Groundhog Day might have had more than one radio listener in Wilmington wondering if they were not seeing, but hearing, double. In a move echoing Bill Murray’s living-the-same-day-over-and-over adventures in the movie Groundhog Day, WILT-FM in Wilmington played “Here Comes the Sun” for 4 hours and 45 minutes to introduce the station’s format change.
WILT-FM, formerly known as Will FM and now Sunny 104.5, flipped to become another adult contemporary alternative for listeners on the North Carolina coast. With a coup of snagging two of Wilmington’s best on-air talent and creating a new mix of lighter music sure to appeal to the coastal audience, Sunny 104.5 is giving Wilmington another choice.
After the “Here Comes the Sun” block, Sunny 104.5 played 5,000 songs in a row with no commercials for two weeks. Then the station kicked off its new regular broadcast schedule with on-air personalities on February 16th.
Besides the mix of music, what else is different? Sunny 104.5 will also get some air time on television; the first hour of The Craig & Sheila Show now airs simultaneously on WILM, Capitol Broadcasting’s CBS affiliate on the coast. There will be no faces made for radio here.
“The reaction has been great,” said Sunrise Broadcasting Operations Manager Dan Binder. “Folks are excited to find Sheila & Craig back on the radio.”
“Craig & Sheila have brought a lot of listeners,” agreed Sunny 104.5 Program Director & On-Air Personality Mark Jacobs. “They’ve given us a really strong foothold.”
The line-up of the new Sunny 104.5 consists of:
- Mornings – The Craig & Sheila show featuring Craig Thomas & Sheila Brothers. Thomas & Brothers come from competitor WGNI-FM where he did mornings and she did the middays. ….created a new team from their hit competitor WGNI-FM…..
- Middays – Christine Martinez, a Sunrise station vet, works the midday slot.
- Evening drive – Mark Jacobs, who comes from doing middays on Sunrise’s WAZO and is also now the program director, covers the late afternoon.
- The rest of evening: John Tesh’s nationally syndicated show runs from 7pm-midnight.
“We are playing the same music as MIX 101.5 [CBC’s adult contemporary radio station in Raleigh, NC],” said Binder, “but we have Wilmington-ized it a bit. For the most part it’s the same feel.”
Hailed as Wilmington’s Best Mix While You Work, Sunny 104.5 is a “warm, fuzzy, family-friendly radio station,” says Binder.
“We wanted to target at-work listeners,” echoed Jacobs.
Why the change?
“We felt there was an opportunity to not only gain bigger ratings with an AC format, but also to gain higher revenue,” said Binder.
The new set up was three months in the making, and Binder says that February 2nd already seems like a lifetime ago. “We’ve had so much going on,” he said of the station’s change.
“As far as the lifestyle of Wilmington, this is something that totally fits this area,” said Jacobs. “We found there was a hole for this kind of music.
“We are giving people a choice,” said Jacobs. “There hasn’t been a choice in this market for a long, long time. We found that if we give people a choice, and it’s a better choice, then we’ll grab them.”
Capitol Broadcasting purchased the six radio stations, including WILT-FM, now known as Sunrise Broadcasting after gaining approval from the Federal Communications Commission on November 18, 2008.