|Broadcast area||Jackson, Mississippi|
|Slogan||Central Mississippi's Stimulating Talk|
|First air date||1997 (as WMGO-FM at 93.1)
August 2008 (as WYAB at 103.9)
|Callsign meaning||We Yell About Barack|
|Former callsigns||WMGO-FM (1997-2003)|
|Former frequencies||93.1 MHz (1997-2008)|
|Owner||SSR Communications, Inc.|
WYAB 103.9 FM (formerly 93.1 FM) is a radio station serving the city of Jackson, Mississippi, including Madison County, Yazoo County, Rankin County, and Hinds County. The studios of WYAB are located within the Cotton Exchange Plaza in Flora, Mississippi.
WYAB originally began as WAZF-FM in 1984 as a vacant allotment in the FCC's Table of Allotments, which is essentially a community-by-community listing of all radio station channels and classes within the United States and its territories. The initial allotment was for a 3,000 watt station to broadcast on 93.7 FM to serve Yazoo City. The allotment was created by a company known as Dri-Two, Inc. to serve as a "sister" FM station to the now silent WAZF 1230 AM, also licensed to Yazoo City. The vacant allotment sat without an actual broadcast station occupying its place from 1984 until 1995, when Mississippi College, license holder of WHJT 93.5 FM, petitioned the FCC to have the allotment removed from the Table. The college intended to upgrade the facilities of WHJT in nearby Clinton from 3,000 watts to 6,000 watts, something that could not have been accomplished with interference from a potential station on 93.7 FM in Yazoo City. After some public interest in the retaining the allotment at Yazoo City, the FCC developed an alternate solution that could accommodate all parties. The FCC moved the vacant allotment from 93.7 FM to 93.1 FM and granted the WHJT upgrade.
After making the frequency change in 1995, the FCC solicited interest from parties intent on building a radio station on 93.1 FM in Yazoo City. Although two parties expressed interest in the station during the frequency change stage (individual Clifton Thomas of Jackson and Dain Schult Radioactivity, Inc. of East Point, Georgia), a local third contender, Gordon ("Jerry") J. Lousteau, Jr., of WMGO 1370 AM in Canton was the only person that responded to the FCC's public notice, and therefore his WMGO Broadcasting Corporation was granted the license. He placed the station on the air in 1997 and it was known as WMGO-FM. The original studio was located at 1307 East Broadway Street in Yazoo City.
In April, 2003, the WMGO Broadcasting Corporation sold the station to SSR Communications, Inc., and to avoid confusion of the still operating WMGO 1370 AM in Canton, SSR changed the WMGO-FM call letters to WYAB, branding it "B93: Central Mississippi's Oldies Leader". Approximately one year later, SSR moved the WYAB air studio to the Cotton Exchange Plaza in Flora, a town approximately 22 miles (35 km) south of Yazoo City.
In January, 2005, WYAB's city of license was changed from Yazoo City to the town of Benton, a community approximately six miles east of Yazoo City. This change in city of license was necessary for WYAB to move its tower approximately ten miles south of its original location. Then, in December, 2005, WYAB began broadcast operations from its new tower site ten miles (16 km) south of Benton.
In February, 2008, WYAB received approval from the FCC to change its broadcast frequency from 93.1 MHz to 103.9 MHz and (once again) relocate its tower closer to Flora, which is where the air studio is located. Concurrent with that action, the FCC allowed WYAB to change its community of license from Benton to Flora, marking the third different community of license that the station has had in its relative short history.
On August 28, 2008, WYAB began broadcasting from a tower site approximately five miles northeast of Flora. Concurrent with this latest tower move, WYAB migrated formats from oldies to talk radio. For a short time thereafter, WYAB had still retained some ties to its oldies music origins, as it aired a weekly three-hour-long oldies show on an irregular schedule every weekend (most often dictated by its weekend sports schedule).
Just five months later, on January 24, 2009, WYAB moved again to a tower three miles (5 km) southeast of Flora, the fourth different broadcast facility for the station. At the same time, WYAB announced that it would become the new flagship radio station of the Mississippi Braves minor league baseball team.
