Magic 96.1, Tragic 96.1 - A Tribute to Charlotte's World Class Oldies Station

Founded By Magic Fans, For Magic Fans September 6th, 2004

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In Carolinas' radio history, only a handful of stations ever attained the status of being nationally recognized as a leader.  Magic 96.1 WWMG in Charlotte may over time rank as one of the region's legendary stations.  Magic has been gone for years now, actually since September of 2004, and even if in the long run it doesn't rank up there with BIG WAYS in radio lore it will certainly be a long time before it is completely forgotten.  The fact you visited this page is proof of that.  This website will long preserve memories of Charlotte, North Carolina's Magic 96.1 FM.  Magic's demise was tragic to many listeners and to those who worked there over the years, so we felt Tragic96.Com was an ideal name for this  "UNOFFICIAL" Tribute Website!

The site is dedicated to all the people who ever worked there, but most of all it is dedicated the people who listened to Magic 96.1 over the years! 

This site is not affiliated with any radio station or broadcasting company, but rather is a not-for-profit and member financed all volunteer archive of Magic 96.1's history.  Content will be continually added as it becomes available to us, provided by former staff & others as our time allows to post it.  This is by no means the finished site.  So visit often!  Watch the WHAT'S NEW column to the right for major site updates.

Between 1987 and 2004 the station first known as Magic 96, and later as the more digitally correct Magic 96.1, erupted with a unique high energy "Rock & Soul" based oldies format delivered Top-40 style.  It became the leading adult "non-country" music station in the Carolinas for over 10 years of its 17 year existence and the station's popularity peaked around 2000 before going into a ratings slide.  Many consider Magic to rank among the all-time classiest Oldies radio operations ever mounted in the USA. 

Magic has been ushered into radio history joining the few other Charlotte rock & soul stations like "BIG WAYS" and WGIV.  These Charlotte stations impacted not only the region, but the Rock & Soul Radio Nation at large.  Magic 96.1 preserved Charlotte's reputation as one of radio's trendsetter markets since so many high power FM stations in other large markets attempted to duplicate Magic's success with oldies, yet rarely succeeded to the same degree.

In the 21st century world of homogenous "corporate cookie-cutter" stations it was on September 2nd, 2004 that Magic 96.1 joined the roster of those "gone-but-not-forgotten" personality driven rock & soul radio stations that dominated the southland for over 40 years. 

By 2000 the radio industry was changing.  Yet there was Magic still doing pretty much what it always did.  So, compared to most other oldie stations in other big towns Magic was a renegade challenging the conventional wisdom that there was only one right way to do oldies radio.  Now that Magic is gone, almost without exception an Oldies station in one large city sounds pretty much identical to an Oldies station in another city thousands of miles away.  Calling the generic oldies formats with low key delivery that most oldies stations run these days "McOldies" is a one way to describe it since a McDonalds' cheeseburger tastes the same in Los Angeles as it does in New York or Miami.  Magic 96.1 on the other hand (up until late 2000 anyway) was more like the mom & pop cafe that had the biggest and best hamburgers in town, something like Midtown Sundries cooked up near the location of the old Magic Corner Studios.  Magic's uniqueness and stubborn resistance to a surging wave of lackluster mediocrity sweeping through America's Oldies stations will always be a source of pride to those who pulled it off at Charlotte's Magic 96.1 so well for so long.   

This site's purpose is to accurately preserve some of the heritage, history of the station and its overall feel.  Magic served to unite Oldies fans in both North and South Carolina in ways that had never happened before and will likely never happen again.  It is the historical value of the audio elements, narrative submissions by those involved and as many visual images as we can find relating to the station that is our primary concern.  This chapter in Carolinas' radio heritage should be preserved.  At least one other tribute webpage for the station has been launched, and to them we say thank you for recognizing Magic's contribution to Charlotte's colorful radio history. 

Those who were inside Magic realize now, perhaps more than even knowledgeable industry peers, that while there may be another oldies station in town... there will never be another station like Magic in Charlotte.  In case you haven't noticed, over three full years have gone by and still there's nothing even close to Magic 96.1 in Charlotte proper.  To further prove the legend that Magic 96.1 built there is now another Oldies station in NC using the Magic name, but it isn't quite the same is it?  Now a second Oldies signal is in town.  Interesting that it took two FM stations to replace Magic.  

Another station can play all of the same music, but it would likely be little more than a jukebox without the heart, soul, sweat, grit and soaring unbridled glee of the live-in-the-studio people getting the audience involved that made Magic 96.1 the south's leading oldies station for over ten years.  To put it into three words,  Magic was fun!

