New WCHL Owner on Station’s Future

Leslie Rudd is a Colorado-based entrepreneur and philanthropist with Chapel Hill ties, who will also be the new owner of WCHL and, once the final administrative hurdles are cleared.

WCHL has a history of serving Orange County that dates back to 1953.

READ MORE: New Owner Announced for WCHL and Chapelboro

Rudd says he is excited to continue the work of WCHL and Chapelboro, as one of the few remaining commercial radio stations in the country with a mission of serving the local community.

“We are very excited about owning WCHL and in a community that is near and dear to my heart. There have been some questions about the new ownership, and what we plan to do with the station and website, which are unique properties in a vibrant college town. Although we do not officially take over until the FCC license transfer is complete and the actual sale closes, our plans are to continue to serve the community with informative, entertaining and educational programming and content, much like it has in the past.

“Our business model when acquiring an existing company is to keep the operation in place and help the staff get even better at what they are doing as we go along. In some cases, we have brought in partners that make up a local ownership group, and we are exploring that option with WCHL. Of course, we will continue to carry the Tar Heel games and cover high school sports and have Ron Stutts in the morning and Aaron Keck in the afternoon. In my years having a home in Chapel Hill, I met so many wonderful people and still have great friends there. I know how much having their own dedicated radio station means to them, and that is what they will continue to have.”

READ MORE: New Bidders Vie for WCHL


1953 Roland “Sandy” McClamroch begins WCHL as a daytime operation with 1,000 watts at 1360 AM

1958 Jim Heavner joins WCHL as a part time summer announcer

1967 Heavner purchases first interest in WCHL from then Mayor McClamroch

1978 Heavner purchases McClamroch remaining ownership, owns 100%

1993 Curtis Media purchases WCHL

2002 Heavner buys WCHL back from Curtis

2009 Barry Leffler buys controlling interest in WCHL from Heavner

2011 WCHL establishes, a community news and feature website

2012 WCHL adds FM translator at 97.9FM

2014 Heavner repurchases Leffler interest when he leaves for Dallas role with Tenet Health Care, places it in VilCom.  WCHL is offered for sale.

2015 Leslie Rudd purchases WCHL

New Bidders Vie For WCHL

Editor’s Note: This story corrects an earlier version on this story that was in error in reporting that Bob Woodruff and Jim Heavner were part of VIM Acquisitions, LLC.   It was formed solely by Mr. Holmes.

Multiple offers were put in to buy WCHL and Chapelboro out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, on Thursday.

A court-appointed trustee will review the bids and make a recommendation to a judge on Friday, who is scheduled to approve the recommendation on Tuesday.

WCHL principal owner Jim Heavner said in an e-mail to staff that:

“My goal is clear: to have the best offer we can get from a buyer who will carry on WCHL’s community service and local programming.“

The following statement was released regarding the situation:

VilCom Interactive Media (VIM) has new ownership bidders, including a surprise bid on the eve of its being taken out of Chapter 11 by its current owners, which was planned for yesterday. VIM, part of VilCom, and the owner of WCHL and, is one of several entities that was caught up in the Chapter 11 filing of sister company University Directories (UD) last fall.

As part of the unwinding process, University Directories was successfully sold in April, but the litigation with Greg Lindberg, Eli Global and UDX, continues. The Print Shop, another part of the company, was acquired by VilCom partners Jim Heavner and Bob Woodruff last month.

Now, VIM, a sister company under the VilCom umbrella, is being sold. In this case, WCHL owners are both purchasers and sellers.

Several companies had indicated an interest in acquiring VIM. Out of that process, VIM Acquisitions, LLC, a new company was formed by Edward Holmes, a WCHL investor.  Homes had come to an agreement with its trustee, attorney Rett Saslow of Greensboro, for its purchase to keep ownership local and that was to have been submitted to the bankruptcy court.

