|City of license||Helena, Alabama|
|Broadcast area||Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Central Alabama|
|Branding||JOX 2: ESPN 100.5|
|First air date||1991 (as WLXY at 100.7)|
|Callsign meaning||sister station to WJOX-FM|
|Former callsigns||WLXY (1991-2003)
|Former frequencies||100.7 MHz (1991-1993)|
|Sister stations||WAPI, WJOX, WJOX-FM, WUHT, WZRR|
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WJQX (100.5 FM, "JOX 2: ESPN 100.5") is a sports radio station licensed to Birmingham suburb of Helena, Alabama, which serves Birmingham and central Alabama. It is the Birmingham affiliate for the Auburn ISP Sports Network. The station is owned by Cumulus Media. The station was assigned the WJQX call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on August 1, 2013. This was the second station serving the Birmingham market to have held the WAPI-FM call sign. From 1958 until 1994, the station currently known as WJOX-FM was known as WAPI-FM. The station has studios in Homewood and its transmitter is in West Blocton, Alabama.
History of WJQX
The forerunner of WJQX signed on at 105.9 FM in the summer of 1993 as WWIV, licensed to Trussville, a suburb east of Birmingham. Originally, WWIV was a simulcast of WYDE, which at the time was a talk radio station. After a few months, WWIV became WWBR and was known on the air as “105-9 the Bear”. WWBR was an album rock/active rock station. While the format of the station was relatively well received by its listeners, a weak broadcast signal (3 Kw) and less than ideal transmission tower location on Birmingham’s eastern side hampered its ratings success.
In 1996, the format of WWBR was changed to alternative music, the call letters were changed to WRAX, and the on-air name of the station was changed to “106 the X”. In 1998, WRAX swapped dial positions with newly acquired sister station WENN-FM, the former leading urban contemporary music station in Birmingham, and became known on the air as “107-7 the X”. The acquisition of WANZ by Citadel Broadcasting caused WRAX to change dial positions once again, and in March 2005, WRAX moved again. Its on-air name was changed to “The X @ 100.5”. During its time on the air as "107.7 the X", the station released seven charity albums featuring live performances under the name Live in the X Lounge which benefited United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham.
History of 100.5 FM
The station first signed on at 100.7 FM in 1991 as WLXY-FM. WLXY was originally licensed to Northport, served only the Tuscaloosa area and was known on the air as Arrow 100.7, playing classic rock. Despite being less than 60 miles from Birmingham, the signal of Arrow 100.7 didn't cover any of the Birmingham metropolitan area. This was due in part to WHMA-FM broadcasting from Anniston at 100.5 and covering a significant part of the Birmingham area.
In 2001, WHMA changed its city of license from Anniston to College Park, Georgia and became a part of the Atlanta radio market as WWWQ, leaving an open broadcasting channel for central Alabama. The ownership for WLXY petitioned to change the station's dial position from 100.7 to 100.5 in order to move its transmission tower closer to Birmingham and to boost its broadcast power, and in 2003, this petition was approved. In anticipation of its move into the Birmingham market, WLXY changed formats and call letters in early 2003. Looking to challenge Birmingham’s alternative music station WRAX, the station adopted a similar format with the new call letters WANZ. The station’s on-air name was Z-100.7. In April 2003, WANZ changed its dial position to 100.5 and began broadcasting from a taller tower near Vance, enabling its signal to cover both the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa markets. With the new dial position, the station changed its name to Z-100.5.
In 2005, Apex Broadcasting, the owners of WANZ and several Tuscaloosa-area stations, sold their radio properties to Citadel Communications, owners of five stations in the Birmingham market including WRAX (107-7 the X), a station with a format that was virtually identical to that of WANZ. Not wanting to have two stations competing in the same format, the call letters and other intellectual property of WRAX was transferred to 100.5 FM in March 2005.
Switch to sports talk
At 3:00 pm Central Standard Time on Wednesday November 29, 2006, 100.5 became the FM home frequency of WJOX, beginning a simulcast of the AM sports talk station. The move came suddenly and unannounced on November 28, with the firing of the entire WRAX staff. On December 1, WRAX changed its call letters to WJOX-FM, and WJOX changed its call letters to WSPZ. Reacting to the change in format at WRAX, Clear Channel Communications changed the format of its WENN-FM on December 2, thus returning alternative rock to the airwaves of Birmingham.
