|Broadcast area||Lee County, Alabama
|Branding||97.7 The Kicker|
|Slogan||"Lee County's Best Country"|
|First air date||July 8, 1968|
|HAAT||138 meters (453 feet)|
(AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C.)
|Sister stations||WCJM-FM, WMXA, WPCH, WTLM, WZMG|
WKKR (97.7 FM, "97.7 The Kicker") is a radio station licensed in Auburn, Alabama, USA. The station, established in 1968, is currently owned by iHeartMedia, Inc., through licensee AMFM Radio Licenses, L.L.C. In 1988, WKKR became the first Alabama radio station to earn the National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Radio Award for outstanding commitment to community service.
WKKR broadcasts a country music format to the Auburn, Alabama metropolitan area. In addition to its usual music programming, WKKR broadcasts Opelika High School football and Auburn University's Auburn Tigers football games.
New radio station WFRI began broadcasting on July 8, 1968, with 860 watts of power on 97.7 MHz licensed to Faulkner Radio, Inc. Owner James H. Faulkner, Sr., also owned several other Alabama radio stations as well as the newspapers Baldwin Times and Foley Onlooker in Baldwin County, Alabama. Broadcasting a middle of the road music radio format, the station upgraded its signal strength to 3,000 watts of effective radiated power in 1970. In 1973, the station switched to a "solid gold" oldies and adult standards music format. By 1979, WFRI had changed musical directions again and was programming a Top 40 pop music format. This change would also prove short-lived as WFRI aired a classic rock format branded as "Rock 97" for most of the early 1980s.
In November 1984, Faulkner Radio, Inc., made a deal to sell WFRI and AM station WAOA (now WTLM) to Fuller Broadcasting Company, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on January 7, 1985, and the transaction was consummated on March 18, 1985.
The AM station's format was flipped from country music to oldies and WFRI's format was switched from the "97 Rock" classic rock format to a country music format branded as "Kicker FM". New owner Fuller Broadcasting had the Federal Communications Commission assign current call letters WKKR to match the branding on March 1, 1985 .
In August 1998, Fuller Broadcasting Company, Inc., reached an agreement to sell this station to Root Communications License Company, L.P., as part of a five-station deal. The deal was approved by the FCC on October 5, 1998, and the transaction was consummated in December 1998. Gary Fuller, president and CEO of Fuller Broadcasting Company, Inc. from 1985 until he sold the company in December 1998, was elected mayor of Opelika, Alabama, in August 2004.
In March 2003, Root Communications License Company, L.P., reached an agreement to sell this station to Qantum Communications subsidiary Qantum of Auburn License Company, LLC, as part of a 26 station deal valued at $82.2 million. The deal was approved by the FCC on April 30, 2003, and the transaction was consummated on July 2, 2003.
On May 15, 2014, Qantum Communications announced that it would sell its 29 stations, including WKKR, to Clear Channel Communications for WALK AM-FM in Patchogue, New York as part of the sale of the WALK stations to Connoisseur Media. The transaction was consummated on September 9, 2014.
Awards and honors
In 1988, WKKR and AM sister station WZMG (now WTLM) became the first stations in Alabama to earn the National Association of Broadcasters Crystal Radio Award. Established in 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards recognize broadcasters for outstanding commitment to community service.
- Marc Chase, now working for Tribune Company as the President of Tribune Interactive, began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey at several Auburn area stations, including WFRI.
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron.
- "Football Affiliates". The Auburn University Official Athletic Site. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- "The Facilities of Radio". Broadcasting Yearbook 1969. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1969. p. B-4.
- "Broadcast Stations Identified With Newspaper of Magazine Ownership". Broadcasting Yearbook 1972. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1972. p. A-93.
- "The Facilities of Radio". Broadcasting Yearbook 1971. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1971. p. B-4.
- "The Facilities of Radio". Broadcasting Yearbook 1974. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1974. p. B-4.
- "The Facilities of Radio". Broadcasting Yearbook 1979. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1979. p. C-2.
- "Application Search Details (BALH-19841121FE)". FCC Media Bureau. March 18, 1985.
- "Community bids farewell to loyal Auburn radio owner". Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. August 11, 1998. p. B1.
WFRI, then known as 97 Rock, had great appeal to the students in Auburn. Nevertheless, Fuller decided to take the station in a different direction. A month after he purchased WFRI, he renamed it WKKR. Country music was in; classic rock was out.
- Harvey, Beverly (August 23, 2008). "Fuller rose from humble beginnings to mayor's office". Opelika-Auburn Now.
- Brumley, Cecil G. (August 5, 1998). "Root Communications buying five more stations". Daytona Beach News-Journal. p. 12A.
- "Broadcast Actions Report No. 44343". FCC Media Bureau. October 8, 1998.
- "A little about Mayor Gary Fuller". The City of Opelika. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- "Changing Hands - 3/17/2003". Broadcasting & Cable. March 17, 2003.
- "Application Search Details (BALH-20030307ACE)". FCC Media Bureau. July 2, 2003.
- Venta, Lance (May 15, 2014). "Qantum Sells To Clear Channel; Connoisseur Expands In Long Island". RadioInsight. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners". National Association of Broadcasters. Archived from the original on November 27, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- Arave, Lynn (May 4, 2006). "KSL wins another Crystal Award". Deseret News.
- "Opelika Auburn News". Media General. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
- "CRS". Country Radio Broadcasters. Archived from the original on February 24, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2009.