AM Technical Profile: WAYE


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Frequency:
1220

Format:
Regional Mexican

Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view]  [bird's eye] [google aerial] Mims Avenue between 14th and 16th Avenues in west Birmingham, near Elmwood Cemetery.

Power (ERP):
Day: 1 kW
Night: 75 watts

Antenna:
1 tower, omnidirectional

Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files

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[Article] NBC 13 story on Alabama's first "FM" Regional Mexican station

Owned by Riviera Communications

// W252BE Tarrant, AL (STA)
// W226CT Leeds, AL

RDS logo :

PS-
La Jefa
Time-[?]
Text-[?]
PTY-
Top 40
PI-

History:
AM 1240 history:

Came on the air in 1949 as WEDR by J. L. Doss (of WJLD fame), as the second all-black staffed station in the country.  The KKK blew up the tower shortly after the station came on the air.  Locally famous personality Shelly "The Playboy" Stewart got his start here thanks to help from blues legend Little Walter, who hosted a blues show here in the early 60s.
 
Tommy Charles bought this station in 1964 and changed the calls to WAQY (WAckY) and the format became Top 40.  He bought it after being dismissed from WYDE, where he'd teamed up with Doug Layton. (Charles defected from WSGN in 1957 before going to WYDE.)  Simple intros and closes marked the sound of this station, a big difference from the Top 40 sound with reverb on the mics and dramatic news elements sort of like an adult Top 40 approach.
 
Layton and Charles hosted the morning show on this station. The station's only claim to fame is being the home of the "Beatle Boycott", started after John Lennon's comment in 1965 about the Beatles being "bigger than Jesus". A big contributor to the site notes, "clips of Layton and Charles can be seen in Beatles documentaries, The Compleat Beatles and John Lennon: Imagine."  No other stations in Alabama really joined the boycott, but the crazy part was WAQY really played mellower top 40 and never touched the Beatles anyway.
 
By 1968 the station had changed to something of a talk station for women after failing at Top 40. In 1969 they took a last stab at Top 40 before Tommy Charles sold the station to a group which switched the format to R&B, with the slogan "The Bull" and WBUL calls. The Bull was a major soul station in Birmingham until the 80's, when the format was changed to the Stardust satellite programming with calls of WTWG. Then it was to WAYE, and black gospel.
 
In June 2009 the IRS got involved with WAYE due to unpaid taxes and employees getting paychecks that bounced.  The station has been reported off as of mid-July 2010.
 
One year later in July 2011 it is reported the station has been sold to Richardson Broadcasting, owner of R&B-flavored WJLD AM, who announced plans to return the station to the air on 15 August as "Praise 1220" with a gospel music format.  The station was confirmed on-air in September 2011. 

In early June 2013, the station was observed to be broadcasting Spanish language music programming, taking the "La 10 Q" regional Mexican format away from WZGX in Bessemer.  In August 2013 it was announced that Richardson Broadcasting agreed to swap WAYE for ownership of WIXI in Jasper.  As part of the unusual deal, the swap involves the payment of $275,000 in cash and several home improvements to owner Gary Richardson's home, including, "enclosure of the patio deck, construction of a two car garage, repair and replacement of gutters, replacement of two windows, and repairs to the foundation."  After the swap, 1220 became "El Jefe" and WZGX's "La 10 Q" format fell silent. 

In June 2021, the station applied to move the transmitter site from the Mims Avenue site in Birmingham, to be diplexed with WJLD's tower on Pearson Avenue, a few miles to the west.  That permit was granted in October 2021.




Translator W252BE history:

WAY Media, Inc. was granted a new construction permit for a translator on 98.3 MHz, licensed to the Centerville community, with a transmitter halfway between West Point and Cullman in Cullman County.  A licensed to cover for the station was granted in 2005, when it was listed as relaying WAY-FM's WAYH Harvest.  Originally licensed for 10 watts, it got a boost to 27 watts and was relocated into Cullman in 2007. 

