WFNZ: Wikis


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City of license Charlotte, North Carolina
Broadcast area Charlotte/Metrolina
Branding The Fan
Frequency 610 kHz
First air date 1941 (as WAYS)
Format Sports Talk
Power 5,000 watts day
1,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 53974
Callsign meaning FaNZ(S)
Owner CBS Radio
Webcast Listen Live

WFNZ "610 AM The Fan" is a Sports Talk format radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina.



WFNZ signed on in 1941 as WAYS (AM). For much of the 1960s through early 1980s, it was Charlotte's top-rated Top 40 station under the moniker "61 Big Ways." The morning show was aired on both WAYS and sister FM WROQ, and among the WROQ/WAYS DJs to become major celebrities were Robert Murphy, later the WKQX Chicago morning host, and actor Jay Thomas. Larry Sprinkle, a WCNC-TV morning weather personality, also worked at the stations[1]. In 1984, it became WROQ (AM) and simulcast its then-FM sister station (now WNKS). [2] In 1986, it changed its calls to WAES (a phonetic version of the old calls) with an oldies format, briefly bringing back its old "61 Big Ways" moniker[3]. However, it failed to make much headway in the ratings. With the debut of Magic 96.1, something else had to be done. After 18 months of the Oldies Channel satellite format, WAES began airing the "AM Only" adult standards satellite format (even older oldies, in other words) during the day, and talk show hosts Bruce Williams, Neil Myers and Larry King at night[4]. It brought back the WROQ calls in 1990, playing an album rock format similar to the one its FM sister used in its glory days[5]. In 1991, it became WGKL, simulcasting its FM sister's oldies format[6] . Later in 1991, it became WAQS (another phonetic play on its old calls) while keeping the oldies format.

Finally, in September 1992, it became Charlotte's first ever all-sports station as "Sports 610 AM WAQS." Gerry Vaillancourt, formerly of WCNT, debuted the station's first local sports talk program on September 14[7]. Another local host was Mickey Conley, who now goes by her real name Michelle Tafoya[8].The format took a while to take hold, but it got an assist when it was sold to the owners of popular rock station WRFX and became known as WRFX-AM (Fox 610 Sports). When WRFX was bought by Clear Channel, AM 610 was sold to American Radio Systems and renamed WFNZ in 1995. The ARS deal reunited it with its former longtime FM sister.

On April 1, 1996, Vaillancourt moved to WBT. One reason was that at WFNZ, he would have had to give up his role in Charlotte Hornets broadcasts[9].

In 2003, WFNZ added a semi-satellite, WFNA, on 1660 AM after the FCC expanded the AM radio band. It replaced CBS-owned gospel station WGIV (1600 AM), which left the air. (The WGIV call letters are now on a different station in the Charlotte area, under different ownership.) The two stations simulcasted for part of the broadcast day during the week and had separate schedules during nights and weekends. Now WBCN, the station began airing a talk radio format on September 14, 2009.[10]

Former logo

Since 2006, WFNZ has been the Charlotte-area home of North Carolina Tar Heels football and basketball.

WFNZ operates the second-strongest signal in the Charlotte area, at 5,000 watts (which is stronger at 610 AM than it would be farther to the right on the AM dial). During the day, it provides at least grade B coverage to 35 counties in North and South Carolina. However, it doesn't travel as far as 5,000-watt stations in other states due to the region's poor ground conductivity. At night, it must power down to 1,000 watts, making it hard to hear even in some parts of Mecklenburg County and all but unlistenable in the South Carolina portion of the market. Due to its nighttime signal limitations, UNC signed up WFNZ's former FM sister WRFX to simulcast Tar Heel basketball games for the 2008-09 season.

WFNZ runs a tailgate prior to Carolina Panthers home games at the station's "Doghouse" located near Bank of America Stadium.

In November 2007, the station went through a scheduling change when the station lost its syndication of The Bill Rosinski Show after the Charis Radio Network cancelled the show. Instead of picking up syndication from Sporting News Radio or ESPN Radio, the station added a one hour show featuring Chuck Howard and added an hour to the "Mac Attack" show. On Wednesday, October 1, 2008, Howard announced that he was leaving the station to become the producer for NASCAR Media Group. A new show featuring former Carolina Panthers players Frank Garcia and Brentson Buckner began airing on October 6, 2008.

On September 14, 2009, WFNZ AM changed its branding from "The Franchise" to "The Fan", moving in some ESPN Radio programming from its former sister station (see above) and dropping Sporting News Radio programming.



