TV Technical Profile: WBMM

[ Home | Statewide: AM | FM | LPFM | Translators | TV | LPTV | LDTV ]
[ Metros: Birmingham | Mobile | Montgomery | Huntsville | Columbus, GA | Dothan | Tuscaloosa | The Shoals ]

18 (CP)
22.1 - CW
22.2 - Start TV
22.3 - Twist
22.4 - Defy TV
22.5 - Laff
22.6 - Newsy
22.7 - blank
22.8 - blank 
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] West of the McGowan community in southern Bullock County, near where CR-37 and Old Pike Road meet.
Power (ERP):
65 kW
12.2 kW (STA)
52 kW
Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT):
1,119 feet
1,053 feet
1,106 feet
Other Information:
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
41 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC. (OSM Link) (CP)
AUX: 18.7 kW @ 1053 feet HAAT from licensed transmitter site.
[Street View] WAKA/WNCF/WBMM studio and old tower site.
Owned by Bahakel Communications (as Alabama Broadcasting Partners)
An original construction permit for a new TV station was first issued to Tuskegee Associates, LP, in July 1989.  The original plan was to built a nearlt-2,000 foot tower in rural Chambers County, off CR-11 north of Waverly, on RF channel 22. The plan was to serve Columbus, Georgia as a chartered affiliate of the upcoming WB network.  Columbus broadcaster Don Nahley was involved.  The station was first assigned the WBMM calls in 1999. 

The plan to launch into the Columbus market never came to fruition, and the station then attempted a sale to the Paxson company to become a PAX network station in 2000.  Instead, later in 2000, it was transferred to a company called Montgomery 22, Inc.  In 2003, they modified the permit to relocate to the current transmitter site to serve Montgomery. 

A license to cover for the Montgomery-oriented facility was granted in March 2005, and it debuted with PAX network programming in both analog and digital transmissions.  After the demise of the PAX network the channel began carrying the Daystar religious network.  The digital transmitter went off the air in August 2005 due to technical troubles.  The CW network debuted on this channel during September of 2006.  A failure in a digital STL took the digital broadcast off the air again in August 2006.  That same year, Montgomery 22 sold the license to SagamoreHill Broadcasting of Alabama, LLC for $2 million.  SagamoreHill also owned WNCF TV in Montgomery, and FCC rules normally prohibited a company from owning two stations in the same market, but SagamoreHill was able to get a "failing station" waiver to acquire this station.

In 2009, the station began relaying Montgomery's ABC affiliate WNCF on a subchannel, mirroring them running WBMM's CW on their subchannel.
This station elected to discontinue analog broadcasts before the new June 12th deadline.
It was reported in July 2011 that Bahakel Communications would purchase WBMM from SagamoreHill for $3.5 million.  Bahakel already owned WAKA in Montgomery and after acquiring WBMM, entered into a Shared Services Agreement (SSA) with SagamoreHill to help operate WNCF, SagamoreHill's lone remaining TV property in the Montgomery market. Despite WAKA being the "big station" of the group, it wound up leaving its existing studio facility to move into the WNCF space, along with WBMM's operations, because it was already HD-ready (and, surprisingly, owned by Bahakel already.)  The ownership change was approved by the FCC in September 2011.

With this move, WBMM's feed of The CW was able to convert to HD.  It also picked up a new subchannel, carrying the relaunched TNN on .2, replacing the WNCF (ABC) simulcast.

At the start of August 2017, the station received a permit to relocate from RF channel 22 to 18 as part of the FCC repacking process.

It was announced that the station would be picking up the Start TV network on its launch in early September 2018, replacing Heartland.  It finally debuted in early October 2018.

The station was granted a Special Temporary Authority to operate at lower power from a different antenna while a new main antenna is installed for the TV repacking process.  This began in March 2019.  The station transitioned to its post-repack RF channel 18 on 6 September 2019.

In November 2020 two additional subchannels were found to be active, with Start TV and Twist digital networks.

The station added new Scripps digital networks Defy TV and True Real (formerly Doozy), along with the streaming Newsy channel in July 2021.  Twist was at the time showing as a future addition.  Twist, Defy and True Real showed up late in July 2021.  Newsy, an online news streaming station, showed up in October 2021.

In the winter of 2023, Scripps announced it was combining Defy TV and True Real's assets and shutting down the True Real channel.  Laff appears to have replaced it in the lineup.