But, an unanticipated offer came in at the end of the day from Leslie Rudd Living Trust. He was unknown to the sellers and the court. It was comparable to the VIM Acquisitions offer, in that it was better in some respects and not as good in others.

As a result, the bankruptcy administrators, supported by attorneys for UD, recommended each buyer would have 48 hours—until today— to put the bids into a common form, with $100,000 security deposit, and that a bidding contest among the qualified buyers will take place tomorrow in the offices of attorney John Northen, whom Heavner had chosen to represent UD in the bankruptcy filing.

The trustee will submit the winning bid to the judge, who should approve it Tuesday.

Jersey Mike’s Hosting Fundraiser Today

Head to Jersey Mike’s Subs on Elliott Road or at Chapel Hill North on MLK Blvd. on Thursday, and 25 percent of your purchase will go to a local man who is raising money for medical care. Kevin Schaefer has spinal muscular atrophy and that’s cost him most of the use of his arms. He’s trying to raise $50,000 for a JACO Robotic Arm. Schaefer joined WCHL’s Ron Stutts Thursday morning, along with local Jersey Mike’s co-owner Brendan Turk. Here his story below:



Earth to Art Chansky: It Wasn’t About the Women

Editor’s note: Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook on July 14th was about UNC Coach Sylvia Hatchell. Chansky followed with a longer Art’s Angle on the subject of Coach Hatchell on July 15th. The commentary below is from Mary Willingham and Jay Smith of, and was published to their blog on July 16th, but only in response to the July 14th Sports Notebook. On July 20th, Art Chansky shared his answer to their blog post in a Sports Notebook. Mary Willingham’s commentary can be heard on WCHL in an abbreviated version on July 21st. Below is the full version.

In a recent commentary on WCHL, ardent UNC sports fan Art Chansky revealed his strategy for combating the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations [NOA] against the university’s athletic program: Blame it on the women! Complaining of women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell’s (alleged) behind-the-scenes efforts to lobby for a contract extension comparable to the one recently offered men’s coach Roy Williams, Chansky griped that “an exit strategy should be [Hatchell’s’] play.” After all, Chansky claimed, “Hatchell’s program is in the most serious trouble from the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations,” given the high profile of women’s academic counselor Jan Boxill in the email documentation provided in the NCAA report. The whole NCAA investigation is a “witch hunt” with many victims, Chansky suggested, but the uncomfortable reality for women’s basketball is that “[Roy] Williams’ program was not cited in the NOA and Hatchell’s was.” Hatchell should therefore prepare herself to leave UNC “with grace.”

The propaganda purposes of this particular commentary are obvious even by Chansky’s standards. No team is “cited” in the NOA if by cited one means singled out for likely punishment. As a team and as a program, women’s basketball is cited in the NCAA document no more and no less than any other team or program. (The NCAA’s NOA did note, however, that the “special arrangements” used for eligibility purposes at UNC had particularly benefited “the sports of football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.”) Chansky, in other words, is only continuing and amplifying the PR drumbeat that Roy Williams, Larry Fedora and others began some weeks ago, presumably at the urging of university lawyers. They have repeatedly announced that the big-time men’s revenue sports would seem to be in the clear and should expect no further punishment from the NCAA. They would have us believe that the NCAA is prepared to give football and men’s basketball a free pass even after the exposure of decades’ worth of fraud that clearly benefited the football and men’s basketball teams. And they are evidently all too happy to point the finger of blame in the direction of a women’s team in order to lower expectations about the sanctions likely to be imposed on the men’s teams.

