AM Technical Profile: WNGL
aerial] Just off Peach Street in Mobile, near Conception
Street Road and I-165, at or near WGOK's location.
- Power (ERP):
- Day: 5 kW
- Night: 4.6 kW
- Day: 1 tower
- Night: 2
towers, nulled to the north slightly. [pattern
Groundwave Service Contour
from the FCC's Public Files
Image of the Woonie Bird sticker or pin from the WUNI days on the
Radio Sticker of the Day blog.
- Owned by
- 1410 is
Mobile's oldest surviving station, with the first license issued in
1929 for a 500 watt broadcast on this frequency. It went on
the air in 1930, put on by Pape Broadcasting Company (W. G. Austin
and W. O. Pape). The original call sign was WODX. From sign-on
until 1934, the station operated on a shared-time system with WSFA
in Montgomery, which is also on 1410 kHz. Pape tried over
several years to move the station to a better frequency — first to
1010 kHz, then 590 kHz, then 1340 kHz, but all were denied.
Eventually the station was able to operate all day, but still had to
share time with WSFA at night.
The original transmitter site was in the "rural section" of the
Spring Hill community, west of Mobile, with the studios downtown at
the corner of Royal and St. Michaels streets. A year after the
station signed on, the studios were moved to the Battle House
Hotel. The station was a long-time affiliate of NBC.
After years of trying to get off 1410 kHz and away from sharing time
with WSFA, the station finally was granted a permit to move to 1380
kHz, with 1 kW days and 500 watts night, in 1934. With this
move the call sign changed to WALA. The station received a
permit to increase power to 5 kW days in 1940, but it does not
appear to have been built out. Instead, in 1941 NARBA went
into effect and practically every station on the dial had to move
frequencies; for WALA, it was back to 1410 kHz. They at least
got to keep their 1 kW daytime signal!
The book, "Alabama's
Broadcast Stations", by Harry Butler says the calls WALA
once stood for "We Are Loyal Alabamians".
The station received a boost in power to 5 kW day and night in
1942. With this change, the transmitter moved to the Cochrane
Bridge Causeway (today known as just The Causeway, or US-90/98)
about 4 miles east of downtown Mobile. Thanks to this location
in the swampy, salty marshland of upper Mobile Bay, the station
wound up with the best AM signal in Mobile, day or
night. To get the full 5 kW at night, the station also had to
install a two tower directional array, which is still standing
today. (As of June 2018, it's now the home of 1360 WMOB.)
Pape Broadcasting launched WALA-TV on channel 10 in 1953; that year
the radio and TV studios were both located at 210 Government
Street. Pape sold off the TV and radio properties to two
different companies in 1963. Roywood Corporation bought this
station and flipped it to country as WUNI. The call sign meant
"You and I" but it was also called "Woonie", with a "Woonie Bird" as
a station mascot. The ownership changed names to WUNI, Inc.
and went on to be a dominant station in the ratings for years.
During this period of the station's history, the studios were at
1257 Spring Hill Avenue.
Country singer Mel Tillis bought the station in 1983, and changed
the call sign to WMML (which stood for M-M-M-Mel, a nod to his
famous stutter), but with the same country music format. Stiff
competition from FM broadcasters caused the station to lose money,
and Tillis shut it down and sold it to Bridgeway Communications in
1989. They brought the station back to life with a hip-hop and
rap music format. Despite decent ratings, the station was
financially unstable and went dark again.
The station was resurrected once again, this time by Albert L.
Crain, for $25,000, in 1991. He changed the format to black
gospel as "Love 1410" WLVV. After Crain died, the station was
sold to WLVV, Inc., who kept the gospel format alive.
The station remained on the air until 2005 when it sustained heavy
damage from Hurricane Katrina. Rebuilding proved to be too
much for the company, and the station remained off the air for the
remainder of WLVV, Inc.'s ownership tenure. The station was
sold to Archangel Communications, a lay-Catholic group, in the late
summer of 2009. In October the calls changed to WNGL.
The station did not resume operations until September of 2010; when
it returned to the air it carried Catholic religious talk and music
- In late
April 2010 the station received a construction permit to move from
its historic Causeway transmitter site to one off Peach Street in
Mobile. They signed on from this new location in September
2010. Buddy Tucker's WMOB eventually moved to the old Causeway