FM Technical Profile: WDBT

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Station Name:
The Voice of the Wiregrass
Talk, News
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] On CR-9 just south of the Newton city limits.
Power (ERP):
25 kW
Antenna HAAT:
701 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
Text-NEWS TALK 103.9
HD-2: Adult Contemporary
"Music 107.7"
// W299BX Dothan, AL
More Information:
[Facebook] For The Voice of the Wiregrass
[Facebook] For Music 107.7
[Image] Image of a radio's display showing the generic album art and missing PAD data for the HD-2 subchannel as of May 2018.

[Studio] Street View imagery of the Gulf South studios on US-231 in Dothan.
Gulf South Communications
This station was spawned from an AM station in Ozark, WAYD, owned by Wade B. Sullivan.  The original construction permit for a class A facility on 103.9 MHz was granted in August 1972, for 3 kW from an antenna on the AM tower a few miles northwest of Ozark.  Two years later, in August 1974, the station was on the air.  It was likely just a simulcast of the AM's Country music format through the 1970's.  A 3 bay CCA-FMC-LP-3 antenna was fed by a CCA-FM-3000DS stereo transmitter.  Licensed to Ozark, the original call sign was WAYD-FM.  

The station was acquired along with its AM sister in 1983 by MSB Communications.  They changed calls to WORJ and gave it an Adult Contemporary music format.  That didn't work, so the format changed to a Contemporary R&B music format in 1984 or 1985.  The station moved their transmitter site to a location due east of Ozark in 1987, still as a Class A signal.  It broadcast from a tower off County Road 346 and County Road 20.  The call sign changed to WNER in January 1989, when the station flipped to an R&B-leaning Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) music format.  At this point, it was owned by Wesley R. Morgan.  He, in turn, sold the stations to Sunrise Broadcasting Corporation in 1990.

They changed the call sign to WQLS in 1990, and flipped the format to Easy Listening.  In 1994, the station got a boost in power to 25 kW as a Class C3 allocation, although they had to shed some antenna height to make it happen.  Still, the newfound power allowed them to have a better signal in both Dothan and Enterprise.  The station changed hands again in 1996 when it was purchased by Woods Communications, who changed the format to Classic Country. 

Jimmy Jarrell, Inc. purchased the stations for just $12,000 in May of 2000.  Around this time, the station was known as "Real Country 103.9".  Jarrell sold the stations to Styles Broadcasting of Dothan (who'd later become Magic Broadcasting) for $750,000, in 2002.  The station had a short stint as Classic Rock in 2004 as "Thunder 103.9"; it lasted a few years until they moved towards a more Classic Hits-style presentation as "My 103.9". 

Through some of those earlier upgrades, the city of license appears to have changed from Ozark to Fort Rucker, then back to Ozark.  A March 2009 construction permit, however, shows the city of license as Fort Rucker again. 
On April 1nd 2009 the station began stunting with AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock", then flipped to a Rock music format the next day as "The Edge".  Officially re-re-licensed to Fort Rucker in early May 2009.  By October, the station was doing Sports Talk with ESPN programming. 

Fast-forward to September 2010 and rumors are again circulating that the station will return to Rock at some point.  Those rumors proved to be true as Rock debuted (for the second time) on the 3rd of September, 2010.  Formerly a Magic Broadcasting property, it was sold in 2011 to Alabama Media in a complicated deal involving Gulf South Broadcasting.  Members of the Holladay family are involved in both Gulf South and Alabama Media.  Around the third week of January 2013 the rock format migrated over to WLDA, which formerly was urban "The Beat" and WJRL went silent.  Shortly thereafter the WJRL calls moved to 100.5 and this station took the WLDA calls.
WLDA is being reported back on the air with an all-Garth Brooks stunting format as of early March 2014.  In November 2014 the station was able to secure a permit to change from a class C3 to a C2 as part of a series of moves involving other Dothan radio stations.  This will allow a height increase, which will benefit coverage of the Wiregrass region.  As of February 2015 the stunting is over but it's unclear exactly what the new format was afterwards.
As part of a shuffle of Dothan area radio stations, this frequency took on the News/Talk format and calls of 93.7 WDBT on 12 October 2015.  93.7 MHz became WLDA and went silent in preparation to move to 93.5 MHz from a site near Montgomery.  Andalusia's WAAO swapped from 103.7 MHz to 93.7 MHz as part of this change.  One benefit to the station from all this shuffling was the ability to boost the coverage area after all the other changes were made, in the fall of 2016.

The station appears to have added HD digital broadcasting in the winter of 2018, and in May it was observed to be running a second channel what what appeared to be a general hits format of music, possibly filler until something else launches.  That "something else" was an Adult Contemporary format to go up against WOOF-FM, which launched in March 2019 as "Music 107.7", airing on translator W299BX in Dothan, which had previously been relaying local AM WARB, which is owned by another Holladay family member.