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Third Station Acquisition by the Catawba Foundation Results in Rowan-Cabarrus Radio

January 5, 2016

Category: Academics, Communication Arts, Events, Staff, Students

The Catawba Foundation has acquired a third radio station, WTIX of Concord, 1410 AM. The newest acquisition is a 1000 watt radio station that first signed on the air in 1942. The sale of WTIX was announced by the Federal Communications Commission in mid-December.

Two AM stations in Salisbury, WSAT 1280 and WSTP 1490, are already held by the Catawba Foundation and managed by Buddy Poole.  Poole said the acquisition of WTIX will allow the three stations to collectively rebrand themselves as Rowan-Cabarrus Radio. Further, Poole shared, the operations of WSAT and WTIX will be combined, using the Memories format (great songs from the 60s, 70s, and a bit of the 80s) already in place at WSAT.

Poole will be the morning show host on the stations that will also provide listeners with local news, traffic reports, and sport from Concord, Kannapolis, Salisbury, and the Rowan County area, along with weather from WBTV Meteorologist Al Conklin.  Catawba College sports, including live game coverage, will continue to be offered as a mainstay on Rowan-Cabarrus Radio.

Poole, former owner and general manager of WSAT, and Salisbury attorney Bill Graham, a Catawba College trustee and 1983 alumnus, have been the driving force behind the Catawba Foundation's acquisition of the radio stations. Catawba College will ultimately be the beneficiary of profits from the operation of WSAT, WSTP, and WTIX that will be donated to the College through the Catawba Foundation.

The latest radio acquisition will create more hands-on opportunities for Catawba College students who pursue undergraduate degrees in Communication Arts and its Sports Communication concentration. Catawba launched that concentration at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year when the Catawba Foundation acquired the first two of the three radio stations and the College signed a memorandum of understanding with the Salisbury-based National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association (NSSA), now headquartered on the Catawba campus. Students pursuing this concentration will learn to do play by play, interviews,and features on student athletes at the stations.

Poole started at WSAT more than 50 years ago and often shares how helpful to him his own hands-on experience at the station was. He looks forward to Catawba students gaining that same experience and believes it will give them a boost as they pursue careers in communications after graduation.

The Catawba Foundation acquired WSAT in early May of 2014 and WSTP in the fall of that year.  At the time of those acquisitions, Catawba College President Brien Lewis praised the innovative arrangement and Graham for shepherding the concept to fruition. Lewis lauded the concept as “another example of how thinking outside of the box can result in arrangements that are beneficial to many – to our students, to the local listeners, and to the success of local radio in a competitive marketplace.”

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