FM Technical Profile: WXJC


Station Name:
Frequency:
101.1
Format:
Gospel, Christian Talk
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [street view] SSW of Cullman on CR-437, tower is visible from I-65 between the two AL-69 exits.
Power (ERP):
100 kW
Antenna:
Omnidirectional
Antenna HAAT:
1345 feet
Other Information:
60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
:PS-[?] Time-[?] Text-[blank] PTY-[?]
AUX: 100 kW @ 1234 feet. 60 dBu protected contour map, from the FCC.
// WXJC Birmingham
// W245CS Birmingham

More Information:
[FCC]
[FCCdata]
[Radio-Locator]
[Wikipedia]
[Facebook]
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station from the WRRS era
[Bhamwiki] Information on the station as WYDE-FM
[Picture] HD-1 display from an Insignia HD portable located in the Florence area.
[Picture] HD-2 display from an Insignia HD portable located in the Florence area.
[Studio] Street View imagery of the Crawford Broadcasting studios on Summit Parkway in Homewood.
Owner:
Crawford Broadcasting
History:
The Voice of Cullman (L. E. Duffey and B. C. Eddins) put this station on the air in 1949 as WFMH-FM, a Class A companion to still-new WFMH on the AM dial.  The station originally signed on at 100.9 MHz with 360 watts, from a site about three miles east-northeast of Cullman.  A Raytheon RF-250 transmitter fed a Raytheon RFW-1B antenna at approximately 269 feet above ground, making this a strictly local player in Cullman.  It's unknown what the format was for this station in the earlier years, exactly, as the owners never listed the format in any of the Broadcasting Yearbook issues until 1992.  At the start, it simulcast the AM sister station, however.

Seeking more coverage, the station moved to 101.1 MHz in 1953, and got a power boost to 5.3 kW, bumping them up to a Class B signal.  They kept the same antenna, apparently, but added a GE RF-2A transmitter. 

In 1966, the station moved the FM transmitter site to the AM towers on Warnke Road just west of downtown.  They installed a ten bay Co-El-Co 10FM antenna and lowered the ERP (effective radiated power) to 4 kW.  A year later they were granted a permit to make a big change: 86.7 kW from a antenna height of 328 feet above average terrain (HAAT).  It did not go on the air until 1970.  It's likely that there were a variety of formats through these early years, including Country, Adult Contemporary and Nostalgia, all in glorious mono and all simulcasting the AM full time.

The station received a permit to boost coverage quite a bit again in 1987, when a permit for 100 kW from the current transmitter site was first issued.  Getting this upgrade on the air proved even more difficult that the previous upgrade.  They went through no less than 10 extensions or requests to replace an expired permit before the upgraded signal signed on in 1997 ten whole years after the permit was first issued!  By this point, the station was only duplicating the AM some of the time and was noted to have a Classic Country format, which, thanks to the massive signal, blanketed much of north and central Alabama.  Unfortunately, this upgrade proved to be somewhat questionable.  While putting some signal into many cities (Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, Huntsville, Florence, Jasper, and of course, Cullman) it proved to be too weak in any of the rated markets to make a dent.  The expense of running a big station in a small town proved to be too much hassle for Eddins Broadcasting Company (which rose out of Voice of Cullman).  In 1998, he leased the station to a consortium of Birmingham businesspeople intent on airing a second Contemporary Christian format in the Birmingham market.  Worth noting, famous local weatherman James Spann was on the board of directors.  Former WVTM-TV news anchor Wendell Harris came on as station manager.

They flipped the calls to WRRS (the WFMH calls migrated to another FM in nearby Holly Pond) in November 1998, with the launch of the Contemporary Christian format.  Marketed as "Reality Radio", the format achieved only modest success, although it was popular enough to cause competitor WDJC to make changes to their own Contemporary Christian lineup.  Reality Radio never made the money the owners were hoping for, partly due to the $6,800 a month rent for studios inside the Brookwood Village shopping mall in Homewood.  Allegations of mismanagement were bandied about, and the entire board of directors resigned in protest of station management. 

