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WTYC were the call letters of a small contemporary country radio station in Rock Hill, SC broadcasting at 1150 on the AM dial. On April Fools Day in 1989 the stations owner, Jonas Bridges, changed the call letters to WXLF and changed the format to Contemporary Christian. Later the call letters were again changed to WAVO and it serves as a satellite station of WHVN out of Charlotte NC continuing with the Christian format.
I am uncertain of the history of the station prior to joining the broadcast staff in the early 1980's, but have faint memories of my sister winning a small transister radio from the station in the very early 1970's and picking it up from a mobile studio located just outside the SEARS store in the Rock Hill Mall on Cherry Road. My sister was not a country music fan, so I can only guess that at that time the station was playing a top 40 format.
In the 1980's, the station was managed by Ted Burwell, with Rico Craft as Program Director and on-air talent. Julie Melton served as Music Director and on-air talent. Jim Bazemore (who later married Melton), who was quite a character, woke up the listeners each morning with a quick wit and commentary on the issues of the day.
Rico Craft served as the host of the infamous "Swap-N-Shop" where listeners would call in and list anything they had for sale or anything that they were looking to buy. Looking back on it, it can only be compared to today's Craigslist listings. Rico was also the voice and production guru of the "Stewert and Everett Movie Information Guide" commercials for the local multi-screen movie theater.
Other talent from the 1980's included "Krazy Ken" Walters, "Big D" Darrell Walters, Benji Fronoburger, Britt Helms and his cast of characters and others. Krazy Ken is shown in the image below in the main on-air studio. This picture is circa mid-1980s.
The broadcast antenna was located on the same property as the station and the transmitter was located in a room just behind the on-air studio. In the early 1980's the transmitter was huge and almost appeared to be a big black elevator with two metal and glass doors on the front that you could look through to see the gallon-jug-sized vacuum tubes inside. At that time the FCC directed that WTYC must reduce power at a certain time each day to prevent the station from talking over other stations that broadcast at 1150 on the AM dial. This power reduction was primitvely handled by flipping a switch (that looked like something out of a Frankenstine movie) that ran the output signal going to the antenna through a heating element from a hot plate (which would glow red). By the mid 1980's a new transmitter the size of a college dorm room refrigerator was purchased and put into service.
I (Britt Helms) will never forget being on the air on January 28th, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger burst into pieces over Florida shortly after takeoff. I manned the audio board at the station for five or six hours as we broke format to carry national coverage of the tragedy. Even though I listened intently to the reports during that time, it was not until I arrived home later that day that I actually got to see on TV the magnitude of the horrible event.
I (Scott M.) can add to the history of WTYC in the 60's. An exciting time to be a DJ with the "British invasion." From 1964-66, I had the privilege of hosting the M-F Top 40 afternoon program from 3:30 - 5:30 (or up until ~ 7 pm in summer, as we were licensed by the daylight hours schedule). Ted Burwell was manager. Mrs. O'Dell was the bookeeper (she wrote my paycheck!), Bob Latham was program director, and Bill Nichols, Elliott Wheeler, and Richard Feindel were on air. As Crazy Ken said previously, the transmitter was huge. When lightning struck the transmitter tower, one said a prayer before going back to shut off the monster transmitter which glowed red inside from the static electricity discharge! I fondly remember the fan club which did everything they could to convert listeners from WRHI to WTYC (probably the earliest acts of pseudo-terrorism). My logo was "scottso" stolen with permission from Scott Muni (WABC, NYC, 770 AM if I recall) when I convinced him WTYC 1150 AM, 1 kW, operating in daylight would not represent a significant competition for WABC, probably 50 kW, whose signal was receivable only at night locally :). My signature sign off was to "put the cork in the bottle." We lived in an innocent time.