The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

WCHL Manager Jan Bolick talks station's past, present, future at downtown meeting

Jan Bolick, general manager of WCHL, spoke Thursday at DSI Comedy Theater on the radio station's past, present and future. 

Bolick spoke as part of the monthly meeting of Friends of the Downtown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and developing downtown Chapel Hill. 

Bolick began her talk by mentioning the Wednesday night death of Sandy McClamroch, the founder of WCHL and Chapel Hill mayor from 1961 to 1968. 

Bolick said McClamroch founded WCHL in 1953 and rapidly made the radio station a success. She said the station became valuable not just in terms of the information it provided, but in terms of job opportunities. 

Bolick emphasized the rich history of the radio station and its role in the community over the years. 

"I think it's good to look back and see where we've been in order to figure out where we're going," Bolick said.

Throughout the years, WCHL has slowly grown, adding a nighttime antenna in 1968 and FM in 2012. 

Bolick said the station plans to increase its coverage area by 25 miles, which would expand its coverage into Pittsboro, Durham and Hillsborough. But Bolick said the station is still going to focus on Chapel Hill, in keeping with its long-standing mission. 

"It continues to be very important to take all that rich history that we have, all of the great experiences that we have, the connections that we have in the community, and carry those forward, and carry them forward with a fantastic future," Bolick said.

WCHL and Chapelboro, the station's online news service, will be moving to University Place at some point in the future. There will also be a satellite office above Julian's on East Franklin St., which Bolick anticipates will be good for proximity to the UNC campus and student talent. 

She said leadership at WCHL has spoken with Susan King, dean of UNC's School of Media and Journalism, to facilitate more involvement with the University and increase the hiring of interns at the station. 

Bolick said the station plans to rework Chapelboro and the radio service into a more simplified brand through collaboration with a student-run ad agency within the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

Pat Beyle, an attendee at the talk, said Thursday's talk was part of a series of speakers that represent various initiatives around downtown Chapel Hill. The speaker series, Beyle said, engages with the mission of Friends of the Downtown in an interesting way. 

"The speaker always makes it noteworthy," Beyle said. 

Pat Evans, chairperson of Friends of the Downtown, said the organization is composed entirely of volunteers and usually meets in the Franklin Hotel. The meetings always involve "Comings and Goings," general announcements, rumors and a speaker. 

The organization does not engage in advocacy — instead it opts to promote the decisions of the Town Council. 

Evans said in order for a downtown to flourish, it's important for at least two organizations to exist that represent that downtown, which increases the interest of businesses that consider investing in the area. 

Vickie Healey, an attendee of the event, said she enjoys the inter-personality of the monthly meetings. 

"It's like social media, but better," she said. "One-to-one. Eyeball-to-eyeball."

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.