AM Technical Profile: WVMI

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Talk, News, Sports
Transmitter Location:
Northeast of Biloxi, south of McClellan Road, west of where it intersects with Tucker Road, north of I-10.
Power (ERP):
5,000 watts day / 1,000 watts night.
4 towers day: Primary lobe to the south-southeast, secondary lobes to the north-northeast and east-northeast / 4 tower night: Primary lobe to the southwest, secondary lobes to the northwest and east-southeast.
Other Information:
Owned by Rainey
James H. McKee, Odes E. Robinson and G. E. Holmes (as Radio Associates) were granted a construction permit for this station in February 1947.  Originally meant to go on air from the Broadwater Beach Hotel in Biloxi, the transmitter site moved to east of Biloxi (near where Clay Boyd Park is today in Ocean Springs) before the station signed on in March 1950.  From the start, the station has had the WVMI calls, but originally it was a 1 kW daytime only operator with a Collins 20-K transmitter.  The studios did eventually move to the Broadwater later in 1950. 

In 1960, ownership changed to New South Communications, Inc.  They moved the studios to the Trade Winds Hotel at 863 East Beach Boulevard. At the time, the station was known to have a Top 40 music format.  They installed a Gates BC 1J transmitter in 1961.  This station spawned an FM companion in 1966; the two of them combined simulcast and at one point had a 68 share in the ratings!  They also tried to get a TV station off the ground on VHF channel 13 but it was stillborn. People embraced Top 40 on FM quickly, and by 1969 the station had begun transitioning to a Country music format, and was full-in with country by 1970.

The station received a permit to boost power to 5 kW days and install their first nighttime service 1 kW, directional, using a six tower array in 1974.  That facility signed on in 1976, using a CCA AM-5000DS transmitter, from the last-used transmitter site, described above.  At some point in the early 70's, the studios moved to 570 DeBuys Road in Biloxi. 

The station began broadcasting in C-Quam AM stereo around 1986 or '87.  Family Group Radio Inc. bought the station in 1987.  They, in turn, sold it to Telesouth Communications in 1990, along with the FM, for $2.1 million.  Telesouth flipped the format from country to News/Talk.  At some point since then the station tried a return to country, focusing on older country hits, but it didn't last and the format was soon back to talk radio.

G&R Radio bought the station in 1995 for $125,000.  The station applied for an AM expanded band companion station in 1997, seeking to move to 1640 kHz.  That permit was granted in 2000 and was assigned the WTNI calls for "Talk News Information".

Triad (as Monterey Licenses) bought the station in 2000 for $900,000 (this may have included other G&R stations.)  After the companion expanded band station signed on in June 2003, this facility's days were numbered.  In the first week of November 2003, the station went dark and all programming moved to 1640 kHz.