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with pictures from Jim Bradley, plus our beefed-up
Brief History of WCSC Radio
WCSC-AM was Charleston, South Carolina's first radio station,
signing on the air in 1930 at 1310 kHz, later switching to 1360. In
1941 the station's
frequency was changed to 1390. (For many years the station used the
slogan "1390 since 1930" but that wasn't quite accurate.) For
decades, WCSC was an affiliate of the CBS Radio Network. WCSC's
original owner was Jordan & Burk Broadcasting.
Hope to Increase WCSC to 1000 Watts - Will Open by April
Charleston's radio station WCSC will be of 1,000 watt
power, if the application made of the increase is
granted by the federal radio commission, stated Fred
Jordan. He and Capt. Lewis Burk are the promoters.
Request for the increase was made today in a letter
written by Mr. Jordan to Eugene C. Sykes, chairman of
the federal commission.
The present station, the opening of which will probably
be not later than April 1, is of 5000 watt power, Mr.
Jordan states, but is of such construction that the
addition of another unit can be increased to 1,000
watts. Its equipment is to be of the latest design known
to broadcasting, and by the addition of units can be
built up to 5,000 watts, which is the goal of the local
Test programs are expected to begin about the middle of
next week. These are to broadcast after midnight, a
required by federal commission's regulations.
The operator of the station, Eddie Ogilvie, a former
Charlestonian, arrived here Tuesday to be ready for
opening the station. He is a licensed government
operator and resigned his position as a "sparks" aboard
a steamer in order to accept the local position. Mr.
Ogilvie is the holder of a first-class government
license, said Mr. Jordan, and he will be charge of the
station at St. Andrew's parish when it is opened.
All the preliminary work for the construction of the
plant has been completed at the radio station site in
St. Andrew's parish. The building in which the
transmitter is to be located with the several necessary
offices has been constructed and all that remains is the
installation of the equipment, which is expected the
latter part of the week and the erection of the
standard, which will placed by an expert of the Power
Construction Co., of New York, which has the contract
for the building of the station. J.C. Powell, president
of the company, has written Mr. Jordan that he also will
come to Charleston to supervise the work.
The plant and site were recently inspected by a deputy
official for this section of the federal radio
commission, it was stated, and he was satisfied with the
progress made here to comply with the government's
specifications for the Charleston station. On completion
of the plant, it will again be inspected.
The local station is assigned to 1310 kilocycles, which
Mr. Jordan reports, has been found highly satisfactory
after grueling tests, both in the daytime and at night,
and will afford a wide reception to programs sent over
WCSC. He said that the government's records show that
there are only three other stations of any size on this
air channel and two of these are located on the Pacific
coast and the other in the vicinity of the Mississippi
river. There are numerous other stations but all of low
power, mostly of 100 watts and under and the Charleston
station, assigned to this wave band, has been assured of
first-class clearance for a 500-watt station.
on Air at 7 P.M.
With Formal Opening Program
Charleston's radio fans will be standing by Thursday
night awaiting the dedication program of the local
station WCSC which formally beings its regular service
on the air after weeks of construction and preparations.
The initial program, which is under the auspices of the
city, will feature music by the Charleston High School
orchestra directed by G. Theo Wichmann and a short
address by Mayor Thomas P. Stoney during the first hour,
beginning at 7 o'clock and promptly at 8 o'clock the
Society for the Preservation of Spirituals will render a
program which will make the first time that this famous
organization of singers of plantation religious folk
songs has ever rendered a radio broadcast. From then on
WCSC will be on regular service nightly.
frequency of the Charleston station is on the 1310
kilocycle band and its receptions has been excellent as
has been testified by the numerous congratulatory
messages received during its test programs of the past
studios of the station are location on the mezzanine
floor of the Francis Mario hotel and the transmitter at
St. Andrew's parish. There are numerous outlet
connections which will be operated by remote control for
the rendering of programs from various halls and other
places about the cities where such intended for
broadcasting will originate.
Jordan and Capt. Lewis Burk are associated in the
ownership of the station under the name of Jordan & Burk
Broadcasting. R. E. Mitchell, formerly connected with
WJAX at Jacksonville has been named as program manager;
Edward F. Ogilvie, engineer; and E. W. Hinton,
In 1937, John M. Rivers joined WCSC-AM radio as president of the
South Carolina Broadcasting Company, the licenser of WCSC. In 1938,
he became president and manager of WCSC Radio. Rivers purchased the
station in 1944.
In 1948, WCSC-FM (later WXTC-FM) went on the air; in June of 1953,
WCSC-TV, the first VHF television station in South Carolina, became
operational. Rivers became chairman of the board of WCSC, Inc., in
In the 1950s and '60s, WCSC Radio's format could best be described
as MOR ("Middle Of the Road"). There was a switch to Top 40 in the
early 1970s as WCSC tried to compete head-to-head with long-time Top
40 leader WTMA.
In the early '80s WCSC's format morphed into an Adult Contemporary
presentation with a full-service approach. In 1983, it became
Charleston's only AM stereo station.
time the Rivers family sold the station in 1987, the station had
switched to all-oldies supplemented by sports and talk shows
(like Tom Snyder's ABC offering).
WCSC-TV was sold to Crump
Communications at that time, and kept the WCSC call letters. WCSC-AM
and WXTC-FM were sold to New York's Ralph Guild (of national ad
representative "McGavren Guild" fame). WCSC Radio became
call letters for 1390 in Charleston included WZKG (June 12, 1989)
and WCSE (January 13, 1990). 1390's
calls eventually returned to WXTC (August 19, 1991) and for many years the station had
a black gospel format. Owners included Wicks Broadcasting,
Citadel Broadcasting and
From the June
11, 2007 edition of
out an AM
that's a bit on the unusual side. Citadel Broadcasting is
doing a two market cash/swap deal with the Pearce family's
Apex Broadcasting, but it only involves one radio station.
Apex will get WXTC-AM Charleston SC, adding it to its three
area FMs, WAVF-FM, WXST-FM & WIHB-FM. What does Citadel get in
return? A tower in Tuscaloosa AL, where it also owns a two-AM,
four-FM cluster. Apex will also pay 70K cash. Citadel will
remain with a strong presence in Charleston, with WMGL-FM,
WNKT-FM, WSSX-FM, WSUY-FM, WTMA-AM, WWWZ-FM.
early 2009 WXTC jettisoned gospel music for a classic soul format.
June 16, 2009 the call letters were changed to
WSPO and the
format became all-sports. In 2012 the station adopted an "all
tourist information" format.
The station operates
with a power of 5000 watts non-directional day, 5000 watts
directional night. Studios are East of the Cooper on Clements Ferry
Road. The transmitter is on Orange Branch Road in the West Ashley
The above time-lapse
video shows the 2009 removal of the 1390 tower built in 1947.