97.5 WABB Mobile Sold To EMF Broadcasting

97.5 WABB Mobile Dittman EMF K-Love Air-1 CHR Top 40 Update 3/1: WABB went out with a bang. Quite possibly one of the best produced farewell packages for any radio station. Listen to it at FormatChange.com.

As EMF’s K-Love takes over 97.5, with it comes new WLVM call letters. Those calls were in use at EMF’s Ironwood, MI station.

Update 2/29: Cumulus’ 104.1 WYOK has changed call letters to WABD and appears to be ready to take the CHR mantle from 97.5 in some form.

Update 2/21: EMF paid $3.1 Million for 97.5. Not included in the purchase is News/Talk 1480 WABB and any 97.5’s intellectual property. This leaves open the possibility of WABB’s CHR format being resuscitated on another station.

Original Report 2/17: Dittman Broadcasting has announced it has sold CHR 97.5 WABB-FM Mobile to EMF Broadcasting, operators of Christian networks “K-Love” and “Air-1“.

EMF will begin operating the station via LMA on March 1.

Here’s the statement on the station’s website:
“Legendary Top 40 radio station WABB-FM Mobile, AL has entered into an agreement to be acquired by EMF (Educational Media Foundation) of Rocklin, CA, a not-for-profit organization.

WABB-FM has been a powerhouse along the Gulf Coast for decades and one of the longest running Top-40 radio stations in the United States. Bernie Dittman bought WABB-AM in 1959 and put WABB-FM on the air in 1973. The stations have been owned by the family for 52 years.

Many of radio’s major talents and programmers launched their careers at WABB including Mike McVay, Scott Shannon, Randy Lane, Leslie Fram, Mark St. John, Paul Fuller, Bill Evans, Lee Chesnut and many more.

Dittman, who passed away in 2006, was an icon in the radio industry and one of the last of the great independent broadcasters. WABB has been a mainstay in the Mobile community, serving as the primary Gulf Coast Emergency Broadcast System station and playing a crucial role in providing vital information during Hurricanes Frederick (1979) and Ivan (2004). Dittman was honored as the Alabama Association of Broadcasters “Broadcaster of the Year” in 2005.

The sale of WABB-FM marks the end of an era in the Mobile market. Throughout his career, Bernie Dittman was devoted to maintaining WABB as an independent, family owned station. Despite the station’s success, the next generation of the family no longer resides in the Mobile area and consequently, the sale was viewed as a logical transition.

“This was a very difficult and emotional decision for our family,” said Judith Dittman, Bernie’s wife. “WABB-FM has enjoyed decades of success and being an integral part of the Mobile-Pensacola communities. But the time has come for us to move into another phase of life and spend more time together as a family.” Mrs. Dittman went on to say, “WABB has appreciated the support that its listeners, the city of Mobile and its advertisers have shown us over the years.”

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  1. Roy says

    I hate to see the station go it has been one of my favorite stations on the radio. God bless

  2. Lou Pickney says

    $3.1 million seems like a bargain for such a powerful FM stick. EMF is clearly benefiting from having available cash on hand to make deals like this one happen.

  3. Brady says

    I’m sitting here in shock reading this. WAAB-FM sold, no longer Top 40? Where are the standards of the Dittman family for what Mr. Bernie built? Selling out to a group that will ensure a format change on a signal synonamus with Top 40 radio? Same on them. They talk about wanting to be a family, but IMO disrespect all Mr. Dittman built and left for them by not leaving it in the care of someone that would carry on what he started.

    Even when Top 40 fell into dispare in the early 90s, WAAB-FM soildered on providing great talent, imaging and station appeal. Now will have a repeat of what happened when Emmis sold All Hit WAVA-FM up the river to Salem, another religous right station posioning people’s minds with their false Christain ideology. That is all EMF is, even if they don’t talk it, they push it in their music. What a lie for them to even claim to be educational. Worse is that they operate off satilite ensuring the loss of more operations related radio jobs.

    Sadly, I was on Youtube before this watching video on the end of Music Radio WABC and 66 WNBC. While perhaps not that important in radio history, WAAB-FM is legend in Top 40/CHR and soon will be looking back on what was, hopefully someone air checks the last minutes of real radio on WAAB-FM.

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