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WABE: Wikis


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City of license Atlanta, Georgia
Broadcast area Atlanta metropolitan area
Branding 90.1 FM WABE (FM & HD-1)
WABE Classical (on HD-2)
WABE News (on HD-3)
Frequency 90.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
90.1 HD-2 for Classical music
90.1 HD-3 for News & Talk
First air date 1948
Format Public radio
ERP 96,000 watts
HAAT 250.4 m (822 ft)
Class C1 NCE
Facility ID 3538
Callsign meaning Atlanta Board of Education
Affiliations National Public Radio
Public Radio International
American Public Media
Owner Atlanta Public Schools / Atlanta Educational Telecommunications Collaborative, Inc.
(Board of Education, City of Atlanta)
Webcast Listen live

WABE FM 90.1 is a radio station in Atlanta, Georgia, that is affiliated with National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Radio International (PRI). WABE's format features mostly classical music. It carries the NPR flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered, with newscasts interjected periodically.

The station is licensed to the Atlanta Board of Education (hence the "ABE" in the broadcast callsign), although a non-profit umbrella corporation has been established to oversee the station's daily operations. The station's signal reaches practically all of the northwestern and north-central parts of the state. WABE is the dominant public radio station in metropolitan Atlanta; Georgia Public Broadcasting serves most of the remainder of the state with such programs.

WABE also broadcasts the Georgia Radio Reading Service and educational programming via subcarriers on its frequency.



WABE has always been operated by the city school system. The registration was donated to the APS by the Rich's Foundation on September 8, 1948 and may well have been the first-ever noncommercial radio station in the Southern U.S., at least on the FM broadcast band. Its first radio studios were located in the former Atlanta City Hall. The station moved, along with television station WETV (now WPBA) channel 30, into facilities in northeast Atlanta in 1958, where both stations remain to this day.

The school board used WABE strictly as a medium for educational (i.e., in-school) broadcasts until sometime in the early 1970s, when classical music broadcasts (and likely evening broadcasts also) premiered on the station. The early 1970s also saw the beginnings of NPR network programming, an increase of transmission power, and the introduction of stereo broadcasting. By the early 1980s, the educational programs heard during school hours moved, thanks to the development of subcarrier technologies, to subchannels, leaving the main FM frequency free to broadcast music and news shows for adults.

The station finally expanded its hours to around-the-clock service and established a radio transmitter on Stone Mountain, which it used until 2004, when transmission moved to the TV tower next to sister station WPBA in the DeKalb County portion of East Atlanta. The short tower atop one of the highest points in metro Atlanta was and still is that of WGTV TV 8, the GPTV (now GPB TV) station for the area. WPBA had to leave when the FCC forced all stations to digital TV, and the tower could not hold four antennas — the other being NOAA Weather Radio station KEC80. (A larger tower was out of the question, as it is scenic and within state-owned Stone Mountain Park.)

Since that time, WABE has grown steadily in listeners served, mainly because Atlanta is one of the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, and the fastest-growing of the largest 15 or so media markets, now ranked seventh in potential radio listeners by Arbitron.

Local weekday hosts

Steve Goss — joined WABE after 28 years at Peach 94.9 FM (WPCH, later WLTM) as local host of Morning Edition.

Lois Reitzes — longtime host of the morning classical-music program "Second Cup Concert" and of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra broadcasts. She came to WABE in 1979 from WFIU-FM in Bloomington, Indiana. Reitzes served as a classical-music host for WFIU while working toward a double major in piano and musicology at Indiana University. Reitzes is also an accomplished pianist.

John Lemley — joined the station's on-air team in 1997 as host of an afternoon classical-music program, Daytime. The program is now known as Afternoon Classics (see above); Lemley returned to the show in early 2009 after three years as local host of the news programs in the late afternoons. Lemley also serves as producer and host of WABE's Tapestry, a weekly program of choral music. Lemley can also be heard on WABE's companion television station, WPBA TV, as daytime voiceover announcer. Lemley came to WABE from WBHM-FM in Birmingham, Alabama, where he also served as afternoon host. In Birmingham, from 1987 to 1997, he was also one of the biggest names in the Magic City's theatre scene, performing with Town & Gown Theatre, Summerfest, Birmingham-Southern Theatre, and Birmingham Children's Theatre.

Denis O'Hayer - the former political reporter for WXIA-TV and longtime news anchor at NewsRadio 640 WGST in Atlanta - anchors the afternoon drive time news block of The World, All Things Considered, and Marketplace.

Robert Hubert — a veteran of over two decades on WABE's staff, Hubert hosts the evening classical-music program Nocturne and serves as the station's music librarian and webmaster. He also hosts Atlanta Music Scene, heard on Monday evenings during his regular program.

Local specialty program hosts

H. Johnson — a legendary Atlanta broadcaster in his own right, he has hosted the Saturday-night Jazz Classics show since the early 1980s. Johnson, known only by his first initial (he has admitted on the air that his actual first name is Herman), for many years was a disc jockey on WAOK-AM, one of Atlanta's heritage African-American stations.

Valerie Jackson — host of the book-review program Between the Lines, heard early Thursday evenings. She is the widow of the late Maynard Jackson, mayor of Atlanta during the mid- and late-1970s and again later on.


WABE's call sign was WPBA-FM for a month in 1984, at the same time WETV's call sign was changed to WPBA. The radio station's call sign was changed back because of confusion.

External links



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