AM Technical Profile: WERM


Frequency:
1220
Format:
Gospel
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] In Fairhope, at the corner of CR-3 (S Section Street) and Pecan Avenue.
STA: [map] [bird's eye] [street view] Dumaine Road, off Conception Street Road, near I-165.
Power (ERP):
Day: 1 kW
Night: 42 watts
STA: 1 kW from WERM-AM tower in Mobile.
Antenna:
Day and night: 1 tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCData.org]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]
[Article] Fairhope Courier article on the station relocating its studios to downtown Fairhope and the coverage issues they encountered from moving the transmitter site to Mobile.
[Aircheck] Edited aircheck.  Features jingles, lots of automation screwups including doubled audio and dead air, canned weather/temperature announcements; no local commercials aired during this hour. 6'32", 6.6 MB, M4A (AAC) format. (05-15-2016)
Owned by Eternity Record Company, LLC
History:
For the history of the station that now occupies this frequency, see WABF.

This frequency was allocated to Fairhope when a new construction permit was issued to Price Broadcasting Corporation, Inc., in December 1958.  Before the station went on the air, the license was transferred to Eastern Shore Broadcasters, Inc in early 1961.  That company was headed by J. Dige Bishop of Andalusia, who owned a chain of stations and cable systems in south Alabama, including WJDB in Thomasville and WCTA in Andalusia. 

The station signed on in the summer of 1961, as a 1 kW directional daytimer, utilizing a two tower array located behind the home that was converted to a studio, which was located at the corner of Pecan Avenue and Section Street just south of downtown Fairhope.  While it primarily programmed to the growing Eastern Shore, the signal also reached Mobile.  The company spawned an FM companion, WABF-FM, in 1966, which duplicated the AM's programming early on.  During the 70's, the station carried a mix of rock and country music. 

By the mid-70's, the station had transitioned to a Middle-of-the-Road (MOR) music format, with talk programming mixed in.  The license was sold to Bee Cee Broadcasting in the spring of 1978.  They flipped the format to Adult Contemporary in the mid-80's, but it was a struggle against FM competition, so the format was changed to Big Band and Standards music by the early 90's.   Bee Cee Broadcasting transferred the license to Jubilee Broadcasting Company, Inc. in 1992 for $350,000.  Around this time, the station added its first nighttime service, gaining a non-directional 64 watt signal that covered Fairhope's core area.  The station's license was transferred to Gulf Coast Broadcasting in 1999.

The directional system was scrapped in 2001. 

It was announced in February 2016 that the station was to be sold to Eternity Records Company, who already owned 1480 WERM in Mobile.  The sale price was $105,000.  In April 2016, the station filed a Special Temporary Authority request with the FCC, citing the loss of the transmitter site, and requesting to operate with 1,000 watts temporarily from the WERM (former WABB) tower in Mobile.  The request was granted but limited to 250 watts, which resulted in less than optimal coverage of Fairhope, which was over 17 miles away and on the other side of Mobile Bay. 

Plans were formulated to employ a directional antenna system from the 1480 WERM site in Mobile to adequately serve Fairhope, the city of license of this facility.  However, due to reasons unknown, the directional setup idea was dropped.  The station has run on an ongoing series of renewed STAs up through the end of 2018, one of which involved a longwire operated off Twin Beech Road in Fairhope.

While operating the longwire, the station's old studio and tower were taken down; the studios moved to a new space on Church Street in downtown Fairhope at this time.  With the temporary operations bringing a lot of coverage headaches, Eternity decided to swap the formats of 1480 WERM and 1220 WABF in February of 2017. 1480's Gospel programming moved here, and 1220's Standards/Soft Oldies moved to 1480. 

The call sign here changed to WERM in January 2018.

Eternity filed an application to make the 1480 WERM tower their permanent home for both stations, but with non-directional operation for this signal, in July 2018.  That filing was held up due to a technical deficiency by the FCC, and it remains unresolved as of December 2018.