AM Technical Profile: WHMA

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Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] In Saks.  Between US-431 and Old Gadsden Highway on Post Oak Road.

Power (ERP):
Day: 5 kW
Night: 1 kW

Day: 1 tower
Night: 3 towers [pattern - PDF]

Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files


Owned by Hometown Radio, LLC
Activity on this frequency dates back to an original construction permit, granted to Model City Broadcasting Company, Inc., in September of 1946.  Granted in December, the permit was for 1 kW fulltime operation, with a daytime directional antenna in use on 1390 kHz. The studio location listed was the Jefferson Davis Hotel, which was located on the northeast corner of Noble Street and 13th Street in downtown Anniston.  The transmitter site used today, listed above, is the original location. The FCC assigned the WTAA call sign, but it was swapped out for WSPC (possibly standing for the World's Soil Pipe Center) in February 1949.  An RCA BTL-1-L was originally specified, but was swapped out for a Collins 20-T in an amendment filed in May 1949.  One month later, the station filed a license to cover.

In August 1949 the station applied for a several changes: moving from 1390 kHz to 1550 kHz, changing from 1 kW to 10 kW days and 5 kW nights and moving the transmitter site to a location off Bynum Road, 4 miles northwest of Anniston.  The application was dismissed. In May 1950, the station applied for another upgrade, this time remaining on 1390 kHz but bumping daytime power to 5 kW, non-directional while remaining 1 kW directional at night, using a new Collins 21-A transmitter.  That application was granted by the FCC in June of 1951.  A license to cover for that change was filed in July 1951.

In July 1957, the license was voluntarily assigned to Anniston Broadcasting Company, owners of 1450 WHMA and publishers of the Anniston Star newspaper. They brought that call sign to this frequency, while the facility on 1450 was transferred to Southland Broadcasting Company.  They changed the calls on 1450 to WDNG. Also at this time, the studios in the hotel were given up for the existing WHMA studios at 1330 Noble Street in downtown Anniston, in the aptly-named Radio Building. For more history on WHMA before it moved here, see WDNG.

The station installed a Collins 20-V-2 transmitter for auxiliary use in 1960.  They replaced the main transmitter with an RCA BTA-5T in 1963. In 1969, the company launched Anniston's first TV station, WHMA-TV.

By the mid-70's, the station was reportedly formatted as a Contemporary music station.

The station and its FM sister were sold to Calhoun Broadcasting in June 1984. With pop music on AM and easy listening on FM become dinosaur formats, they flipped this station to Adult Contemporary, and took the FM to country music.  In the fall of 1989 the stations were sold to Crown Broadcasting, Inc. for $7.5 million.  They moved the studios to the eighth floor of the Williams Commerce Center (now the Commerce Tower) at 804 Noble Street and flipped the format of this station to Oldies.

By 1993, the Broadcasting Yearbook has the station listed as Country with additional Black-targeted programming. Late that same year the station was acquired by Bridge Capital Investments II, who flipped the format to News/Talk. In 1997, the station was sold along with WHMA-FM to Susquehanna Broadcasting. Around this time, this station was doing a Sports Talk format.

It's worth taking a break from the timeline to understand how big-market owner Susquehanna came to own WHMA and WHMA-FM in little ol' Anniston.  When the stations were still owned by Bridge Capital Investments II, the president of the company, Tom Gammon, wanted to split the AM and FM apart by moving the big FM signal into the lucrative nearby market of Atlanta.  His proposal failed because the FCC rejected the application due to his city of license being Sandy Springs.  At the time, it was one of Georgia's larger cities, but it was unincorporated.  Shortly afterwards, he unloaded WHMA AM and FM to Susquehanna in Atlanta so they could figure out how to make it an Atlanta move-in.  Their method involved moving it by re-licensing it to College Park and lowering the power significantly. Since the AM wasn't needed, it was sold off to Casey Network LLC in 2002.

In August 2003, the station was sold to Williams Communications for $275,000. By 2005 it appeared to be doing News/Talk again.  Format history for this part of the decade is unclear; they likely also tried Classic Country and Sports Talk (as "The Score") for a time before settling on Gospel by 2007. By February 2016 the station was marketed as "The Mighty Power 1390". 

In mid-October 2023 it was announced that Williams Communications was selling all their stations for $250,000 to Hometown Radio, LLC. Hometown radio is led by broadcasting services company MaxxConnect's CEO, Josh Bohn. The FCC dismissed the application in late November 2023 for failure to pay a filing fee.