TV Technical Profile: WAKA


Channel:
42
25 (CP)
Programming:
8.1 - CBS
8.2 - Memorable Entertainment Television
8.3 - ION Television
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view 1] [street view 2] On Lowndes County Road 12, just west of Collerine Cutoff Road, west of the community of Gordonville. Co-located with WNCF-DT.
Power (ERP):
1 MW
944 kW
(CP)
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,627 feet
1,624 feet
(CP)
Antenna:
Omnidirectional
Other Information:
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC. (FCCdata Link) (CP)
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[RabbitEars]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]
[History] WAKA maintains a good history of the station on their website.
[Street View] View of the WAKA/WNCF/WBMM studio and old tower site.
History:
Came on the air as WSLA (for the actual city of license, SeLmA) on March 17, 1960. It was owned by the Brennan family, of WVOK/WAPE/WBAM radio heritage. The coverage was limited to Dallas County and the station was off the air for periods because it wasn't viable. In fact, the longest dark period of channel 8 was from 1968 to 1972!  It came back on as a CBS affiliate, owned by Charles Grisham, owner of WHNT-TV in Huntsville. Channel 8 tried for years to get a taller tower but the applications were constantly blocked by UHF channels 20 and 32 in the market, claiming by allowing the station to move into the Montgomery market it would not be fostering the growth of UHF. In fact, Gay-Bell Manufacturing of Lexington, Kentucky bought this station, most likely to protect their investment in WCOV in Montgomery and UHF in general.  In 1985 Cyrus Bahakel, owner of WKAB channel 32 sold that station and bought channel 8, seeing change on the horizon. WAKA became the new calls (unofficially standing for We Are Kicking Ass) and by 1987 when the FCC loosened some of its regulations, WAKA got a taller tower and became a Selma-Montgomery station instead of just a Selma station. For a short time Montgomery had two CBS affiliates, but CBS quickly dropped WCOV channel 20.
.
In the late summer of 2005 the station signed on with a digital signal on channel 55 with 1 MW of power. This is the Montgomery area's fourth digital signal. It is interesting to note that this station went digital well after UHF channels 20 and 32 - the same ones who blocked them from power/coverage upgrades in the station's earlier years!  As of February 19th 2009, the station was broadcasting both on RF channel 55 AND their post-analog shutdown assignment of RF channel 42, shutting off the channel 55 transmitter after the final transition date in June 2009.
 
In July 2011 it was announced that WAKA's parent company, Bahakel Communications, would be buying WBMM Tuskegee from SagamoreHill.  They are also extending their LMA of SagamoreHill's WNCF, and will move WAKA to the WNCF/WBMM HD facility on Harrison Road in Montgomery.  WAKA has announced it will be picking up the new METV (Memorable Entertainment TV) in September 2011, but that was later pushed back to March 2012, then later again to June 2012.  It was then pushed to Q1 2013 but debuted early, in mid-December 2012.  At that time, the weather radar moved to WNCF (32.3).  The next subchannel change came in late July 2017, when the -.3 channel lit up with ION Television.

At the start of August 2017, the station received a permit to relocate from RF channel 42 to 25 as part of the FCC repacking process.