AM Technical Profile: WFHK
view] About 1/4 mile south of I-20 exit 156, right on the
easterly bend in US-78 (Cogswell Avenue) just west of Pell City.
- Power (ERP):
- Day: 5 kW
- Day: 1 tower
Groundwave Service Contour
from the FCC's Public Files
A picture (courtesy a friend) of the studio on Cogswell Avenue, just
outside of Pell City, after the tower came down.
View] Google Street View image from May 2015, showing the
downed tower behind the studios.
Owned by Stocks Broadcasting, Inc.
- // W231CW Pell
- An original construction permit for
this station was issued in November 1952 to St. Clair Broadcasting
System (William David Frink, Fred Lamar Kelley, John Herbert Haynes
and Glenn Pruitt). The station signed on either late January or
early February 1956, on 1430 kHz, running 1 kW from a Collins 20V
transmitter, daytime only. The station has had the WFHK calls
(for three of the owners) and has always transmitted from west of Pell
City on US 78, near Wolf Creek and the Eden community.
By the mid-70's the station was running a Middle of the Road (MOR)
music format. In 1976 they added a 500 watt PSA
(pre-sunrise/post-sunset) authorization to extend the broadcasting
hours slightly. The station changed to Country around
In 1980 the station appears to have changed to a mix of Top 40 and
Middle of the Road (MOR) music. In 1983, the station was granted a
permit to increase their power to 5 kW, but still as a
daytimer. By 1984 the station's format was back to
The station was sold to Williamson Broadcasting in May 1999 for
$10,000. They in turn sold it to Stocks Broadcasting (Adam and
Karen Stocks) for $275,000 in February 2001.
In the summer of 2013 the station was paired up with a construction
permit for a new translator in Pell City at 94.9 MHz, W235BQ, licensed
to religious outlet Radio Assist Ministry. It was to transmit
from a site northeast of Pell City, and north of I-20, but was
actually being prepped to broadcast from the WFHK tower west of town,
even though no permit for that location was ever filed. Before
the translator could be mounted in mid-August 2013, the tower
collapsed. It injured no one, and the cause was suspected to be
poor quality welding of the tower bracing, work done during a previous
The AM quickly got back on the air from a longwire antenna strung up
at the studio, albeit with low power. The translator was
relocated to a site near downtown Pell City and when it went on the
air, the station re-branded as "94.9 The River", still with Country
In April 2014, the station received a permit to relocate to Bald Rock
Mountain, west of Pell City, with 230 watts from a very high
perch. Before it could be built out, the translator was
relocated again, this time to a site colloquially known as 'Water Tank
Hill' overlooking Pell City, with just 30 watts. At some point
during all this, the station flipped to a mix of Adult Contemporary
and Classic Hits music.
On 18 October 2014, the translator moved to Bald Rock Mountain, site
of one of the earlier permits. Only, they did not actually have
authorization to do so, and moving here caused immediate issues with a
co-channeled translator in Birmingham, owned by iHeart Radio.
During all these moves, the AM remained off the air, having burned out
the transmitter not too long after erecting the longwire temporary
antenna a year ago. iHeart Radio wound up intervening and
getting the licensing and interference issues fixed, by first moving
the translator back to its licensed location in Pell City, then
helping prepare an application to move the translator back to Bald
Rock Mountain on a different channel.
An application was been granted to allow the translator to move to
94.1 MHz and return to Bald Rock, bringing a viable local FM signal
back to much of St. Clair County. A report from early December
2014 says the AM is back operating full time, albeit on a longwire
antenna setup as the tower has not yet been rebuilt. The
translator was on 94.1 shortly thereafter. In 2014 or 2015 the
AM tower was rebuilt; the station was finally back to its full 5 kW of
(daytime only) authorized power in July 2017. Stocks purchased
the translator from Edgewater Broadcasting in the fall of 2018.