FM Technical Profile: WDXB
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- Station Name:
- The Bull
Colocated with WMJJ atop Red Mountain.
- Power (ERP):
- 90 kW
- Antenna HAAT:
- 1027 feet
- 60 dBu protected
map, from the FCC.
Text-song title/artist info 102.5 The Bull
HD-2: News, Talk
"Black Information Network"
// W224CK Vestavia Hills, AL
- AUX: 32 kW @ 725 feet. 60 dBu protected
map, from the FCC.
- How's the Signal?
- Signal is very good over the entire metro
area. They lost some coverage when they moved from their
really tall tower in rural Tuscaloosa county, but most of it was
south and west of Birmingham. (As a side note, back in the old
days the signal reached from Tupelo to Anniston, Huntsville to
Greenville AL... And I could often easily pick the station up on
I-285 east of Atlanta! -Zach)
- More Information:
Street View imagery of the iHeartMedia studio space in
RDS data displayed on an Insignia HD portable located in northwest
Alabama, showing the Radio Text and PI (call sign) fields.
From June 2017.
RDS data for W256CD, from a Mazda OEM car radio, May 2019.
HD PAD data for the HD-1 channel, displayed on a
Mazda OEM car stereo. (From 2020.)
HD PAD data for the station's main HD broadcast, as displayed on an
Insignia HD portable in northwest Alabama.
HD PAD data for the station's HD-2 broadcast, as displayed on an
Insignia HD portable in northwest Alabama, when it was classic
country "Foggy Mountain".
HD PAD data for the station's HD-2 broadcast when it was carrying
the alt. rock "Alt 94.9" format.
- Prior to the current incarnation of this station,
the 102.5 MHz frequency was allocated to Birmingham, where the Bell
Radio Corporation put on WBRC-FM on in 1947. The station was
authorized a whopping 500,000 watts of effective radiated power, but
due to FM not being popular yet and the power bill being incredibly
high, the company shut the station down and the frequency remained
blank until it was reallocated to Jasper.
A construction permit for a new station in Jasper on 102.5 MHz was
awarded to the Bankhead Broadcasting Company, Inc. in 1960.
Bankhead already had 1360 WWWB in town. When it signed on in
early 1962, it was known as WWWB-FM (for William
owner) or "3 WB". The station broadcast from a site off 1st
Avenue, south of downtown, near Coke Oven Hill. The studios
were at Bankhead Highway and 20th Avenue. They transmitted
with a Gates 5C transmitter into an Andrew 1308-2 8-bay antenna that
was 157 feet above average terrain, with 26.9 kW ERP. The
license was assigned to Tri-W Broadcasting in 1964; Bankhead
relinquished control of the company in 1968 to Blossom B. Dill,
Marion D. Grant and John H. Bankhead.
Early on, the station's format appears to have bounced between
Country music and the AM's Middle of the Road (MOR) format. In
1973, the station was granted a permit to move the transmitter site
to the 1360 AM tower, in an area near Town Creek and the Southern
Railroad tracks, off 1st Avenue South. This facility would
transmit with a CCA FMC-HP-8 antenna with 8 bays, from a height of
140 feet HAAT. The transmitter power was bumped up to 39 kW.
This facility signed on late 1974.
Tuscaloosa-based SIS Sound purchased the AM/FM combo in 1986 for
$737,500. The station's call sign changed to WZBQ, and it
dropped the part-time simulcast of the AM for an Adult Contemporary
music format. Around this time, the station also began
transmitting from the new "Tuscaloosa tall tower", south of Jasper
in Tuscaloosa County, albeit with just about 12 kW ERP at 2,062 feet
HAAT. Still, it was enough power to reach Jasper, Tuscaloosa
and most of Birmingham.
By 1990, the station had flipped to a Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)
format as "Z-102". One year later, the station was able to
boost its power to 78 kW, giving a massive coverage area that
reached from Tupelo to well south of Birmingham. With the big
signal and popular music format, the station proved successful, and
SIS moved the format to 94.1 in Tuscaloosa after just a few
years. This station flipped to Oldies as "Cool 102", and had
Coyote J. Calhoun as one of the notable personalities on air.
With the big signal and increased reach, they flipped this station
to a Hit Country format as WOWC "Wow 102" in 1994 to try to compete
with stalwart country giant WZZK in Birmingham. Clear Channel
acquired the station in the spring of 1999, and in October of that
year changed the branding to "Dixie 102.5" with the WDXB
Although the station had a huge coverage area, the terrain of
central Alabama wasn't favorable for a distant transmitter trying to
blanket the hilly Birmingham market, which had become the main
target area for the station's advertising. In 2001, Clear
Channel received a permit to move off the tall power, onto one of
the towers on Iskhooda Mountain in Birmingham that houses sister
station WMJJ. The station dropped the "Dixie" branding to be
"Country 102.5" in the spring of 2002. In preparation for the
transmitter's move to Birmingham proper, the station launched a
listener contest for a new name. When they signed on from the
Birmingham site in 2003, they re-launched as "The Bull".
In 2006, it's worth
noting that this station and WMJJ were granted experimental
permits for operating translators, each located one channel up
the dial from the main station. Both translators
transmitted from atop Double Oak Mountain at Highway 280 and had
quite large coverage areas, but ones that were limited by being
right next door to their respective 100 kW parent signals.
The purpose was said to be to assess how much interference was
caused by having 99-watt translators operating right next to the
main station's frequency. The experimental permits were
extended until they were finally dismissed roughly one year
In May 2008 the station changed city of license (but nothing else)
to Pelham. A bit of trivia: the station's auxiliary permit is still
licensed to Jasper, even though it's at the same coordinates as the
main TX location. Another bit of trivia: this is the second
time "The Bull" moniker has been used on a Birmingham station.
The first was on AM 1220. Before it became gospel outlet WAYE,
it was urban-formatted WBUL, "The Bull".
The station began transmitting in the IBOC HD digital system as far
back as 2005, with "Foggy Mountain" Classic Country debuting on the
HD-2 subchannel. That format likely lasted until about 2018
when it was replaced with a simulcast of the "Alt 99.1" Alternative
Rock format that's heard on another iHeart station as well as a
local translator. They also added a third subchannel with Soft
Adult Contemporary sometime later. The station added the Black
Information Network News and Talk format to the HD-3 subchannel in
October 2020, feeding the La Promesa Foundation-owned translator on
92.7 MHz. At some point later, the BIN channel moved to the
HD-2 and the HD-3 began hosting a Soft Adult Contemporary format
called "The Breeze".
In September 2022, it was observed that the HD-3 subchannel had been
In March 2023, longtime morning host "Dollar" Bill Lawson was
inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Lawson's career
began in the 70's, but he rose to fame when he moved to WZZK in
1984. Over ten years he hosted the top-rated morning show
there before moving to this station in 2002. In early April
2023, he announced his retirement after 50 years of broadcasting.