Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The sweetspot that is Gastonia,NC

It is a 130 mile drive (or so) between Greenwood and Charlotte. As you leave Greenwood the only unique game in town 97.7 WHZK, fades out fast. There is no straight-shot between Greenwood and Charlotte. You have to take a series of local roads to 72 (which itself is a local road in some towns) to I-26 which at its widest is only 2 lanes each side. This eventually goes to I-85 which is about all they got in terms of the Eisenhower definition of highway.
This takes you thru Clinton, SC. Home of Presbyterian College, the proud owner of 97.1 WPCX-LP, which i heard for all of six minutes due to my northward movement and their 56 watt status. If I heard anything cool I would have said so, but its only 6 minutes so who can judge? They used to be an audio channel for campus cable. At least their moving up in the world.

In Spartanburg I caught a few moments of 104.1 WHRZ-LP. Total let down. In an area with at least six christian radio outlets someone bothered to get an LP license for a seventh! gag.

Then I hit the sweet spot. For about 10 exits of so before Charlotte-Douglas Airport you Can hear WSGE, WGWG, WNCW, and even the elusive WRBK. WGWG is on the distant west side of the Charlotte metro so it fails to penetrate the most densely populated part of that market. WSGE is a 6000 watt college station in Gastonia kind of at the center of the spot, and WNCW is a almost a network unto itself with 3 repeaters in the area each covering a few miles, none clear over the whole area.

90.3 WRBK is the one you've never heard of. They're in Richburg, SC too far south of Rock hill to be in the Charlotte metro and too far north of Columbia to book there either. they have no repeaters and cover only this little pear-shaped slice of the boondocks. The twist is that their signal is supposedly directional away from this area, kind of toward Lancaster... another burg that's really nowhere. They play oldies, pretty good oldies the obvious smokey Robinson and stones cuts but also some doo-wop you wont recognize. But I never heard one DJ... might be automation. tisk tisk.

WGWG, WNCW, and WSGE are all powerhouse Americana/Triple A taste-makers. The idea that they are all clearly audible in one city seems impossible. I had been listening to mix CDs I made myself in Greenwood, but the radio was enough after I got here.