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City of license Raleigh, North Carolina
Broadcast area Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill
Branding News/Talk 680 WPTF
Slogan The Triangle's News and Information Station
Frequency 680 (kHz)
First air date 1924
Format Talk radio
Power 50,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 21630
Transmitter coordinates 35°47′38″N 78°45′41″W / 35.79389°N 78.76139°W / 35.79389; -78.76139
Callsign meaning We Protect The Family (named for the slogan of the station's original owners, Durham Life Insurance Company)
Owner Curtis Media Group

WPTF, NewsRadio 680, is a talk radio station serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The station is owned by Curtis Media Group. Its call letters date back to the former longtime owner of the station, Durham Life Insurance Company, whose motto was "We Protect The Family."

Programs on WPTF include national talk show hosts Dave Ramsey, Mark Levin, Phil Hendrie, and programs such as The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold. In addition, the station also hosts local programming with Brian Freeman, Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Kearney, and afternoon host Bill LuMaye[1][2].

WPTF is the former call sign of local TV channel 28, the longtime NBC affiliate in the Triangle. That station is now WRDC, "MyRDC," an affiliate of MyNetworkTV.[3][4]

WPTF's 50,000-watt signal is non-directional during the day, but the nighttime directional signal is hard to hear 50 miles to the north in Virginia, while to the south WPTF can be picked up well south into the Bahamas and other parts of the Caribbean and can supposedly be picked up in Venezuela.[5]


Early History

WPTF was originally called WFBQ, and was the second radio station in Raleigh (N. C. State had the first, WLAC, but it did not last), going on the air September 22, 1924 at 1190 AM, broadcasting at 50 watts. The station was owned and operated by the Wynne Radio Company, owned by William A. Wynne[5], and the offices and broadcasting facilities were located in the Boone Building next to the Wake County Courthouse. After a year of successful operation[citation needed], the station had its call letters changed to WRCO, for Wynne Radio Company[5]. On August 19, 1926 the station was authorized to increase its power to 100 watts. Being a more powerful station, they moved their operations to the Sir Walter Hotel. The following year the power was increased to 250 watts. They signed on the air each morning at sunrise and signed off the air at sunset each day. Early in 1927 the station requested from the government 500 watts of power. In June of that year they received word that their request would not be granted, however, they were given authority to move to 1380 on the dial, along with unlimited time on the air[citation needed].

In 1927, The Durham Life Insurance Company purchased WRCO outright from the Wynne Company and the station's call letters were altered to WPTF[5]. The new owners were given a permit to increase their power to 500 watts and to move to 720 on the dial. New equipment was purchased and the operations were moved to the basement of the old Durham Life building.

Things moved rather rapidly for the new owners. On November 16, 1927, WPTF moved to 550 kilocycles, remaining there until November 1, 1928, when it changed to 680. In 1928, the station was granted another increase in power, this time to 1,000 watts, but was required to sign off at sunset.

Although many attempts were made over the next several years, it wasn't until 1933 that the station increased its power to 5,000 watts. With this authority, WPTF purchased new equipment and moved to Cary, North Carolina, on US Highway 1.

In June, 1940, WPTF was given authority to operate unlimited hours and a month later was granted a construction permit to install new transmitter equipment and increase its power to 50,000 watts.

Almost a year later on a late spring evening, listeners heard these words from the announcer on duty: "Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be a few moments of silence while engineers switch from WPTF's 5,000 watts transmitter unit and begin operation for the first time with its new 50,000 watts transmitter." Thus on May 24, 1941, WPTF began a new era in broadcasting.[citation needed]

As of 1948, WPTF was an affiliate of NBC Radio. WPTF-FM signed on at 94.5 in 1949 using the tallest of the AM station's three towers off N.C. Highway 54, near the present-day Interstate 40. The FM station later moved to 94.7,. Both stations operated from 410 South Salisbury street in Downtown Raleigh[5]. The tower used by WPTF-FM when it signed on is currently used by WWMY.[3]

By the 1970s, the AM station offered a "full service format of adult contemporary, local/state news and neighborly talk," and the FM was playing classical music before switching to album rock and the call letters WQDR in 1972.[6]

WPTF-TV, a nine-year-old station previously called WRDU-TV when Durham Life bought it, joined the two radio stations at their Highwoods Boulevard studios on the north end of Raleigh.

