FM Technical Profile: WLRH

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Station Name:
Public Radio WLRH
Public Radio
Transmitter Location:
[map] [Google sky view] [Bing bird's eye] [street view] In the Periwinkle Spring area atop Monte Santo Mountain, just south of Bankhead Parkway, across Monte Santo Boulevard from WAAY-DT and WHNT-DT's towers. Co-located with WHIQ-DT.
Power (ERP):
100 kW
Antenna HAAT:
1,047 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
SCA: Alabama Radio Reading Service for print-impared people.
HD-2: Classical24
HD-3: News/Talk/Music
:PS-WLRH Huntsville's Public Radio Time-[?] Text-[?] PTY-[?] PI-WLRH-FM
W283CM Fort Payne
More Information:

[Picture] RDS display from an Insignia HD portable radio.

[Picture] HD-1 display from an Insignia HD portable radio.
[Picture] HD-2 display from an Insignia HD portable radio.
[Picture] HD-3 display from an Insignia HD portable radio.
Alabama Educational Television Authority
This station dates back to an application for an original construction permit by the city of Huntsville Public Library in 1973.  The original application was planned to broadcast with 100 kW from an antenna height of 754 feet Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT) at the Burritt Museum property on Monte Santo Mountain east of downtown Huntsville.  The studios would have been at the historic First National Bank of Huntsville building on Fountain Circle, across from the Madison County Courthouse.  For the next year, objections to the application were filed by Taft Broadcasting Company, owners of WBRC channel 6 in Birmingham.  These objections were almost certainly over interference concerns due to the closeness of the frequency to TV channel 6 and the power level requested.  Taft had also objected to the application for WBHM in Birmingham.

In 1974, the application was updated.  The studio location was changed to Room 222 of the Times Building in Huntsville.  The transmitter location was changed to the 12000 block of Mountcrest Road SE, atop Green Mountain, about 8 miles south of downtown Huntsville.  The transmitter type was changed to an RCA BTF-20E1, and antenna updated to a ten-bay RCA BFC-10B model.  The facility was finally signed on in the fall of 1976.  The call sign was WLRH, for Library Radio Huntsville.  It also launched with a Subsidiary Communications Authorization (SCA) on 67 kHz, for a radio reading service for the blind.  This represented the first Public Radio formatted station in Alabama, beating Birmingham's WBHM to air by just a few months.

The library was unable to maintain the station, so in the fall of 1977, the license was transferred to the Alabama Educational Television Commission (AETV), operators of the state's Alabama Public Television (APT) network. 

In 1988, the studios left the Times Building for the campus of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, despite the university having no hand in the station's operation or management.
In late October 2009 the station received a construction permit to move from its existing site on southeast Huntsville's Green Mountain to the WHIQ-TV tower atop Monte Santo, not far from where WAAY and WHNT operate.  The change increased antenna height but not the coverage area due to using a directional antenna.  In January 2011 it was reported to be on air from the new facilities, with HD digital multicasting.

The station appears to have started being rebroadcast on Fort Payne-licensed translator W283CM in early 2017.  The translator had originally repeated Gadsden's WSGN (which itself repeated Birmingham's WBHM) but this ceased when WSGN was sold to new owners.  That translator was sold in 2022 to a company based in Scottsboro, so it will likely cease rebroadcasting WLRH at some point later that year.