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WAPI (AM): Wikis


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WAPI-AM logo.png
City of license Birmingham, Alabama
Broadcast area Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Metropolitan Area
Branding Big Talk 1070
Slogan "Alabama's Big Talker"
Frequency 1070 KHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date 1922 as WSY
Format News/Talk
Power 50,000 watts (day)
5,000 watts (night)
Class B
Facility ID 16900
Callsign meaning Alabama Polytechnic Institute[1] (official name of Auburn University when the university acquired the station)
Affiliations ABC News
Owner Citadel Broadcasting
Webcast Listen Live

WAPI (1070 AM, "Big Talk 1070") is a radio station licensed to Birmingham, Alabama. Its daytime power is 50,000 watts and at nighttime it broadcasts at 5,000 watts. WAPI is a talk radio station. It is the Birmingham outlet of numerous nationally syndicated talk programs, including Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly. WAPI is one of several Birmingham-area radio stations owned by Citadel Broadcasting.


In April 1922, 'WSY' radio started operations as the second radio station in Alabama, owned by Alabama Power Company. Some five months later, the fourth radio station in the state, WMAV, owned by the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) began broadcasting from Auburn. WSY was not successful, and in 1925, its broadcast facilities were dismantled and donated to WMAV and Alabama Polytechnic. At that time, the station’s call letters were changed to WAPI, reflecting the ownership of the station.

In 1928, WAPI returned to Birmingham, due in part to NBC’s interest in affiliating with a station in Alabama’s largest city, rather than a station in a small community such as what Auburn was at the time. In 1929, ownership of the station was split among Alabama Polytechnic, the University of Alabama, and the Alabama College for Women (now the University of Montevallo), and the broadcast power was increased to 5,000 watts. In 1932, the colleges sold the station to private business interests.

WAPI remained affiliated with NBC until 1940, when it became an affiliate of CBS. After sharing its dial position with KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma for several years, it moved to its present dial position in 1942. In 1949, WAPI launched the first television station in Alabama, as WAFM-TV (now WVTM) began broadcasting some six weeks before rival WBRC-TV started.

The Birmingham News purchased WAPI and its FM and TV sister stations in 1953, and in 1954, WAPI-AM re-affiliated with NBC. As network radio programming began to lose its importance due to television's popularity, the station evolved into a "middle-of-the-road" music station in the mid-1960s, featuring several local call-in shows at night. By the mid-1970s, it was the only Birmingham AM adult contemporary radio station, remaining in this format until 1985. When crosstown rival WSGN (now WAGG) dropped adult standards, WAPI immediately switched to that format. It retained the adult standards format until January 1, 1996 when it became an all-news radio station. Since that time, the station, like a large number of AM outlets throughout the U.S., has evolved into a talk-radio station. The station airs the syndicated programs of such personalities as Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz for the central Alabama market.


  1. ^ Nelson, Bob (2008-10-18). "Call Letter Origins". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-31.  

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