Appeal to the masses - Tuscaloosa 80's/90's radio soundbites - Page 2
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Thread: Appeal to the masses - Tuscaloosa 80's/90's radio soundbites

  1. #11

    Re: Appeal to the masses - Tuscaloosa 80's/90's radio soundbites

    Quote Originally Posted by gritsandeggs
    Actually Z-102 wasnt the Carrollton-Tuscaloosa station. If memory serves me correct, it was WZBQJasper/Birmingham.Studios I think were in Tuscaloosa. What a signal!! I remember the top hour (Mitch Craig) "broadcasting Live from the 2nd highest man-made structure in the free world (it's a big stick)WZBQ-Fm Jasper/Birmingham....ZzzzzzzzzZ-1-oh--2 Funny though, I cant remember what I had for breakfast.
    Yes, the original WZBQ was licensed to Jasper and initally served Tuscaloosa rather than Birmingham. The station was relicensed to Pelham not too long ago. The current WZBQ (at 94.1) is the one licensed to Carrollton, which used to be country WAQT many years ago. Besides sharing the same calls and CHR format over the years, 94.1 and 102.5 also programmed oldies at separate times, too, using the "Cool" name, although the Carrollton FM changed calls to WCKO during their stint with oldies, while the original WZBQ kept the calls during that time. Seems like "Cool 102"/"Cool 102.5" was very short-lived. Might have been maybe a year or so before the oldies was pulled and its replacement, Wow 102, showed up with the country format.

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  2. #12
    tomservo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    LA (Lower Alabama)

    Re: Appeal to the masses - Tuscaloosa 80's/90's radio soundbites

    Quote Originally Posted by gritsandeggs
    Actually Z-102 wasnt the Carrollton-Tuscaloosa station. If memory serves me correct, it was WZBQJasper/Birmingham.Studios I think were in Tuscaloosa. What a signal!! I remember the top hour (Mitch Craig) "broadcasting Live from the 2nd highest man-made structure in the free world (it's a big stick)WZBQ-Fm Jasper/Birmingham....ZzzzzzzzzZ-1-oh--2 Funny though, I cant remember what I had for breakfast.
    Just a guess, but… grits and eggs? :P

    That signal was awesome, but apparently there were multipath problems in the Birmingham metro that kept it from being a serious country contender to WZZK. Personally I don't recall there being many dead spots over the mountain or out on 280 or any other far-flung part of the city when it was oldies.

    My first "sorta DX target" was WCKO on 94.1 after 102.5 dumped oldies. At least I think 102.5 dumped them first. That was a long time ago and I was just a kid! It was really neat getting this signal out of thin air from all the way out in Pickens County, it seemed so distant. Looking back, 94.1 should have been an easier catch than it was; today I can get it downtown B'ham without too much trouble. Or could, before IBOC. Haven't checked since that reared it's head.

    I recall hearing Coyote J Calhoun (how old is that guy, anyway? My dad remembers him on the radio, too) doing oldies on Cool 102 for a time, playing lots of sfx and what-not. It was a shock to hear him years later doing his "Edge" alternative rock show on the X.

  3. #13

    Re: Appeal to the masses - Tuscaloosa 80's/90's radio soundbites

    I used to play that legal ID. Mitch was great on Z-102! All good things must come to an end, and it did in about 94-95 when they sold the station to Clear Clear Channel (I guess) and it moved to B-ham. That's when it went oldies....yawn!

    Remember Frank and Steve?

  4. #14

    Exclamation Follow-up To Tuscaloosa 80's/90's Radio Section

    I have some tapes from when I worked at WACT-FM 105.5 circa; 1995 or 1996.... Though at present, I do not have any way to convert from cassette to digital format, sadly...

    Additionally, I have an old reel-to-reel tape 30 minute long program, including breaks, spots, and music from the old WHKW-FM 98.1 when they programmed Top-40/Hot AC in the 1980's!!! This would have been before 98.1 was WTXT-FM and programming Country music (the frequency was reportedly dark for a period in the early to mid 80's between when they programmed Top-40/Hot AC and when they changed their call letters to WTXT-FM and began programming Country music... Additionally this was before WWWB-FM 102.5 in Jasper changed call letters to WZBQ-FM 102.5 and moved their studios from Jasper to Northport, where the WJRD-AM 1150 later WZBQ-AM 1150 towers were/are located, in the middle of the cow pasture, off U.S. HWY 43/ AL HWY 13, up behind the Northport Civic Center, along with moving their antenna from a tower, appx. 500 feet tall at the old fairgrounds, in a low area (only appx. 300 feet A.S.L.) of downtown Jasper to a 2,213 foot tower in Northeast Tuscaloosa County and changed their format from Country to CHR, becoming a Tuscaloosa/Columbus, MS/Jasper CHR powerhouse with typical personality air talent/disc jockies of the era and giving WAPI-FM a decent run for it's money in many parts of the Birmingham D.M.A. too!

    This spoke volumes when you take into consideration that, on the air, WZBQ-FM Z-102 never made any bones about the fact that they were a Tuscaloosa hometown station and, to the best of my recollection, they never promoted themselves, on the air, as having anything to do with Birmingham. Though WAPI-FM I-95 in Birmingham sure took notice of them!!! As a matter of fact, I remember WAPI-FM I-95 having drops that paired them head to head against WZBQ-FM Z-102!!!

    The current WZBQ-FM 94.1 that is licensed to Carolton, Alabama was leased by the parent company of 102.5 at the time; Sis Sound, Inc. for a short time before they purchased the station out right and sold 102.5 to a company interested in marketing to the entire Birmingham D.M.A....