On September 13, 2010, WYAB moved once again to a new 400-foot (120 m) tower in Hinds County, approximately six miles northwest of Jackson. Thus, from December, 2005 to September, 2010, the station had broadcast from five different antenna locations, moving approximately 26 miles (42 km) closer to Jackson (when compared to the original tower location) in the process.
2002 Listing on eBay
WYAB (then WMGO-FM) holds a rather unusual distinction in the annals of radio station transaction history. In April 2002, then-owner Jerry Lousteau placed the radio station up for sale on eBay, gaining national attention within the broadcast industry as one of the first owners to attempt to sell a radio station via an Internet auction. The purchase price was listed at $210,000.00, with the listing reading:
Name your own format. Be your own boss. You are bidding on the assets of the station, including tower, antenna, and studios. This is not a toy. Covers over 100,000 people!
Ultimately, the listing for WMGO-FM garnered no qualified bidders. SSR Communications, Inc. purchased the station from Mr. Lousteau after the extensive press coverage within broadcast trade publications regarding the attempted eBay sale.
Format and Programming
When the station was put on the air in 1997, it had broadcast oldies hits from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. In August, 2008, the station migrated to a talk radio format, featuring personalities such as Michael Savage, Jim Thorn, Clark Howard, Kim Wade, Doctor Livingston, Herman Cain, Phil Valentine, Bill Handel, and Leo Laporte.
WYAB is the "flagship" home for the Mississippi Braves, as well as the Madison-Ridgeland Academy and Tri County Academy football, boy's and girls basketball, and baseball teams. WYAB also serves Ridgeland High School with select live broadcasts of its boy's and girls basketball games, as well as its baseball team.
WYAB is also the sole local affiliate of Louisiana State University athletics, including football, and men's basketball.
WYAB airs many local and community-oriented programs as well numerous public affairs programming, and special events and news reporting as well.
Broadcast Site History
Currently, WYAB broadcasts on 103.9 FM from a site six miles (10 km) northwest of Jackson with 5,000 watts of effective radiated power. The tower is located on F.O.A. Road in Jackson, Mississippi. Full power broadcasts began at 2:45 p.m. on September 13, 2010. The tower is the fifth broadcast site that the station has had over the course of its (relatively short) history. The population served within WYAB's 60 dBu (1.0 mV/m) coverage area is approximately 384,354 persons.
From January, 2009, until September, 2010, WYAB had broadcast on a 140-foot (43 m) high tower three miles (5 km) southeast of Flora, on top of Mount Leopard.
From August, 2008, until January, 2009, WYAB's broadcasts were from a 340-foot (100 m) high tower five miles (8 km) northeast of Flora. Tower construction started on August 20, 2008 with broadcast operations commencing at 5:35 a.m. on August 28, 2008. The first song played was the "Theme from Star Trek, the Original Series".
From December, 2005, until August, 2008, WYAB had broadcast on 93.1 FM from a 400-foot (120 m) high tower nine miles (14 km) north of Flora with the same power level. Tower construction started in November 2005 with broadcast operations commencing at 8:15 p.m. on December 13, 2005. The first song played was "Georgia On My Mind", as performed by Ray Charles. At the time, the population served within WYAB's 60 dBu (1.0 mV/m) coverage area was approximately 161,000 persons. The tower still stands today, presently unoccupied.
Prior to December, 2005, WYAB's broadcast tower facility was located at a site near Benton. The former 328-foot (100 m) high WYAB tower was dismantled in December 2006 after sitting unused for approximately one year.
All four towers were designed, manufactured, erected, or maintained by the J. Crow Towerworks company of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
WYAB's primary audience is between the ages of 45 and 64, with men making up a slight majority of the listeners. During certain dayparts, such as during the Clark Howard Show, however, WYAB's audience is skewed heavily in favor of women 25-64. WYAB also broadcasts numerous sports teams, which attract a large male audience.
WYAB's current staff members:
- Mike Adkins: Chief Engineer
- Cliff Bowen: Show Host / News Director / General Sales Manager
- Jim Thorn: Show Host / News / Sales
- Kim Wade: Show Host
- Danielle Wesolowski: Accounting
- Matthew Wesolowski: General Manager / Sales
- Josh West: Sports Director / Sales
- WYAB Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WYAB
- Radio-Locator information on WYAB
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WYAB
- Approximate Coverage Map