Current Hosts and Producers

  • Chris McClain: Host of "The Mac Attack"
  • Jim Celania: Co-host of "The Mac Attack"
  • T-Bone: Producer of "The Mac Attack"
  • JR Gump: Producer of "The Mac Attack"
  • Frank Garcia: Co-host of "The Frank and Buck Show"
  • Brentson Buckner: Co-host of "The Frank and Buck Show"
  • Mark Yarbro: Producer of "The Frank and Buck Show"
  • Mark Packer: Host of "Primetime with the Packman"
  • "Queen City Bastard (QCB)": Producer of "Primetime with the Packman"
  • "The Hitman": Producer of "Primetime with the Packman"
  • Jay: Producer of "Primetime with the Packman"


  • Gary Williams
  • Chuck Howard
  • Ethan Horton
  • Bill Rosinski
  • Brian "Hayseed" Stroup
  • Sandy Penner
  • The B.O.C. with Shawn and Tony
  • Tom Carey

Show descriptions

Morning Sports Page

The Morning Sports Page was WFNZ's morning show. The show aired every weekday from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Gary Williams and Jim Celania hosted the show with the help of their producers Tom Reilly (a.k.a Double T- they joked that he took his wife's maiden name) and Mark Yarbro. Every Wednesday at 9:25 Chris McClain of the "Mac Attack" joined the Morning Sports Page for a Panther "Pep Rally." Other popular segments included Jim's Hat of the Day, Mark's Pop Culture Icon of the Day, and the Goats of the Weekend. Frequent guests to the Morning Sports Page were ESPN's Jay Bilas and Trey Wingo, Gary Danielson from CBS, Steve Byrnes of Fox and the Speedchannel and Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers. Gary Williams announced in January 2009 that he was leaving the station for a job at Mad Dog Radio. The final Morning Sports Page was on January 30, 2009.

The Mac Attack

The "Mac Attack" is the station's mid day show. The "Mac Attack" is hosted by Chris McClain and the show's wacky producers JR Gump, and T-Bone also contribute to the show. JR Gump frequently interrupts with his stuttering pro Hillary Clinton political views, useless facts and predictions for his beloved Tar Heels, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Penguins. T-Bone frequently drops callers who are Tar Heel and Panther fans and interrupts the show with stories about how he almost got laid. Frequent guests to the "Mac Attack" include TNT's Nascar pit reporter Marty Snider, Mike Florio from, Brentson Buckner, the ladies from WCCB and the honorary grandfather of the show Doug from Lawndale. At the end of the show, McClain and T-bone drop in late hits where they update the audience on that day's weird sports and entertainment news. Gump used to have a late hit as well but it was dropped because the listeners to the "Mac Attack" voted that they do mankind a favor and eliminate Gump's late hit. When McClain is away on vacation the show loses the bulk of its audience because the substitute host, T-Bone, and Gump let the station's most annoying caller Chapel Hill Clarence host and take over the show. McClain, T-Bone, and Gump made their television broadcast debut on WCCB in the spring of 2008. In June 2008, Mac and his most devoted "Mac Slackers" challenged the Charlotte Eagles to a soccer scrimmage to prove that in order to play soccer, you do not have to be an athlete which the mac slackers lost to the Charlotte Eagles 16 to 0. On February 2, 2009, the "Mac Attack" moved to the 6-9 am slot to replace the "Morning Sports Page." Jim Celania co-hosts the show with Chris McClain.

Primetime with the Packman

Primetime with the Packman is the afternoon drivetime show on WFNZ. The show is hosted by Mark Packer, son of famous CBS sports announcer Billy Packer, and has two daily co-hosts. Some frequent co-hosts to the show are Mike Gminski, Steve Israel, Corey Miller, Frank Garcia, and Cedric Maxwell. Primetime also has its famous "The Diamonds Direct Whiner Line."


The QCB has two comic relief segments on Primetime with the Packman. In his first segment, QCB picks games against the spread against a caller to the show. QCB is labeled as the "kiss of death" because of his bad luck in picking games. QCB then rants on a variety on sports and entertainment subjects for the rest of his two segments. In addition to his contributions to the "Primetime with the Packman" show, QCB has a daily video blog called "QCB Unleashed" on his WFNZ web page. QCB is an accomplished comedian and has performed at the Laugh Factory in New York City.

Frequent Skits performed by QCB are:

  • The CIAA Fact of the Day
  • Garinger High School Pep Talk
  • March Madness Couch
  • "Thugs" QCB mentions which athletes and rappers have been mentioned in the daily police blotter.
  • QCB Recommends (QCB goes head to head with Charlotte columnist) Thomas Torrence.
  • QCB's Thug Life Word Of The Day
  • Fowler Uncovered Files: QCB rants on Scott Fowler's columns in the Charlotte Observer.
  • QCB has been known to freestyle rap during his segment. He has rapped with Jon Beason of the Carolina Panthers.

