TV Technical Profile: WTBM-CD

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24.1 - Telemundo
24.2 - // WBRC Fox 6.1
24.3 - SonLife
Transmitter Location:
[map] [street view] "Atop Red Mountain" on the WBRC-TV tower. Looking at Vulcan from downtown, it's the second tower down.
Power (ERP):
15 kW
Antenna Height Above Ground Level (AGL):
1,042 feet
Other Information:


[Image] Screencap of station identification on screen, showing simulcast of WBRC with WBXA and WJMY, from July 2022.

Owned by Gray Television
This station dates back to the fall of 1988 as W02BV, an analog low power station broadcasting The Box music video channel.  It broadcast from atop the office building on the west side of Goodwin Crest Drive, atop Red Mountain.  In this Bing Bird's Eye view, the old antenna and tower atop the building are still visible (September, 2015.)  The Box music video channel at one time featured programming dictated by viewers, who could call a pay-telephone number and put in a request for a song.  In 1999, MTV Networks purchased The Box.  The Box network was shut down in 2011 and remaining stations were fed MTV|2 programming.  Interestingly, right before being shut down, this station's calls changed to WBXA-CA.  In May 2015 the station converted to digital broadcasting and the calls changed to WBXA-CD.  After the switch to digital, it's been reported that the station is carrying the business-oriented BIZ.TV network, duplicated on three subchannels. It appears that at some point later 24.2 became SonLife TV (SBN) while the 24.3 feed disappeared completely.  The -.3 subchannel did finally reappear in November 2017, with an all-infomecials type network called OnTV4U.

The station received a construction permit to increase power to 15 kW from 1.2 kW in February 2018.  That permit expired unbuilt in January 2021.  At some point, the lineup changed to include The Country Network on the first subchannel, along with other shopping and infomercial channels.

In March 2022 it was announced that the station would be sold by L4 Media Group, LLC, to Gray Television, along with WBXM-CD in Montgomery.  In July 2022, it was reported that the 24.1 subchannel began rebroadcasting WBRC 6.1 in Birmingham, as well as  Circle on 24.5.  In July 2022, the station filed to change its call sign to WTBM-CD, in preparation for flipping to Telemundo on 31 August 2022.  The call sign change occurred on 1 August 2022.  Near the end of August 2022, Gray applied and was granted a permit to move the station from the American General "pickle fork" tower on Red Mountain, to the WBRC-TV tower just a few blocks up the road.  They will also change antenna parameters and boost power to 15 kW.  At the time of this update, the Height Above Average Terrain and directional antenna data was unavailable from the FCC website.  Telemundo launched on 31 August 2022.  The Fox 6 simulcast moved to 24.4 in standard definition, and Circle on 24.5 was deleted.

In late September 2022, the WBRC simulcast on the .4 subchannel disappeared, replaced by a "No Signal" graphic. 

A license to cover for the move to the WBRC-TV tower was granted by the FCC in early January, 2023.  Around that same time the station dropped the ShopLC channel, and moved the standard definition simulcast of Fox 6 to the .2 subchannel, bumping SonLife to the .3 channel.