold".[5] Later the name became "99-RQK."

In 1982, the station switched to Top 40. The following year in 1983, rival station 99.5 WMAG made its debut, giving away a Rolls-Royce. WRQK co-owner Tom Armshaw countered by giving away a blue Corvette.[4] Beginning in the middle of 1984, the station became an affiliate of Dan Ingram's Top 40 Satellite Survey.

Switch to Kiss-FM edit

In 1985, WRQK changed to WKSI "98-7 Kiss FM," under consultant Randy Kabrich. The station was still playing Contemporary Hits and enjoying the "hey day" of 1980's top 40 popularity. The station was programmed during the mid/late 80's by Big Steve Kelly and then Dale O'Brian. O'Brian was hired as the Music Director and night jock following the departure of Dave Denver. O'Brian later hosted mornings following the departure of Jim Quinn. Big Steve left the station for Cleveland in the late 80's and O'Brian was named PD/Operations Manager. The station enjoyed the reputation of being one of the leading Top 40 stations in the Carolinas. In 1989, O'Brian left to sign on WMXF/MIX 96 in Fayetteville, NC. Other alumni include Dave Stone, Kelly Masters, Beth Ann McBride, Sammy Simpson, Scott Robbins, Sean Michaels, Ken Morrison, Robin Lambert, Skip Presson and Nancy Lee. The station would evolve to a modern rock-leaning Adult Top 40 by 1995 (after a brief stint as a country station "98-7 Kiss Country"). The station would also change its slogan to "The Point" in 1997 and by 2002 changed it again to "The Zone" along with the new call letters WOZN.

Move to adult hits edit

In 2005, the station added songs from the variety hits genre and held an online vote to see in the station should keep its Hot AC format or change to Adult Hits (even though at the time, the owners were planning to change it anyway.) Perhaps not surprisingly, Adult Hits won, with the station changing its call sign to WSMW and joining the list of stations embracing the format by introducing "Simon" to the market, not unlike the Jack FM format that was popular in many cities. The name "Simon" is a reference to the children's game "Simon Says," where Simon gets to say whatever songs he'd like to hear from the music library.

The station later added a morning show hosted by Jeff Wicker, voted "best Triad radio personality" for 2007 on Wicker's co-hosts were "Skip the Prize Guy" & Carmen Brown. Currently, weekdays begin with the "Get Up! Show," hosted by Sean Sellers, a native of Henderson, NC, who had been a DJ at WDCG, a top 40 station in the Raleigh market, as well as stops in the Virginia Beach and Washington DC markets, Charley, a native of Washington, IN who started her career at WEND in Charlotte NC, and Matty, a native of NH, whose resume includes WHFS in Washington DC. On several occasions, the "Get Up! Show" has started to share the famous and elusive "Secret recipe for million dollar fudge" live on the air, only to have the signal mysteriously overtaken by heavy static or the transmitter shut off.

The station originally focused on playing music of multiple genres, eras, and styles, from as far back as the 1960s to present. In recent times, the station has removed the majority of the newer music and focused mainly on 1970s and 1980s classic hits alongside some 1990s music. The station still includes a few songs from the early 2000s. They have been the first station locally to play brand new music from The Rolling Stones, Weezer, Sting, Kacey Musgraves and many more, adding to their reputation for unpredictability. Several slogans, such as "Random Rules" and "We Play Everything" demonstrate this dedication to a wide variety of music.

On February 23, 2022, WSMW added The Bet to its HD3 subchannel.[6]

References edit

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WSMW". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-151
  4. ^ a b McLaughlin, Nancy (August 30, 2015). "Radio pioneer Tom Armshaw left legacy". News & Record.
  5. ^ "Battle for Big Bucks," Greensboro Daily News, April 27, 1980.
  6. ^ "Audacy Adds The Bet In Eight More Markets". RadioInsight. 23 February 2022. Retrieved 2022-02-23.

External links edit

  • Official website
  • WSMW in the FCC FM station database
  • WSMW in Nielsen Audio's FM station database