FM Technical Profile: WJOX

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Station Name:
The Sports Monster
Sports Talk.
Transmitter Location:
[map] Red Mountain, about 1/2 mile west of Oxmoor Rd. & Industrial Park Drive. Co-located with WZRR's transmitter.
Power (ERP):
100 kW.
Antenna HAAT:
1014 feet.
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
PS-JOX 94.5
JOX 94.5 Your Sports Authority
(inactive - 05-24-2012)
AUX: 50 kW @ 899 feet. 60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC. (Located on the old WABM-TV tower where Spaulding-Ishkooda Road meets Montevallo Road in Birmingham.)
// WJOX Birmingham
More Information:
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station from the WAFM era
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station from the WAPI era
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station from the WYSF era
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station as WJOX
[Image] RDS display from the station on a GMC Yukon's radio, from January 2012.
[Image] RDS display from an Insignia portable, showing the Radio Text and PS (call sign) fields, from June 2017.
[Image] RDS display data as shown on a Mazda OEM stereo, from 2020.
[Studio] Street View imagery of the Cumulus Birmingham studio facilities.
Cumulus Broadcasting
Voice of Alabama, Incorporated, owners of WAFM-TV channel 13 and WAPI 1070, applied for a new FM permit in May of 1944, for a station on 44.7 MHz, with a 3 kW transmitter.  The studios were to have been at 2029 First Avenue North in downtown Birmingham.  A year later, it was amended to move to 45.9 MHz.  Before this could be built out, the FCC moved the fledgling FM band to its current allocation, and this station was given 98.0 MHz as a channel assignment.  Before that could be built out, the assignment was moved to 99.5 MHz, while the studio location would be changed to the Protective Life Building at 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue North.  The first call sign assigned was WAFM-FM, as companion to WAFM-TV channel 13.  The transmitter site would have been at the TV's studios atop Red Mountain.

In April 1947, the station was permitted to run with a whopping 540 kW at 618 feet height above average terrain (HAAT), with a Western Electric model 507-B-2 transmitter.  The transmitter itself was capable of 50 kW, the rest would have been made with antenna gain.  That permit was modified again in November 1947 to reduce power to 517 kW but at an increased antenna height of 851 feet HAAT.  Had it actually broadcast at either of these power levels, it would have been in the top two or three most power FM stations in the country at the time, but it's unclear if it really ran that much power at any point.  Extension after extension to complete construction was filed by Voice of Alabama, pushing the completion date all the way out into the spring of 1951.

In March 1951, the company modified the permit once more, this time dropping to a much more reasonable-sounding 53 kW (horizontal polarization) with a Western Electric 506-B-2 transmitter, capable of 10 kW.  Even with this much lower power level on the license, the station still filed several more extensions before it a license to cover was filed in November 1951. Voice of Alabama briefly changed their name to The Television Corporation in 1952. The radio and TV stations were sold to The Birmingham News in 1953.  Not long after their acquisition, they applied to boost power to 72.2 kW using an RCA BTF-10B transmitter with a Collins 37M-8 eight-bay antenna at a higher height.  It appears this bigger facility signed on in August 1953.  The name of the ownership changed to Alabama Broadcasting System, Inc. in 1955, ostensibly to better reflect the multiple broadcasting outlets under their belt.  The call sign changed to WAPI-FM in September 1958.

The station saw another change in 1960 when it raised the antenna height to 1,000 feet HAAT, while lowering power to 66 kW.  This saw the FM move to the new TV tower that was built to increase channel 13's coverage.  That same year, ownership was under Newhouse Broadcasting Corporation. The station finally saw a bump to the full 100 kW maximum for a Class C station in July 1963.

The station installed a Collins 37CP-12 twelve-bay FM antenna in 1971, and commenced broadcasting in both horizontal and vertical polarization at this time.  The station began broadcasting an SCA (Secondary Communications Authorization) on 67 kHz in the fall of 1977.  Through the early to mid-70's, the station was known to have a TM "Sold Gold" automated Classic Hits format.  In 1978, it was Easy Listening, trying to compete with 96.5 WQEZ. 

In July 1980, the station applied to move the studios to 2146 Highland Boulevard on Birmingham's Southside.  The change also included a new transmitter (type unspecified) and a Harris FMH-8AC eight-bay antenna located at 1,214 feet HAAT.  A license to cover for this upgrade was filed in January 1981.  That same year, the station was acquired by Mobile-based station operator Bernie Dittman.  He flipped the format to Album Oriented Rock (AOR) as "95 Rock", patterning it on his Mobile station WABB, which was AOR as "97 Rock". Starting in 1984, Dittman began slowly transitioning both this station and WABB in Mobile towards Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR).  The change took around six months; both stations went through a period using the phase "Hit Rock" on air.  WAPI transisitooned from "95 Rock" at the end of 1984, to "Hot Rockin' FM 95", before landing on the famous "I-95" moniker in October 1984.

"I-95" was a dominant CHR force in Alabama for several years, but as the decade came to a close, rock and roll began to overtake pop music in popularity and the station's ratings began to suffer.  Bernie Dittman sold the stations to Dick Broadcasting in the Spring of 1994 for $6.85 million.  Dick flipped the format to an upbeat Adult Contemporary format as "Mix 94.5" WMXQ, before settling on a female-friendly Soft Rock format as "Soft Rock 94.5". The call sign changed to WYSF (Your Soft Rock) in November 1996.  The popular Rick and Bubba morning show was lured into town from Top 40 WQEN in Gadsden in 1999.

Around the Winter of 2001, the branding was tweaked to "Y-94.5", although the soft laid back Adult Contemporary format was mostly unchanged.

In December 2006 Rick and Bubba split for cross-town country outlet WZZK, leading to a tumble in the ratings for WYSF.  The station transitioned to a Hot Adult Contemporary format in response to the poor ratings and in May 2007 brought in the syndicated Kidd Kraddick show from Dallas.
Citadel (who gobbled up Dick) blew up the Hot AC formatted "New 94.5" after one year and one month; after the station aired the musical accompaniment to the annual fireworks show from atop Red Mountain, the station began playing country music with no liners, jocks or announcements.  Sports Talk from Citadel's 100.5 signal began to be heard on 94.5 shortly thereafter.  The sports format from 100.5 migrated to 94.5, along with the WJOX calls.  The stereo carrier was also dropped.  The station briefly ran HD, but dropped it shortly after the sports debuted.  It was observed to be running again in the spring of 2011.
In the summer of 2012 CBS announced that the station would pick up programming from the CBS Sports Network, which was set to debut 2 January, 2013.  The CBS Sports Network is a collaboration between CBS radio and Cumulus.  In August 2012 the station lost ESPN to Cox, who ran it on WENN (AM) and WZNN (FM).  For now, WJOX AM & FM are airing Fox Sports programming during non-local programming blocks.  This ran until the CBS Sports Net debuted, which it did on schedule.