Steve Godofsky is the former General Manager of WRFX/Charlotte.
Charlotte’s FOX went on the air in early Spring of 1986 with Fred Jacobs as our consultant. We put John Boy and Billy in morning drive and added this curmudgeonly character named Bob Raiford, and one of the nation’s most famous Classic Rock and Roll stations was born.
But, many people know that while the audience acceptance was almost immediate, advertiser acceptance of this new Rock format in a growing, but still unsophisticated, market like Charlotte was something less than stellar. The advertiser perception was that the Fox audience was comprised of young, blue-collar, “ain’t got no money to spend ‘cept on beer, maybe they got teeth… maybe not,” 18-34 males. It was tough to kick-start sales in that environment. When we were deciding what slogan to use for the station, Fred helped us arrive at , “Only the Finest Rock and Roll” as opposed to “Charlotte’s Classic Rock” or “The Best Rock,” etc. That slogan was originally meant to convey “quality” to the listeners but the cool thing was, when our Sales Dept. discovered its value, we were able to dramatically alter the station’s perceived value with clients by using it, and everything it implied, with our clients.
We created beautiful sales kits with upscale colors and materials and a killer Fox close-up photo on the cover. The Fox logo was cool to begin with and we put it in all the right places, including on a very upscale Fox-wear collection, including professional quality racing jerseys. Then we used the “Only the Finest” slogan as an umbrella for Dewar’s-type profiles on the many young, successful Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Business Owners, and Movers and Shakers we found in our listening audience. It was easy to ask them if we could take their photos and do short interviews on their likes and dislikes (including their “favorite” radio station). Our AE’s themselves wore upscale clothing, drove upscale cars, and were well-trained in presenting high-quality sales materials in the most compelling and professional manner.
When the ratings started climbing and our sellers showed profile after profile of upscale, successful, and desirable listeners who were raving fans of this new phenomenon, a funny thing happened: the clients loved it and believed it! And they wanted to advertise with us! The monthly billing numbers back then moved from a takeover low of $40-50k a month (yes it was almost non-existent) to about $1/2 million+ a month in less than 18 months! The Fox and Classic Rock became the hottest thing on the radio for many years to come.