Black Crow (as STG Media) bought out Reality Radio's lease in the fall of 2001 and flipped the format to Adult Contemporary with a bit of Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) as "101.1 The Spot".  Shortly after taking over the lease, Black Crow bought the station for $12 million direct from Eddins.  The music lasted until June 2002, when Black Crow sold the station to Kimtron (Crawford Broadcasting) for $8.5 million.  In an unusual move for radio, the on air talent was allowed to talk about the impending demise of the station.  They also ran spots asking listeners to check out the alternative rock on WRAX, a station owned by a competitor.  After Crawford closed the sale, they took the station off the air to do maintenance on the transmitter.

When the station returned to the airwaves in July 2002, it was WYDE-FM, and simulcast the conservative Talk format of AM 850 WYDE in Birmingham.  Around 2003, the AM split from the simulcast to do gospel, while this station received some more transmitter site work, yielding a 100 foot increase in antenna height along with a new antenna to try to mitigate some of the coverage issues in Birmigham's coveted Over-the-Mountain neighborhoods.  That same year, this station became paired up with another Birmingham AM (then-)WLGD 1260 switched to WYDE (AM) to simulcast and fill in coverage gaps in Birmingham.  It fell back out of the simulcast to standards again in the fall of 2006.  The station picked up the iBiquity HD digital broadcasting system in either 2005 or 2006. 

The 1st of July 2007 saw a major shakeup at the station, with all the talk programming being pushed out for a return to music.  They did a "Christmas in July" stunt with all Christmas music until flipping to Oldies-heavy Adult Contemporary on the 5th as "Fun 101".  Longtime morning show hosts Burt & Kurt, who had done a stint as talk on "The Source", stayed on as music hosts.  The moniker was apparently not very well thought out: Within the station's coverage area there was another "Fun"-named outlet, licensed to Arab.  After just a few days, they changed names to "Star 101".  Once again, there was already a "Star" station, this time in Huntsville.  They finally settled on "The New 101.1".  Still, though, at the time Birmingham's 94.5 (then-)WYSF was trying something new, and they were already using the "New" moniker.  So that's three existing station names that Crawford threw on here during a short period of time!
 
In keeping with the scattershot programming of the station, the Oldies became more of a Classic Hits mix, which then migrated towards a more Adult Contemporary feel, right before the music began getting phased out (again) for Talk programming.  In October 2008 the entire staff was let go and shortly thereafter, conservative syndicated talker Laura Ingraham debuted, returning to the Birmingham market after a lengthy absence.  In an odd choice, the station continued to play music outside the talk shows.  At this time, the AM changed again, from standards WLGD back again to WYDE (AM), simulcasting the FM talk format for a second time.
   
Chicago's shock-jock-now-conservative-talker Mancow Mueller was added to the lineup at some point, along with former-now-again WYDE host Lee Davis, who called this his flagship affiliate.  At some point, they quietly reintroduced "The Source" as the station name.  Dave Ramsey and Phil Hendrie rounded out the list of well known syndicated programs in 2009.  In mid-August 2009 it was reported that the AM and FM are splitting off at least part of the day to air different programming.  In early February 2011 the station cancelled an existing construction permit which would have raised the antenna height by a few hundred feet.  No reason was given why the upgrade wasn't carried out.
   
In mid-February 2013 the station dropped "The Source" to become "Superstation 101 WYDE", with much of the same programming as before.  Leland Whaley from WAPI joined the station around this time as program director and picked up midday hosting duties.  Other local hosts included Michael Hart, mornings and Steve West in the evenings.  The rest of the schedule is filled out with Dave Ramsey and Andrea Tantaros.
The HD subchannels (HD-2 carried WYDE-AM and the HD-3 carried WDJC-FM) were reported inactive in the early winter of 2015, but the HD-2 was back on in August 2015, this time relaying WDJC-FM; it later switched to WYDE-AM.

In early November 2017 it was discovered that Crawford was planning to end the long-running talk format on the station, dropping all talk hosts on Saturday 3 November 2018, for Gospel and Christian Talk programming from WXJC (AM 850).  The move occurred at midnight on 5 November 2018; at that time, the station began simulcasting WXJC (AM 850) in Birmingham and took on the WXJC-FM calls.