    Sometime after 102.5 was sold, though I can't remember exactly how long after, the new owners applied for and eventually received permission to move 102.5's antenna from it's previous location, at the 2,000 foot mark of WDBB-TV's 2,213 foot tower in the Windham Springs Community of Northeast, Tuscaloosa County, just off of Alabama HWY 69, where there is some disagreement over how much power they were licensed to broadcast with, from this location, while owned by Sis Sound, Inc. due to the fact that Sis Sound, Inc. was broadcasting FAR in excess of their licensed effective radiated output power for much of the time that Sis Sound, Inc. owned and operated the station from it's Tuscaloosa County tower site...

    It is known that they were originally authorized for an E.R.P. of 14,000 watts, but at some later point, it is rumored (online access to records has been hard to find), that they received a construction permit to test broadcasting an E.R.P. as high as 87,000 watts at one time! It is known though that testing authority, at these power levels, was quickly terminated (if ever even actually approved) by The F.C.C.... I d know for a fact though that, legally or illegally, thy did operate at these increased power levels for sometime anyway! This was confirmed personally to me by upper management of; Sis Sound, Inc. when I worked for them at; WZBQ-FM 102.5 and their sister station in Jasper, WZPQ-AM Z-1360 between 1987-1990! I was told a the time that one of the owners and the General Manager of WZBQ-FM 102.5 had one of the station engineers to figure, an input power level that, with the gain of the multi-bay antenna, gave WZBQ-FM 102.5 an estimated E.R.P. of between 50,000-83,000 watts!!!

    Ultimately government officials, on some level, did become wise to this unauthorized broadcast power level and the power was quickly reduced back to the licensed E.R.P. level of 14,000 watts... I do not have any direct knowledge if WZBQ-FM 102.5 was fined by The FCC for this or not. I have heard that their lawyers were able to claim that the station was under the belief that they still had testing authority that had been granted under construction permits... It was also suggested that the family's political influence, the owners being the direct descendants of multiple Congressmen and Senators, including former Speaker of The U.S. House of Representatives; Walter William Bankhead, for whom the stations original WWWB call letters were named for, when he signed it on the air in 1946, along with multiple other stations that were later owned, either outright, in part, or by other means to get around The FCC station ownership limits of the time in multiple locations in North and Central, Alabama as well as in Southern, Tennessee.....

    When 102.5 was moved from the Tuscaloosa County tower, by the company that purchased it from Sis Sound, Inc. it was moved to a 1,026 foot tower near Pelham, Alabama and it was licensed with an E.R.P. of 90,000 watts... While they lost height in the move, the move eliminated the picket fence effect 102.5 had, had in portions of the downtown metro area, as well as it boosted their signal further; East, Southeast, and South, giving them an overall better coverage of the entire Central, Alabama area than they did have from WDBB-TV's Tuscaloosa County tower... This all worked out well for Sis Sound, Inc. because they never had any desire really to market anywhere outside of the Tuscaloosa/West, Alabama market area. Additionally, the difference between the price paid for then; WAQT/WCKO-FM 94.1 and the final sale price of what became WOWO-FM 102.5, now WDXB-FM 102.5 was a considerable difference in favor of Sis Sound, Inc.

    I have additional information on Northwest and West, Alabama along with Birmingham area radio history that I can post, at a later date, if there is an interest for it.... Additionally, other than standard audio airchecks from a number of area stations, I also have a limited library of :10, :15, :30, and :60 second television commercials produced by "Chicago One" television production studios for WZBQ-FM Z-102 plus television spots from the very early 1980's for WWWB AM & FM that were produced out of Birmingham and aired on Jasper cable and later low power Jasper TV station; W55BJ.... I also have a couple of spots that were recorded straight off over the air Birmingham TV stations from this era for WAPI-FM "95 Rock" along with multiple copies of the mid-late 80's teen dance show "6 Rocks" on WBRC-TV, hosted by multiple WAPI-FM air personalities and VHS video tapes of live concerts, including MCing at the concerts by WYDE-AM air personalities that were held in the early 1980's, at Boutwell Auditorium when WYDE-AM's format was 1950's and 60's Rock & Roll!!! These concerts were put on in conjunction with The Alabama Record Collectors Association! If there is enough interest in any of this, I will consider having the tapes transferred to digital format for sharing!!! Please post responses if you are interested in any of this.......

    Quote Originally Posted by nv4phil View Post

    Five appeals, if you will.

    1. Does anyone have anything from the old WFFX Tuscaloosa (now WBHJ Birmingham) ... "95.7 The Fox" or "Fox 95.7"... an older friend of mine (I'm 24 he's 46) remembers it as "Fox 96" but I distinctly recall a logo with an orange and white Fox with glasses, and a graphic saying Fox 95.7 ... This also used to be simulcasted on Comcast Channel 20 along with local ads, and the NWS Zone Forecast scrolled across the screen.

    2. Does anyone have anything from the old WTID Reform/Tuscaloosa "101.7 The Tide" back in like, Scott Manning's day? Or from it's brief stint as "Star 101.7"

    3. Does anyone have anything from the old WLXY Northport/Tuscaloosa? (pre-"Arrow 100.7" preferably but something from during their "Arrow" days would be cool too)

    4. Does anyone have anything from the old WACT 105.5 FM back when it was doing country? Or from the earliest days of WRTR 105.5 FM (Rock 105)
    It's a shame WRTR left the overplayed-rock scene. I'd rather listen to the same 100 rock songs than listen to sports radio.

    5. I don't guess anything from WTXT matters, "98 'TXT" hasn't moved an inch in nearly 20 years.

    This would complete my lineup of childhood local radio memories, I do believe. I wonder how many people my age grew up on classic rock?


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