Daily/Weekly segments

Jim's Hat of the Day

Jim Celania of the "Morning Sports Page" always wears a hat while doing the talk show. Everyday at 7:30 a.m. Jim announces to the audience what hat he is wearing that specific day.

Yarb's Pop Icon of the Day

Everyday at 9:30 a.m. on the "Morning Sports Page," Mark Yarbro mentions a famous past or current icon.

Panther Pep Rally

Every Wednesday during the N.F.L. season at 9:35 a.m., Jim Celania of the "Morning Sports Page" Chris McClain of the "Mac Attack" attempt to rally fans of the Carolina Panthers for the upcoming game. Each week they debate whether Chris Harris or Charles Godfrey had a better game at the safety position and they have a "Peppers Sack Countdown" to count the number of quarterback sacks Julius Peppers has during the season.

Gump's Word of the Day

Everyday at 11:50 a.m. Gump from the "Mac Attack" gives listeners a daily vocabulary lesson.

T-Bone's Babe of the Day

Everyday at 1:50 p.m. T-Bone from the "Mac Attack" tells listeners his babe of the day.

Hitman's Bear Icon of the Day

Tony the Hitman mentions a Bear Icon everyday at 5:50 p.m.

QCB's Thug Life Word of the Day

Every day, the QCB give his "Thug Life Word of the Day" to help listeners understand the life of thugs. Some examples of "Thug Life Words" are Police, Jordans, Angry, Timberlands, Five-Dollars, Free, Corner, Porch,Guns, Ghetto, Rich, Forties, Madden, Trouble, T-Shirts, Rims, Scarface, Begging, Lazy, Drama, Freebies, NBA, Excuses, Noodles and Booth.

Fowler Uncovered Files

Fowler Uncovered or better known as the "F.U. files" is QCB's most famous segment on Primetime with the Packman. In this segment, QCB mocks and rants at Scott Fowler's columns in the Charlotte Observer. This segment started after QCB read Fowler's columns on air during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. These articles were ridiculed by both Mark Packer, QCB and the co-hosts on the show. After the Olympics ended, this segment was introduced due to the sheer popularity of QCB and Packer's ripping the local paper. Here is an example of an F.U. file;

Fake Scott Fowler:"The experts say you should only consume 2000 calories a day not me i eat too many fruits. I love pears, plums, juicy peaches, and i crave bananas."

QCB: "Wait a minute, hold on, i crave blizzards at Dairy Queen. Let me tell you something, I crave a certain dish I would like my wife to cook. But Corey Miller, I'm a grown man I ain't craving no damn bananas. But wait theres more!"

Fake Scott Fowler: "I guess I'm just a fruity guy. I like fruit cocktail, fruit cake, fruit mixed in my salad. Oh no you won't see me consume 2000 calories a day, my seedless red grapes won't allow me to."

QCB: "Now wait a minute Corey Miller, Fruit mixed in a salad, man this guy is sick. But wait theres moreI"

Fake Scott Fowler:"And I gotta tell you my favorite fruit dish of all is fruity pebbles as good as fruity pebbles taste can we blame barney..(interrupted by Pack telling him to end the segment) but wait there's more, Tomorrow Maybe!!"


  1. ^ Jeff Borden, "Disc Jockeys to Reunite Here," The Charlotte Observer, October 7, 1988.
  2. ^, Retrieved on 2008/05/07.
  3. ^ WROQ Changes WAYS - It's WAES Now," The Charlotte Observer, June 27, 1986.
  4. ^ Jeff Borden, "Station Turns to Larry King, Oldies," The Charlotte Observer, June 18, 1988.
  5. ^ Tim Funk, "WROQ Monkeys with Its Format," The Charlotte Observer, January 20, 1990.
  6. ^ Tim Funk, "WPEG Pumps Up Its Power, The Charlotte Observer, February 15, 1991.
  7. ^ David Poole, "AM Station to Go All-Sports," The Charlotte Observer, August 26, 1992.
  8. ^ David Poole, "Charlotte Was Launching Pad for 2 Rising Stars," The Charlotte Observer June 7, 1995.
  9. ^ David Poole, "Gerry Vaillancourt," The Charlotte Observer, March 8, 1996.
  10. ^ Washburn, Mark (2009-09-03). "Talking back: CBS to take on WBT". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2009-09-05.  

External links


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