WENN (AM)

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This article is about the radio station in Birmingham, Alabama, US. For the entertainment news wire service in London, UK, see World Entertainment News Network.
WENN
City of license Birmingham, Alabama
Broadcast area Greater Birmingham
Branding 102.1 Y'all FM
Frequency 1320 kHz
Translator(s) 102.1 W271BN (Birmingham)
First air date 1950 (as WEZB)
Format Adult Hits
Power 5,000 watts (day)
111 watts (night)
Class D
Facility ID 6411
Transmitter coordinates 33°33′41″N 86°51′37″W / 33.56139°N 86.86028°W / 33.56139; -86.86028
Former callsigns WEZB (1950–1959)
WENN (1959-1983)
WAGG (1983–1999)
WEZN (1999–2000)
WRJS (2000–2003)
WZZK (2003–2006)
WPSB (2006–2009)[1]
Owner Summit Media LLC
(SM-WENN, LLC)
Sister stations WAGG, WBHJ, WBHK, WBPT, WEZZ-FM, WZZK
Webcast Listen Live
Website 1021yall.com

WENN (1320 AM, simulcast on translator W271BN [102.1 FM]) is a radio station licensed to Birmingham, Alabama. Its daytime power is 5,000 watts, and at nighttime, it broadcasts at 111 watts from a transmitter in Hopper City on the city's northside. It is owned by Summit Media LLC, who also owns six other Birmingham stations, and all share studios in the Cahaba neighborhood in far southeast Birmingham.

Station history[edit]

The station that now broadcasts at 1320 AM in Birmingham started in 1950 as WEZB, an easy listening music station licensed to Homewood, Alabama. When WEZB changed frequencies, moving to 1220 AM in 1959, it was replaced by WENN, playing music that targeted Birmingham's African-American community. During the turbulent early 1960s, the new WENN was one of two stations that played rhythm and blues music; the other was WJLD. Because of FCC restrictions, WENN broadcast only from sunrise until sunset; still, it enjoyed dominance over its main rival, WJLD. In 1969, WENN launched an FM companion station on 107.7 FM. The new WENN-FM was the first FM station in Birmingham aimed at the listening tastes of the community’s African-American population. One DJ on WENN during the civil rights era so outraged the local Ku Klux Klan that the hate group cut down the station's broadcast tower.[2]

The popularity of FM radio in Birmingham greatly increased during the late 1970s and early 1980s; WENN-FM's audience growth in particular led the station management to seek a separate identity for WENN-AM. In 1983, the AM station changed its call letters to WAGG, and it became an urban gospel music station.[1] This change in programming proved to be successful, and by the end of the 1980s, WAGG was one of the highest-rated AM stations in Birmingham.

In 1998, Cox Radio, who already owned WZZK-FM, WODL-FM and WEZN, bought WAGG. One year later, WEZN, at the time an adult standards-formatted station, and WAGG swapped dial positions, in order for WAGG to take advantage of the superior nighttime signal on 610 AM. As a result, 610 would be the new station for gospel, while 1320 would be the new home for adult standards.

After WAGG and WEZN swapped dial positions, the 1320 AM frequency has changed both its callsign and its programming format several times. In 2000, the adult standards programming was dropped, and the station was relaunched as WRJS ("Rejoice 1320"), another urban gospel station. In 2002, the station changed formats again, becoming a regional Mexican music station known on the air as "La Favorita". In 2003, the station was reincarnated as WZZK (at one time in the 1980s the callsign of 610 AM), playing classic country music.

The station became WPSB in February 2006, with an urban talk format under the moniker "The People's Station of Birmingham."[3]

On January 29, 2007, the station began stunting in anticipation of a change in formats. "Oye Como Va" by Santana was played continuously all day. The station was officially relaunched as a Regional Mexican music station branded as "Radio Centro Birmingham" on February 1, 2007.[4] The station was run out of Cox Radio's Birmingham facilities but was operated under a local marketing agreement by KPI Latino.[4][5]

On March 15, 2009, the legacy WENN callsign was returned to this station.[1] At about the same time, the station dropped the Regional Mexican music format and revert to urban-oriented talk programming.

On February 16, 2010, WENN changed its format to neo soul/urban AC, branded as "WENN 101.9, Birmingham's Neo Soul Station", with AM 1320 simulcasting on W270BW at 101.9 FM. After approved modifications, W270BW now broadcasts at 102.1 FM and could be received over most of downtown Birmingham.

On December 12, 2011, WENN flipped to old-school hip-hop and R&B, branded as "Power 102.1." It carried the syndicated Birmingham native comedian Rickey Smiley in morning drive.

On August 30, 2012, WENN changed formats again. The old-school music previously played on 1320 AM moved to WZNN-HD2, and WENN became a full-time affiliate of ESPN Radio. At the same time, the station's programming began simulcasting on a new FM translator, W297BF (107.3 FM).

In early 2013, Cox Radio, Inc. sold WENN and 22 other stations to Summit Media LLC for $66.25 million. The sale was consummated on May 3, 2013.

On July 2, 2013, Summit Media announced a format change for 107.3 FM/97.3 HD-2. At Noon that day, the frequency became the over-the-air station for Birmingham Mountain Radio, a formerly internet-only radio station that had been receiving accolades in the market since its inception in 2010.[6] On that same day, WENN reverted to their simulcast of W271BN.

On November 15, 2013, WENN and W271BN changed their format to adult hits, simulcasting WZNN, branded as "102.1 Y'all FM".[7] The simulcast lasted until November 21, 2013 at 12:00 midnight. At that time the former WZNN became soft adult contemporary WEZZ "Easy 97.3".

Previous logos[edit]

WPSB-AM logo.png WPSB-AM logo Radio Centro.png

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database. 
  2. ^ "Shake, Rattle And Rally: Code Songs Spurred Activism In Birmingham". NPR. 2013-06-21. 
  3. ^ Ekman, Jennifer (September 1, 2006). "Cox rocks Birmingham". Birmingham Business Journal. 
  4. ^ a b DeButts, Jimmy (February 9, 2007). "Hispanic radio station launched". Birmingham Business Journal. 
  5. ^ "Strategic Bilingual Media Services". KPI Latino. Retrieved March 6, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Internet station Birmingham Mountain Radio begins broadcasting over-the-air today on 107.3 FM and WZNN-HD2.". al.com. July 2, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ http://radioinsight.com/blog/headlines/netgnomes/86692/yall-moving-easily-in-birmingham/

External links[edit]