FM Technical Profile: WMJJ

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Station Name:
Magic 96.5


Adult Contemporary

Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] Ishkooda Mountain, about 1/4 mile southeast of where Wenonah Road and Venice Road meet, near the Goldwire community.

Power (ERP):
100 kW


Antenna HAAT:
1027 feet

Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.


PS-Birmingham's Variety Magic965 (song/artist)
Text-Magic 96.5 (song/artist)
Soft Rock
Metro Traffic


HD-2: Hip-Hop
"104-1 The Beat"
// W281AB Mountain Brook
PS-The Beat (song/artist)
Text-The Beat (song/artist)
Rhythm and Blues


HD-3: Contemporary Christian
// KLVR Middletown, CA
// W241AI Gorgas
Mono (HD feed is stereo)

AUX: 32 kW @ 781 feet HAAT. 60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.

More Information:


[Facebook] Facebook for the K-Love network
[WQEZ Online] A tribute to the station's WQEZ years, with a bit of history and streaming beautiful music.

[News Video] Claire Huddleston with WBRC flips the switch to all-Christmas music on 5 November 2021.

[Image] RDS display from the station on a GMC Yukon's radio. (From 2012.)
[Image] RDS display from an Insignia portable radio showing the oddball PS that all iHeart stations have. (From early 2016.)
[Image] RDS display data from the HD2 via FM translator, as shown on a Mazda OEM stereo, from 2020.
[Image] RDS display from the HD-2 via FM translator on a GMC Yukon's radio. (From 2012.)

[Image] HD PAD data for the HD-1 channel, displayed on an Insignia portable in northwest Alabama. (From summer 2016.)
[Image] HD PAD data for the HD-2 subchannel,
displayed on an Insignia portable in northwest Alabama. (From summer 2016.)
[Image] HD PAD data for the HD-3 subchannel, displayed on an Insignia portable in northwest Alabama. (From summer 2016.)

[Image] HD PAD data for the HD-1 channel, displayed on a Mazda OEM car stereo. (From 2020.)
[Image] HD PAD data for the HD-2 subchannel, displayed on a Mazda OEM car stereo. (From 2020.)
[Image] HD PAD data for the HD-3 subchannel, displayed on a Mazda OEM car stereo. (From 2020.)

[Studio] Street View imagery of the iHeartMedia studio space in Birmingham.


This station dates back to an original construction permit issued in September 1960 to Chapman Radio and Television Company (William A. and George K. Chapman), for a new FM station on 96.5 MHz, a companion to their AM WCRT 1260.  The permit was granted for 55.44 kW, from a I.T.A. FM 7500-B transmitter feeding a Collins 37-M-8 eight section FM antenna located near The Club atop Red Mountain, at a height above average terrain of 585 feet.  The studio located listed was 725 South 22nd Street, but that changed to the Town House Hotel at 2009 8th Avenue South before signing on.  The antenna also changed to an Andrew 1308-1 eight bay system, with an ERP of 48.8 kW.  A license to cover was filed in April 1961; WCRT-FM commenced broadcasting with two SCA (Subsidiary Communications Authorization) channels, at 67 kHz and 41 kHz, the latter of which was a very non-standard frequency choice.  It's unclear what the format was in the early days, but the Broadcasting Yearbooks of the era note that it was programmed separately from the AM's Beautiful Music format.  The transmitter was replaced with a Collins 830Z-1 in 1963, and the oddball 41 kHz SCA was deleted.  The station went through another transmitter and antenna upgrade in 1967, utilizing a Collins 830F-1 transmitter, feeding a new twelve-section Andrew 1312-1 antenna system. The HAAT was boosted to 566 feet and the ERP bumped up to the maximum 100 kW.

1971 started off with the station applying for more transmitter and antenna changes.  The request this time was for a Collins 37CP-11 eleven bay antenna, introducing both horizontal and vertical polarization for the first time.  The HAAT would change to 683 feet, but with only 50 kW ERP.  This permit would be extended several times and expire once, and in the interim the station license was transferred to Magic City Communications Corporation in 1973. With the transfer, the station's call sign changed to WQEZ in May and the format became "Your Q to EZ listening" with a popular Easy Listening format.  That same year they applied for yet another antenna change, this time to a Gates FMC-6 six bay system at 763 feet HAAT. That facility signed on in January 1974 according to FCC filings.  That same year they applied for yet another change, this time a move to the WBMG-TV 42 tower off Golden Crest Drive, still on Red Mountain.  This allowed them even more height, using a Gates FMC-6 six bay horizontal and vertically polarized antenna at 860 feet HAAT.  A license to cover for that was filed in June 1975.  The station was able to gain even more antenna height in 1975, when the antenna height was raised to 932 feet.  The station applied to move to their current transmitting site in 1977.  The application states the transmitter would be a Harris FM-40H3, feeding an ERI FMS-6 six bay antenna system at a height of 892 feet.  This would also see them return to 100 kW permanently.  This facility was on the air by November 1979, as "Stereo 96".

In 1982, Magic City Broadcasting sold both WCRT AM this station to separate owners.  The AM went to a religious group while this station went to Capitol Broadcasting Corporation.  The day after Christmas, WQEZ signed off.  The next morning, the station returned to the air with Adult Contemporary as "Magic 96" WMJJ.  As of December 2022, the station has marked 40 years with the same branding and basically the same format.  An article from the Birmingham Post-Herald reported on 29 March 1983 that vandals cut the guy wires and the tower collapsed.  The station was only off for six hours before returning to the air at half power from a backup site.

Capitol Broadcasting sold the station to Ameron Broadcasting, Inc. in August 1990 for $16.5 million.  The station (along with several others in town) would be absorbed by Capstar (Clear Channel, later iHeart Radio) in August 1997.

In the 2000's, the station was notable for being one of the first in the state to launch Christmas music every year right after Thanksgiving. Historically, they always tried to be first, sometimes launching into holiday music as soon as early November!  For many years, they also hosted a "Christmas in July" stunt, playing Christmas music for a few days in the dead of summer.  The station added an RDS encoder in January 2002.  Interestingly, it lit up right after WBHM's RDS disappeared.  Perhaps it was the same encoder?  Like a lot of Alabama stations, RDS transmission from this era were sporadic until the technology got firmed established in the US.  Through much of the early 2000's, the station maintained its middle of the road approach to Adult Contemporary, being not too upbeat and not too sleepy, while also mixing in things like sing-a-long weekends with Oldies.  By the end of 2009, though, this had changed as more corporate iHeart programming was being heard on the station, bringing it more uptempo and contemporary in sound.

Going back in time a bit to 2006, it's worth noting that this station and WDXB were granted experimental permits for operating translators, each located one channel up the dial from the main station.  Both translators transmitted from atop Double Oak Mountain at Highway 280 and had quite large coverage areas, but ones that were limited by being right next door to their respective 100 kW parent signals.  The purpose was said to be to assess how much interference was caused by having 99-watt translators operating right next to the main station's frequency.  The experimental permits were extended until they were finally dismissed roughly one year later. 

Not long after those permits were dismissed, it's thought that WMJJ started broadcasting in HD.  (The channels right next to the analog channel would be needed for the digital sidebands.) 

On 29 July 2011, the station's HD-2 subchannel dropped iHeartRadio's Classic Hits/Oldies feed for Hip-Hop as "104.1 The Beat", feeding Mountain Brook-licensed translator W281AB, which formerly was used by WJLD-AM.