WPTF-FM signed on in 1949 as the sister station to Raleigh’s WPTF-AM.
The station aired classical music from the late 1960s into the early 1970s. In 1972, Carl Venters became president of WPTF’s owner, Durham Life Broadcasting. He felt quadraphonic stereo was the wave of the future. Venters assembled a team to relaunch the station.
WPTF-FM’s last song was “Jingle Bell Rock.” At midnight on December 26, 1972, it flipped to the album rock format as WQDR-FM (the “QDR” stood for “Quadraphonic”). ”Bitch” by The Rolling Stones was the first song.
The station was hugely successful in the 1970s into the 1980s. Despite being a rock-oriented station, WQDR-FM had a news department with sister station WPTF-AM. WQDR won a Peabody Award in 1981 for a series on Vietnam veterans. The series won several other awards.
Despite its success as a rock station, WQDR-FM flipped to country in 1984 under the management of Don Curtis. On the same day, Voyager Communications’ WRDU-FM launched a rock format. Several on-air and off-air WQDR staffers went to WRDU-FM, which also enjoyed tremendous success as a rock station.
WQDR-FM’s switch to country also was hugely successful over the past 30 years. The station won the Country Music Association’s large-market station of the year honor in 2011. As of 2014, “94.7 QDR” is the dominant radio station in Raleigh’s radio ratings.
Don Curtis’ Curtis Media Group purchased WPTF and WQDR in 1991. Curtis, based in Raleigh, still owns the station as of 2014.
Source: Wikipedia (WQDR-FM)