AM Technical Profile: WGCM


Frequency:
1240
Format:
Standards/Oldies
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] Between Turkey and Biloxi creeks near Big Lake.
Power (ERP):
Day and night: 1 kW
Antenna:
1 tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCdata.org]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
// W265DH Gulfport, MS
Owned by JMD, Inc.
History:
This station has a surprisingly long history, dating all the way back to 1928, when it first licensed as WGCM by the Gulf Coast Music Company.  They put the station on air at 1350 kHz with 15 watts on a time-shared basis, operating from 9 am to 9 pm every day except Sunday.  A year later, the station had moved to 1210 kHz, and bumped power up to 100 watts, unlimited hours.  The original transmitter location was atop the building at 1319 26th Avenue in downtown Gulfport.

The Great Southern Land Company acquired the station in 1929.  At times, they operated the station on an experimental basis with increased power at night during certain time periods.  They moved the transmitter site to their Great Southern Hotel on the Mississippi Sound, then later to a site in Mississippi City, east of downtown Gulfport, on East Beach Boulevard.  The area around the transmitter was eventually turned into the Great Southern Golf Course, which still stands today.

Great Southern Land Company's ownership of the station continued through the 40's, albeit through a company called WGCM Broadcasting Company, with Grace Jones Stewart listed as primary ownership.  Later that passed to Hugh O. Jones and William E. Jones.

Starting in 1940, the transmitter site and studio were relocated to 1500 22nd Street in Gulfport, in a residential area.  At this time, the NARBA reallocation process was going on, moving almost all AM stations from one dial position to another.  WGCM moved to 1240 kHz, and at this time took the opportunity to boost power to 250 watts full time.  In 1949 they attempted to spawn an FM station on 101.5 kHz, operating with 3 kW power from the AM tower, but it never got off the ground.

E. O. Roden and Associates acquired the license in March of 1958.  Through their ownership, the station was a "good music" kind of station until FM took over that turf.  The station got its first boost in power in 20 years, when they received permission to increase daytime power to 1,000 watts, in 1960.  With that came a new Gates BC-1T transmitter, installed by Biloxi engineer Odes E. Robinson.  The old RCA BTA 250L got put in as a backup auxiliary unit.

The station spawned today's WGCM-FM in 1968, when it went on the air to cater to the area's black population, which had no local service of their own at the time.  The AM station re-located to the new facility for the FM, which was just up the street on 5th Avenue in Gulfport. 

By the early 70's, this station was playing adult contemporary music.  In the 80's, the station had a stint playing country music.  The station and its FM companion were sold to Holt Broadcasting in 1987.  At that time they dropped the black programming from the FM and began simulcasting this AM's country format.  Around 1990 or 1991 the station dropped country for big band and nostalgia/standards music. 

JMD, Inc. (party of the Dowdy family of stations) bought the AM and FM combo for $950,000.  They flipped the AM to classic country around this time.  The WGCM call letters were re-purposed to mean "Great Country Music".  (They also could have referred to "Gulf Coast Mississippi"!)

In March 2016 the ownership purchased an FM translator located in Macon, Mississippi and moved it to Gulfport as part of the FCC's AM Revitalization plan.  It was confirmed on the air in April 2016 and the station's format was noted to have changed from classic country to a mix of oldies and standards as "Cruisin' 100.9", reflecting the FM's dial position.