940 AM Macon
WMAZ > WMAC
WMAZ Mobile Unit (Courtesy Jay Braswell)
WMAZ transmitter-Mercer Univ. (1928)
A 1929 letter confirming reception of WMAZ in Connecticut on 890AM with a transmitter power of only 500 watts.
One of the big fads of the 1920s was the radio verification stamp. With a letter to a station about their programs and a dime, a listener could get a handsome stamp with the station’s call sign, made for the EKKO Company. The EKKO Company made an album to put the stamps in, and the hobby blossomed into a craze in 1924. —reception_stamp.com
Courtesy of Pete Konenkamp
Courtesy of Pete Konenkamp
Lyndy Brannen succeded Bill Powell in mornings in 1982.
Bill Elder (1970)
(Below) Market veteran Kenny Burgamy remembers: "Bill Powell's morning "Club" was called the KOKO (coco) club. Stands for Keep On Keeping On. Powell hosted mornings in WMAZ AM from 1964 until 1982. He then when to WMAZ TV as main weather man, evenings from 1982 until his retirement in 1998. "
WMAZ trade ad (1951)-Courtesy of Joseph Schmich
WMAZ > WMAC NewsTalk
This station started out as part of a radio experiment by Mercer University professor C.R. Fountain's physics class in 1910. On October 30, 1922, Mercer obtained a commercial license under the call sign WMAZ. The university soon found itself in over its head operating a radio station. In 1927, it sold WMAZ to the Macon Junior Chamber of Commerce, forerunner of the Macon Jaycees.
A group of Macon businessmen formed the Southeastern Broadcasting Company and leased the station in 1929 before buying it outright in 1935. In the 1930s, WMAZ was a daytimer, broadcast on 1180 kilocycles, first at 500 watts, and later at 1,000 watts, but required to sign off at sunset. In 1937, WMAZ became a CBS Radio Network affiliate, carrying its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows, and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio." It broadcast the Soap Box Derby live. By the late 1930s, WMAZ was permitted to broadcast after sundown, but at reduced power to protect other stations on the channel.
In 1941, with the enactment of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), WMAZ moved to its current 940 kHz, a better spot on the dial. The power was boosted to 5,000 watts, day and night, and by 1950 it increased to 10,000 watts around the clock.
Addition of sister FM and TV Stations
In 1947, Macon's first FM station signed on, 99.1 WMAZ-FM (now WDEN-FM). WMAZ-FM mostly simulcast its AM sister station for its first couple of decades. In 1953, the Southeastern Broadcasting Company added Macon's first VHF TV station, Channel 13 WMAZ-TV.
The 1950s and beyond
In the 1950s, as network programming moved from radio to TV, WMAZ-AM-FM switched to a full-service middle-of-the-road format of popular adult music, news, and sports. In the late 1950s, WMAZ-AM-FM-TV produced middle Georgia's first radio-television simulcast for the 24th Annual Bibb County Spelling Bee. In 1958, 940 WMAZ's daytime power was boosted to 50,000 watts. That made it the second-most powerful station in Georgia, after WSB 750 in Atlanta, powered at 50,000 watts around the clock.
Southeastern sold WMAZ-AM-FM-TV to Southern Broadcasting Corporation in 1963, which merged with the News-Piedmont Company to form Multimedia, Inc. in 1967. In 1974, WMAZ-AM-FM-TV moved to a new studio facility on Gray Highway in Macon. Throughout the 1980s, the station had an adult contemporary format until 1989 when it switched back to its former MOR format.
Multimedia merged with Gannett in 1995. Gannett had by this time decided to pull out of radio, concentrating on its TV stations and newspapers. It sold off the radio stations in 1996. The new owners changed AM 940's call letters to WMWR (standing for Macon-Warner Robins), but a year later, the station was sold as part of a group purchase by U.S. Broadcasting. In 1998, the station changed to its current call sign, WMAC. The call sign not only stands for MACon, but is a nod to the heritage call letters the station used for three-quarters of a century.
In 2002, U.S. Broadcasting sold this station as part of a group purchase by Cumulus Media.
Additional Notes from Georgia radio historian Jay Braswell
March of 1935 is when 500w WMAZ jumped to 1kw on 1180. The jump to 5kw-D/1kw-N happened in '38. Of course, the move to 940 came on 3-24-41, still with 5kw-D/1kw-N, but also required WMAZ to drop power to 250w at the time of sunset in Albuquerque (to protect KOB). A DA was installed, and in early '43, 'MAZ began operating full-time with 5kw-DA. To 10kw-DA-2 in 1948, and to 50kw-D/10kw-DA-N in '59.
WMAZ is the 3rd oldest station in Georgia...behind WSB and WGST in Atlanta. Started at Mercer, and sold to the Chamber of Commerce, call letters were said to have stood for Watch Mercer Attain Zenith.