Leaving aside the gender politics of this shameless PR strategy–will advocates for women’s sports stand by while male coaches, boosters, and UNC insiders labor to persuade the NCAA that the Crowder-Nyang’oro scheme was merely a big plot to help women?–Chansky and company face one very high hurdle in pursuit of their propaganda campaign. A mountain of direct and circumstantial evidence makes clear that UNC’s distinctive pattern of academic fraud was developed specifically to meet the needs of the men’s basketball team, and that the corruption reached its highest levels on Roy Williams’s watch. The first suspect independent study courses offered by Julius Nyang’oro in the late 1980s were offered to men’s basketball players, some of whom had abysmal SAT scores and perilously low GPA’s before they met professor Nyang’oro. Faculty friends in geography, French, and the school of education had been very helpful to the team throughout the 1980s. But when leadership of the AFRI/AFAM department fell into the laps of two allies of men’s basketball around 1990–Nyang’oro and his assistant Debby Crowder, whose close friend Burgess McSwain served as academic counselor for the men in her remote Smith center office–that department quickly became the go-to academic center for struggling (or academically uninterested) men’s basketball players. The fraud would morph into a multi-team and three thousand-student debacle before all was said and done, but men’s basketball was always first in line for favors and fake classes. The needs of men’s basketball always came first in the eyes of Debby Crowder. And the 2005 men’s team, whose roster was stocked with players for whom both McSwain and Crowder felt great sympathy, benefited from unprecedented levels of favoritism. The team as a whole took well over one hundred paper classes; as one would expect, the starters on that team benefited disproportionately from the scam. Star forward Rashad McCants has had the guts to admit this publicly and to show the evidence of the fraud in his own student transcript. His teammates, though quick to denounce him, have kept their transcripts hidden. It is unlikely that anyone else from that team–Sean May, Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams, Marvin Williams, Reyshawn Terry, Jesse Holley, etc.–will ever step forward with transcripts in hand to have a frank conversation about their classroom experiences. But the truth is in those transcripts.

Chansky, Williams, and the friends of men’s basketball would have the world believe that twenty years of bogus class scheduling was done without the knowledge of anyone actually connected to the men’s basketball program. Coaches (who are paid millions to know everything) supposedly knew nothing. The only academic counselor who was knowingly, inexcusably corrupt, they say, was philosophy instructor Jan Boxill, counselor for the women’s basketball team. This “powerful” figure, they say, corrupted women’s basketball of her own volition. Thankfully, all other counselors were innocent–even if it is unfortunate that they failed to detect the shenanigans of Crowder and Boxill.

The layers of absurdity in this line of argument become hard to distinguish. One might start, however, with the simple fact that Jan Boxill, whatever her flaws, was far more vulnerable than powerful. She was an untenured instructor whose employment at UNC was always partially contingent on her services to the athletic program. She was a highly valuable cog in the machine because of her go-between status and her ability to negotiate academic protocols for counselors who were physically segregated from the main arteries of the campus. But her great value also increased her vulnerability. She was pressured constantly by other personnel in the Academic Support Program to call in favors, to make phone calls, to ask for benefits that were “needed” by athletes with low GPA’s, travel commitments, or other handicaps.

Among the people who leaned heavily on Jan Boxill were the counselors for men’s basketball–first McSwain and then Wayne Walden, Roy Williams’s handpicked deputy who followed him to Chapel Hill from Kansas in 2003. When Roy Williams touts Walden’s ethics, he is not just blowing smoke. Walden was a decent guy who worked within a system that had been built long before he arrived. (Where is he now? Why won’t he and the other counselors step forward to tell their stories?) Walden had a conscience, and he was not happy to have to resort to “paper classes” and wink-wink independent studies courses to help keep certain players afloat. But he also knew what had to be done when push came to shove. Mary Willingham and Wayne Walden spent countless hours together in the old east end zone building talking about how difficult it was to keep challenged players eligible, and how much harder it was to navigate the UNC curriculum in comparison to the Kansas curriculum. (Thank the heavens for Debby Crowder and the few friendly faculty out there…) The course selection process they managed was never about offering players a world-class education; Willingham and Walden worked together–quite often with Boxill’s help, even more often with Crowder’s help–to keep basketball players eligible and in school. They were quite good at it, though Walden was constantly worried about getting Jan or Debby in trouble by asking for favors that would raise red flags. (One reason Boxill had so many emails to be plundered by Kenneth Wainstein and the NCAA: she worked in an office in Caldwell Hall, distant from the ASPSA. Deals, trouble-shooting, and schedule-engineering that were done face-to-face in the ASPSA had to be done through email whenever Boxill was involved. Conveniently for certain other key players in the drama, Boxill’s email was on the main UNC server rather than on the athletic server; her emails could not be expunged.)