The station was hopped into the Birmingham market and in 2013, a licensed to cover for a facility atop Red Mountain was granted; with it the power was raised to 250 watts, the city of license was changed to Tarrant City, and the antenna employed used a strong directional pattern pointed north.  The parent station at this time switched to Birmingham Gospel station WAGG.  In 2014 the station changed to a different antenna pattern, with 150 watts and a more omnidirectional pattern.  It was at this time that the station switched to relaying WAYE. At this point, the translator became the first FM outlet for a Spanish-language format not just in Birmingham but apparently anywhere in the state of Alabama.

The license was transferred to Valleydale Broadcasting (an offshoot of Reynolds Technical Associates, who have made owned several other full power stations and translators across the state), in the summer of 2014.  In November 2015, Valleydale filed an STA (Special Temporary Authority) to operate at variance with the license, citing a cut transmission line as the reason.  This resulted in a lower antenna height but with more power.  An issue arose in late 2016 when Marble City Media's WFXO, licensed to Stewartville, southeast of Birmingham, signed on with an improved facility.  After it commenced broadcasting, it began receiving interference from W252BE, which kicked off a round of back-and-forth filings with the FCC between Marble City Media and Valleydale Broadcasting to try and deal with the situation.  Valleydale Broadcasting transferred the licensed to another Reynolds sub-company, Shelby Broadcast Associates, in 2017; that spring they also were granted an application with modified parameters to try to mitigate the interference.  Despite that, complaints from WFXO continued and the FCC took the unusual step of rescinding the grant they'd previously issues.

Shelby Broadcast Associates again filed to modify the facility with an even more aggressive directional antenna in June 2017.  While waiting for that application to be granted, however, they filed another STA citing the cut transmission cable and asked to operate at lower power again.  Shelby filed a license to cover for the previous modification in October 2018, and Marble City Media's WFXO once again filed objections based on various reasons to try to deny the grant.

In June 2020 it was announced that Riviera Communications, owners of WAYE and other stations in the state, agreed to purchase the translator for $184,000.  That transfer was put on hold while the FCC investigated the issued raised by Marble City Media's various objections to the translator's existence.

At the end of September 2022, the FCC dismissed the last objections filed by Marble City Media against the translator.

The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) to Shelby Broadcast Associates in February 2024 for $16,500 for various issues, including operating the translator at variance from licensed parameters and failure to note character issues in applications related to the translator.  As part of the proposal, they also rejected some of Marble City Media's claims against the translator.  For the full investigatory story from the FCC, see this link, which recounts the entire history between Marble City Media and Shelby Broadcast Associates/Valleydale Broadcasting.  In April 2024 the FCC upheld the fine.  Shelby claimed inability to pay, but the FCC countered that the pending sale to Riviera amounts to "substantial economic gain" which merits the upholding of the fine.

The FCC granted the license transfer to Riviera as well as the license renewal in mid-April 2024.


Translator W226CT history:

Glen Iris Baptist School was granted an original construction permit for a 10 watt translator on 92.7 MHz, licensed to and located in the city of Leeds, in November of 2013.  A license to cover was filed for this facility in October 2016, and the station was reported on-air relaying Glen Iris' Religious noncommercial WGIB out of Birmingham.

A construction permit to relocate the translator to an area just east of Leeds was granted in October 2020; one month later Avondale Metal Works filed to purchase the translator for $10,000.  That same month they filed a Silent STA in preparation for taking control of the translator.  In December 2020 they were granted a permit to change the transmitter's location to a site southeast of Leeds, with 99 watts and a directional antenna pointed southwest towards Shelby County, along with a change to 93.1 MHz.  A license to cover for that change was filed in January 2021 and at that point the translator was reported to be rebroadcasting WAYE.  That same month they were granted another permit to move the station again, this time to its current location atop Double Oak Mountain in Shelby County, overlooking the rapidly-growing US-280 corridor.  They took the translator silent again in February 2021 citing the move; the STA was extended in September 2021.  A license to cover for this move was filed in December 2021.  With 99 watts from the mountaintop the translator's coverage area now includes parts of Hoover and Chelsea.

The FCC granted the license transfer of the translator from Avondale Metal Works to Riviera Communications, owners of WAYE, in March 2022, for a price of $110,000.