|Broadcast area||Mobile, Alabama
|Slogan||The Gulf Coast's Hit Music Station|
|First air date||February 5, 1973 (as WABB-FM)|
|Format||Top 40 (CHR)|
|HAAT||473 meters (1,552 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Tribute to WABB-FM; B D also can refer to WABB-FM's former owner Bernie Dittman|
|Former callsigns||WABB-FM (1973-Present)
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
WABD (97.5 FM) is an American radio station licensed to serve the community of Mobile, Alabama. The station, established in 1973 as WABB-FM, is owned and operated by Cumulus Media. Its studios are on Dauphin Avenue in Midtown Mobile, and its transmitter is near Spanish Fort, Alabama.
This station began broadcasting a contemporary hit radio music branded as "97.5 WABD" on July 15, 2012. The shift from the previous "K-LOVE" branded Christian radio format was a result of a multi-station deal that saw the programming formerly on WLVM move to WDLT-FM (98.3 FM), urban adult contemporary programming on WDLT-FM move to WABD (now WLVM, 104.1 FM), the contemporary hit radio format on WABD move to WLVM (now WABD, 97.5 FM). On July 16, 2012, this station's legal call sign was changed by the FCC from WLVM to WABD.
In September 2016 the air staff was updated to its current lineup. Morning show host John Marty moved to afternoon drive, and was replaced by the "Zazza & Cheree" show. The show is syndicated out of Melbourne, Florida. Program Director, Sid Kelly moved from afternoons to mid-days and replaced Adam Bomb. Zach Sang is still the host of the night show.
The station originally had its roots in WABB (1480 AM). WABB began broadcasting on June 19, 1948, when it was owned by the Mobile Register under call letters meaning "We are Alabama's Best Broadcasters". WABB had an FM simulcast from the very beginning, starting with 107.9 MHz and later 102.1 MHz until it was discontinued in the 1950s. Shortly after owner Bernie Dittman moved to Mobile from his native Ohio to join his father J.W. at the station in 1959, Top-40 music became the new format.
97.5 WABB (1973–2012)
The modern WABB-FM (97.5 FM) signed on for the first time on February 5, 1973, with the song "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" by Bob Dylan (which was also the final song played on February 29, 2012). WABB-FM was originally a simulcast of its sister station before moving toward its long-running Top 40 format in 1984. Notable alumni of WABB include radio personalities Michael Scott Shannon and Leslie Fram.
WABB's longtime owner, president, and general manager Bernie Dittman died on October 25, 2006, after suffering from a stroke the previous week. Dittman's daughter Betsey succeeded him after relocating to Mobile from Chicago, Illinois.
Final WABB to "K-Love" (2012)
On February 17, 2012, the Dittman family announced on its website that it has decided to sell WABB-FM to Educational Media Foundation for $3.1 million. Following a day-long retrospective on the history of WABB, including its history on 1480 AM, on February 29, at Midnight, after bookending the station with the same song that launched 97.5, "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" by Bob Dylan, the station flipped to the K-LOVE Christian Contemporary format, thus ending WABB-FM's 39-year run as a Top 40/CHR. The format would not be lost in the area, as Cumulus relaunched the format at 104.1, with similar calls as WABD, at almost exactly the same time as WABB became K-Love. The station changed its call letters to WLVM on March 2, after EMF transferred the call sign from WKIW, the K-LOVE station in Ironwood, Michigan. The Dittman family chose to retain WABB (1480 AM) and the rights to the "WABB" callsign; however, they would later sell WABB AM to Omni Broadcasting on October 24, 2012, with the new owners changing its call sign to WTKD, following the flip to sports talk. Another broadcaster, Big Fish Broadcasting, reserved the "WABB" call letters for their silent AM radio station in Belton, South Carolina.
97.5 WABD (2012–present)
On July 9, 2012, the Educational Media Foundation announced that WLVM had been sold to Cumulus Broadcasting holding company Cumulus Licensing, LLC, as part of a multi-station deal and that several format shifts would take place simultaneously at noon on July 15, 2012. The Christian programming on WLVM moved to WDLT (98.3 FM), the urban AC format on WDLT moved to WABD (104.1 FM), and the CHR format on WABD moved to WLVM (97.5 FM). The FCC accepted the WLVM license transfer application on July 10, 2012, but as of July 15, 2012[update], had yet to approve the sale of WLVM. WLVM and WDLT are being operated under local marketing agreements until the sales are approved and the transactions consummated.
The station has gone through many personalities through the years. Currently WABD has two full-time local personalities. Mornings became syndicated from Melbourne, Florida in late 2016 by Tony Zazza and Cheree. The show is called "Zazza mornings with Cheree," and is broadcast in 3 markets (Melbourne, Florida; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama). The current air staff has been in place in their current configuration since October 2016.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- Venta, Lance (July 9, 2012). "WABD Returning Home To 97.5". Radio Insight. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- Ink, Radio (2016-09-21). "Zazza Mornings With Cheree Adds Stations In FL, AL". Radio Ink. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
- "Sid Kelly Comes Home to Mobile To Take PD Reins At WABD". All Access. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
- "People: Radio". Media Life. October 30, 2006.
Dittman owned WABB-AM since 1959, adding WABB-FM in 1973.
- "Bernie Dittman Passes Away". Radio Monitor. October 26, 2006.
- Farber, Erica (April 11, 2003). "Publisher's Profile: Scott Shannon". Radio & Records.
- "WABB's Dittman Dead At 79". Radio Ink. October 31, 2006.
- Holbert, Rob (November 8, 2006). "Media Frenzy". Lagniappe Mobile.
- "WABB-FM Agrees to be Purchased by Educational Media Foundation" from WABB (February 17, 2012)
- 104.1 Mobile to Fill WABB Void
- Williams, Alvin (November 16, 2012). "New call letters adopted for WABB-AM". Examiner.com.
- "Application Search Details (BALH-20120709AFX)". FCC Media Bureau. July 10, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- "WABD is Heading To The Old WABB 97.5 Frequency". All Access. July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.