By Dylan Sharek
When I first arrived in Charleston, my favorite radio station was 95.9 FM, and it certainly wasn’t for its music. Back then, the station was just white noise, excellent only for transmitting my iPod’s library over its empty, crystal clear frequency. About two months ago, I noticed that transmission becoming more and more garbled, like something was itching to break through: and it was.
On June 18, Apex Broadcasting, the Charleston radio powerhouse responsible for 101.7 Chuck FM and Star 99.7 among four others, started transmitting over the 95.9 frequency.
Featuring the classic hits of the 60s and 70s, Apex’s latest offering, WIOP, fills a niche that had been vacant in the Lowcountry since Y 102.5 changed its “oldies” format in 2004.
The response thus far has been extremely positive. According to Chris Johnson, vice president of Apex, “Our research showed that there was a big demand and we’ve seen that was, in fact, true. There’s been a very, very good response from the market.”
The idea for a new station was hatched a few years ago when it was revealed that the WIOP call letters were available for use. Apex then navigated Federal Communications Commission guidelines and initiated a string of transactions, which, in the end, landed the company with the 95.9 frequency.
Although the station is licensed on the Isle of Palms, the broadcast tower itself is located off of Orange Grove Road in West Ashley.
“[WIOP] has been in the works for a couple years…It was a kind of long and complicated process,” said Johnson. Today, everyone from the Isle of Palms to Edisto to Spartanburg to Awendaw can enjoy the 50,000 watts that WIOP has to offer.