In 1991, Durham Life sold its broadcasting stations. Don Curtis, who bought all of WQDR, had a "controlling interest" in WPTF.[5]

Recent Developments

WPTF had served as the flagship station for the NC State Wolfpack sports network for more than 40 years until Wolfpack Sports Marketing announced it had signed a ten-year deal to move its flagship to Capitol Broadcasting Company's WRAL-FM.[7] NC State athletic officials cited their desire to be on an FM signal with a multi-year contract and the ability to collect more local advertising revenue, conditions that Curtis Media was unwilling to provide. Some Wolfpack fans around the East Coast were unhappy with the move because it cut the audience of Wolfpack sports, especially at night, because of the reduced power.[8]

After the September 2008 death of Jack Boston, Scott Fitzgerald took over North Carolina Morning News (5:30-9:00am).

As of September 15 of 2008, WPTF began streaming Rush Limbaugh as well as the rest of their local and syndicated line up.

Parent Company Curtis Media announced in August, 2009 the acquisiiton of The North Carolina News Network from Capital Broadcasting of Raleigh.[9]

On November 2, 2009, Curtis Media President Phil Zachary said Limbaugh is leaving WPTF December 31, 2009, after more than 20 years.[10]

Hurricane Coverage

WPTF has historically provided hurricane coverage to residents of the Carolinas. WPTF first provided reports of Hurricane Hazel and has covered most major storms ever since.

Because of WPTF's directional nightime signal, the station assisted the residents of Charleston, South Carolina after Hurricane Hugo hit the state in 1989. Most of coastal South Carolina, including the city of Charleston was without power, so local radio stations were knocked off the air. WPTF broadcast emergency information and even won several awards from the state of South Carolina for their assistance.

In 1996, WPTF provided coverage of Hurricane Fran even though the station was without power for nearly a week. The station and transmitter site ran on generator power, allowing residents in the Triangle and beyond to call in for storm and damage information and find out where to get needed supplies, such as ice, water, and food.


  1. ^, Retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  2. ^ Danny Hooley, "WPTF-AM's Boston Diagnosed with Leukemia," The News and Observer, October 12, 2006.
  3. ^ a b, retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  4. ^, Retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  5. ^ a b c d e f, Retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  6. ^, Retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  7. ^, Retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  8. ^, Retrieved on 2008/04/22.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Baysden, Chris (2009-11-02). "Clear Channel to pull Rush Limbaugh off Raleigh station WPTF". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 

WPTF Radio Personalities

WPTF has a storied history developing personalities. Many of these on-air figures go on to larger markets, or become long-time Raleigh-Durham favorites. Below are some of a few.

Jerry Agar (2000-2005)
Wally Ausley ( , deceased)
Mike Blackman (1972-2009)
John Wesley Brett
Jim DeFontes (1999-2004)
Don Curtis (1991-Present owner, operator)
Jimmy Dean
Gary Dornburg ( -1998, deceased)
Mike Edwards ( -1999)
Bob Farrington
Charlie Gaddy
Randy Gupton (1998-2003)
Hap Hansen
Bob Hazen (2001-2005)
Marva Hinton (2002-2006)
Johnny Hood (1970-2001)
Bob Inskeep
Patrick Johnson(2007-Present)
Tom Kearney ( -Present)
Mitch Kokai (1999-2002)
Bill LuMaye (2005-Present)
Donna Mason ( -2003)
Paul Michaels (2000-Present)
Kevin Miller (2002-2007)
Maury O'Dell (1975-2003)
Mike Raley (1975-Present)
Kathy Reid
Tony Riggsbee (1977-2004)
Bart Ritner (1966-2004)
Ralph Shaw (2001-2003)
Brian Shrader (2000-2001)
Larry Stone
Dick Storck
Jeremy Thompson(1997-2005)
Bryce Wilson (1995-Present*)

External links



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