It has been our pleasure and privilege to serve thousands of public radio listeners in the Gadsden area. We’ve been broadcasting on WSGN 91.5 FM in a cooperative arrangement with Gadsden State Community College for the past 25 years.
Regrettably, WBHM must cease its broadcast via WSGN at the end of the day on September 30, 2018. If you listen through 90.3 FM, your signal will not be disturbed.
Gadsden State Community College, owner of the WSGN broadcast license, is negotiating the sale of the license to a nonprofit, faith-based broadcaster. As a result of that sale, our operating agreement with Gadsden State Community College will expire and our broadcast on 91.5 FM will end.
Over the past 18 months, WBHM and administrators at Gadsden State held extensive consultations on the future of WSGN. Under the terms of our operating agreement, WBHM was offered the chance to bid on the WSGN license. Unfortunately, WBHM does not have the resources to match the sales price.
Your support has been an important part of our public service to Northeast Alabama. We’ve been proud to bring you NPR programs, local news, and jazz and classical music. While we will no longer be on 91.5 FM, we want to remind you that there are other ways to listen:
We hope you’ll continue to make WBHM part of your day. Meanwhile, we’ll be on the lookout for opportunities to restore a FM signal in the Gadsden area.
Below is a FAQ on the WBHM-WSGN relationship. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by calling 800-444-9246 or by email to [email protected].
Why is this happening now?
Gadsden State Community College holds the FCC broadcast license for WSGN, 91.5 FM. Earlier this year, the community college put the license on the market. A prospective buyer, a nonprofit, faith-based broadcaster, has made an offer. The sale has been approved by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees and is expected to be completed soon. When that happens, the joint agreement between Gadsden State Community College and WBHM will cease, as will our broadcasts on 91.5 FM. WBHM’s signal at 90.3 FM will be unaffected.
Doesn’t WBHM own WSGN?
No, but it is a common perception. Under FCC requirements, we must identify both WBHM and WSGN on-air.
What exactly is the relationship between WBHM and WSGN?
Our operating agreement with Gadsden State Community College, in effect for the past 25 years, was a convenient and reasonably cost-effective way to extend NPR and WBHM programming to Gadsden and surrounding communities. While Gadsden State Community College has always retained ownership of the broadcast license and facilities, WBHM provided the programming, the FM transmitter and other equipment. WBHM also paid for maintenance and replacement costs, along with legal bills related to regulatory matters.
So, why didn’t WBHM buy the license when the community college put it on the market?
If we could have made it work financially, we would have. Ultimately, acquiring WSGN was cost-prohibitive for WBHM given our lean operating budget. As much as we wanted to continue broadcasting on 91.5 FM, to bid and acquire WSGN at its market sales price would have put WBHM in a major financial deficit.
When will the WSGN broadcast end?
On September 30, 2018, just before midnight. That’s when the joint agreement between Gadsden State Community College and WBHM expires. Ownership of WSGN will be transferred from the community college to the new owner, a transaction that requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
Are there other ways to listen to WBHM?
Yes. Our signal from Birmingham, 90.3 FM, reaches many parts of the Gadsden area. We’re also on 104.5 FM in Fort Payne. WBHM is also available on several digital platforms: Streaming at WBHM.org and online services like TuneIn, on our WBHM mobile app (which you can download from Apple and Google Play), and on smart speakers (“Play WBHM”). The NPR One app is yet another way to listen to WBHM’s local reporting and national and international reporting from NPR.
I’m a WBHM member. What happens now?
We appreciate our community of listeners in Northeast Alabama who value public radio and have given generous financial support to the station. We’ll continue to update you about our programming and events. If you have questions or concerns about your membership, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] or call 205-934-2606 or our toll-free number, 800-444-9246.
Does WBHM still hope to serve Northeast Alabama?
Yes. We’ll look for opportunities to expand our FM broadcast to the Gadsden area, either by collaborating with another broadcaster or acquiring a signal for a reasonable cost. For example, we broadcast on 104.5 in Fort Payne in association with Sand Mountain Broadcasting Services, Inc., in Albertville.