AM Technical Profile: WHBB
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- Talk, News,
view] Behind Wal-Mart Supercenter in Selma, northeast of the
intersection of AL-14 (E Highland Avenue) and Range Road.
Co-located with WDXX-FM.
- Power (ERP):
- Day: 1 kW
- Night: 1 kW
- 1 tower
0.5 mV/m Daytime
Groundwave Service Contour
from the FCC's Public Files
View] Of the studio building on Lauderdale Street in Selma.
- Dr. William J.
Reynolds and his son, William J. Reynolds, Jr., were granted a
construction permit for a new broadcast station in Selma on 1500 kHz
in August of 1935. The station began testing its signal in
November of that year, but did not become fully licensed until June
1936, when it officially signed on as WHBB (most likely for Heart
of the Black Belt) running 100
watts, days-only. Later their company name became Selma
Originally, the station's transmitter site and studio were in a
rural patch of land north of what was then 7th Avenue
(Now US-80/Highland Avenue), east of Lapsley Street. Today, this
land is occupied by houses, across from the Edgewood Elementary
School on Montague Street. Eventually the street was numbered
and the studio and transmitter were listed as being at 2414
Montague. In 1936, the studios were supposed to be moved to
the YMCA building, but that was either short-lived or never
materialized. Instead, they moved to 209 Washington Street in
1938. Around that same time, the station was granted the right
to broadcast full time, with 100 watts day and night.
The station went through a frequency change to 1490 kHz in 1941
thanks to NARBA, which re-aligned virtually all broadcast stations
onto new frequencies. They remained as a 100 watt fulltimer.
The station received a boost in power to 250 watts day and night,
when they installed a Collins 300-G-E transmitter.
Through the mid- to late-50's, the station was known to have NBC and
Keystone network affiliations, although by the mid-60's they'd
switched to ABC.
The station's license was voluntarily transferred to Talton
Broadcasting Company in April 1962. Two years later, they
applied to boost power again, this time to 1,000 watts during the
day, keeping the existing 250 watts at night. When this signed
on, it was from a new Collins 20-V3 transmitter at 1326 10th
Avenue. (Of interest, this street and block no longer exist, it's
all woodland now.) The studios also moved off Montague Avenue
to new digs at 310 Broad Street. A year after the transmitter
move, the station spawned an FM companion in WHBB-FM on 100.1
By 1971 the station had a Contemporary music format, but also played
some black and country music as well. An informal
complaint was filed against the station in 1973 by the Dallas County
Progressive Movement for Human Rights, but it never amounted to
anything actionable. By the end of the 70's, the station moved
to a more Middle of the Road (MOR) presentation.
Starting around 1984 the station adopted an unusual mix of music,
playing Country music during the day, and Urban Contemporary music
at night. Later in the 80's it was mostly country, with only a
small block of black-oriented programming. In 1985 the station
upgraded to 1,000 watts fulltime operation. The station was
acquired by Holder Communications in 1987 along with several other
properties for $1.45 million. (Holder shortly thereafter
became a subsidiary of GMX Communications.)
The station flipped to a Classic Rock/Oldies format in 1990.
Two years later, Broadsouth Communications bought WHBB and its FM
sister station for $400,000. They flipped the format to
News/Talk, with local talk and local council meeting coverage, in
either late 1995 or early 1996. The station has also had some
black gospel and jazz programming through the 90's and 2000's, but
dropped the jazz programming in the summer of 2016. After that music
was taken off, the jazz host moved his show to WJAM.