FM Technical Profile: WAJH


Station Name:
-
Frequency:
91.1
Format:
Smooth Jazz
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] [bing streetside] East of US 31 on Shades Crest behind the Vestavia Hills Baptist church.
Power (ERP):
400 watts, vertical only
Antenna:
Nondirectional
Antenna HAAT:
420 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
More Information:
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
Owner:
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
History:
This station came on the air in April of 1967 as WVSU (Voice of Samford University), a 10 watt school station broadcasting from the university's campus.  The format was most likely a typically diverse college format, but in the late 70's it did a stint with contemporary Christian music.  The station got an upgrade to 125 watts in 1984, still broadcasting from the campus.  After the upgrade the station returned to a more typical college format, with jazz, Christian rock, free-form and alternative rock with a rotating staff of student disc jockeys.  The station never had great coverage due to the campus' location in a valley, with Red Mountain and Shades Crest blocking much of the signal from Birmingham and the southern suburbs.  It was also limited by a co-channel college station (WJSR) broadcasting from the Center Point part of town. 
Thanks to some creative engineering, the station was able to upgrade to a 500 watt signal, broadcasting from behind a local church in Vestavia Hills atop Shades Crest.  Both WVSU and WJSR employed directional antennas at this time, pointing away from one-another.  This greatly improved WVSU's signal in downtown and the southern suburbs, with good reception as far south as Pelham possible. 
WJSR left the airwaves in the spring of 2014 after Jefferson State Community College discontinued their broadcasting courses.  After the license for that station was turned in, Samford was able to drop the aggressively directional antenna that used to protect WJSR; they shortly received a permit to go completely non-directional, but at a slightly reduced power of 400 watts.  That permit was finally put on the air in September 2017, nearly three years to the day after it was first issued.

It was announced in late February 2017 that Sanford University agreed to sell the station to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame for $50,000.  The call letters were scheduled to change to WAJH (Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame) after the sale was consummated.