WJOX-FM and WSPZ began separate broadcast schedules on January 8, 2007, with many of the established programs from the former WJOX moving to the new FM sports outlet. The program schedule on WJOX-FM was:
- Mornings: The Opening Drive, with Tony Kurre, former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker, and former Auburn University placekicker Al Del Greco
- Mid-days: The Roundtable with Lance Taylor & Ian Fitzsimmons roundtableradio.com
- Afternoons: The Paul Finebaum Radio Network
Call sign and format changes for 100.5 frequency
On July 31, 2008, Citadel changed the callsign of the station to WWMM (the double "M's" in the call letters standing for the station's slogan–"Birmingham's Modern Music") and the city of license from Northport to Helena.
The sports talk format and WJOX call-sign were moved to 94.5 FM on July 6th and 31st, respectively, as 100.5 began simulcasting on 94.5 as part of the transition. The rumors were 100.5 would flip to Rhythmic AC as "100.5 The Vibe", but this never materialized, and WWMM would instead flip to adult album alternative (Triple-A or AAA for short) as "Live 100.5, Birmingham's Modern Music" on August 15th at 10AM. The new station name and slogan were debuted live on-air by Scott Register, host of Reg's Coffee House, a local radio show.
As WWMM, the station was never able to gain a significant share of local listenership. As rumors of a potential change in format began to surface, listeners started an online petition that garnered over 11,000 signatures to urge station management not to change the station's format. However, at 12:01 a.m. on February 22, 2010, the station dropped its music format and became a simulcast partner of news/talk station WAPI-AM. The stations were co-branded as "100-WAPI". Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.
Commitment to "live and local" programming
The on-air line-up of 100-WAPI featured Matt Murphy and Valerie Vining in the morning, and Richard Dixon in the afternoons. Weekends and evenings featured national hosts like Mark Levin, Mike Huckabee, Kim Kommando, Bill Handel and others. WAPI was well-known locally for covering breaking news events live.
The station achieved even more prominence when multiple tornadoes struck Alabama on April 27, 2011. Jim Stefkovich of the National Weather Service accurately predicted on WAPI ten hours before the tornadoes that the destruction would be very high and that there would be loss of life. As the tornado moved across northern Birmingham, WAPI hosts described it from their studio window overlooking downtown Birmingham. In the hours following the tornado, WAPI mobilized listeners to respond to critical needs, collecting and delivering more than two million dollars worth of basic supples (ten semi-trucks) in the hardest-hit areas. In many cases, the WAPI delivery was the first help to arrive in some areas. WAPI continued to match needs and volunteers over the next ten days and the public service efforts of the station were covered by news media like the CBS Evening News and the BBC. Hundreds of volunteers worked with radio station staffers to organize and conduct the massive aid deliveries quickly.
JOX 2: ESPN 100.5
On July 24, 2013, the station announced it will join ESPN Radio as a sister station to WJOX-FM. This resulted in WAPI returning exclusively to 1070 AM. Originally announced as ESPN Radio 100.5, the station announced it will simulcast several shows from WJOX-FM and call itself JOX 2: ESPN 100.5. The change came one month after WZNN dropped the format and brought the sports format back to the 100.5 frequency after 5 years. This caused a name change on WDGM in Tuscaloosa as it was at the time a simulcast partner of WJOX as 99.1 The Deuce. On August 1, WAPI-FM changed its callsign to WJQX to match the format. On August 12, 2013 WJQX made the flip to sports.
- Birmingham News article on format change, published 8/16/2008
- Birmingham News article on programming changes at WJOX-FM and WSPZ-AM, published January 6, 2007
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- "Deals - 2/21/2005". Broadcasting & Cable. February 21, 2005.
- Carlton, Bob (July 26, 2007). "Daniels steps down as Citadel manager". The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama). Retrieved January 3, 2008.
Among the changes Citadel made while [Dale] Daniels was in Birmingham was moving the once-popular alternative station The X (WRAX-FM) from the 107.7 frequency to the weaker 100.5 signal to start up Hot 107.7, an urban station. The X lost listeners after the switch, and in December, Citadel pulled the plug on the station altogether to make way for WJOX-FM, which moved from the AM dial to become Birmingham's first FM sports talk station.
- "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WJQX
- Radio-Locator information on WJQX
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WJQX