WAPI-FM

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WAPI-FM (ESPN 100.5) is a sports-talk-radio format radio station operated by Cumulus Media and broadcasting at FM 100.5

94.5 FM

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The station debuted in the 1950s as WAFM (FM 94.5), a sister station to WAPI-TV and WAPI-AM. The three stations were owned by Advance Publications, which was the parent company of The Birmingham News.

In 1969 the station began broadcasting in stereo full time from a newly-installed transmitter and added the weekly Cleveland Symphony Orchestra broadcast to its schedule, which already featured the Boston Pops Orchestra alongside its regular rotation of standards and adult contemporary music.

In the early 1970s, WAFM's call letters were changed to WAPI (for "Advance Publications, Inc.") and the format was switched to "solid gold". It switched to easy listening, as Beautiful 94 in 1978. An FCC ruling forced Advance to sell off the television station, which was acquired by Times-Mirror Broadcasting. In 1981 Advance switched the WAPI-FM broadcast to an album rock format under the name 95 Rock.

WAPI-FM was sold to Dittman Broadcasting of Mobile in 1982. In 1984 Dittman changed the album rock format over to Top 40, first as 95 FM, then as I-95 Birmingham's Hit Rock. The station soon surpassed WKXX-FM "Kicks 106" in the ratings, partly on the strength of Mark and Brian in the mornings.

An overall decline in the popularity of the Top-40 format brought another switch in 1994, this time changing call letters to WMXQ "Mix 94.5" along with the "hot adult contemporary" format.

100.5 FM

The WAPI-FM call letters were revived for NewsTalk 100 in 2010. The station replaced the adult album alternative (AAA) format WWMM-FM Live 100.5.

At its February 22 launch the station began simulcasting programming from WAPI-AM (AM 1070), including the Matt Murphy local call-in show on weekday mornings and syndicated talk shows hosted by Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz in afternoons and evenings. Mid-days were filled with a new call-in show, LeLand Live, hosted by former WBRC 6 reporter Leland Whaley.

Cumulus ended the simulcast and took over ESPN network programming after Summit Media shut down their WZNN-FM "The Zone" at FM 97.3. Cumulus' agreement with ESPN allows them to air the Paul Finebaum Radio Network on WJOX-FM as well as on WAPI-FM.

References

  • "WYSF" (January 3, 2007) Wikipedia - accessed January 6, 2007
  • Carlton, Bob (February 14, 2010) "Update: Live 100.5 to switch to news-talk format." The Birmingham News
  • Carlton, Bob (February 21, 2010) "Live 100.5 set to go silent Sunday night." The Birmingham News
  • Carlton, Bob (July 25, 2013) "Birmingham news-talk station 100 WAPI FM will become ESPN Radio sports station." The Birmingham News