AM Technical Profile: WENN


Frequency:
1320
Format:
Urban Adult Contemporary
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] Daniel Payne Drive near Corridor X area, just east of US 78.
Power (ERP):
Day: 5 kW
Night: 111 watts
Antenna:
1 tower, omnidirectional
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook] For Easy 102.1/1320 (removed April 2017)
[RDS] RDS display from the station's old FM translator on a GMC Yukon's radio from the Power 102.1 days.
[RDS] RDS display from the station's old FM translator on a GMC Yukon's radio from the 102.1 Y'all FM days.
Owned by J. S. Kelly, LLC
// WBHK Warrior
History:
1320 AM: Came on in 1953.  Originally WEZB, for a while it was Top 40 with an easy listening presentation. It later became WENN, a station targeting a black audience, owned by Maclendon Ebony Group. This station spawned WENN-FM on 107.7. Became the dominant black-targeted station of the 70s.  Famous hosts of this era include Tall Paul, Shelly "The Playboy" Stewart, Erskine Fausch and others.  In 1977, local prominent businessman A.G. Gaston bought the station and replaced the (white) GM Joe Lackey with Larry Hayes.  In protest, the entire airstaff walked out.  They went to AM 900 (then WLBS), changed it to WATV.  The staff had quite a following and all those people abandoned WENN for WATV.  Under Gaston's ownership the station's calls change to WAGG, with a gospel format. WENN-FM began to gain traction with black audiences, being one of the few FM stations targeting a black audience at the time.
 
Later these calls and format were swapped with WEZN 610 AM, to give the profitable black gospel format a better signal. Calls became WEZN and it had a nostaliga / standards format, until spring of 2000, when it switched to black gospel with the "Rejoice 1320" slogan and WRJS calls.  A 2002 addition to the schedule: January shows the debut of Spanish language programming in Birmingham, with a two hour program aimed at the community's large Hispanic population. It aired between 2 and 4 PM, weekdays. Sometime in spring 2002 the Spanish programming went full time, with programming from "La Saborsita".  On 31 October 2002 the station switched formats from all Spanish to classic country from the 60's, 70's and 80's, with the new moniker "Country Legends 1320". The calls also changed to WZZK-AM.
 
On January 30th 2006, the station changed to WPSB (People's Station Birmingham), with a mix of black-oriented news and talk programming.
On January 29th 2007, only a year after the flip to black-oriented talk, the station began stunting by playing Santana's Oye Como Va non-stop. On January 30th the station flipped to a regional Mexican format, with information and talk bits interspersed with the music.  The Spanish-language stuff lasted just over two years, when in late March 2009 the historic WENN calls found their way back to 1320 after a 26 year absence.  Cox simulcasted WBHK, "Kiss FM" on the station until March 31st 2009 when the station apparently went silent for a short period of time.  The station came back on shortly thereafter, simulcasting but also with some urban talk for the second time. As of late April 2009 the station's fulltime urban talk and has announced plans to take on the Atlanta Braves baseball broadcasts as well.  Observed in late September 2009, the station is again simulcasting WBHK (Kiss 98.7)'s programming.
 
In mid-February, 2010, the station began rebroadcasting via W270BW, a translator licensed to Haleyville, on 101.9 MHz.  The station began airing what it calls "neo soul" as "101.9 WENN".  In July 2010 reports are that the AM is off the air, while the FM and online streaming remain active. Later that summer the translator moved to 102.1 MHz.  The AM was reported on the air again in October, and off again the first of November 2010.  Ten days into November and the station's back on and reported stronger than before.  In May 2011 the station was observed to be silent again.  It's unclear if this is due to more technical troubles or because of damage from the late April 2011 tornado outbreak that sent an EF-4 close by the AM transmitter site.
 
Although WENN is once again off the air, around 21 September 2011 it was noted the station changed from neo soul to classic hip-hop and R&B as "Power 102.1".  The AM was heard on again at the end of the month.  In August 2012 it was announced that Cox won the rights to ESPN sports programming; ESPN was heard  on WZNN (FM) except when local shows are on. WENN began relaying ESPN's national feed 24/7, as of 30 August 2012.  This will not include the W271BN translator, which will continue airing the "Power" urban format via WZNN's HD subchannel.  WENN instead began being heard on W297BF, a move-in translator from Calera.  After being sold from Cox to Summit Media, the station underwent some changes. At the start of July 2013, Summit ditched the full time ESPN feed and again linked WENN-AM to the "Power 102.1" classic urban format, also going back to being heard on translator W271BN.
 
In mid-November of 2013 it was announced that the classic urban was being bumped for the cheeky variety hits "Y'all 97.3" from sister station WZNN, which was to change formats later that month to soft AC.  In October 2014 the variety hits format was dropped from the W271BN translator, which began relaying black gospel "Heaven 610" WAGG instead.  Just prior to this switch, WENN was reported off air for a long period, and only recently returned (still with variety hits) around the time the translator changed formats.  In November 2014 the format changed from variety hits to soft AC, picking up the music format dropped by FM companion WEZZ when it flipped to Christmas music at the comically early date of "mid October".  The station went back to variety hits after WEZZ ended its Christmas music event.  In late April 2015, the station was back to being heard on FM, this time on translator W256CD, on 99.1 MHz.  A few days later, it also was reportedly heard on a newly constructed translator, W261BX, on 100.1 MHz.  That translator (and WENN itself) were reported off the air in the second week of May, 2015 and on again by early June.  The 100.1 translator went off again shortly thereafter, likely due to issue interfering with WQJJ-LP in Jasper, which is on the same channel.  That translator was again reported on air on 13 July 2015. The format as of this time continues to be a wide-ranging variety hits format (which can still be streamed by going to the old format's website), but no other presence for the station is online or on Facebook.  The station flipped to Christmas music on 25 September 2015, over a month before any stations flipped last year.
After Christmas, the station flipped to a mellow contemporary hits type format (I'm calling it Hot AC until someone gives me a better name) with computerized liners calling the station "All The Hits 100.1", and around the turn of the new year, the name changed slight to "Commercial Free Hits 100.1" with more or less the same tiny rotation of songs.  That lasted until Summit blew up the Soft AC format at 97.3 (then WEZZ) and put in CHR/Top 40.  The Soft AC moved to WENN.  At this time WENN changed from being heard on W261BX to W271BN.  The slogan is now "Easy 102.1".  The move was made to give the adult contemporary format the bigger of the two translator signals.  Like the previous year, the station flipped to Christmas again a few days before Halloween, because reasons.
This station has a history of being off the air for long periods of time since being acquired by Summit Media, and was off as recently as April 2017.  During this off-period, SummitMedia arranged a swap with Educational Media Foundation, where EMF got the 102.1 translator that had been paired with this station and Summit got the translator that is relaying Birmingham Mountain Radio.  Shortly after the swap was announced, the Easy 102.1 format disappeared from the translator, replaced by Air1 programming from EMF.  WENN was off the air during this, then on the air with a dead carrier, then by May 4th, it was back on with Soft AC again.  The format fell silent again in July 2017, and was shortly thereafter replaced with a simulcast of "Kiss 98.7" WBHK Warrior.