1977 — courtesy Malenka Warner
WAGQ (Top 40) 1976-1989
WALR (Hot A/C) 1989-1990
"Music Radio 104.7 WALR" Morning personality Larry Dixon in the studios in CNN Center, downtown Atlanta. (1989)
"Music Radio 104.7 WALR" neon sign on the studio window in CNN Center, downtown Atlanta. (1989)
"Music Radio" photos, clippings and composite aircheck courtesy of John Wetherbee
104.7 Athens/Atlanta History
WFSH-FM (104.7, The Fish) is a Christian Contemporary Atlanta stations licensed to Athens and owned by Salem Media Group. It describes itself as "Safe For The Whole Family." Its offices and studios are in Buckhead. The 1654 foot tower is located off Piney Grove Road in Loganville, about 30 miles east of Atlanta, with an effective radiated power of 24,000 watts.
WFSH-FM is one of three Christian Contemporary stations serving Metro Atlanta, but unlike its competitors, which are run by non-profit organizations and seek donations, WFSH-FM is a commercial radio station.
In January 1964, the station signed on as WDOL-FM. It was the FM counterpart of AM 1470 WDOL (now WXAG). Both stations were owned by James S. Rivers, who served as the president. Because WDOL was a daytimer, WDOL-FM simulcasted the AM station's country music format during the day and continued on its own after sunset. WDOL-FM's power was only 3,500 watts, limiting its signal to Athens and adjacent communities, and unable to reach the larger Atlanta radio market.
In the 1970s, the station got a boost to 50,000 watts. As more people acquired FM radios, WDOL-FM switched its call sign to WJSR and switched to a progressive rock format, while co-owned WDOL continued as a country outlet.
In 1976, WJSR was acquired by Broadcast Properties, Inc. The station flipped to Top 40/CHR, as WAGQ, and became an affiliate of the ABC Contemporary Network. Even though the station had 50,000 watts, its 230-foot tower limited it to serving Athens and its surrounding towns.
In the mid-1980s, WAGQ asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a construction permit to double its power to 100,000 watts and greatly increase its antenna height to over 1,000 feet, on a tower closer to Atlanta. This would make WAGQ a "move-in station," serving the more lucrative Atlanta market. The FCC granted the request, making WAGQ a Class C1 station.
In 1989, the station was sold to Ring Radio, Inc., which also owned WCNN. "Music Radio 104.7" debuted, with a hot adult contemporary format under Program Director John Wetherbee. Staff members included Larry Dixon, Mark McCain, Wetherbee, Neil "Hondo" Williamson, and others. The station switched its call sign to WALR in July 1990. Ring Radio President at the time, Rob Jackson, remembers that the call letters were chosen to represent "Atlanta's Lite Rock."
On October 8, 1990, WALR-FM was relaunched with an urban adult contemporary format as "Love 104.7", then later on as "Kiss 104.7". This was the second incarnation of the "Kiss" branding, after it was previously used in the mid-1980s on WEKS (the former call sign on 104.1). Under this format, it was the first permanent competitor to attempt to chip away at the African-American audience enjoyed by heritage urban station WVEE.
On August 30, 2000, Cox Broadcasting acquired WALR 104.7 from the Dickey family's Midwestern Broadcasting, and then swapped frequencies with Salem Communications. The WALR call letters and urban format migrated to the 104.1 frequency as "Kiss 104.1". The former WALR-FM (Kiss 104.7) became Christian Contemporary WFSH-FM, "104.7 the Fish." The swap was part of an asset exchange between Cox Media Group and Salem Communications.