AM History Profile: WFMI

[ Home | Statewide: AM | FM | LPFM | Translators | TV | LPTV | LDTV ]
[ Metros: Birmingham | Mobile | Montgomery | Huntsville | Columbus, GA | Dothan | Tuscaloosa | The Shoals ]

An original construction permit was granted in 1963 to Fine Music, Incorporated, for a new station on 1500 kHz in Montgomery.  The facility was applied for as a daytimer with 1 kW, with studios to be located at 600 Montgomery Street and a transmitter located "2 miles south of the railroad depot on Mobile Road."  That was amended for 500 watts before the permit was granted, and after granting the studio location was modified to be at 79 Commerce Street.  The call letters assigned were WFMI, for the owners.  Normally, a company in these days would launch an AM station, and then later launch an FM companion outlet.  Fine Music, Inc. did the opposite their WFMI-FM at 98.9 MHz came on the air first in 1961.

During the 60's, it appears the station partially simulcast the FM's Beautiful Music format.  In 1964, the station applied to move to 1000 kHz and boost power, first to 1 kW then to 5 kW.  The FCC granted this application in January 1968 (!) and the facility signed on in July of that same year.  The transmitter site moved to Kingswood Road, just east of the Montgomery Regional Airport as part of this frequency change.  The transmitter used during this era was a Gates BC-5H.

In early 1969, the license for this station and its FM companion were voluntarily assigned to RAU Radio of the South, Inc.  It's likely that at this time the call sign was changed to WQTY, as "Cutie Radio" with a new Middle-of-the-Road (MOR) music and Talk format, breaking it away from the Beautiful Music on the FM side.

The station was sold (along with the FM) in 1972 to Alabama Radio Corporation.  The station was acquired again in 1979 by Amendment One, Inc. and it's likely at this point that the FM went to a different company (it later became WBAM-FM, companion to Deep South Broadcasting's WBAM AM.)  This station's format morphed into a more personality-driven MOR/Nostalgia music format around this time.  A highlight of the station was the Saturday morning trivia show. 

The station flipped formats to a 50's to early 70's Rock format in 1983, re-branding as "Z-10" WZTN. 

The station struggled against FM competition, and by the early 90's was trying Gospel music.  By 1993, it appears the station was off the air. The owners tried and failed to get nighttime service, so they let the license lapse.  1000 kHz is a clear channel for a Chicago station so (at the time) no other stations on the frequency could operate at night.