|Broadcast area||Birmingham, Alabama|
|Slogan||Birmingham's Work Station
Birmingham's Christmas Station (Nov.-Dec.)
|Frequency||96.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||96.1 W241AI (Gorgas, relays HD3)
104.1 W281AB (Mountain Brook, relays HD2)
|First air date||June 1, 1961 (as WCRT-FM)|
Christmas music (Nov.-Dec.)
HD2: Urban Contemporary "104.1 The Beat"
|Callsign meaning||MJJ = Magic|
|Former callsigns||WCRT-FM (1961-1973)
(Capstar TX LLC)
|Sister stations||WDXB, WERC, WERC-FM, WQEN|
WMJJ (96.5 FM), "Magic 96.5") is a iHeartMedia, Inc.-owned adult contemporary radio station that broadcasts from Birmingham, Alabama. Other stations in the Birmingham market owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. include WDXB-FM (102.5), WQEN-FM (103.7), WERC-FM (105.5), and WERC (960 AM). It is consistently one of the highest rated stations in the Birmingham market. The station has studios at Beacon Ridge Tower in Birmingham (near Red Mountain) and its transmitter is on the west end of the Red Mountain range. it can be heard from as far north as Huntsville, AL, As far south as Montgomery, AL, as far west as Winona, MS & as far east as Villa Rica, GA.
This station began licensed broadcasting with 49,000 watts of effective radiated power on the 96.5 MHz frequency on June 1, 1961, as WCRT-FM. Under the joint ownership of Chapman Radio & Television Company, WCRT-FM was the sister station of WCRT (1260 AM, now known as WYDE).
In 1973, the station was sold to Magic City Broadcasting, moved to a taller antenna, increased power to an even 50,000 watts, and changed callsigns to WQEZ to reflect the station's shift to beautiful music. In the late 1970s, the station increased its broadcast power to the present 100,000 watts. Throughout the 1970s, there was very little choice in FM programming in Birmingham; most stations were either easy listening or album rock stations. 96.5 FM was the home of WQEZ "your 'Q' to E-Z listening". The format consisted of instrumental music and soft vocals.
The station was sold in 1982 to Capitol Broadcasting, a company owned primarily by radio group owner Ken Johnson. Ray Quinn, who had been Johnson's General Manager at his property in Louisville. Kentucky (WRKA) moved to Birmingham and built a new management team and changed its format to adult contemporary on December 27 of that year. Until this time there were no FM stations in the market with this format. The stations that came closest to filling this niche were WSGN-AM, WAPI-AM and Top-40 station WKXX. The new name of the station was Magic 96, and it has retained that name and format since then.
Quinn's original team included program director Bill Thomas and original sales manager Chris Gallu. Later, the sales team leadership included Steve Streiker who was General Sales Manager from 1983 until 1985. Burt and Kurt hosted the morning show during the station's early years, Charlie Walker did middays, and Jeff Tyson handled evenings, both crossing the street from top-ranked (at the time) WKXX to join the station. When Bill Thomas left the programming chair to become VP/Programming for Capitol Broadcasting in the mid-80's, John Jenkins was promoted to Program Director, remaining in that position until he left the station to program WMAG-FM (also a Magic station) in Greensboro, N.C., which he took from a 3.8 to an 8.7 in ratings share. He was succeeded by Smokey Rivers, who broadened WMJJ's playlist to even dabble in classic rock and oldies at night for several years.
John Jenkins returned as Vice President of programming at Ameron Broadcasting in the early 1990s and returned the station's focus to mainstream adult contemporary music. Under Ameron's ownership, the station remained consistently number one in women until it was sold to Capstar Broadcasting, which later merged with Clear Channel Communications, which owns the station today. The station began a promotion in the early 1980s that remained a fixture on the station for nearly a decade, the "Magic Alabama Lottery". The promotion involved the mailing of numbered tickets to hundreds of thousands of Birmingham residents each Spring and Fall. One listener won $96,000, one of the largest cash prizes ever given away by a Birmingham radio station. The station also gave away a $175,000 home in that promotion in the mid 1990s.
Magic 96 was one of the seminal "A/C" (Adult Contemporary) radio stations of the 1980s. Innovations in programming, audience promotion, advertising sales management, advertising inventory management and pricing, were pioneered at WMJJ and were widely emulated by stations in other radio markets.
From 2000 until 2002, the station had a harder edged format, leaning towards hot adult contemporary. After that, the playlist of Magic 96.5 relied heavily on oldies from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as 1980s music, with very few current soft rock hits. After Christmas of 2008, Magic 96.5 returned to a more Mainstream Adult Contemporary approach. After Christmas of 2010, the station once again went to a classic hits approach, with a heavy reliance on music of the 1970s and 1980s with occasional songs from the 1990s and 2000s. Despite this direction, it is still classified as an Adult Contemporary station.
WMJJ featured an all-disco show from 6 PM to Midnight on Saturdays until late 2013, when it was replaced with The 80's Show.
WMJJ also switches its programming to all-Christmas music each year, usually starting around Thanksgiving Day and returning to regular programming on December 26, however in 2011 WMJJ switched to all Christmas music on October 31. In 2012, it made the switch on November 8. In 2014, WMJJ switched even earlier, when WMJJ and rival WEZZ-FM switched to it within minutes of each other on October 25, becoming the 2nd of the first 3 stations in the US to switch to Christmas music, following WEZZ and WEZW in New Jersey. In 2016 they flipped to Christmas music on November 3rd.
- Nelson, Bob (October 18, 2008). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
- "Directory of AM and FM Radio stations in the U.S.". 1963 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1963. p. B-4.
- "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the United States and Canada". 1974 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1974. p. C-4.
- "Directory of Radio Stations in the United States and Canada". Broadcasting Yearbook 1979. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1979. p. C-6.
- Carlton, Bob (2007-12-05). "Ray Quinn returning to Birmingham to manage Clear Channel radio stations". The Birmingham News. Birmingham, Alabama. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
Ray Quinn came to Birmingham in 1982 to help launch radio station Magic 96.5 (WMJJ-FM). Now, Quinn is back in town to run Clear Channel Radio's cluster of five stations, including his old station. He started here Tuesday.
- Magic 96.5 WMJJ official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WMJJ
- Radio-Locator information on WMJJ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WMJJ
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W241AI
- Radio-Locator information on W241AI
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W281AB
- Radio-Locator information on W281AB