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2008-11-05 / Front Page

End of an era

WKLD off the air
by Rob Rice

In some ways, it will never be the same. After 40 years on the air, 97.7 FM WKLD will soon go off the air.

"It was not an easy decision by any means," said station owner Danny Bentley. "It was strictly a business decision. The offer we got (for the station) was just too good to pass up. We spent a lot of time wrestling with this and put a lot of thought into the decision."

The deal to sell the station was finalized earlier this year but the discussions concerning the possible sale go back for almost three years. Great South Wireless LLC initiated the contact with Bentley and, to borrow an old saying, finally made an offer "that was too good to refuse," based on the market value for the station.

The company, which owns 97.7 the Peach in Clanton, is looking to move WKLD to Union Grove in north Alabama and up the power of its current station.

What this means to Blount County is that local FM radio will change forever. WKLD has been on the air since 1968 and residents have come to depend on the station for local news, weather, and sports.

Bentley says AM 1570 will remain on the air locally. The current format - Timeless Favorites - will continue and the "Danny and Terri Morning Show" will continue four days a week.

Programming that had been on FM, such as the morning show and high school sports, will continue on AM and 1570's regular favorites - including Swap Shop and Round the Town News - will not change.

"We are trying to get a low-power translator up," said Bentley. "This will allow our AM signal to be broadcast on FM for short distances and would mean basically little or no change for listeners in Oneonta. For those farther out, AM 1570 would be the option (for local programming). We have already applied (to the FCC) for the translator and hope to have it up and running soon."

Bentley and Lowry also mention other possibilities for the AM, including raising the power eventually to allow for a wider coverage area.

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