|Broadcast area||Knoxville, Tennessee and surrounding areas|
|Slogan||Knoxville's Classic Rock|
|Frequency||103.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1949 (as WBIR-FM)|
|Former callsigns||WBIR-FM (1949-1980)|
(Midwest Communications, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WJXB-FM, WDKW|
|Webcast||Listen Live or
WIMZ-FM is a classic rock radio station based in Knoxville, Tennessee at 103.5 FM. Its broadcast area reaches into southeastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, north Georgia and far northwest South Carolina.
The WIMZ FM-Tower (also called the WBIR TV-mast) is a 534.01 meter high guy-wired aerial mast for the transmission of FM and TV programs in Knoxville, Tennessee (Geographical coordinates: ). The tower was completed in September 1963 and at the time was the tallest structure in the world. It is currently owned by South Central Communications.
Originally, the tower was used for television broadcasts by WBIR, but it was shielded by mountains from some audiences in Knoxville, especially those in the western towns of Farragut, Oak Ridge, and Lenoir City. WBIR relocated to Sharp's Ridge near downtown Knoxville in the 1970s, and the tower is now home to radio station WIMZ. Due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, the antenna itself is located 1570 ft (479 m) AGL, about 180 ft (55 m) below the top of the tower.
Originally before the tall WBIR-TV mast was built in 1963, the owner of the TV station had planned the tower to be built on nearby House Mountain, the tallest point in Knox County, Tennessee. But WBIR's main competitor WATE-TV squashed that idea. See the article House Mountain for details.
Originally known as WBIR-FM, the station had a country music format, switching to album-oriented rock in 1979. Not long after the format switch it changed its call letters to the current WIMZ, and used the slogan "Rock 104". At the start of 1983 it altered its format somewhat to add more current new wave and heavy metal acts and curtail much of the 1970s vintage classic rock; at that time it also dropped the Rock 104 moniker and identified as "103.5 WIMZ", with a new logo loosely modeled after that of MTV. The last song played on WBIR's Country format was "Waltz Across Texas" by Ernest Tubb. In the middle of the song, the turntable was switched off until the song spun to a stop. There was brief moment of silence and then a voice came over the airwaves that said, "WBIR FM, Rock 104. We Believe In Rock." ...and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" began the rock era.
In 1982, WHEL on AM 1240 (formerly with a big band format) began simulcasting WIMZ-FM's programming, and became WIMZ-AM. This simulcast on AM continued for much of the 1980s. WIMZ-AM was later sports talk.
Currently, the morning time slot carries the John Boy and Billy show (John Boy having been a popular local radio personality in the late 1970s on WRJZ), a syndicated show which is on many stations throughout the southeastern United States. In recent years, the station's format has consisted of late 1960s through early 1990s hard rock, excluding punk and focusing on 1970s metal and 1980s hair metal. Their slogan remained "Classic rock that really rocks" for more than a decade. Today the station's slogan is, "Knoxville's Classic Rock."
Sale to Midwest Communications
It was announced on May 28th, 2014, that Midwest Communications will purchase 9 of the 10 Stations owned by South Central Communications. (This includes WIMZ-FM along with Sister Stations WJXB-FM & WVRX) With this purchase, Midwest Communications will expand its portfolio of stations to Evansville, Knoxville and Nashville. The sale was finalized on September 2, 2014, at a price of $72 million.
- Jack Neely, Knoxville's Secret History (Scruffy Books, 1995), p. 155.
- http://web.knoxnews.com/entertainment/tvradio/radiostations.shtml, Retrieved on 2009-03-05.
- http://playback.mediabase.com/player_large.asp?StationID=WIMZ-fm&w=1000&h=704%20%3Chttp://playback.mediabase.com/player_large.asp?StationID=WIMZ-fm&w=1000&h=704%3E, Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- Midwest Communications Acquires South Central Communications
- South Central Radio Group
- WIMZ-FM official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WIMZ
- Radio-Locator information on WIMZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WIMZ
- Article on the tower's history
- WIMZ-FM Tower at Structurae
- "Listing 1043698". Antenna Structure Registration database. U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
- Drawing at skyscraperpage.com
WTVM/WRBL-TV & WVRK-FM Tower
|World's tallest structure
1,752 ft (534.01 m)