YES! Weekly are proud sponsors of the Winston-Salem-based radio station WTOB. Aptly referred to as the “Good Guys” of radio, WTOB is a station that features classic hits from the ‘50s,‘60s and ‘70s, as well as local news and up-to-date traffic and weather reports. According to its website, WTOB began in 1947 on AM at 710 AM, then 1380 AM and 980 AM. Then, the station added an FM signal in mid-2016 at 96.3 FM. The “TOB” in WTOB refers to the “TOB” seen on the iconic R.J. Reynolds smokestack.
“The station is credited with bringing rock ‘n’ roll to the area and was often Winston-Salem’s most listened to radio station into the 1970s,” the website states. Throughout time, the station switched location and hands until about five years ago, when co-owners Bob Scarborough, Richard Miller and Ken Hauser resurrected WTOB. Now, WTOB is home to 15 DJs, news anchors and volunteers, who assist in station projects.“We have really grown,” said Hauser, who takes care of the marketing and advertising side of the station. “And I think what has helped us is we are a local hometown radio.”
The core mission of WTOB is to create a great radio station for Winston-Salem and the Triad. In that mission, is the support of local nonprofits and charities, and the creation of local music programs that promote the Winston-Salem music scene. Shows such as Your Local Music Check-Up with Dr. Jon Epstein, Chuck Dale’s Combo Corner and The Piedmont Opry Time with George Hamilton V can only be heard on WTOB. “Those three, I think, have really helped the music scene here in Winston-Salem,” he said. “By letting people know what is happening this week and where you can go see those folks.”
Hauser said through those radio shows, he has become a fan of the local band Bad Cameo, and local singer Martha Bassett. “I think getting that out to people who haven’t heard of them before is going to make more people go to these venues and see them play,” he said. “What we are trying to do is highlight what is happening in Winston-Salem,” Hauser continued. “Who is going to be playing at what venue this weekend, and we highlight local bands and musicians on the show when we play their music.” Hauser said Dr. Jon Epstein is a Triad-based musician, and Chuck Dale Smith has been in the Winston-Salem music scene since the 1960s.
“The whole thing about Combo Corner is, it was a place that existed in the R.J. Reynolds High School,” Hauser explained. “All the guys that were in bands sort of drifted off in the corner of the cafeteria, that is where their clique was and [that’s why] the show is called Chuck Dale’s Combo Corner.”
The Piedmont Opry Time with George Hamilton V is a music show dedicated to the memory of George Hamilton the IV, a Winston-Salem-native and prominent country music artist whose song “Abilene” is on the Top 100 Country Songs of All Time, Hauser said. This show is once a month or every six weeks.“What George the V wants to do is honor his father, being from Winston-Salem, he takes his show he produces in Nashville every week and brings it here periodically. He will bring a busload of musicians; some are local. They will be up and down this whole hallway, and we will bring them in the control room and play a selection of songs. “Most of them have never even played the song before they go on air,” Hauser said. “There is no music to read, and it is fantastic. If you don’t see the chaos here, listen to it on the radio- it sounds pristine.”
The next Piedmont Opry Time is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.
Music isn’t the only thing WTOB specializes in. They have the only full-time, local radio news department in the triad with broadcast veterans Ed Skurka, who anchors the morning and mid-day newscasts and afternoon anchor Leanne Petty. Between the two, 14 live newscasts are produced and delivered every weekday. Live traffic reports, also locally produced and weather reports can be heard throughout the day.
Coming up this month, WTOB will be partnering with a/perture cinema and doing ticket giveaways on Thursdays leading up to its annual Red Carpet Party in February. On Feb. 21, the station will broadcast the 62nd Annual Twin City Kiwanis Club Pancake Day live at the Benton Convention Center.
To learn more about WTOB 980 AM/ 96.3 FM, visit their website and stay up-to-date by following them on social media.