WAPI (AM)

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WAPI
City of license Birmingham, Alabama
Broadcast area Central Alabama
Branding 1070 WAPI
Slogan Birmingham's Talk Radio
Frequency 1070 kHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date 1922 as WSY
Format News/Talk (WJQX simulcast)
Power 50,000 watts (day)
5,000 watts (night)
Class B
Facility ID 16900
Callsign meaning Alabama Polytechnic Institute[1] (official name of Auburn University when the university acquired the station)
Former callsigns WSY (1922-1925)
Affiliations ABC News
Owner Cumulus Media
Sister stations WJQX, WJOX, WJOX-FM, WUHT, WZRR
Webcast Listen Live
Listen Live via iHeart
Website 1070wapi.com

WAPI (1070 AM, "1070 WAPI") is a radio station licensed to Birmingham, Alabama. Its daytime power is 50,000 watts and at nighttime it broadcasts at 5,000 watts. WAPI is a talk radio station, featuring a combination of live, local programming and nationally syndicated shows, including Mark Levin, Michael Savage and Kim Komando. WAPI is one of several Birmingham-area radio stations owned by Cumulus Media. It is also central Alabama's home of the Auburn Tigers. The station has studios in Homewood and its transmitter is in Forestdale.

History[edit]

In April 1922, WSY radio signed on as the second radio station in Alabama, owned by Alabama Power Company. Some five months later, the fourth radio station in the state, WMAV, owned by the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) began broadcasting from Auburn. WSY was not successful, and in 1925 its broadcast facilities were dismantled and donated to WMAV and Alabama Polytechnic. At that time, the station’s call letters were changed to WAPI, reflecting the ownership of the station.

In 1928 WAPI returned to Birmingham, in part due to NBC’s interest in affiliating with a station in Alabama’s largest city. In 1929, ownership of the station was split among Alabama Polytechnic, the University of Alabama, and the Alabama College for Women (now the University of Montevallo), and the broadcast power was increased to 5,000 watts. In 1932, the colleges sold the station to a group of businessmen known as "The Voice of Alabama."

WAPI remained affiliated with NBC until 1940, when it became an affiliate of CBS. After sharing its dial position with KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma for several years, it moved to its present dial position in 1942. In 1947, it launched an FM sister station, WAFM (later WAPI-FM and now WJOX-FM). In 1949, WAPI launched the first television station in Alabama, WAFM-TV (now WVTM-TV).

The Birmingham News purchased WAPI and its FM and television sisters in 1953, and in 1954 WAPI-AM re-affiliated with NBC. The Newhouse chain bought the News in 1956, and sold off the broadcast outlets to separate owners in 1980.

As network radio programming began to lose its importance due to television's popularity, the station evolved into a "middle-of-the-road" music station in the mid-1960s, featuring several local call-in shows at night. By the mid-1970s it was the only Birmingham AM adult contemporary radio station, and didn't see a format change until 1985, when crosstown rival WSGN (now WAGG) dropped adult standards. WAPI immediately switched to that format, and remained so until January 1, 1996 when it became an all-news radio station. Since that time, the station has evolved into a talk-radio station.

On February 22, 2010 WWMM-FM (100.5) changed its calls to WAPI-FM and dropped its former adult album alternative music format. The two stations began simulcasting for most of the day, with the FM side branded as the main station. However, on July 24, 2013; WAPI-FM changed its calls to WJQX and flipped to ESPN Radio as a sister station to WJOX and WJOX-FM. This left the news/talk format solely on the AM side once again.

Although it boasts the most powerful daytime signal in Alabama, WAPI doesn't travel as far as most other 50,000-watt stations due to this area's poor ground conductivity. It does, however cover all of central Alabama during the day from a single tower, and can be heard as far as the outer fringes of the Atlanta suburbs under the right conditions. Two towers are used at night to protect KYW in Philadelphia at nearby 1060 AM, rendering it almost unlistenable outside Birmingham itself.

[edit]

WAPI-AM logo.png (WAPI's logo prior to simulcast with WAPI-FM)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 33°33′07″N 86°54′40″W / 33.55194°N 86.91111°W / 33.55194; -86.91111