FM Technical Profile: WZZK
[ Home |
| FM | LPFM
| Translators |
| LPTV |
[ Metros: Birmingham |
| Huntsville |
GA | Dothan |
| The Shoals ]
- 104.7 WZZK,
Today's New Country And Your Familiar Favorites
view] Off Golden Crest Drive, atop Red Mountain.
- Power (ERP):
- 97.8 kW
ERP with beam tile: 100 kW
- Antenna HAAT:
- 1299 feet.
- 60 dBu protected
map, from the FCC.
PS-104.7 WZZK song title/artist
Text-WZZK Alabama's Best Country (song/artist)
HD-2: Contemporary Christian "Air1"
// W271BN Birmingham
PS-Air1 (song) (artist)
- More Information:
AL.com story on the Rick & Bubba Show's 20th Anniversary in
RDS display from an Insignia HD portable in the Florence area. From May 2017.
Display from a Polk HD radio showing the HD-1 PAD data.
HD PAD data from a Mazda OEM car stereo, showing a station logo.
HD PAD data from an Insignia HD portable for the HD-2 channel
carrying the Air1 format. From May 2017.
Street View imagery of the building housing the SummitMedia studios
off Highway 280 in Hoover.
- J. S. Kelly, LLC
- An original
construction permit for this station was first issued all the way
back in July of 1945, to Johnston Broadcasting Company (George
Johnston and George Johnston, Jr.), owners of Bessemer-licensed 1400
WJLD. The permit was for 44.3 MHz, with an RCA FM-10A 10 kW
transmitter feeding an antenna located atop Red Mountain on the WBRC
TV tower. Before this facility could be built, the
construction permit's completion date was delayed multiple
times. In the interim, the FM band moved up to the current
88-108 MHz slice of spectrum, and the FCC initially assigned 93.5
MHz to the station, along with the WJRD-FM call sign. In 1948,
the transmitter type was changed to an RCA BTF-3B, the frequency was
switched to 104.7 MHz, the power was bumped up to 22.6 kW and the
studio location was listed as Atop Red Mountain. When it
signed on in early 1949, it was assigned the WJLN call letters, and
began simulcasting WJLD's Black oriented programming.
In 1969, the station was granted a big increase in coverage by
raising the antenna height to 641 feet HAAT, and boosting the power
to 100 kW using a Collins 831-G1 transmitter, feeding a Collins
37CP-11 eleven bay antenna. The studio moved from Atop Red
Mountain to 101 North 19th Street in downtown Birmingham at this
time, too. The station also began utilizing a Secondary
Communications Authorization (SCA) feed at 67 kHz. That
facility went on-air at the start of 1970. In 1972, the
studios moved to 1449 Spaulding-Ishkooda Road, where WJLD is
currently located. By 1973, the station had slowly begun
adding unique programming; it simulcast the Black programming of
WJLD part time and played Album Oriented Rock/Underground Rock the
rest of the time. "WJLN Plays The Albums" was the slogan, and
it was meant literally — they often played full albums in their
entirety. During the AOR years, the call sign changed to WZZK.
The Broadcasting Yearbook notes that their change to
Country (as "Country Sunshine on FM 105" happened in 1976, which
means this is likely Birmingham's longest-lasted single music format
The license was transferred from Johnston Broadcasting to Park City
Communications of Alabama (Richard Ferguson, et al.) in 1980.
In 1981, the station boosted the antenna height again, this time to
1,103 feet HAAT, using a Harris FMH-5AC five bay antenna
system. The studios then relocated to 530 Beacon Parkway East,
where they would remain for many years, along with many other big
broadcasters in the city. That same year, The Katz Broadcasting
Company assumed the license of the station.
The station moved off the WBRC TV tower in 2003 after American
General built a multi-use tower near the WTTO TV studios further
west on Red Mountain. This boosted the antenna height to 1,325
feet, but required them to downgrade from a Class C to Class C0
Katz Broadcasting later became a part of Newcap Broadcasting; they
in turn sold the station along with several others in the market to
Cox Radio in 1997.
A long-time market
leader, this station suffered in the ratings in the late 90's due to
the fresh sound of the competition, who snagged the Patti and
"Dollar" Bill Lawson morning show. WZZK debuted a revamped effort of
new personalities the second week of January 2006, complete with
billboards showing their traditional orange and black billboard ad,
only upside-down, in an attempt to regain their spot as a leading
country station in the market.
- WZZK has been the flagship
station for the popular Rick & Bubba Show on radio since
January, 2007. The show had previously been heard on Citadel
Broadcasting's WYSF ("Y 94.5") going back to 1999, when the show first
moved to Birmingham from Gadsden. At the time the show moved to
this station, all three major broadcasting companies bid for the show,
with Citadel offering $2.2 million a year to stay at WYSF, but the Cox
offer was for more, and at the time the largest compensation package
ever given to a radio program in the state of Alabama. Prior to
their move to Birmingham, Rick and Bubba's longtime home was "Q 104"
WQEN in Gadsden, going back to 1992. (Oddly, WQEN itself would
also move to Birmingham in 2005.) In 2013, Cox sold the
Birmingham stations, including WZZK, to SummitMedia.
- In October of 2015 it was reported that this
station began HD digital broadcasts, with no sub-channels.
The HD-2 appears to have debuted in mid-March 2016, relaying 1320
WENN and the "Easy 102.1" soft AC format. In
early May 2017 that went away, replaced by Educational Media
Foundation's Air1 contemporary Christian music format, which also
began to air on the 102.1 MHz translator.