AM Technical Profile: WBCF
- Talk, News
aerial view] Located northeast of the intersection of Waterloo
Road and Lauderdale County Road 23, just west of Florence.
- Power (ERP):
- Day: 1 kW
- Night: 1 kW
- 1 tower
0.5 mV/m Daytime
Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's
Street View of the station's studios on Tennessee Street in
// W246BS Florence
Owned by Benny Carle Broadcasting, Inc.
- This station
was put on the air in 1946 by Tri-Cities Broadcasting (Franklin L.
Bush), as WMFT, with Keystone affiliation, operating on 1240 kHz
with 250 watts day and night. Originally, both the studio and
transmitter were at 800 Cypress Mill Road, which is today the studio
location for WHDF-DT, the market's CW affiliate.
In 1952, shortly after Bush's death, ownership was transferred to
Daylight Broadcasting Company (Jack Hollis and Richard Biddle),
which changed its name to Radio Muscle Shoals later that same
year. Under their ownership, the calls changed to WOWL, so
picked because the station owner's mother collected owls!
Radio Muscle Shoals attempted to move the station to 1290 kHz, with
higher power, in 1954, but that request was denied by the FCC.
Instead, they sought and won a boost to 1 kW days in 1958.
That facility, with a Gates BC 1T transmitter, went on the air in
1961. During this time, the station was affiliated with the
The transmitter site moved in 1963, to a site approximately 1.8
miles west of the intersection of S Court Street and State Highway
20 (now Coffee Road), not far from the Tennessee River.
During the time the station was WOWL, it spawned the area's first TV
station (WOWL channel 15, which signed on in October of 1957) as
well as the area's second attempt at an FM broadcast (WOWL-FM
launched in 1962 on 107.3 MHz).
Through the 60's, this station had a Rock music format.
Ownership of the station was transferred to Hammell Broadcasting in
1972. It was sold to Benny Carle Broadcasting, Inc. in 1977,
who changed the call sign to WBCF. Carle was a well-known TV
personality in the late 50's and early 60's in Birmingham (Zach's
note: My father appeared on this show as a child!)
According to the book,
"Alabama's First Broadcast
Stations", by Harry Butler, the calls stood for "Benny
Carle, Florence". Under Carle's ownership, the station had
a Top 40 format through the end of the 70's.
Around 1980, the station dropped Top 40 due to competition from
FM, and flipped to a Middle of the Road (MOR) music
format. Through the rest of the decade, the station seems
to have tried several different stabs at Adult Contemporary
and/or Nostalgia formats before finally settling on News/Talk
with Big Band and Old Time Radio on the weekend by the
In 1991, the station spawned a second FM companion, with WXFL on
96.1 MHz launching an Adult Contemporary format in 1992.
The station's transmitter site west of downtown Florence was
re-purposed for a wastewater treatment facility in the late
90's. The station received a permit to move to the current
transmitter site (above; FCC records have the old site still for
some reason) in 1999.
- In September
2009 the station acquired FM translator W247BP in Florence, on 97.3
MHz. The translator suffered interference from several
co-channel stations all around, so in November of 2009 it moved to
97.1 MHz as W246BS. The translator broadcasts from a short
tower behind the studios on Tennessee Street in Florence.