105.1 The Block Tuscaloosa Debuts
Townsquare Media completed its purchase of “105.1 Jamz” WALJ Northport/Tuscaloosa AL and relaunched the station as expected as “105.1 The Block“.
WALJ will carry the Rickey Smiley Morning Show in mornings has brought in former “Hot 107.5” WGPR Detroit midday host ‘Ally The Pub’ Washington for afternoons. Washington will use the on-air name of ‘Ally Lynn’ going forward. Before joining WGPR she hosted nights at “92.7 The Block” WQNC Charlotte for WALJ Program Director Mary K Schmitt.
With the acquisition of WALJ, Townsquare Media has completed the divestment of 102.9 WTID Marion AL to Educational Media Foundation. WTID has now flipped to EMF’s “Air 1” Contemporary Worship network under new WFMA call letters. The previous Sports format remains of 100.9 W265CG/WTUG-HD2 as “Tide 100.9“.
Original Report 6/7: Townsquare Media has announced it will launch Urban “105.1 The Block” WALJ Northport/Tuscaloosa AL on August 1.
WALJ is currently owned by Apex Media and operated via LMA by SummitMedia as “105.1 Jamz” mostly as repeater of “95.7 Jamz” WBHJ Birmingham. Townsquare purchased WALJ earlier this week in a deal that will see them divest 102.9 WTID Marion to Educational Media Foundation for $110,000.
As we first reported in our 4/26 Domain Insight, that will pave the way for Townsquare to relaunch WALJ as “105.1 The Block” upon closing of the deals, which they have set for July 31. The station will retain the Rickey Smiley Morning Show and will be positioned as “Bama’s No. 1 for Hip-Hop and R&B”.
The company has also added Mary K Schmitt as Assistant OM of its Tuscaloosa cluster and PD of WALJ. Schmitt programmed Radio One’s three stations in Charlotte NC until exiting at the end of 2018. She has also programmed stations in Birmingham, Greensboro, and Greenville/Spartanburg during her career.
Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa has signed agreements to sell its 102.9 WTID-FM frequency to Educational Media Foundation and to purchase 105.1 WALJ-FM from Apex Broadcasting. The transaction is pending FCC approval with an anticipated closing date of July 31st, 2019.
Townsquare’s unrivaled sports coverage will remain available on its 100.9 frequency and WALJ will be re-branded to become 105.1 The Block, Bama’s No. 1 for Hip-Hop and R&B.
The most important difference between Apex’s 105.1 Jamz and Townsquare’s 105.1 The Block is that we will be programming WALJ locally. The content will be focused on serving Tuscaloosa and all of West Alabama with live and local talent, regular weather forecasts, unparalleled severe weather coverage and local traffic reports.
105.1 The Block will also retain the Rickey Smiley morning show.
Mary “K” Schmitt has joined Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa as our assistant operations manager and as the brand manager of WALJ-FM. Schmitt is an award-winning urban programmer who has been recognized as one of the Top Program Directors in America by Radio Ink Magazine and said she can’t wait to provide Tuscaloosa with the local hip-hop station its residents have asked for over and over again.
“I am very excited about launching WALJ under the Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa umbrella, where we have a local-first focus,” Schmitt said. “The WALJ signal will once again have a local connection to the city of Tuscaloosa and I am thrilled to launch 105.1 The Block to reflect the lifestyle and tastes of the Tuscaloosa millennial.”
WALJ-FM is currently ranked No. 2 in the market among adults aged 25-54, just behind Townsquare’s own 92.9 WTUG. The station is also ranked in the Top 3 with persons 18-34 and 18-49. By acquiring WALJ-FM, Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa will own all five of the top five stations in the Nielsen’s Designated Market Area for Tuscaloosa. These include 92.9 WTUG, 105.1 WALJ, 93.3 WTSK, 95.3 WFFN and 101.7 WQRR.
Adding the hip-hop format to our cluster will complement our heritage urban adult station WTUG and the legendary urban gospel station WTSK. After launching 105.1 The Block, Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa will account for 90 percent of all African-American listenership in the Tuscaloosa market.
This transaction is part of a continuing investment in the Tuscaloosa market. We will now offer 8 distinct formats: Sports talk on Tide 100.9, modern country on 95.3 The Bear, urban adult on 92.9 WTUG, hip-hop and R&B on 105.1 The Block, urban gospel on Praise 93.3, classic hits on Nick 97.5, alternative rock on Alt 101.7 and classic country on Catfish 100.1.
David DuBose, Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa’s Market President, said this move is another example of the cluster’s commitment to live, local and relevant radio content in Tuscaloosa.
“I am very excited about all of these moves. We studied the market for well over a year to analyze the benefits and the opportunities of these changes,” DuBose said. “This acquisition fits with Townsquare Media’s approach of creating the dominant radio group in West Alabama. We will continue to invest in local talent, sports, news and weather.”