Thirteen stations provide public radio
service to Alabama residents. All of the stations
except WLRH are operated by university licensees.
WLRH is operated by the Alabama Educational Television
Commission, the state agency that provides Alabama’s
public television service. Two stations provide
regional coverage. WTSU provides service from three
stations in southeast Alabama, and WUAL provides service
from three stations in central and northwest Alabama. Multiple
program services are available in Montgomery and Huntsville,
two of the state's
four largest cities.
The 1989 PTFP study reported
that ten stations served the state. During the past
15 years, Alabama public broadcasters have added four
new stations. The construction of WLJS has increased
service to Cleburne, Clay, and Talladega counties in
eastern Alabama, although significant portions of those
counties still lack service. The construction
of repeater station WAPR Selma by WUAL filled in a
previously unserved area in south-central Alabama. The
construction of two stations, WJAB Huntsville and
WTJB Columbus, Georgia (with its transmitter located
in Phenix City, Alabama), provided additional services
in those areas.
A fifth station, WSGN, increased
its signal strength in 2000 to serve residents
of Calhoun and southwest Cherokee counties.
One station in southern Alabama, WYJD
Brewton, went off the air when the community college
gave up the license, leaving 16,800 of Escambia County's
38,000 residents with no public radio service.
Alabama has increased the
percentage of the population receiving a public
radio signal from 83% in 1989 to 89.8% currently. The
number of people who cannot receive public radio
decreased from 651,000 in 1989 to 453,765.
Service from Adjacent States
Signals from the state radio networks
in Georgia and Mississippi reach narrow areas along
the eastern and western borders, providing some service
to portions of counties not otherwise served. WTSU's repeater,
WTJB, is licensed to Columbus, Georgia, but the transmitter
is in Phenix City, Alabama.
Four counties in northwest Alabama -- Marion, Winston, Lamar, Fayette -- and the northern
part of Pickens County have 68,250 residents without
public radio service.
Mountains in the far northeast corner
of Alabama and the Tennessee River Valley compromise
coverage in Jackson and DeKalb counties, where 20,550
residents are without public radio service.
This area east of Birmingham includes
the unserved counties of Cleburne, Clay, Randolph,
Coosa, Talladega and Tallapoosa. Approximately
107,400 persons there do not receive public radio service. WBHM
has expressed interest in locating a full-power station
or translators in the region.
An eleven county area beginning along
the state's southern
border with Florida and curving northwest to the Mississippi
border -- consisting of parts of Covington,
Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe, Clarke, Washington, Choctaw,
Sumter, Marengo, Greene and the southern part of Pickens -- is
home to about 152,500 residents who do not receive
public radio service. WTSU indicates that it
would like to provide low-power or translator service
for the cities of Andalusia and Opp in Covington County. Miles
College has filed an application with the FCC for a
construction permit to activate a station in Demopolis
that would benefit the residents living in the middle
of this large area.