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RadioAlabama’s flagship begins 76th year; Alabama Governor marks anniversary with proclamation

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SYLACAUGA, Ala. – A 75th birthday of any business is a big deal, and May 16, 2023, was proclaimed “RadioAlabama’s 75 Years of Broadcast Excellence Day” in Alabama by Gov. Kay Ivey to mark such an anniversary of the Sylacauga-based broadcast group’s first station.

A dream of World War II veterans Curtis O. Liles Jr., Henry Judson Darden Jr., Edward J. Smith, and James S. Stowers Jr., with Paul H. Sarvis and Robert H. Arnold also stockholders, what is now WYEA-AM was born as WMLS-AM at 7:00 a.m. on this day in 1948. Studios and offices were originally located at 11½ W. Second St. in downtown Sylacauga, and the vintage transmitter, used for almost 64 years and retired on Jan. 28, 2012, is on permanent display at the Alabama Historical Radio Society Museum in Birmingham.

In 2020, current ownership built new multimedia facilities only a block from the first location in Sylacauga’s central business district. Today, 11 radio brands across 18 terrestrial signals in East Central Alabama now operate under the master RadioAlabama brand.

More than 160 guests attended an anniversary celebration on May 11. A video presentation explored how the station began and featured several employees along with business and civic leaders explaining the evolution of the RadioAlabama family’s corporate mission.

“In the 20th century, radio was mostly built around magically transmitting entertainment, information, and alerts over the air,” said RadioAlabama President & CEO Lee Perrymam. “Today, ‘radio’ for us includes audio, video, podcasts, apps, streams, smartspeakers, and even geotargeted digital advertising — and we are all about meeting expanding audiences of listeners, readers, and viewers on the devices they choose to use to engage. We have the technology, the facilities, and the people, and the opportunities to make a difference in the communities we serve are greater than ever.”

 


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