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WIAG-AM was an experimental radio station built in 1921 by Donald Beatty, then employed as a "radio expert" for the Matthews Electric Co., on the 2nd floor of their building at 1821–1823 1st Avenue North. The station broadcast at a wavelength of 360 meters (about 833 kHz).

Beatty used the station to broadcast weather reports to receiver-equipped aviators, and had his girlfriend, Mary Alice Gatling, play piano over the air, in what was likely the first live radio broadcast of music in the state.

According to family accounts, her Chopin etude wasn't loud enough to be picked up, but her more powerful rendition of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 was loud enough to blow out much of the station's amplification equipment.

An improved radio circuit Beatty developed for the station was the subject of Beatty's first U.S. patent, awarded in 1922. The station went out of service that year and Beatty helped to construct a radio broadcast studio for Alabama Power Company, which went on the air as WSY-AM on April 24, 1922.


  • Carmichael, Mary Alice Beatty (1998) Donald Croom Beatty: Alabama's Aviator, Explorer, and Inventor' self-published