AM History Profile: WIRB


History:
This station dates back to an original construction permit issued to "Wiregrass Broadcasting Company" (Franklin H. James, Robert E. James, Ralph M. Standford) for a 250 watt station on 1230 kHz.  It signed on in the early summer of 1948 as WIRB ("WIRegrass Broadcasting").  Although it was permitted to run 24 hours a day, it appears the station only broadcast for part of the day, from 6 am to 7 pm daily, and 6 am to 9 pm on Sundays.  The original transmitter location appears to have be co-located with the studios at 30 Dothan Highway (where AL-27 splits off from Business 84 on today's maps).  During the 50's, the station was where Mel Hall, who later went to work at famous big city stations like KQV Pittsburgh, WJJD Chicago and KRLA in Los Angeles got his start.

The station was granted a permit in 1958 to move to 600 kHz as a 1 kW daytimer.  Nighttime operation on this frequency was not possible due to co-channel stations in Memphis, New Orleans and Jacksonville.  In fact, it appears that the owners of WREC in Memphis tried to get this application for even a daytimer rejected to protect their critical hours coverage area, but it was denied.  The owners filed a license to cover in October 1958 and pressed a Gates BC-1T transmitter into service on the frequency. With the sign on of the new frequency, the studios moved to South Ouida Street (where Spectrum Cable has a headend, today).  The transmitter site moved to US-84 about 1.5 miles east of downtown Enterprise, which would have put it near where the 84 Bypass road meets East Park Avenue (old US-84) today, possible off Paul Street south of US-84.

In 1968, the station lauched an FM sister station, WIRB-FM on 96.9 MHz.  Today it's known as WDJR.  It originally broadcast from the top of the AM's tower before moving elsewhere for better coverage.

Going back to at least 1975 the station played Country and Western music.  Later it appears to have added some German language programming. (!)

The station's license was transferred from Wiregrass Broadcasting Company (at this point, just R. E. James was left of the three original partners) to Q. E. Three, Inc, in 1979, but that appears to have never been consummated; indeed, the license was not shown to be in another company's hands until 1986 when it was acquired by Northcom, Ltd.  They flipped the format to MOR (Middle Of The Road) around 1988, and changed the calls of both the AM WLHQ, to match the FM's, which changed a few years previous.  That format did not last and the AM and FM began simulcasting the FM's CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) format until the AM went dark for good in 1992. 

In more recent times, the WIRB calls have been resurrected for a station licensed to Level Plains, but it bares no relation to this station or the companies that owned it.