AM Technical Profile: WJOX


Frequency:
690
Format:
Sports
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] Across from old Winn-Dixie supermarket shopping center in Midfield, off Bessemer Super Highway.
Power (ERP):
Day: 50 kW
Night: 500 watts
Antenna:
Day: Omnidirectional
Night: Two towersdirectional to the southeast [pattern - PDF]
Other Information:
[FCC]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station from the WSPZ era.
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station from the WJOX era.
[WVOK Memories]  History and pictures from the Mighty 690 WVOK era.
Two site operation. (Both day and night towers are located within 300 feet of each other.)
[Studio] Street View imagery of the Cumulus Birmingham studio facilities.
(reported inactive 6-14-09)
History:
WVOK is reported to have signed on in 1947 with an impressive 10,000 watts by the Brennan family, who went on to own other big stations in the south like WBAM ('53), WAPE ('58) and WFLI.  They upgraded WVOK to 50kw in either 1950 or 51, with the original 10kw transmitter serving as backup.

 
Through the 60's and mid-70's was WVOK, the Voice of Dixie. A daytimer with a moster signal covering a large part of Alabama. It played Top 40 music but did not use the formatics of major-market Top 40 stations, instead opting for a down home style that appealed to the more rural audiences outside of Birmingham that weren't reached by other stations. It withstood competition by generating a following in the outlying areas. The station was home of a very popular morning show hosted by Joe Rumore. The Joe Rumore show broadcast from Joe's own basement! Through an intercom Joe communicated with Curely, the engineer back at WVOK and his wife, upstairs. Mr. Rumore also owned Rumore's Record Rack in Birmingham. Later in the 70's WVOK went country, and in the 80's moved to oldies, where it broadcast in stereo for some time. In the early to mid 90's it became WJOX, all sports radio, with minimal nighttime power. And the stereo is gone. The studios and transmitter used to be located together off Bessemer Super Highway in Midfield. The building was recently razed (a pool is still there), but the transmitter remains. Apparently the pool was not for swimming but served as a cooling pool for the distilled water that was used to cool the Brennan transmitter. The original owners of WVOK also owned WFLI 1070 in Chattanooga, WAPE 690 in Jacksonville and WBAM 740 in Montgomery. WAPE had a similar setup where a pool was used as a cooling pond for the water cooled transmitter's cooling system, but there people actually swam in the pool.  (The WFLI transmitter was like an air-cooled Western Electric model.)

 
At the end of November 2006 the station began simulcasting the sports format on WRAX-FM, who then changed calls to WJOX. Oddly, WJOX-AM changed calls to WSPZ (which had been on Citadel's Tuscaloosa station at 1150 when it was sports!) On Monday January 8th, 2007, WSPZ split from WJOX (FM), giving Birmingham two sports stations. The FM will keep the WJOX calls and "The Sports Monster" moniker, while the AM will be known as "The Sports Animal".  During mid-July 2008 Citadel pulled all the local programming from WSPZ, moving shows to talk-sister WAPI.  This leaves the station with a full Fox Sports Radio slate.

 
In February 2010 it was discovered that the station had dropped all of its Fox Sports programming for simulcasting WJOX-FM.  A callsign change to WJOX also occurred around this same time, February 8th.

 
In early January 2012 the station took on "690 The Fan" as a nickname, even though it still simulcasts with WJOX-FM.  In the summer of 2012 CBS announced that this station will pick up programming from the CBS Sports Network, which is set to debut 2 January, 2013.  The CBS Sports Network is a collabortation between CBS radio and Cumulus.  In August 2012 the station lost ESPN to Cox, who is running it on WENN (AM) and WZNN (FM).  For now, WJOX AM & FM are airing Fox Sports programming during non-local programming blocks.  This ran until CBS Sports debuted, but that didn't last long.  Listener reports say the station, as of October 2013, is being branded as "Jox 3" with mostly Fox Sports programming.  This compliments the main Jox signal at 94.5 and "Jox 2" on 100.5 MHz.