FM Technical Profile: WECB

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Station Name:
B 105.3

Frequency:
105.3

Format:
Country

Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] About a half mile west of the intersection of Ross Clark Circle with South Oates Street (US-231), behind the Hyundai car dealer.
Power (ERP):
10 kW
Antenna:
Nondirectional

Antenna HAAT:
434 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.

:

PS-[?]
Time-
[?]
Text-
[?]
PTY-[?]
PI-WECB-FM

More Information:
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]

[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]


[Studio] Street View imagery of the Gulf South studios on US-231 in Dothan.

Owner:
Kensington Digital Media
History:
This station dates back to an original construction permit granted in the summer of 1989 to Chattahoochee Broadcast Associates for a Class A signal licensed to Chattahoochee, Florida, on 105.3 MHz. The transmitter location was near the east branch of Lake Seminole over the Georgia state line, near Camp Recovery.  The first call sign granted was WUMG.  In December 1990 the permit was granted a modification which allowed a boost to the maximum 6 kW for a Class A, while moving the transmitter north of the lake for better coverage of Bainbridge, Georgia.  A license to cover for this facility was filed in October 1992, but it is possible it never actually came on the air from this location.  A contributor to the site notes that the owners didn't think tiny Chattahoochee could support a station, so they may have never actually turned the signal on.  According to the Broadasting Yearbook entries from this era, the station was not listed as on air until the 1995 edition, when it was noted to have an Adult Contemporary format.  It likely signed on in the spring of 1994, as that is when the call sign was changed to WBCD.

Several changes occurred in 1996: First, the license was sold to Gulf South Broadcasting (Clay Holladay) in May of that year for $745,000 (as part of a group of other stations, most likely).  Second, they applied to move the station into the Dothan market.  In order to do this, they would need to find a new city of license for the station, leading them to pick the town of Headland.  This led to opposition from other Dothan broadcasters, citing the fact that Headland was close enough to Dothan to already be within listening range of multiple signals already.

Before continuing with the station's history, it's worth discussing the importance of a "city of license" in regards to the FCC.  The FCC's policy is strange in that it gives precedence to a station that wants to move if the city of license chosen does not already have any signals licensed to it.  This holds true even if the city in question is already part of a larger metropolitan area as Headland is to Dothan and has multiple local signals available to local listeners.  So while Dothan itself has multiple licensed stations, the fact that Headland did not yet have one licensed to it was more important than the actual number of signals anyone in the town could theoretically receive.  The FCC granted Gulf South's license modification to move into the Dothan market based on this logic.  A contributor to the site notes that this case has helped set precedent that has been used in many other city of license changes put forth to the FCC.

The new location, granted in October 1996, was set to be near the Webb substation off AL-52, east of Dothan and west of the community of Webb, with 5.1 kW at 725 feet Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT).  The permit was granted a modification in May 1997 to relocate to a site north of AL-52, but still between Webb and Dothan, near the intersection of Peacock Road and Watson Bridge Road, with 11.5 kW at 485 feet HAAT.  The station likely was taken off the air temporarily in August 1997 in preparation for the move, as an unknown Special Temporary Authority was filed at that time.  A license to cover for the facility was finally granted in April 1998.  It's likely the station launched with an Oldies format at this time.

By 2001 the station was doing a Contemporary Hit Radio format as "Z 105.3" according to that year's Broadcasting Yearbook.  The call sign would change to WZND in August 2002. The format flipped to Contemporary Urban in March 2004 as "105.3 The Beat" with the WDBT (Dothan's BeaT) call sign. By 2009 the station had changed gears again, this to a Classic Country format as "Legends 105.3".  Around this time, Gulf South had purchased a big 100 kW FM station licensed to Geneva, west of Dothan.  That station had been airing a News/Talk format, and Gulf South decided to switch places with it and this station's Country format in 2009 or 2010.  The Geneva station became "US 93" Country and this station flipped to News/Talk as "News Talk 105.3 WDBT". 

In May 2011 it was reported that the WDBT talk format was also being simulcast on the Geneva station, citing low ratings of the country format on that signal.  (At the time, Dothan had no less than six country stations on the dial, making inroads difficult in that format.)  The simulcast lasted until December 2011, when the talk stayed on the other station and this one flipped back to Country again, this time as "B 105.3" WECB.

In the fall of 2012, the station was sold from Southeast Alabama Broadcasters, LLC (which itself was an offshoot of previous owner Gulf South Communications) to Alabama Media, as part of a larger swap of properties between the two companies.  Members of the Holladay family are involved in both Gulf South and Alabama Media.

The station received a construction permit in mid-July 2015 to relocate to a common shared FM site behind the Hyundai dealer on the southwest side of Ross Clark Circle.  It signed on from that site in November 2016, making it co-located with co-owned WESP and WJRL. 

In mid-February 2024, Robert Holladay's Alabama Media announced the sale of this and other co-owned stations to Tony Richards Didier's Kensington Media Alabama for $1.25 million.