Alabama Public Radio
|City of license||Tuscaloosa, Alabama|
|Branding||Alabama Public Radio|
|Repeaters||WUAL-FM 91.5 (Tuscaloosa)
WQPR 88.7 (Muscle Shoals)
WAPR 88.3 (Selma)
WHIL 91.3 (Mobile)
|Affiliations||American Public Media, National Public Radio, Public Radio International|
|Owner||University of Alabama|
Alabama Public Radio is a network of public radio stations based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that serves roughly the western half of the state of Alabama with classical music, folk music, jazz, and nostalgic music programs, as well as news and feature programs from the National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI), and American Public Media (APM) networks. The network is operated by the University of Alabama, with studios in Tuscaloosa.
Since the station is licensed to a university, students in the UA College of Communication and Information Sciences get opportunities for practical training in announcing and other varied production duties. Nonetheless, APR maintains a small professional staff, as well as several volunteer announcers from the larger community. The Alabama Public Radio newsroom has recently won over 50 awards for journalism excellence, one third of which are at the national and international levels. This includes RTDNA's national Edward R. Murrow award for Overall Excellence. The APR news team also works extensively with journalism students at the University of Alabama. Newsroom student interns typically put in 750 hours of work, which results in 142 minutes of Alabama-centric news, which airs statewide. This provides students with valuable real-life experience, and material for their resumes.
The University of Alabama established WUAL-FM in January 1982 as the state's fifth public radio station. It emphasized service to the immediate western Alabama area in its first several years, since most of the region had no other access to NPR programming. However, UA soon realized the potential for expansion into other parts of the state without NPR service. Since Birmingham, Huntsville, southeastern Alabama, and Mobile already had existing stations, WUAL and UA officials focused on developing relay transmitters to send WUAL's signal into northwestern and south central Alabama. Thus, WQPR, originally a joint project with the University of North Alabama in Florence, appeared in the late 1980s. It was followed in the early 1990s by WAPR, which is a joint venture of Alabama State University, Troy University (both of which already owned NPR stations of their own in the Montgomery area) and UA.
In September 2007, WQPR received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to assist in its conversion from analog to digital broadcasting.
In 2011, due to the desire of owner Spring Hill College to exit public broadcasting, Spring Hill's NPR member station, WHIL-FM in Mobile, joined APR, effective July 1. That station had been affected, like many throughout the country, by declining listener contributions, which influenced the College to sell the 32-year-old outlet.
APR's studios have been housed in various locations on campus. They were first located on Bryce Lawn Drive and moved to Phifer Hall around 1990. In February 2014 they moved to the University's Digital Media Center, a facility located inside Bryant-Denny Stadium that houses WVUA-CD, the Center for Public Television and Radio (APR's parent organization), and Crimson Tide Productions.
Four stations currently comprise the network:
|Tuscaloosa||91.5 FM||WUAL-FM||Birmingham to Mississippi state line|
|Muscle Shoals||88.7 FM||WQPR||Northwestern Alabama to Decatur|
|Selma||88.3 FM||WAPR||Black Belt, Montgomery|
|Mobile||91.3 FM||WHIL||Southern Alabama, Gulf Coast|
WLJS-FM (91.9 FM), the student-operated station of Jacksonville State University which broadcasts to eastern central Alabama, simulcasts the first hour of classical music on APR each weekday. No other affiliations, either in personnel or in programming, exist between the two entities.
In addition to the full-power stations, Alabama Public Radio is relayed by this low-powered translator (currently a CP) to widen its broadcast area:
|City of license||ERP
- Alex AuBuchon and Pat Duggins--Morning Edition
- David Duff and Bob Woodman--daytime classical music
- MacKenzie Bates and Stan Ingold--All Things Considered, Marketplace, The World, Fresh Air
Local specialty programs
Unlike many stations in recent times, APR has always featured a heavy schedule of locally-hosted programs, many of which are unique in featuring special genres of music. Among them are the following:
- All Things Acoustic--a play on the title of NPR's flagship news broadcast, this show explores the wide variety of traditional and contemporary folk music and ethnic sounds, plus the singer-songwriter genre as well. UA professor Jeremy Butler hosts the program, heard on Friday evenings. This program debuted in 1993.
- Jugs, Jukes and Jazz--long-running program featuring jazz, ragtime, Dixieland, and big band sounds from the earliest recordings through about the 1960s or so. Tom Halladay has helmed this show for the entirety of APR (WUAL's) history. The program was heard for many years on Saturday afternoons; it now airs on Sunday evenings.
- Bama Bluegrass--Lance Kinney is the current host of this similarly enduring show, which features artists from the Bluegrass and "old-time" country music scenes. The program, heard early Saturday evenings, is especially popular with older, rural listeners. Kinney is also an associate professor of advertising and public relations at the University of Alabama.
- The Crooners--Sunday-evening show featuring vocalists performing big band and swing music from the 1930s through the 1950s. Former APR staff announcer Dale Owen continues his involvement with the network as host of this program.
- Getting Sentimental Over You--similar to the above program, but emphasizing instrumentals rather than vocals. The program immediately precedes "The Crooners" and is hosted by Dave Clark.
- WVUA-FM 90.7, the University's student-programmed station
- "CPB Awards Grants to 89 Public Radio Stations for Digital Transition" (Press release). Corporation for Public Broadcasting. September 20, 2007.
- Chaffin, Ashley (July 24, 2013). ""Stadium will soon house new digital media center"". Tuscaloosa News.