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Proclamation by Governor Kay Ivey celebrates 75th anniversary of Sylacauga radio station

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed May 16, 2023, as RadioAlabama’s 75 Years of Broadcast Excellence Day, marking the birthday of the group’s first radio station 75 years ago.

A ceremony in the former House of Representatives chamber of the State Capitol included Lee Perryman, President & CEO; Curtis O. Liles III, son of an original owner; Michael Brannon, Executive Vice President; Jeremy Law, Vice President, News and Sports; Claire Hodges, Promotions Director; State Senator Keith Kelley (AL-12); and State Representative Ben Robbins (AL-33).

At 7:00 a.m. on May 16, 1948, what is now WYEA-AM was born as WMLS-AM with studios in downtown Sylacauga. “WMLS had its beginning as a dream in the minds of four young Sylacauga veterans,” wrote the late Gertrude Tyson, host of the station’s popular Friendly Neighbor program in the 1950s. “They had all been in the service during World War II and were attending Birmingham Southern after the war,” Tyson recalled. “As was the case with all returned veterans, they were eager to get into something that would be profitable to them and serve their hometown as well.”

The investors included Curtis O. Liles Jr., who became majority owner in 1953, and, with the introduction of companion WMLS-FM in 1959, sole owner until he and his wife retired in 1980.

Sylacauga native Lee Perryman, who began his broadcasting career at the stations as a teenager, purchased WYEA-AM in 2012 and rapidly expanded, including bringing the original WMLS-FM, now WSGN-FM, back to the Sylacauga area in 2016. The proclamation noted the commitment “to innovative local broadcasting and community service”, which as RadioAlabama has grown to include 11 broadcast brands in East Central Alabama including various multimedia services and products.

“By celebrating this anniversary of RadioAlabama’s flagship station, we are recognizing 75 years of important local news, sports and weather coverage,” according to the proclamation, adding that “RadioAlabama has provided Alabamians and nationwide listeners with not only critical, timely information but content that fosters family and community fellowship.”

In 2021, under the master RadioAlabama brand, studios and administrative offices relocated in expanded facilities a block away from the original location in the heart of Sylacauga’s business district. WYEA-AM’s vintage transmitter, in constant use from 1948-2012, is on permanent display at the Alabama Historical Radio Society museum in Birmingham.

“I remain excited about the value of our radio stations to the communities we are licensed to serve,” Perryman said. “Now more than ever, there are increasing opportunities to make a difference – over the air, via websites and mobile apps, through streaming audio and video channels, and via podcasts. Especially with the help of Michael Brannon, Jeremy Law, and our amazing content, production, and sales teams, we will continue to focus on entertaining, informing, connecting with, and inspiring our multiplatform audiences.”

“I know my parents would be extremely proud that their legacy is living on through such a passionate commitment to public service,” said Curtis O. Liles III.

Owned by Marble City Media LLC, RadioAlabama’s stations include KiX 100.3 (WYEA), WSGN, MIX 106.5 (WSGN-HD2), 105.1 WRFS, KiX 96.3 (WFXO), AU100 (WAUE), and Tiger Country 104.5 (WAUE-HD2), as well as SylacaugaNews.com and RadioAlabamaSports.net. Through co-owned Auburn Networks LLC, management operations pending FCC approval of assignment applications include NewsTalk WANI (WANI/WGZZ-HD2), Wings 94.3 (WGZZ), ESPN 106.7 (WGZZ-HD3), and 96.3 WLEE (WGZZ-HD4), along with East Alabama Living Magazine and East Alabama Weddings Magazine.

Collectively, the stations have won 67 awards for broadcast excellence. Perryman was named the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Broadcaster of the Year in 2014, and WYEA-AM was honored as Alabama’s Radio Station of the Year in 2017.

With Gov. Ivey: Claire Hodges, Michael Brannon, Jeremy Law, Lee Perryman, Representative Ben Robbins, Senator Keith Kelley, Curtis O. Liles III
Proclamation signed May 4, 2023


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