AM History Profile: WFMI


History:
This station first came on the air in 1963 with 500 watts days on 1500 kHz; the calls were WFMI, which stood for the company that owned the station: Fine Music Incorporated.  While most companies start out with an AM station and then launch an FM outlet, Fine Music actually did the opposite; they launched WFMI-FM at 98.9 MHz first in 1961 and this station came along two years later.   During the 60's the format was beautiful music in a simulcast of the FM.  The station moved sometime in the late 60's or early 70's to 1000 kHz for better coverage, with 5 kW, but still as a daytimer.  During this era the station got its own identity from the FM, as WQTY ("Cutie Radio") with a MOR and talk format.
In 1979 or 1980 the station picked up the WABT calls, which had been on an AM station in Tuskegee (which later became WBIL).  The format morphed to a more personality-oriented MOR/nostalgia type format around this time.  A highlight of the station was the Saturday morning trivia show.  By '83 the station had changed formats again, this time to a rock-centric oldies format as "Z-10" with the WZTN calls. The station struggled against FM competition and by the early mid-90's the station was trying gospel music.  It's believed that the station ceased operating in 1993, when the license was allowed to lapse after the FCC failed to give them nighttime service.  The station could not receive nighttime authorization due to 1000 kHz being a clear channel, which gave Chicago's station on this frequency the "right of way" after dark.  When the license was deleted, so was the allocation so that no more stations could be allocated to this channel in the Montgomery area.