WAQY-AM

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WAQY-AM (AM 1220) was a 1000-watt radio station founded in 1964 as a competitor to WSGN and WVOK, aimed at attracting a wider pop-music audience turned off by the "screaming" and "psychedelic way-out sounds" heard on teen-oriented stations. The station's studios were on 3rd Avenue West near Fair Park and Ken Tremelling was the operations manger. In the late 1960s they moved to a penthouse studio in the 2121 Building on 8th Avenue North downtown.

Among the buyers of the former WEZB-AM were Chevrolet dealer Tom Gloor and popular announcers Tommy Charles and Doug Layton who had pioneered the two-man morning radio team. After John Lennon claimed in 1966 that the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus", Charles and Layton led a group of grandstanding stations that refused to play Beatles songs over the air in Birmingham (though they probably weren't in heavy rotation to begin with). Charles urged listeners to bring their records and paraphernalia to the studio to be destroyed in a tree shredder. WAQY's "Ban the Beatles" crusade was the first to gain nationwide attention and is referenced in numerous Beatles documentaries.

Charles sold a half share in the station to Associated Grocers of Alabama at the initiative of its president, George Little, in 1969. His successor, Les Nuby, Jr, sold off the co-op's stake in the early 1970s.

WAQY broadcast Sunday services from Hunter Street Baptist Church.

Always broadcasting at low-power and only during daytime, the station never commanded much in the way of advertising revenue. WAQY increased its news and talk segments for a while, then returned to Top-40 before Charles sold it in 1970. Other announcers on the station included Jim Allen, Tony West, James Enright and Woody Windham.

Preceded by:
WEZB-AM
AM 1220
19641970
Succeeded by:
WBUL-AM

References