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WWWH AM News Talk 1230 and WWWH FM Paradise 92.7

By Harold Bearden
Monday, January 2, 2012 | 10:01 AM

Saturday night, December 31, marked the end of a radio era in Haleyville and the beginning of a new one. WJBB was originally owned by Pete and Guy Ray. Used equipment was purchased in Cullman and brought to Haleyville on a single truck in early 1949. On April 1 of that year WJBB began broadcasting with 250 watts on 1230 AM. The first station manager was Jim Elliott. When Mr. Elliott chose to become the manager of WWWR in Russellville, John Slatton was hired and he moved with his family to Haleyville in 1953 

John was given a small amount of stock in the Haleyville Broadcast Company as well as his salary. Over a few years, he acquired the remaining stock. The station was competing with much larger stations in Birmingham, Nashville and beyond. Television was just starting to replace radio as prime entertainment in the home. On February 14, 1958, a weather phenomena which made the lead story on the still young NBC Nightly News two days later changed the way people overlooked a local asset. 


A snow storm dumped 18 inches on Haleyville in less than 24 hours, preceded by an ice storm which felled trees, power and telephone lines. Then it snowed. Four to six foot snow drifts covered everything. The snow was so deep, trains stopped running through Haleyville. Snow plow equipped trains did not exist in the south, plus Haleyville is uphill from either the north or the south.  With no power and no available communication, John was able to establish contact with his sister station in Sheffield, WLAY. Help was soon on its way.


Local people learned from that experience. It was good to have a local station, especially in a time of bad weather. It did not have to be the weather. From daily news,  information, and sports, John felt everything he broadcast was a public service.  To quote Assistant District Attorney Neal CooK, "John was the consummate professional." All who have worked for him agree.

 A tribute to WJBB is a tribute to John Slatton. I was proud to have worked for him. 

 WJBB AM/FM signed off the air just before midnight Saturday, and WWWH AM/FM signed on at 12, thus beginning a new era for both stations with a complete format change. Also a new name, Paradise 92.7 for the FM and News Talk 1230 for the AM are reflective of the format change. The FM is now playing pop and rock hit music. Some from the 60's, but primarily from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Even some just off the charts hits coupled with cross over country make the mix. News briefs will be broadcast hourly instead of three times a day. Weather will be by James Spann. 

Tim, Emily and Amelia Smyder, AMS Radio, LLC, along with myself and Glenn Collins thank everyone for your support and ask your patience as we continue to improve the programming and performance of both stations. 

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