104.1 LaGrange
WLAG > WJYF > WEKS > WYAI > WALR

Y106 & Y104 logo.jpg
WALRFM.png

History- (Edited from Wikipedia)

Early years

On September 1, 1947, the station was first signed on as WLAG-FM. Its city of license was LaGrange, Georgia, about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta and near the Alabama border. It was the FM counterpart to WLAG 1240 AM, owned by the LaGrange Broadcasting Company. Both stations simulcast a country music format. WLAG-FM's power was 29,500 watts and the antenna height was 220 feet, so it was not heard in the Atlanta area. In 1977, the station changed its call sign to WWCG and continued with a country format.

In the early 1980s, the station got a big boost in power. It increased to 100,000 watts, using a tower taller than the Empire State Building, giving it coverage of much of the Atlanta radio market. It began broadcasting Al Ham's syndicated "Music Of Your Life" adult standards format with call signs WJYF and WJYA-FM, a simulcast partner with WJYA (1080 AM).

In 1985, it was acquired by Zapis Communications, headed by Lee Zapis. In 1987, he switched the format to urban contemporary as WEKS, "Urban Kiss 104."

Zapis then sold the station to NewCity Communications in 1989. NewCity had a plan to pair two different FM stations surrounding Atlanta to create one facility covering the market. WEKS switched back to country music as WYAI (Y104), simulcasting with WYAY FM (Y106.7) on the other side of Atlanta. The two stations began competing with long-time Atlanta country leader WKHX.

In 1994, the simulcast ended, and 104.1 switched to a smooth jazz format. The call letters were WJZF and the station called itself "Jazz Flavors 104.1."

Cox Enterprises entered into a local marketing agreement (LMA) with WJZF. Cox tried to buy the station in 1995. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied the request when challenged by Jacor Broadcasting, even though Cox intended to make changes to the WJZF signal "to avoid cross-ownership conflicts."

WALR "Kiss 104," the format that would later migrate to the 104.1 frequency began in 1964 in Athens, Georgia as WDOL-FM at 104.7 MHz. At first, it simulcast its AM sister station, 1370 WDOL. It later began airing separate programming, first as "Love 104," then as "Kiss 104.7", an urban contemporary station. (This new "Kiss" on 104.7 was a resurrection of the previous incarnation from WEKS mentioned above, although it only covered the eastern suburbs of the Atlanta market, from its Athens tower.)

On August 30, 2000, Cox and Salem Communications swapped frequencies. Kiss 104.7 migrated to the 104.1 frequency, previously a Christian Contemporary music station known as "The Fish." The former WALR-FM at 104.7 became "104.7 the Fish" WFSH-FM and the 104.1 frequency became Hot Urban AC, "Kiss 104.1," taking the WALR-FM call sign, and displacing the smooth jazz format.  In Atlanta, the rights to the "Kiss FM" brand had been grandfathered; thus Clear Channel Communications (later iHeart), which trademarked the brand for its Top 40 stations, heard in many U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Boston, did not attempt to take legal action against Cox.

 

Switch to urban oldies

On February 21, 2003, WALR-FM switched to Urban Oldies, while retaining the "Kiss" branding. Cox wanted to draw a distinction between "Kiss" and co-owned WFOX (97.1 FM). At the time, WFOX experimented with a format consisting of R&B, hip hop, and rap music from the 1980s to the present. With the format shift, WALR-FM's longtime slogan changed from Atlanta's R&B Station to Atlanta's Old School R&B Station.

In late 2004, WALR switched to a new tower, closer to Atlanta.

WALR-FM became the last Atlanta station owned by Cox Radio targeting the African-American audience. On August 16, 2010, co-owned WBTS flipped from rhythmic contemporary to WSBB-FM, a news-talk simulcast of WSB. Previously, co-owned WFOX had played urban contemporary music as "97.1 Jamz" until 2006, when it flipped to classic hits and classic rock as WSRV "The River."

 

Return to urban AC

In June 2011, WALR-FM shifted back to urban AC; the station added more contemporary R&B music and dropped some of the older titles, after spending eight years as a classic and gold-based R&B and soul music format.  WALR-FM's logo and slogan were modified as well from Atlanta's Old School R&B Station to Atlanta's R&B; in addition, the station's branding was shortened to simply Kiss 104, omitting the ".1". At the same time, WALR-FM dropped all weekend mix shows and expanded its nighttime slow jams show.

In 2017, WALR-FM changed its city of license from LaGrange to Palmetto, Georgia, a suburban community about 15 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.