FM Technical Profile: WALR

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Station Name:
Kiss 104.1
Adult R&B
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] Northwest of Newnan, just off Witcher Road, itself just east off US-27.
Power (ERP):
100 kW
Antenna HAAT:
1,217 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.

Soft Rhythm and Blues

More Information:
Cox Radio
The following historical information has been taken with permission from the excellent Atlanta Radio Guide:

Cox. Broadcasts all Kenny-G all the time from studios of WSB-AM/FM. Good rimshot signal in Atlanta. Began as WLAG-FM, companion to WLAG-AM 1240 in LaGrange. As WJYF-FM in the early '80s, simulcasted big-band signal of former WJYI-AM 1080. In an effort to make the music sound more current, the bass was boosted so much that the music sounded as if it originated from the bottom of a barrel. Became Urban Kiss 104.1 in the mid '80s with the calls WEKS when the station was bought by a man named Xapis who moved the transmitter as close as possible to Atlanta. Then country WYAI Y-104.1 around '89 or '90 when it simulcast signal of WYAY-FM 106.7.

The former simulcast of 104.1 and 106.7 was a strange association between two stations. At one time, no two FM stations could be owned by the same owner if their interference free contours overlapped (1 mV/m or 60 dBu). Then the FCC changed its rules to allow two stations to be owned (or LMA-ed) by the same owner as long as their city grade contours did not overlap (3.16 mV/m or 70 dBu). Because 104.1 was rimshotting Atlanta from the southwest (LaGrange), its city grade signal encompassed only the south/southwest part of the urbanized area. With 106.7 rimshotting from the northeast (Gainesville), its city grade signal encompassed the north/northeast part of the area. The two city grade contours fell a few miles short of overlapping. In other words, neither station city graded downtown Atlanta.

So, although no one else could own two FMs in the market at that time, it was permissible to own or LMA these two, but just barely. Other Atlanta stations put city grade signals all over the metro area, but these two did not, or not quite. 104.1 was strong on the southside and 106.7 was strong on the northside. So they simulcasted programming on the two, calling it Y-104 and Y-106. During commercial breaks, they split off and fed separate commercials to the two frequencies, enabling local advertisers to focus on their own areas. The presumption by locals was that the two frequencies had ganged up against WKHX in an effort to win the country battle. Now, (note: prior to 1994) 104.1 is owned by Cox and 106.7 is owned by Cap Cities/Disney which also owns WKHX.
Now, let's get up to speed on what's happened since that guide was written.  In 1994 the call signed change to WHTK, then WJZF over the course of January and February.  Under Cox's ownership and the WJZF calls, the station aired a contemporary jazz format.  It lasted for six years, but was displaced in the fall of 2000 when Cox moved the urban adult contemporary format of their Athens-licensed WALR here, along with those calls.  Since becoming WALR, the station has tried and tried to move closer to the Atlanta market and away from the Columbus area.  At one point it was re-licensed to Manchester, then Greenville, all the while getting on taller towers to put more signal into both Columbus and as much of Atlanta as possible.  In the mid-2000's the station attempted to re-license to the community of Palmetto, a move that would have removed it from the Columbus area completely.  That permit was dismissed in 2010; six years later a new version was granted and as of July 2016 the station had a permit to re-license to Palmetto, with a coverage area that will put it completely out of the Columbus metropolitan area.  If that had happened, the entry for this station would have been removed from the Columbus listings. However, less than a month after that permit was granted, the FCC rescinded the permit for unknown reasons.