AM Technical Profile: WROA

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Classic Country
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] Off Klein Road, west of Oliver Drive in northern Gulfport. Co-located on site with WXYK-FM, WGCM-FM and WUJM-FM.
Power (ERP):
Day: 900 watts
Night: 35 watts
Day and night: One tower
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
Owned by Dowdy and Dowdy
// W261CU Poplarville, MS
John Edward Breland received a permit for a new station on 1390 kHz in April, 1954.  It went on the air in early 1955 with 1 kW as a daytimer as WDEB. with a Middle of the Road (MOR) music format.  Just one year after signing on, the station license was sold to Denver T. Brannen in April 1956.  He, in turn, sold it to Electronics Research, Inc. of Evansville in 1957.  They moved the studios to 1313 28th Avenue in Gulfport and changed the calls to WROA (Riviera Of America) in 1958.  Charles W. Dowdy acquired the station in 1959.  The station launched an FM companion in 1964, putting WROA-FM on the air at 107.1 MHz.

The station tried several times to boost power and get nighttime coverage, first in 1958 with an aborted attempt to boost to 5 kW as a daytimer.  Dowdy tried again in 1963, attempting to move to 1400 kHz with 1 kW days and 250 watts at night, but that application was denied.  Attempt number three was in 1966 with a proposal to move the transmitter site inland and install a directional antenna.  That application was finally granted in 1972; it allowed the station to boost power to 5 kW days and 1 kW nights, but required the use of a massive eight tower array, which is where the current transmitter site is today. 

The new, more powerful signal signed on in 1973, and with it Top 40 music, which displaced the MOR format to the FM side.

Once FM competition became too much, the station flipped back to something lighter, installing a Beautiful Music format, played off tapes, in 1981.  They kept that format for quite a long time, only migrating to an Adult Standards format in the mid-90's, making them one of the last of the beautiful music stations anywhere in the US.  The station was listed as broadcasting in the Motorola C-QUAM AM stereo system by the NAB as of 1985, and it may have been active as late as the early 90's.

Late in 2002 the station switched to the Music of Your Life satellite Easy Listening format from the Beautiful Music format on tape.  It has been reported that this station, which difficult to receive outside the Gulfport area at night, has been heard clearly as far away as Honduras, due to their directional array throwing out so much signal over the Gulf of Mexico!
During the first phase of the AM Revitalization plan, Dowdy tried to secure a translator for this station, one that would have been moved in from Poplarville.  They jumped the gun a bit and it fell through until the second window opened up in August, at which point they re-applied for the translator.  It signed on in the summer of 2016.

In early May 2016, the station sustained heavy damage from a storm, leaving the station off the air for a short time.  The owners requested and received a Special Temporary Authority (STA) to operate at 1 kW through the existing antenna system.  That STA was renewed several times, most recently in March 2020. 

The station received a permit to reduce operations from 5,000 watts full time setup with eight towers, to just 900 watts during the day, with one tower, diplexed with co-owned WGCM-AM.  That permit was granted in August 2017.  In early March 2019 it was discovered that the longtime Standards format was dropped for Classic Country, as "Merle 100.1".

A license to cover for the single-tower, 900 watt daytime facility was filed in May 2020.