AM Technical Profile: WDAK
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view] Just east of where US-27 (Martha Berry Highway) meets N
Lumpkin Road. Co-located with WHAL.
- Power (ERP):
- Day: 4 kW
- Night: 38 watts
- 1 tower
- 0.5 mV/m Daytime
Groundwave Service Contour
from the FCC's Public Files
Street View imagery of the iHeartMedia studios in Columbus.
Artifact] A 1967 “editorial” from station mascot Big
Johnny Rebel, on Martin Luther King Jr.'s opposition to the
Owned by iHeartMedia
- The original
licensee for this station was Aubrey Gay (as Valley Broadcasting
Company). She put this station on the air in August of 1940,
with studio and transmitter at the General Tyler Hotel in West
Point, Georgia. The station was on 1310 kHz and ran all day
and night with 250 watts of power. In 1941, almost all the
stations in North America went through a frequency shift, and WDAK
shifted to 1340 kHz, still with 250 watts full time.
The station relocated to 1028 Broadway Street in Columbus in
1944. The site in town must not have been very conductive to
broadcasting, as they moved the transmitter to a site on Brickyard
Road on the Chattahoochee River in Phenix City just a few months
Ownership changed to Radio Columbus, Inc. (Alan M. Woodall) in early
1954. They applied for and won permission to change to 540 kHz
in 1958, with 5 kW non-directional during the day and 500 watts
directional at night with a 3 tower array. The station went on
the air from this new bigger facility west of Phenix City, off
Sandlot Road, in 1958 with a Gates BC-5P transmitter. It was
supplemented later in the year by another Gates, model BC-1E, for
nighttime and auxiliary day use.
WDAK was Top-40 in the 60's, one of several in a chain of stations
owned by Woodall Broadcasting Company. All of their stations
called themselves "Big Johnny Reb Radio". Station logo included a
rebel flag and caricature of a Confederate soldier. In 1967,
the studios moved from Broadway to The Elms, an antebellum mansion
on Buena Vista Road.
By the mid-70's, the station had ceded top 40 to FM and was doing
Adult Contemporary with ABC network news. After Alan Woodall
died, the station license was transferred to Solar Broadcasting in
1979. They gave Top-40 another shot in the early 80's, but it
didn't last long and they flipped again to country by 1982.
Radio Columbus transferred the license to Solar Broadcasting in
1985. They dropped the WDAK calls and went soft oldies in
C-QUAM stereo as WEIZ, but were back to WDAK by 1988. Then to
WSTH by 1990. Then WMRY in 1991, when they tried country yet
again. But wait!
That call sign? It lasted one
day. The same day they picked WMRY, they changed again back to WSTH. By
1994 they were doing southern gospel, because why not? It
wasn't until 1995 or 1996 that they finally settled on the news/talk
format they have today.
The station received a series of Special Temporary Authority grants
starting in 1999 involving the nighttime operation of their
directional antenna system. At one point, they had dropped to
100 watts and two towers instead of three. By 2004, they were
down to the current 38 watts at night with just one tower.
Solar Broadcasting appears to have been absorbed by Cumulus in 2002;
they in turn sold it to Clear Channel in 2003 for $2.73
station acquired a construction permit for a new FM translator
companion, for 93.7 MHz, in April 2018. iHeartMedia requested
that the permit be cancelled in November 2020.