WRRS-FM

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WRRS-FM (Reality 101.1 and, later, 101.1 the Spot) was a radio station broadcasting from Cullman at FM 101.1.

History

From 1950 to 1998, when the signal was confined to the area around Cullman, 101.1 FM was known as WFMH-FM. The station went through several different formats, including classic country music and adult standards. In 1998 a group of Birmingham businessmen led by Wendell Harris purchased the station with the intent of launching a second contemporary Christian music station to complete against WDJC-FM, the station was rebranded as Reality 101.1 with the call letters WRRS-FM on November 23.

Reality 101 logo.png
Reality 101.1 enjoyed initial ratings success, but the location of the station’s broadcast tower hindered the signal from adequately reaching the Over the Mountain area. At about the same time, WDJC-FM dropped all of its Christian teaching and evening Southern gospel programs to air contemporary Christian music full-time. Reality 101.1 quickly fell in the ratings.

As the station went into the red, it began asking for donations from local churches to help it stay on the air. Despite insufficient income, Reality 101.1 still upheld its promise of supporting Christian ministries by donating $2,000 to First Priority of Alabama in December 1999. Continuing to lose money, on August 7, 2000 the station, with the help of local personalities like James Spann and Fran Curry, asked listeners to make donations. Ultimately faced with bankruptcy, the station was sold to STG Media LLC, an ownership group headed by Steve Shelton that held several stations in the Huntsville market, in September 2000. At the time, Reality 101.1's studio was in Brookwood Village, where shoppers could observe the broadcasters as they worked.

STG gave the station a deadline of year's end to start showing a profit. In October, Shelton replaced general manager Bill Hardekopf with veteran Ben McKinnon and reduced the overall station staff to 10. On February 2, 2001, the station switched formats to "modern rock/adult contemporary" and was renamed “101.1 the Spot”. “The Spot” was no more successful in the Birmingham market than its predecessor, and the ownership of the station began looking for an opportunity to sell.

In 2002, Crawford Broadcasting, which was looking to expand the listening area of WYDE-AM, purchased WRRS-FM and temporarily took the station off the air in order to upgrade its transmitter. In August of that year, 101.1 FM returned to the air as WYDE-FM "The Source", Birmingham’s first FM talk station.

References

  • Tomberlin, Michael. (October 22, 1998) "Christian Music Station to Launch." The Birmingham News Page 1-C.
  • Garrison, Greg. (May 28, 1999) "Reality Radio Debuts on Top." The Birmingham News Page 1-H.
  • Garrison, Greg. (July 30, 1999) "Christian Music Station Fire Programming Chief." The Birmingham News Page 1-C.
  • Garrison, Greg. (August 30, 1999) "Reality Radio Asks Churches for Help." The Birmingham News Page 1-B.
  • Garrison, Greg. (January 9, 2000) "Ministries Gain Aid from Station." The Birmingham News Page 17-A.
  • "Reality Radio Passes the Plate." (August 8, 2000) The Birmingham News Page 1-C.
  • Welch, Chris. (September 15, 2000) "STG Media adds radio station to recent buys." The Huntsville Times. Page D9.
  • "New Reality Owner Sets Deadline." (September 18, 2000) The Birmingham News Page 10-C.
  • "Judgment Day at Reality Radio: Six Lose Jobs." (October 13, 2000) The Birmingham News Page 1-E.
  • Nicholson, Gilbert (December 3, 2000) "Reality Radio owner wants a profit, not rumors." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Tomberlin, Michael. (February 2, 2001) "Station Drops Reality Radio." The Birmingham News Page 1-E.

External links