Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Atlanta Radio: WAEC-AM Signs-Off After 76 Years

An AM radio signal once home to the first African American owned radio station is no more: 860 WAEC-AM has gone dark after 76 years on the air.

Beasley Media has sold its 17.2-acre tower site in Atlanta to a housing developer Toll Brothers to construct townhomes. As a result, the 860 signal has gone dark after 76 years.

860′s most recent format, which began in late 2023, was Spanish language salsa music called Playa 860. Before that, it was Love 860, a longtime Christian talk format. reports Richard Warner, who used to work at 11Alive, WSB radio and Georgia Radio News Service, said the signal going silent is yet another sign of how few people actually listen to AM radio, the dominant radio option in the 1920s through the 1960s until FM took over. AM survived more as a talk format in the 1990s and 2000s.

In Atlanta, when popular news/talk station WSB in 2010 added an FM simulcast at 95.5, that gave listeners very little reason to flip over to AM. Today, WSB doesn’t even promote its AM signal anymore calling itself 95.5 WSB.

AM is now dominated by religious and niche formats. And many new electric vehicles don’t even offer AM as an option.

Streaming music, podcasts and YouTube now represent 45% of all audio listening with AM/FM at 36% in 2024, down from 52% in 2014, according to Edison Research earlier this year.

The 860 signal began in 1948 and was purchased in 1949 by Jesse B. Blayton Sr., a Black bank president and Atlanta University professor, for $50,000. He called it WERD-AM.

1 comment:

  1. but let's pass laws keeping AM in our cars. Give me a break.