|City of license||Montgomery, Alabama|
|Branding||News Radio 1440|
|First air date||April 30, 1930|
|Power||5,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
|Former callsigns||WSFA (1930-1957)
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|Sister stations||WHHY-FM, WLWI-FM, WMSP, WMXS, WNZZ, WXFX|
It broadcasts a news/talk radio format to the Montgomery metropolitan area. Notable syndicated programming includes "First Call" with retired Army Sergeant Kevin Elkins, The Money Game with Dave Ramsey, Rush Limbaugh, The Sean Hannity Show, Clark Howard, and Michael Savage. Overnight, the station broadcasts the syndicated Coast to Coast AM hosted by George Noory.
This station, the oldest radio station in Montgomery and the fourth oldest in Alabama, began broadcasting as WSFA on April 30, 1930. Montgomery's next oldest, WCOV (now WGMP), wouldn't begin broadcasting until February 1939. The radio station's callsign, intended to promote Montgomery's city air field, stood for "With the South's Finest Airport". A formerly-affiliated Montgomery television station (then WSFA-TV, now simply WSFA) still holds this historic callsign.
WSFA was originally operated under the ownership of the Montgomery Broadcasting Company, Inc., a partnership between local businessmen Howard Pill and Gordon Persons. Persons, who stepped down as president of the company in 1939, would go on to serve as the forty-third governor of Alabama from 1951 to 1955.
Country music legend Hank Williams got his start as a professional musician in 1936 with regular appearances on WSFA. It was during this period that he formed his longtime backing band, the Drifting Cowboys. Southern Gospel family group the Speer Family joined the station in 1941 until they moved on to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1946.
The WHHY era
The station was acquired by Broadcast Service of Montgomery, Inc., under the ownership of Charles W. Holt, Connie I. Holt, and Robert N. Robinson, as part of the Holt Broadcasting Service, on January 9, 1957. The station was renamed WHHY to match the other stations owned by Holt Broadcasting at the time: WHSY in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, WHNY in McComb, Mississippi, WHXY in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and KOME in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Holt and Robinson families maintained ownership of the WHHY until Holt-Robinson Communications encountered financial difficulties and was placed into receivership. The license for WHHY was involuntarily transferred to receiver Thomas M. Duddy in May 1993. The transfer was approved by the FCC on June 21, 1993.
In May 1995, Duddy reached an agreement to sell this station to McDonald Investment Company, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on July 3, 1995, and the transaction was consummated on August 30, 1995. In October 1996, McDonald Investment Company, Inc., applied to the FCC to transfer the license for this station to McDonald Media Group, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on November 7, 1996, and the transaction was consummated on December 2, 1996.
The WLWI era
Known as WHHY since 1957, the station changed call letters to the current WLWI on October 19, 1999. In December 1999, McDonald Media Group, Inc., made a deal to sell this station to Citation Limited Partnership, owned by Citation Cablevision, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on December 17, 1999, and the transaction was consummated on January 20, 2000.
In September 2000, Citation Limited Partnership reached an agreement to sell this station to Cumulus Media subsidiary Cumulus Licensing Corp. as part of a three station deal valued at a reported $10 million. The deal was approved by the FCC on March 12, 2001, and the transaction was consummated on May 15, 2001.
- "Cumulus Media Expands Montgomery, Alabama Radio Group; Deal Includes Option to Buy Stations". Business Wire. August 18, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- "Alabama Affiliates". Coast to Coast AM. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "Directory of AM and FM Radio stations in the U.S.". 1963 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1963. p. B-6.
- "WSFA - Montgomery, Alabama". Raycom Media. Retrieved January 3, 2008.
- "Directory of Standard Broadcasting Stations of the United States". 1944 Broadcasting-Telecasting Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1944. p. 71.
- "Group Ownership of Broadcast Stations in the United States". 1958 Broadcasting Yearbook-Marketbook Issue. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1958. p. A=413.
- "Directory of AM and FM stations and Market Data of the United States". Broadcasting-Telecasting 1955 Yearbook-Marketbook Issue. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1955. p. 69.
- Escott, Colin; George Merritt, William MacEwen (2004). Hank Williams: The Biography. Back Bay. p. 18. ISBN 0-316-73497-7.
- "Death Notices: Mrs. Katherine Pill Howard". The Gadsden Times. October 12, 2008. "Mrs. Howard's father founded Montgomery radio station WSFA in 1930."
- "Alabama Governor Seth Gordon Persons". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- "Alabama Governors". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- "Radio Programs". Hank Williams Official Fan Club. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- McNeil, W.K. (2005). Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music. Routledge. p. 365. ISBN 0-415-94179-2.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-19930521GG)". FCC Media Bureau. June 21, 1993.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-19950508GH)". FCC Media Bureau. August 30, 1995.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-19961015GN)". FCC Media Bureau. December 2, 1996.
- "Directory of Radio Stations in the United State and Canada". Broadcasting Yearbook 1979. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1979. p. C-6.
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-19991124AAE)". FCC Media Bureau. January 20, 2000.
- "Combos - 9/25/2000". Broadcasting & Cable. September 25, 2000.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-20000824ABI)". FCC Media Bureau. May 15, 2001.
- WLWI official website
- Cumulus Radio Montgomery
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WLWI
- Radio-Locator Information on WLWI
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WLWI