Roy Williams has tried to take credit for steering players away from AFAM in 2006-7 (even as he disavows any knowledge of funny business in that department.) But the fact is, the transcripts of the 2009 national championship men’s team look different–with some but far fewer paper classes–only because a new fear of getting caught had set in around 2006. Remember the Auburn scandal and the panic it seems to have caused among ASPSA officials, the Faculty Athletics Committee, and Dean Bobbi Owen (who decreed that the numbers of AFAM independent studies had to be sharply reduced)? The upshot of the Auburn scandal, in the UNC men’s basketball program, was a new caution about cheating. The large-scale, team-wide stuff had to end. Paper classes, Walden decided, should be used only for the athletes who desperately needed them – such as the one guy who “couldn’t read very well.” That particular player, whose needs forged a particularly close relationship between Walden and Willingham (a reading specialist), took between ten and twelve paper classes. That figure–compiled in the years after Roy Williams claims that he cleaned up the basketball program–is significantly higher than the number of paper classes ever taken by ANY women’s basketball player. The number of AFAM majors on the men’s basketball team may have dropped off after 2005, but the need for paper classes remained (for both current and former players), and men’s basketball stayed at the front of the line at least through 2008.

Art Chansky and company are desperately trying to persuade the NCAA and the public at large that UNC’s course fraud scam was all about helping the women’s basketball team. Chansky urges Sylvia Hatchell to play sacrificial lamb for a UNC athletic department that benefited broadly and egregiously from academic fraud that unfolded over twenty years. The NCAA has all the emails, with all the unredacted names, and so one can assume that the Committee on Infractions will be able to hold up against the propaganda winds. But regardless of what the NCAA does or does not do, people of good conscience in and around UNC must not allow the dreams of Chansky, Williams, and Fedora to come true. Collective amnesia is not an option in Chapel Hill. Owning the reality of the scandal is important because only after accepting the true dynamic of the academic-athletic scandal–only after Tar Heels have come to terms with the fact that our love of men’s basketball and our passionate commitment to winning fostered an uncontrollably corrupt academic environment here–will the institution be able to move on with open eyes, a clean conscience, and a healthy plan for the future.

Chansky asks Hatchell to leave with “grace.” But grace has never been about willful blindness, nor should it be about taking one for the team. “Was blind but now I see,” goes the beloved lyric. Those touched by grace are not asked to go into exile; they are reconciled to a higher power and beckoned to a welcoming place (“grace will lead me home.”). Asking Sylvia Hatchell to go away is not the answer to UNC’s disgrace. The institution should instead be asking for its own gift of grace—the gift of clear-sighted reconciliation with the sins of its past.

WCHL’s Heavner to Join UNC’s Journalism Hall of Fame

Story originally posted September 15, 2014, 5:12 p.m.

The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication is welcoming WCHL’s owner and CEO Jim Heavner as a “Halls of Fame” inductee.

The N.C. Halls of Fame for Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations ceremony honors “individuals who have made outstanding, career-long contributions to their fields,” according to a press release from UNC.

Inductees must be native North Carolinians, or be identified in some way with the state.

Heavner – who’ll be inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame – started working at WCHL in 1961, and was the force behind moving the music station to the news/talk format.

The station began life in 1953 under the ownership of Sandy McClamroch, who served as Chapel Hill’s mayor throughout the 1960s. By 1978, Heavner was the majority owner.

WCHL operates as a division of VilCom, of which Heaver is owner and CEO.

