WAYN was founded in 1946 by Wayne M. Nelson of Mooresville. It is one of North Carolina’s earliest radio stations and was the first FCC licensed radio station between Charlotte and Fayetteville.
Bill Futterer, a transplanted New Yorker, became a salesman and ultimately General Manager of WAYN. His wife, Mary, and sister-in-law Joyce Morris both worked in administration at the station. One of Futterer’s earliest hires was teenager Jim Smith. Smith used his famous cowbell alarm clock to wake up Richmond County citizens for over 60 years.
Futterer, with participation from local Rockingham businessmen, bought WAYN from Nelson in 1964 and the family has continued ownership and operations since then.
Bill and Mary Futterer’s children have been involved with WAYN over the years. Daughter Mary Futterer Morgan has managed the station’s adult contemporary music format for three decades. Sons Bill Futterer III and John Futterer were among many high school disc jockeys on the long-running Platter Chatter pop and R&B show.
WAYN is currently managed by Terry Ward, who joined WAYN in 1989 as a veteran radio professional in the Richmond County marketplace. Ward has successfully managed day-to-day operations since 2000.
On-air personality Carlton Hawkins also began his contributions to WAYN in 1989. Morning personality Kelly Gribbins is in her 16th year with the station. On-air personality Cecilia (CeCe) Giddens and consulting engineer Jim Heim are the most recent additions to the WAYN team.
WAYN, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in Richmond County in 2021, is proud of its community service. The station has donated approximately $6.0 million in on-air value to the Richmond County schools, Richmond Community College, Discovery Place for Kids, local law enforcement, non-profits, local hospitals, and religious and civic organizations. Moreover, in addition to its music, WAYN has broadcast over 150,000 hours of news and sports programming to provide both information and entertainment to Richmond County citizens.
Programming has changed dramatically since the 50’s and 60’s. Among the titled programs in WAYN’s early years were: McCall’s Ball; George and the Weather; Jim Smith’s Musical Clock; Second Cup of Coffee; Intermission; Poetry Corner; Hillbilly Jamboree; Reverie; Twilight Time; Pastors’ Panel; and Interlude.
WAYN takes great pride in its holiday music traditions. Mary Morgan has continued the Christmas programming with the very best in sacred and secular music that WAYN has collected over the past 75 years.
In addition to its longevity and community service, WAYN also hosts the Rockingham First Methodist Church’s Ledbetter Men’s Bible Class Sunday mornings at 10 AM. That show, now in its 74nd year, is the longest continually running radio show in the Carolinas.
Here are some examples of distinguished WAYN alumni:
- Jim Smith, 1998 Citizen of the Year
- Henry Boggan, Hello Henry, WBT Charlotte
- Robert D. Raiford, John Boy and Billy Show, Charlotte
- Sid Linton, public relations executive, utilities industry
- William McQuage, WKIX Raleigh
- Raymond Caulder, WKIX Raleigh. WXRC Hickory
- Robert Robinson, Quick Service Restaurant Regional Executive
- Dave Rush, WTOP, Washington D.C.
- Dr. Allen Mask, founder of Raleigh Urgent Care and long-time WRAL-TV medical correspondent
- Oscar Maynard, the Robert E. Lee III family, Rockville MD
- James Scott (Toby) Brown, Professor, N.C. State University
- Larry English, on-air radio talent
- Doug Allred, NC News Network
- David Weatherly, WBT Charlotte
- Ron Stutts, long-time WCHL morning personality, Chapel Hill
- Wayne Goodwin, former N.C. representative, insurance commissioner and chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party.
- Jennifer Richardson Byrd, Richmond Senior High School teacher
- Denise Cannon, WGN TV, Chicago, New Anchor