Atmore’s WBZR heading back to live formatPublished 12:55pm Monday, July 23, 2012
The city of Atmore has always prided itself on their motto of “old friends and new beginnings.”
That meaning of the slogan will never ring any truer when it concerns the reviving of a local radio station in Atmore. Atmore radio station WBZR 105.9—an old friend of Atmore—is looking for a new beginning.
That is what Lee Hagan of Gulf Coast Broadcasting Company in Gulf Shores and Bryan Covey—who has station WEVT in Evergreen— want to do.
Hagan is the current owner of the radio station in Atmore as well as owning stations in Robertsdale, Fairhope, Gulf Shores and Ft. Walton Beach.
But while Hagan is the current owner of the station, he says it needs to be a locally owned station.
“To really serve the community like it used to when it did it in its heyday, it needs to be locally-owned,” Hagan said. “That is the direction we are headed to and Bryan makes it a much better match for the station here than we do in Gulf Shores. So Bryan is trying to get things to transition to his operation and he is going to turn it back into the local Atmore station that it needs to be.”
At the moment, we handle programming in Robertsdale Hagan said.
“It is fed down here and just rebroadcast,” Hagan said. “Other than Sunday morning broadcasting that is done live here in the studio, there is no other live programming done in Atmore. It is only done from Robertsdale, but Bryan is going to turn all that around.”
Covey said he would like to get with the schools and other things in Atmore and possibly do things with high school football games in the area.
“One of my goals is to do high school football games on Friday night and do some local news and swap shop things,” Covey said. “Those are in the long-term plans. Things that they used to do several years ago. I want to spread the word around town that this is Atmore’s local radio station.”
Hagan said the station was locally owned from its inception until 10 years ago.
“At one point, we did operate here,” Hagan said. “Then we bought the Robertsdale station and moved the programming to the Robertsdale station. So while it has still been on the air here all this time in Atmore, it has lost its local flavor. Then when I ended up with the
Robertsdale and Atmore station, we elected to operate the same way that it is and we know that is not the best for this community. That is the idea…to make this a community station again.”
Hagan said Atmore does not currently have a local station after one time having three stations here.
“Now there is only one and that is 105.9,” Hagan said. “That is the only station left in this community and Bryan is going to make it the community radio station. We were a news talk station and now we are a Classic Country station as of around February we made that change and since then the listenership has grown dramatically. We have never been off the air. A lot of people are listening to it, but we still do not have that local flavor that we want. The format will not change. We have a lot of listeners but not a lot of Atmore relations so that is the big change.”
Covey said he would like to work with the local newspaper and do a five-minute daily news show.
“That is what I want to get started here is to get back to do local things in Atmore,” Covey said. “We really want to get things going. The community needs a radio station.”