AM Technical Profile: WERC

News, Talk, Sports.
Transmitter Location:
Intersection of Finley Blvd and US 78 in Birmingham. Twin tower just behind Alabama Department of Transportation buildings.
Power (ERP):
5,000 watts 24 hours a day.
1 tower day / 2 towers night: Directional to the south.
Other Information:
Owned by AMFM Inc.
(Early history skimmed from the WAAY-TV history page.)
The station was started by J. C. Bell. The calls were WBRC (Bell Radio Corporation). The station was on 950 kHz and ran with only 10 watts. Both studio and transmitter were in Bell's home in Fountain Heights. It was sold in 1928 to M. D. Smith, Jr. for $2,000. In 1929 the transmitter was moved to a location behind Birmingham Awning and Tent works at the corner of 12th Avenue and 27th Street North. Power was increased to 500 watts and the studios were moved to the Old Athletic Club. WBRC began operating 12 hours a day.
In 1931 WBRC increased power to 5 kW and the studios were relocated to the mezzanine floor at the Temple Theater. The all-glass studio was known as "The Crystal Studio". The transmitter was moved to a remote location in north Birmingham, known as "Kilocycle, Alabama". (!) The station was incorporated, with J. C. Bell and Glen Marshal getting 25% stock each and M. D. Smith Jr. and wife getting 50%. In 1932 the studios were moved to the Bankhead Hotel.
WBRC moved again in 1935 to 19th Street and 2nd Avenue North due to growth. The same year WBRC became affiliated with NBC. In 1937 M. D. Smith Jr. died, and his wife, Eloise Haney Smith, took control of Bell Radio Corporation. By 1939 Eloise Smith had bought out Glenn Marshal's stock. By 1940, Mr. Bell died and Eloise Smith (soon to be Eloise Hanna by marriage) bought Bell's stock.
In 1946 Mrs. Hanna received a construction permit for WBRC-FM (106.9?). It came on the air with an amazing power of 500,000 watts, making it the most powerful FM station in the world. In 1947, the Smith's son, M. D. Smith III, became Vice President after being in sales for WBRC-FM and AM.  FM did not catch on as much as everyone thought it would and in June of 1948, WBRC-FM was taken off the air. Desipte this setback, Mrs. Smith borrowed $150,000 to put WBRC-TV on the air on July 4, 1949.
Mrs. Hanna retired and sold WBRC-TV/AM-FM to Storer Broadcasting for $2.3 million. That ends the history provided by the WAAY-TV history page.
WBRC was basically a middle-of-the-road station with some network programming. When the TV and FM were sold seperately (around 1971?) the radio was forced to take a seperate identity, settling with WERC because it sounds close to the original. The station went Top 40 and gave WSGN a battle in the 70's. Later it settled into the news-talk format where it has enjoyed longevity and sucess.

Transmitter location:

Nighttime antenna pattern: