AM Technical Profile: WZKD

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Frequency:
950
Format:
Adult R&B
Transmitter Location:
[map] [bird's eye] [goKML aerial] Northwest of Montgomery, north of Wares Ferry Road along rural Riverside Drive.  Co-located with WMSP.
Power (ERP):
Day: 1 kW
Night: 45 watts
Antenna:
Day & night: 1 tower, omnidirectional
Other Information:
0.5 mV/m Daytime Groundwave Service Contour from the FCC's Public Files
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[Image] RDS display data for the FM translator, as shown on a Mazda OEM stereo, from 2020.

Owned by Autaugaville Radio

// W231DF Montgomery
// WKXN Fort Deposit
// WKXK Pine Hill
// W296DZ Troy
// WXKD Brantley

RDS logo :

PS-
The Big KD 94.1 WZKD
Time-
[?]
Text-BIG KD 94.1 #1 FOR SOUTHERN SOUL R&B
PTY-Rhythm and Blues
PI-[?]

History:
Ralph M. Allgood and Grover Wise (as Southland Broadcasting) applied for a new AM station license in late August 1951.  The FCC granted the application in August 1952, for a station on 950 kHz, with 500 watts, daytime only.  The calls assigned were WRMA, either for Radio Montgomery Alabama or Ralph M. Allgood.  When it signed on in May 1953, it was transmitting with 1,000 watts, using a Gates BC-1F transmitter, from a site off Bowman Street Ext, on what is now the Gateway Park baseball fields just east of I-65 in Montgomery.  The studios were located at 30 North Lawrence Street in downtown Montgomery. The station debuted with a black-oriented format; Southland also owned Atlanta's R&B giant WAOK.  The studios moved to 135 Commerce Street in the mid-50's.

It appears that the FCC filed a Show Cause order to the station in 1960 over allegations of payola; the FCC records do not indicate an outcome to this inquiry.  The station was hit again in 1963 when a petitioner representing KPRC in Houston filed requesting the station cease operating prior to local sunrise time.  Again, it's unclear what the outcome of this action was.

The station applied for nighttime service in 1968.  While the daytime site would remain off Bowman Street, the new directional nighttime array would be located on Lower Wetumpka Road, adjacent to the Union Academy Church.  Once again, someone petitioned the FCC over the station's action, this time Sparling of Alabama (owners of 1600 WXVI in Montgomery) filed to oppose the nighttime operation.  This opposition was not granted, however, and the FCC approved the nighttime facility in 1971. 

Through the first half of the 70's, the station evolved into a mixed R&B/Top 40 format.  Radio Montgomery (then-owners of WMGY and FM WAJM/WMGZ) sold their FM outlet to WRMA in the mid-70's. They'd turn it into an Easy Listening station as 103.3 WREZ.  This station, meanwhile, ditched the R&B to go straight ahead with Top 40.

The station was acquired by Brien Broadcasting Corporation (Cleve J. Brien, President) in 1977.  Under their ownership, the station flipped to a full Rock format as WLSQ.  Those call letters and their "95 Rock" slogan were supposedly a tribute to Chicago's legendary WLS radio.  The timing was notable as the city's FM rock stations had all recently abandoned rock for top 40, stranding the rock audience.

At midnight on 19 March of 1987 the AM picked up the WREZ calls to match WREZ-FM, dropping the AOR format to simulcast the FM's Easy Listening format. In August of that year, the AM and FM were acquired by U.S. Broadcasting.  Later, in November of 1987, the FM became "Sunny 103" WSYA-FM with an Adult Contemporary format.  This station became WSYA about a year later, simulcasting the FM. 

In 1993, Colonial Broadcasting acquired this station and it's FM companion. It may have been around this time that the second site for nighttime operation was dismantled.  Early in 1994 the FM became WMXS, but it was still a simulcast with this station, which still held on to the WSYA calls.  For a short period in the mid-90's, the station tried a Nostalgia format, but soon flipped to an ambitious All-News format, picking up the WNZZ calls in April of 1995.  The news format was a mix of national and local news, with TV simulcasts, but it failed to find footing in a smaller market such as Montgomery, and by late 1997 the station was back to satellite-fed Nostalgia.  The station did, however, retain a relatively long block of simulcasting WSFA-TV's morning news programs.

Montgomery's Colonial Broadcasting was swallowed up by Cumulus in the winter of 1997/1998.  As Cumulus expanded its portfolio of stations in the market, it wound up having to place this station in a trust to stay under the ownership caps.  In 2011 this station moved to the Volt Radio Trust, where it stayed until June of 2016, when it was announced that Shelby Broadcast Associates (Lee and Andrea Reynolds, otherwise known as Reynolds Technical Associates) were acquiring the station for $55,000 cash.  At the time of this purchase, Reynolds was also in the process of moving WLDA from Dothan to Hope Hull, where it would reside on 93.5 MHz.  It was rumored that one or both stations would feature a sports format when the license transfer completed; the license transfer happened in the third week of August 2016.  The station and translator it's associated with were quickly spun off to Roscoe "Killer" Diller's Autaugaville Radio, owners of the WKXK/WKXN simulcast south of Montgomery.  The stations went off the air after the sale and were expected to return with a format different from the previous nostalgia format at some point.  The sale was made official at the start of November 2016.  Around that time, the new owners reserved the WZKD calls.  The station was reported on air in mid-January 2017 airing "The Big Station" Hip-Hop format heard on the company's two FM's south of town, WKXK/WKXN, but that was apparently just a placeholder for an Adult R&B format that launched in March as "KD 94.1".  It appears that as of March 2017, the KD format also found its way back to the other two FMs, and they are all now airing the same programming.