Heavner is one of eight Halls of Fame inductees to be honored at the Oct. 10 event at the Sheraton Chapel Hill.

Others include UNC Professor Emeritus Harry Amana, the first black journalism professor at the university; and Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

In 1968, Matthews dropped out of the UNC doctoral program in economics after one year to join the Peace Corps.

Tickets for the event are $75, and they’re available through Sept. 26. You can purchase them by calling 919-843-2026.

Chamber Unveils Chapel Hill-Carrboro Business Hall of Fame

CHAPEL HILL – Your Chapel Hill-Carrboro community is what it is because of the people who have made an impact, and the Chamber of Commerce is recognizing 12 individuals who have shaped the local business world.

“We wanted an organization, not only did they run a good business, but that it was impactful, that it shaped our community, that it was entrepreneurial, that they re-invested in our community,” Chamber President Aaron Nelson said. “And we looked at 40 or 50 candidates and we settled on these 12 for the inaugural class, and they are our community icons.”

When determining which business should be considered for the Hall of Fame, the Chamber needed to develop criteria for eligibility.  Peter Tompkins said that there were a couple factors they thought were important.

“A couple of things just to be eligible in the first place was that they need to either be retired from what they’re doing or of a certain age, and of course their impact on the community,” Tompkins said.

In the future, Tompkins says many more businesses will be reviewed to join these great businesses in the Hall of Fame.

The inaugural class of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Business Hall of Fame includes:

Stein, Bill, and Jesse Basnight Sr. of S.h. Basnight & Sons, INC.

Michael Barefoot of Southern Season

Mildred Council of Mama Dip’s

Orville Camplbell of The Chapel Hill News

Ted and Edward Danziger of Restraunteurs

Mickey Ewell of Chapel Hill Restaurant Group

R.B. and Jenny Fitch of Fitch Creations

Mac Fitch of Fitch Lumber and Hardware

WCHL’s own Jim Heavner

George Wattes Hill, Sr. of Central Carolina Bank

Frank Kenan of Kenan Oil and Kenan Transport


Mel Rashkis of Mel Rashkis & Associates

To honor the inaugural class of the Business Hall of Fame, the Chamber will host a black tie event that includes a cocktail hour, live music, and a three course meal.

The induction will be on November 13, and tickets are available online by clicking here.

CHHS JV Football Cancelled; Live Local High School Football; Project Connect

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill High School JV football team will cancel its first game against South Granville for this Thursday 8/29/13.  The team does not have enough players at the moment to field a full JV football team.

CHHS is anticipating that more young men will come out for the JV team now that school is back in session.  The schools says it hopes to field a team for the rest of the season.


For the first time ever, WCHL and are teaming up to bring you live play-by-play coverage of two local football games each week.

Last Friday night kicked off the action as your local radio station and multi-media website continue to be your home for Chapel Hill, Carrboro, OrangeCounty, and ChathamCounty schools’ high school football games Friday night.

Your local schools have never before received this kind of coverage.  Each Friday night, you’ll find a link to the games being broadcast at the top of In Orange, Chatham, Wake, Alamance, and Durham you can listen to one of the two games on 97.9 FM and 1360 AM.

For all the local teams’ schedules-including broadcast plans- weekly results, and full game replays, click here.


On October 10, the HargravesCommunity Center will host Project Connect, a one-day, one-stop center to connect the homeless with a broad range of short and long term services.

Since 2007, the event has helped more than 900 people in OrangeCounty; the event is a key strategy of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness.

More than 50 social service agencies and 300 volunteers will serve an expected 300 guests and provide them with information on services that could help out.

Project Connect takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the HargravesCenter on North Roberson Street in Chapel Hill.

For more information you can click here.

WCHL 2013 Community Forum

Community leaders and neighbors came to the WCHL and offices yesterday with one goal in mind: to discuss our beloved community. Big names like Holden Thorp, Brian Chacos, Barry Jacobs, Reilly Parker and many more all spoke at the forum.