FM Technical Profile: WABD


Station Name:
97-5 WABD
Frequency:
97.5
Format:
CHR
Transmitter Location:
[map] On the WKRG-DT tower and co-located with several FMs: WMXC, WHIL and WRKH.
Power (ERP):
100 kW.
Antenna:
Omnidirectional.
Antenna HAAT:
1551 feet.
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
:
PS-97-5 WABD The Gulf Coast's Hit Music Station WABD
PS-(song/artist) WABD
Time-Present
Text-
97.5 WABD The Gulf Coast's Hit Music Station 975wabd.com
Text-(song/artist) WABD
PTY-Top 40
PI-
WABD-FM
More Information:
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]
[Article] Remembering Bernie Dittman, from RBR.com.
[Picture] Screenshot of RDS decode from an Insignia HD portable radio, showing PS (station name) and PI (call letters)
[Aircheck] WABB's final day retrospective. 6:30-7:30pm uncut audio. Noisy stereo, some fading on all files, sorry. (1 hour, 109 MB)
[Aircheck] WABB's final day retrospective. 7:30-8:30pm uncut audio. (1 hour, 109 MB)
[Aircheck] WABB's final day retrospective. 8:30-9:30pm uncut audio. (1 hour, 109 MB)
[Aircheck] WABB's final day retrospective. 9:30-10:30pm uncut audio. (1 hour, 109 MB)
[Aircheck] WABB's final day retrospective. 10:30-11:30pm uncut audio. (1 hour, 109 MB)
[Aircheck] WABB's final day retrospective. 11:30-12:23am uncut audio. Includes goodbye message from Bernie Dittman's grandchild, flip to K-Love, top of hour ID. (52'39", 96.4 MB)
[Studio] Street View imagery of the Cumulus Mobile studios.
Owner:
Cumulus Broadcasting
Noted Personalities:
Q-Tip, Blondie, Nick Fox
History:
Originally was to be the FM counterpart to WMOB 840 AM, but those plans were abandoned and the construction permit sold to AM station WABB in the early 70's. WABB was originally owned by the Mobile Press-Register.  The AM sold to Bernie Dittman in 1959, who flipped it to Top 40. It quickly became the dominant station in that format, beating out stations like WSIM, WALA (early 60's), WMOB (early 70's), WKRG-FM (from '77) and all along WTIX from New Orleans, which boomed in during the daytime.

 
WABB got an FM companion in 1973, which mostly simulcasted the AM in the beginning.  In the late 70s it moved to an AOR (album oriented rock) format, but retained a simulcast with the AM's Top 40 from 6 am to 6 pm.  In late 1978 the station tried its hand as "97 Rock", placing itself as a hybrid between AOR and hit music, but that only lasted a few months.   In 1984 the FM moved to CHR, and WABB-AM stayed Top 40 through that time, for a “smooth transistion” of sorts.  (According to one of the great contributors to my site, WABB may be the oldest continually Top 40 stations in the country if you cound both AM and FM.)

 
The book, "Alabama's First Broadcast Stations", by Harry Butler says WABB stood for "Alabama's Best Broadcasters".

 
In February 2012 it was announced by the Dittman family that the station was being sold to EMF, who run the religious non-for-profit K-Love and Air 1 Christian music networks.  WABB's AM sister station was not part of the deal.  The switch happened at midnight on 1 March 2012 and marked the end of several decades of Dittman's Top 40 dominance on FM.  Before signing off, the station did a 12 hour restrospective of WABB, bringing back old jocks, old jingles, old morning show bits and the music the station played.  Several hours of this goodbye program are available under 'More Information', above.  After the flip, EMF's first legal ID mentioned the new calls, WLVM (k-LoVe Mobile).

 
As part of a shakeup of Mobile stations, WABD moved to 97.5 on 14 July 2012, while K-Love took over WDLT's slot at 98.3.  WDLT's format migrated to 104.1.  This sees the return of CHR/Top 40 music to the 97.5 frequency, and allow Cumulus' WDLT to be heard on a full power station.  K-Love will receive a lesser signal but will still cover all of Mobile with 98.3 and most of Pensacola with 95.7.  As part of the deal, EMF also picked up a full power station in Nashville.