AM Technical Profile: WERC
- Talk, News
view] Intersection of Finley Blvd and US 78 in Birmingham.
Twin tower just behind Alabama Department of Transportation
- Power (ERP):
- Day and Night:
- Day: 1 tower
- Night: 2
towers, Directional to the south. [pattern
Street View imagery of the iHeartMedia studio space in Birmingham.
- Owned by iHeartMedia
- // WERC-FM
- (Early history
skimmed from the WAAY-TV
- The station was
started by J. C. Bell. The calls were WBRC (Bell Radio Corporation).
The station was on 950 kHz and ran with only 10 watts. Both studio
and transmitter were in Bell's home in Fountain Heights. It was sold
in 1928 to M. D. Smith, Jr. for $2,000. In 1929 the transmitter was
moved to a location behind Birmingham Awning and Tent works at the
corner of 12th Avenue and 27th Street North.
Power was increased to 500 watts and the studios were moved to the
Old Athletic Club. WBRC began operating 12 hours a day.
- In 1931
WBRC increased power to 5 kW and the studios were relocated to the
mezzanine floor at the Temple Theater. The all-glass studio was
known as "The Crystal Studio". The transmitter was moved to a remote
location in north Birmingham, known as "Kilocycle, Alabama". (!)
The station was incorporated, with J. C. Bell and Glen Marshal
getting 25% stock each and M. D. Smith Jr. and wife getting 50%. In
1932 the studios were moved to the Bankhead Hotel.
- WBRC moved again
in 1935 to 19th Street and 2nd Avenue North
due to growth. The same year WBRC became affiliated with NBC. In
1937 M. D. Smith Jr. died, and his wife, Eloise Haney Smith, took
control of Bell Radio Corporation. By 1939 Eloise Smith had bought
out Glenn Marshal's stock. By 1940, Mr. Bell died and Eloise Smith
(soon to be Eloise Hanna by marriage) bought Bell's stock.
- In 1946
Mrs. Hanna received a construction permit for WBRC-FM (102.5 MHz).
It came on the air with an amazing power of 500,000 watts, making it
the most powerful FM station in the world. In 1947, the Smith's son,
M. D. Smith III, became Vice President after being in sales for
WBRC-FM and AM. FM did not catch on as much as everyone
thought it would and in June of 1948, WBRC-FM was taken off the air.
Desipte this setback, Mrs. Smith borrowed $150,000 to put WBRC-TV on
the air on July 4, 1949. WBRC-FM later reappeared on 106.9
Hanna retired and sold WBRC-TV/AM-FM to Storer Broadcasting for $2.3
million. That ends the history provided by the WAAY-TV history
page. Radio Cincinnati bought the station in 1957; it was
later acquired by Taft Broadcasting. WBRC was basically a
middle-of-the-road station with some network programming.
- Mooney Broadcasting
purchased the AM and FM stations from Taft in 1972, and it was at this
time the calls changed to the "similar but different" WERC and
station went with an AC Pop format, and gave WSGN a battle in the
70's under PD David Gleason. Later it settled into the news-talk
format where it has enjoyed longevity and success.
- In 2005
(summer?) the station dropped their longtime news provider ABC for
Fox News. They also dropped Paul Harvey's news program. Both Harvey
and ABC were picked up by rival talk station WAPI.
- On July 6th 2009
the station become the next in a long line of AM talkers to simulcast
on FM, replacing rock on WVVB Hoover. In addition to that,
much of WERC's programming has been carried in Tuscaloosa, on a
separate simulcast between WACT and WRTR Brookwood. That makes a
total of four radio stations carrying some if not all the same
programming! It should be noted, however, that the Tuscaloosa
duo aren't doing a full-on simulcast of WERC's lineup. Also, it
was observed in late September 2009 that WERC has shut off its HD
- On January 6th 2011
the station ended its simulcast with WERC-FM and picked up the new
rock format being broadcast on WQEN-HD2. This is also being
carried on a translator, and is being called "103.1 The Vulcan".
Just over a month later, on February 16th, 2011, the
historic calls were replaced by WVVB. On 23 June 2011 it was
reported that WVVB (AM) was dropped from the simulcast, returning to
simulcasting WERC-FM's talk format. On 14 June 2011 the WERC
calls returned to the frequency.