So, instead of bemoaning the closing of yet another chapter in Charlotte's radio history, we invite you to join us in celebrating the miracle that Magic 96.1 ever happened at all! 

96 and OUT! 


What's New!

Welcome Back!  Our webhost moved the site to a new & faster server which caused multiple compatibility issues.  The site is back in original form with the exception of PHOTO GALLERIES.  We are working on this sole remaining issue, but otherwise 100%!  This is RARE plea to visit TRAGIC 96 PATRONS page on the main menu. The costs of operating the site have escalated.

Jacksonville  Gets The MAGIC!  WPLA-FM was a long time Alternative Rock outlet known as "Planet Radio" in Jacksonville, Florida.  August 4, 2010 the Clear Channel owned FM abandoned Alt-Rock and the Planet Radio brand when the 98 KW FM with HD flipped their primary channel to OLDIES.  They also changed their identity to "Magic 107.3" which sometimes appears as "My Magic 107.3."  The marketing and programming people at WPLA prefer the wordier "Jacksonville's Greatest Hits" slogan to the one word "OLDIES."  But every other media outlet is calling it oldies.  Planet Radio's syndicated programming,  Lex & Terry for example, can still be heard on the website as always.  The tight 400 song Magic 107.3 playlist when compared to the old Magic 96.1 in Charlotte playlist is sparse on Beatles, Beach Boys, early Motown, Elvis tunes and any other songs prior to the mid 60's.  There are a few like "Penny Lane," and "California Girls" but no "deep" Motown, Beatles or early Elvis.  The new playlist is weighted toward Disco hits from artists like K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Chic and the Trammps.  Also all the big Jimmy Buffett songs are there along with classic rock like Kansas and Boston.   We wish Jacksonville's Magic 107.3 much success!   

"e-Mail List Disaster!"  If you were on the Tragic 96.Com Group E-mail list for things like reunions, the list was lost and unfortunately the back up was corrupted.  This is one reason there has been no recent reunion.  If you want to receive these infrequent emails please send us an e-mail at the address on the CONTACT page.

Myrtle Beach Musical Chairs WSYN Sunny 106.5, the Cumulus station that has been the Grand Strand's 50KW FM powerhouse Oldies station for years flipped to County Monday April 7, 2008 now known as "THE WOLF."  Cumulus moved the oldies to the 8KW signal on Sunny 103.1-FM formerly the home of K-Country 103.1 WYAK.  Sunny's new slogan is "Sunny 103.1 the Grand Strand's True Oldies Channel" and is now airing the Scott Shannon satellite fed Oldies programming. 

Rockin' Ray Gooding Page  Ray Gooding, known to the Charlotte radio audience for four decades simply as "Rockin' Ray"  got his start on WGIV in 1960.     He moved to WBT where his "Original Sunday Night Hall of Fame" Oldies show aired every Sunday night beginning in 1973 until 1995 breaking the color barrier in white radio in Charlotte.   Ray then moved to Magic 96.1 for a long run on Sunday nights with the "Sunday Night Memory Lane."   Visit our Rockin' Ray Tribute Page HERE

"Oldies FM's Sign ON in 2 More Cities!  (Tragic 96.Com Correspondent Marc Gurkin)  WKAZ-FM 107.3 Charleston WV has dropped the "Jack" format for Oldies. West Virginia Radio, the owner of WKAZ 107.3 already has an AM Oldies station under the same call letters. VP Mike Buxser says, "Classic Top-40 KAZ 107.3 FM is an updated oldies type station playing songs from the mid 60's thru the early 80's.   Meanwhile Savannah, GA's new Oldies station is WGCO as Oldies 98.3!

Those who would like to help insure the continued availability of this site please visit the Patrons Page from the main menu!  There is an URGENT need for new Patrons to keep us going!  Thanks!

Jingle Freak Notes:  The automatically loading  jingle on this page is from the Jams Productions "Be Kool" package used on Magic 96.1 from Spring of 1990 until approximately 1995.  Another jingle from this package automatically loads upon entry to the "Personalities" page.

Additions, submissions or corrections are welcomed and encouraged!  All you have to do is click on the CONTACT US link on the main menu and type your message.  Tell us your favorite MAGIC story! 

The last song played on Magic 96.1 just before Midnight September 1, 2004 was "American Pie" by Don McLean with the appropriate lyrics, "...But something touched me deep inside, the day the music died."



"Thank you for visiting today...but most of all, thank you for listening!" 

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