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WLOR 98.1TheBeat logo.png
CityHuntsville, Alabama
Broadcast areaTennessee Valley
Branding98.1 The Beat
SloganClassic Hip Hop and R&B
Frequency1550 kHz
Translator(s)98.1 W251AC (Capshaw)
107.5 W298BZ (Huntsville)
First air dateNovember 1946 (as WHBS at 1490)
FormatClassic hip hop
Power50,000 watts (day)
44 watts (night)
Facility ID39508
Transmitter coordinates34°51′09″N 86°39′10″W / 34.85250°N 86.65278°W / 34.85250; -86.65278
Former callsignsWHBS (1946–1958)
WAAY (1958–1989)
WAAJ (1989–1993)[1]
Former frequencies1490 kHz (1946–1953)
OwnerBlack Crow Media Group
(BCA Radio, LLC (transfer pending))
Sister stationsWAHR, WRTT-FM
WebcastListen Live

WLOR (1550 AM, "98.1 The Beat") is a radio station licensed to Huntsville, Alabama, United States, that serves the greater Tennessee Valley area. The station carries a classic hip hop format. WLOR is part of the Black Crow Media Group and the broadcast license is held by BCA Radio, LLC, Debtor-in-Possession. Its studios are located off University Drive (U.S. 72) in Huntsville, and its transmitter is located north of the city.

Black Crow Media Group sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 12, 2010.[2] In November 2011, the company announced reorganization plans that will shift the license to Southern Stone Communications, LLC, under the same parent company.


Early days[edit]

Great American WAAY 1970s

The station originally started on November 10, 1946, as WHBS on 1490 AM (1,000 watts day/250 night), which was owned by The Huntsville Times. It later added an FM simulcast in 1948 on 95.1 FM, which was discontinued around 1955. The station moved to 1550 kHz, with an increase of daytime power to 5,000 watts/500 night, on November 4, 1952. From 1958 to 1989, this station used the call letters WAAY as the Top 40-formatted AM sister station of WAAY-TV. The station went to 50,000 watts-daytime power in 1980 (the maximum output permitted for U.S. AM radio stations) and then operated from a separate daytime and nighttime site until 1991. WAAY also was the first station to broadcast in AM stereo in the Huntsville market in 1984, using the Kahn-Hazeltine stereo system. Both WAAY-AM-TV stations were owned and operated by Smith Broadcasting, a local family that has since divested its broadcasting interests.

Finding religion[edit]

'80s AM STEREO logo

When the AM station was sold, the new owners were required to change the callsign. They chose WAAJ in April 1989 to accompany the station's change to a gospel music and religious format. This format and callsign ran until April 1993 when the station became WLOR.[1] At around 1998, WLOR returned to the air with a black gospel format (daytime only, as the nighttime site had been demolished).

In March 2000, the station was purchased by STG Media LLC (Steven J. Shelton, president) for a reported sale price of $425,000.[3] In November 2001, due to a proposed refinancing of the parent company STG Media, LLC, applied to the FCC to transfer the licenses of WAHR, WLOR, and WRTT-FM to Black Crow Media Group subsidiary BCA Media, LLC.[4] Just two days later, another application was filed to shift the licenses to BCA Radio, LLC.[5] The FCC approved the moves on November 15, 2001, and the consummation of the transaction occurred on November 19, 2001.[4] In July 2002 the station began the "Jammin' 1550" branding[6] and in early 2002 nighttime operations resumed from the daytime site.

True Oldies[edit]

In June 2008 ABC's The Touch programming was replaced with ABC's True Oldies Channel format. This "true oldies" format was programmed by legendary disc jockey Scott Shannon.[7]

An FM simulcast of WLOR started on May 1, 2009, on FM translator W251AC at 98.1 FM with a transmitter located on Drake Mountain. The station was re-branded as "Sunny 98". (The 98.1 translator was previously operated as a WQPR/WBUZ/WKDF translator on Capshaw Mountain.) The station would later drop the True Oldies format and shift to urban oldies.

In January 2010, Black Crow Media Group and its subsidiaries filed for "Chapter 11" bankruptcy, seeking to reorganize rather than be broken up. Their filing with the FCC notified the Commission of the involuntary transfer of the license from BCA Radio, LLC, to an entity known as BCA Radio, LLC, Debtor-In-Possession.[8]

In November 2011, Black Crow Media Group announced that it was reorganizing its radio holdings and consolidating the four subsidiaries acting as debtors in possession (including BCA Radio, LLC) into a new company named Southern Stone Communications, LLC. The FCC approved the transfer on December 19, 2011.[9]

On February 1, 2017, at 10 a.m., WLOR began stunting with TV theme songs. At noon, WLOR changed their format to classic hip hop, branded as "98.1 The Beat". The first song on "The Beat" was "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.[10][11]

Technical changes[edit]

On June 19, 2007, the station was granted a construction permit to downgrade from a class B to a class D station using a single transmitter site and a nighttime power reduction from 500 watts to just 44 watts. The station was licensed to operate as a class D at reduced nighttime power on April 24, 2008.[12]

On December 5, 2016 WLOR was granted a Federal Communications Commission construction permit to decrease day power to 28,000 watts, decrease night power to 15 watts and change from two (day and night) three tower directional patterns to a one tower omnidirectional pattern.[13]


WLOR programming is also carried on broadcast translator stations to extend or improve the coverage area of the station.

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
W251AC 98.1 Capshaw, Alabama 180 D FCC
W298BZ 107.5 Huntsville, Alabama 250 D FCC

See also[edit]

List of radio stations in Alabama


  1. ^ a b "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. FCC Media Bureau. April 16, 1993. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Bilbao, Richard (January 25, 2010). "Black Crow Media Group LLC files for Ch. 11 protection".
  3. ^ "Changing Hands". Broadcasting & Cable. March 27, 2000.
  4. ^ a b "Application Search Details (BALH-20011113AAJ)". FCC Media Bureau. November 19, 2001. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  5. ^ "Application Search Details (BALH-20011113AAN)". FCC Media Bureau. November 15, 2001. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  6. ^ Welch, Chris (July 16, 2000). "Radio mining the 'old is gold' vein". The Huntsville Times. p. S39.
  7. ^ "Radio Stations". Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel. Archived from the original on July 28, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  8. ^ "Application Search Details (BALH-20100114ABW)". FCC Media Bureau. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  9. ^ "Application Search Details (BALH-20111208DMM)". FCC Media Bureau. December 19, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  10. ^ WLOR Brings Classic Hip Hop to Huntsville Radioinsight – February 1, 2017
  11. ^ WLOR Becomes 98.1 The Beat
  12. ^ "AM Broadcast Station License" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission.
  13. ^ Application for Construction Permit for Commercial Broadcast Station – Federal Communications Commission

External links[edit]