AM Technical Profile: WOOF

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Frequency:
560
Format:
Sports
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] On AL-52, west of N Beverlye Road.
Power (ERP):
Day: 5 kW
Night: 118 watts
Antenna:
1 tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
[FCC]
[FCCData.org]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Studio] Street View imagery of the station's studio on Highway 52 in the Dothan area.
Owned by Michael Holderfield
// W261AT Dothan, AL
// W296DQ Dothan, AL (actual location: Enterprise, AL)
// WVVL Elba, AL
History:
R. A. Dowling, Jr. and Owens Fitzgerald Alexander (as Downlander Broadcasting Company) were awarded an original construction permit for a new AM station in Dothan in October of 1946.  Originally, the station was planned for 700 kHz, but that was amended ten months later to the current frequency of 560 kHz.  When the station signed on as a CBS affiliate in 1948, it was a 1 kW daytimer, transmitting from Old Southern Airmotive Road in Dothan. This name no longer exists, so it's unclear where exactly the transmitter was located.  The studios were at 100 Foster Street in Dothan.  From the very beginning, the calls were WOOF.

In 1950, the station was granted a permit to upgrade to 5 kW, still as a daytime-only operator.  Before it signed on with this increased power, however, the requested transmitter site was changed several times: first to 3 miles southeast of Dothan off what is now US-84, then 5 miles northwest of Dothan on US-231, then to a site in Dothan near Beulah Baptist Church on Headland Avenue.  Finally, they settled on the site they use today, on what was then called Webb Highway or Rural Route 1, just east of Dothan.  This facility signed on in early 1952 using a Gates BC-5B transmitter.

Some time in the latter half of the 50's, the station dropped CBS for the smaller Keystone network, according to the 1957 Radio Annual.  They'd later return to CBS in the future. 
The station billed themselves in early ads as "the 42nd most powerful station in the nation" strange, considering there were more than 42 50kW stations out there at the time!  One popular slogan was "When Daytime's Here, WOOF Is Near."

In 1954, the company attempted to start a TV station, which would have transmitted from the AM's studio and transmitter site, but this was rejected by the FCC.  A rarity in the 50's in the south on a white-owned station, they gave access to black gospel singers on Saturdays and let preachers come on, offering extremely low rates to allow them to buy time. 

R. A Dowling was killed in an accident in 1960, and day to day operations of the station fell to his wife, "Mrs. Agnes".  Through the 60's, the station played Top 40 music during the afternoon hours, and by the '70s was a full-time hit music station.  Under her leadership, the station spawned an FM counterpart, WOOF-FM. 

By the mid-80's, the station was unable to compete with FM for the popular music listeners and flipped to Rock-leaning Oldies.  In the mid-80's the station was reported to be broadcasting in stereo with the Harris system.  By 1987 the station was doing Album Oriented Rock (AOR) as "Rockin' 56" a format that lasted until 1988 when it dropped original programming and began simulcasting the FM's Adult Contemporary format.  It's also around this time that the station added nighttime power for the first time. 

Around 1990 the station appears to have tried a Black Gospel format, but it didn't last and by 1992 the station was listed as Middle of the Road (MOR) fed via satellite.  The station also went back to simulcasting the FM in the latter part of the 90's, until they launched their current Sports Talk format as "560 The Ball".

Sometime in the 2010's, "Mrs. Agnes" was no longer healthy enough to run the station, and that task was given to her daughter, Leigh Simpson Thomas.
As of December 2009 it was shown in an FCC filing that WOOF will be rebroadcasting on Dothan-area FM translator W261AT.  This translator originally was home to the FM outlet for AM'er "The Wheel" WEEL.  The station started broadcasting on the 100.1 MHz translator in the early part of 2010.  In the summer of 2011 the station picked up some Yahoo! Sports Radio programming, but that was dropped in March 2013 for ESPN Radio.  In March 2017 the station added a second translator, this time in Enterprise, on 107.1 MHz.

It was announced in October 2020 that
WOOF, Inc. (Katrina Leigh Simpson Thomas) would be selling the station and its FM sister to Michael Holderfield for $1.2 million.  Holderfield owns classic country WVVL 101.1 in Elba, Alabama.  He was also program director of WOOF-FM, and chief engineer of both stations for a number of years in the 80's and 90's.  In March 2021, Holderfield flipped his Elba station to a simulcast of this sports format.