AM Technical Profile: WHIY

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Frequency:
1600
Format:
Urban Oldies
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] Northeast of Oakwood University on Jordan Lane NW (Ardmore Highway), just north of the intersection with Oakwood Road & Sparkman Drive NW. Co-located with WEUP.
Power (ERP):
Day: 5 kW
Night: 500 watts
Antenna:
Day: 1 tower, omnidirectional
Night: 6 towers [pattern - PDF]
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCData.org]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[PDF] WEUP promotional brochure scan from the American Radio History website.
[Studio] Google Photos images of the station's studio and signage.
[Studio] Street View imagery of the station's studios on Highway 53 in Huntsville.
Owned by Broadcast One, Inc.
History:
Leroy “Blue Goose” Garrett was granted a new construction permit for a station on 1600 kHz, operating with 1 kW days only, in February 1957.  The studios and transmitter site were originally at the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Grace Street, at Syler Tabernacle Church (now home of the Huntsville Bible College). The station signed on in 1958 as the first black-oriented and black-owned station in Huntsville.  The station quickly received a permit to boost power to 5 kW, still days-only, and signed that higher power facility on the air in September 1959.

The station moved both the studio and transmitter site to its current location at 2609 Jordan Lane in November 1961. 

The station applied for nighttime power for the first time in the summer of 1968, but was denied.  The station filed multiple appeals all the way up through a district court, and eventually Leroy and his wife Viola testified before Congress, leading to the FCC to finally approve a night power addition in 1973 and alter their rules governing nighttime operation on the AM band.  Once it signed on, it was running 500 watts nights via a Gates BC-500G transmitter.

After Garrett's death in 1980, his wife took over operations of the station and continued to run it until 1987, when she sold it to Hundley Batts and Virginia Caples.  In the late 80's or early 90's the station began broadcasting in C-QUAM AM stereo.

Batts and Caples purchased an FM signal in Moulton in 1999 and moved the Urban Contemporary WEUP programming and call sign there, mellowing the sound of this heritage station in the process.

When the FCC expanded the AM band in the late 90's, the station was granted a permit to move to 1700 kHz, and that facility signed on in 2001 and WEUV.  At first, the two signals simulcast, and around this time the station was listed as having a Gospel music format.  The original plan was to require all station with expanded band allocations to turn in their original licenses to help de-clutter the crowded AM band, but that never happened.  As with many other stations, both WEUP and WEUV would remain on the air together for quite some time.

The Batts & Caples stations had grown to several properties, and in 2006 they shuffled the call signs around.  For one month, this station became WEUV while AM 1700 became WEUP.  In February, this station became WHIY, swapping calls with a station in Moulton.  Not long after this, the station was reportedly silent, and remained silent until the spring of 2008.  When it returned to the air, it was noted to have a "Jammin' Oldies and Party Blues" Classic Rhythm and Blues format. 

Long owned by Huntsville insurance team Hundley Batts, Sr. and Virginia Caples, ownership was transferred to their company Broadcast One, Inc. in March 2019 after the death of Caples.